Mad Hatters Tea at The Sanderson Hotel

Foodie Five: The UK’s Best Afternoon Teas

Scones, clotted cream and jam – it’s a match made in heaven.

And as if we needed any excuse for tucking in, Afternoon Tea Week kicks off today (10th- 16th August). Whether you’re in the traditional camp or seeking tea with a quirky twist, we’ve rounded up five of the best to suit all tastes…

The Goring Bollinger Afternoon Tea

The Goring

Best for: Traditionalists

Perhaps best known as the place where Kate spent the night before the Royal Wedding, The Goring Hotel in Belgravia has also received the top accolade from the Tea Guild. Since you’re dining in a favourite haunt of Lady Randolph Churchill and the Queen Mother, you may as well go all out with the Bollinger Afternoon Tea. Dine inside by the log fire or out in the garden, and tuck into sensationally flavoured pastries (raspberry pistachio and violet tartlet, sea buckthorn curd, caramel-apple choux), along with a glass of Special Cuvee and a pot of the Goring’s Afternoon Blend, an Assam-Darjeerling infusion. If it’s good enough for the Middletons…

From £52.50 per person.

The Goring, Beeston Place, London, SW1W 0JW

Holbeck Ghyll Afternoon Tea

Holbeck Ghyll

Best for: Tea with a View

Situated right beside Lake Windermere, it’s little surprise that afternoon tea at Holbeck Ghyll comes with a side of sensational views. Watch the steamers and yachts bobbing along the water while you sit on the terrace tucking into dainty cakes, Taylors of Harrogate tea blends and finger sandwiches. On cooler days, snuggle beside the inglenook fireplace in the Arts and Crafts lounge instead.

From £20 per person.

Holbeck Ghyll Country House, Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LU

Mad Hatters Tea at The Sanderson Hotel

The Sanderson

Best for: Eccentrics

Take a tumble down the rabbit hole with the Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. Treats such as multi-flavoured ‘drink me’ potions and mini-sponges decorated with a clock face capture the wit and whimsy of Alice in Wonderland, but thankfully won’t make you shrink or grow to epic proportions like the morsels in the story (well, unless you indulge every day perhaps!). No doubt Carroll would approve of the marshmallow mushrooms, napkins wrapped in riddles, and a music box-cum-sugar pot that serenades guests.

From £38 per person.

The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG

Mr Fogg's Tipsy Tea


Mr Fogg’s

Best for: Boozers

Don’t expect to find Earl Grey in your teapot at this quirky Mayfair bar – instead, you’ll be able to fill your dainty china cups with a trio of bottomless gin cocktails. These include delectable concoctions such as the Woburn Abbey (named after the birthplace of afternoon tea), blending Tanqueray with crème de bergamot, bee-pollen sugar and lemon juice, or you can opt for a bottomless milk jug of Ruinart Champagne instead. Well, it is billed as the ‘Tipsy Tea’. The food selection similarly breaks from tradition, with chunkier slabs of pistachio cake, rich chocolate truffles and brightly coloured macarons (not a single scone though – shock horror!). As you tuck in, there’s plenty to keep you entertained décor-wise, from the Penny Farthings suspended from the ceiling to a menagerie of stuffed animals. No, it’s not the gin talking – Fogg’s is styled as the imaginary home of Jules Verne’s hero.

From £38 per person.

Mr Fogg’s, 15 Bruton Lane, London, W1J 6JD

Combe House Afternoon Tea

Combe House

Best for: Ladies of the Manor

Have a Dowton Abbey moment at this luxurious Devonshire country house hotel. Crisp white linen tablecloths and picturesque views of the estate are the backdrop to classic homemade delights such as buttery shortbread, cucumber sandwiches and warm fruit scones – topped with jam made from Mara des Bois strawberries grown in Combe’s kitchen gardens.

From £24.50 per person.

Combe House, Gittisham, Honiton, Nr Exeter, Devon, EX14 3AD

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London-based freelance journalist, writing about travel, food & culture.

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