The afternoon tea is as quintessentially British as the Queen driving in the countryside with a silk headscarf wrapped around her hair.
But afternoon teas have evolved over the years to include more than coronation chicken sandwiches and scones. Now you can get halloumi-filled steamed buns, banoffee pie jars and mini slices of tiramisu.
To celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, we’re rounding up some of the most Instagrammable (and decidedly delicious) afternoon teas in the country.
Cliveden House, Berkshire
Perhaps best known as the stately home Meghan Markle chose to stay in the night before she became the Duchess of Sussex, Cliveden House also offers a stunning afternoon tea. Expect classics like scones with jam and clotted cream alongside heavenly finger sandwiches with the added twist of whatever theme they’re offering that month. For World Chocolate Day they served up a blood orange tart, white chocolate and coffee macaroon and milk chocolate and praline choux bun. Opt to eat outside to enjoy the sprawling views of the estate.
Is any foodie Instagram-based list complete without a mention of Sketch? We think not, and luckily its delectable afternoon teas are just as visually delicious. On the current menu, you’ll find such delights as a foie gras tartlette and white peach and verbena cheesecake. If you’re looking to add a little fizz, you can have the champagne afternoon tea or the English spritzer afternoon tea. Either way, an afternoon tea in Sketch’s gallery is a must for any Instagram aficionado.
Holbeck Ghyll, Cumbria
The Lake District always promises a picture perfect escape, so make the most of it this summer by visiting Holbeck Ghyll where you can find an equally picturesque afternoon tea. With wild boar and apple sausage rolls, hot smoked salmon with citrus crème fraiche, white chocolate profiteroles and scones, this will satisfy even the most ardent foodie.
Muriel's Kitchen, London
Served on miniature picnic tables, this afternoon tea is a pure delight. Think all the usual afternoon tea trimmings with the added touch of banoffee pie jars, brownie bites and carrot cakes.
Oh Me, Oh My, Liverpool
Merseyside’s hidden gem, Oh Me, Oh My’s rooftop gives you spectacular views over the city but it’s the afternoon tea that’s really worth the hype. Available weekdays from 12 to 2:30pm, the tuna, cucumber and lemon finger sandwiches are accompanied by white chocolate and raspberry crème brulees with banana and toffee eclairs. The perfect place to book for a special occasion.
Dalloway Terrace, London
One of the most Instagrammable restaurants in London , with its ever-changing terrace, it's also home to one of the capital’s most Instagrammable afternoon teas. The current offering – the elderflower afternoon tea – complements the summer décor and offers white elderflower parfaits next to gin smoked salmon and lemon crème fraiche finger sandwiches. Inspired by the French countryside, this afternoon tea is best enjoyed with a glass of sparkling wine.
Sugar Junction, Manchester
Serving up a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes, scones and sandwiches, the Sugar Junction is a Mancunian afternoon tea institution. They also offer gluten free options so those with intolerances don’t miss out.
Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle
Sit on the terrace, relax on a sofa in the cocktail bar or pull up a chair in the garden room and indulge in one of the best afternoon teas in the North East. Choose from a number of loose leaf teas to accompany the assorted finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats – including strawberry and lemon macarons and a lemon cheesecake. Pair with a cocktail, novelty tea or a well-deserved glass of prosecco.
The Assembly House, Norwich
A towering Georgian gem in the serene centre of Norwich, the Assembly House’s afternoon tea makes for the ideal treat. Expect dainty ham sandwiches, savoury and sweet scones and colourful treats. They are currently serving an ‘Alice in Wonderland’-themed afternoon tea, complete with heart-topped pastries, rabbit holes and toothy smiles.
Miss V’s, Cornwall
Set on the Roseland Peninsula, Miss V’s is the perfect sunny spot for a classic British afternoon tea. With scones, homemade cakes and treats all set on delightful china plates, make sure you pick up a couple of extra tart slices to take with you while you’re there.
Terre A Terre, Brighton
Brighton’s iconic vegetarian restaurant offers up a show-stopping afternoon tea. The Terre à Tier Tea comes with a steamed rice bun stuffed with Szechuan marinated halloumi, mini muffins and a chocolate hazelnut truffle cake and praline served with a whipped dark chocolate mousse, among other treats.
For something a little different and perfect for summer, Amorino – the gelato and sorbet specialist – offer an ice cream filled afternoon tea. Think gelato roses and gelato-filled macaroons and your choice of their 10 rich hot chocolates.
The Salt Room, Brighton
Billed as one of Brighton’s best seafood restaurants, The Salt Room has another claim in offering one of Brighton’s best afternoon teas. The sea-facing restaurant located along the waterfront offers a ‘taste of the pier’ afternoon tea, with chocolate pebbles, lemon meringue fudge, raspberry bark, candy floss and a strawberry and lime doughnut.
Bardolino’s afternoon tea comes with an Italian twist, think parma ham rolls with avocado, bruschetta, beef sliders and tiramisu. The sweet potato fries and selection of teas and lemon tarts are perfect for a long weekday afternoon.