Classic afternoon tea in England means scones, finger sandwiches, and petite fours. From Manchester to Rye, here are nine English tearooms straight out of a fairy tale, in which you can enjoy a very special afternoon tea in the country where afternoon tea was born.
Served Thursday through Sunday starting at noon, afternoon tea at this vintage-inspired venue is nothing less than enchanting. Menu items like a “feta, rocket, and sunblushed tomato puff-pastry pinwheel” complement the chalkboard menus, jars full of flowers, blue-and-white china, bright blue walls, and elegantly iced cakes with hearts on top that make this tea room a delight.
Claridge’s, one of the capital's classic hotels, is serious about afternoon tea – probably because they’ve been perfecting the art of it for about 150 years. In a 1930s-inspired foyer with a soft color palette, you can nibble smoked salmon scones, a strawberry, peach, and ginger éclair, and a variety of finger sandwiches.
A quaint brick building covered in greenery in the Sussex town of Rye, The Cobbles Tea Room has a teapot-shaped sign and a picket fence. Afternoon tea is served all day, and loose-leaf teas like Gunpowder and Oolong Formosa are served in china pots alongside homemade scones and cakes, including gluten-free options.
Cuthbert’s Bakehouse / Facebook
Afternoon tea at Cuthbert’s Bakehouse offers a selection of different menus tailored to your mood – “Cuthbert’s Classic” includes choices like salted caramel and hazelnut tarts, traditional sandwiches, and scones, while “The New Yorker” offers meatball subs, scones, and New York cheesecake. Plum walls and warm-colored stone make up the interior of the venue, and strings of cloth triangular flags add charm.
The Connaught / Facebook
The Hidden Treasure Tea Room / Facebook
With a royal purple storefront and whimsical strings of pastel flags decorating the interior, the Hidden Treasure Tea Room’s name speaks for itself. In the glow of various hanging lampshades, afternoon tea begins with savory sandwiches, followed by homemade scones and cakes, and concluding with handmade petit fours. Drink options are loose-leaf tea or locally-roasted organic fair trade coffee.
Yelp / The Kensington Hotel
Richmond Tea Rooms / Facebook
Richmond Tea Rooms in Manchester is like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland – it’s a traditional English tearoom with a nod to Tim Burton. Chandeliers light the pink-and-blue room, while black-and-white accents add a unique aspect. The best part? One of the afternoon tea options is “The Hatter’s Tea,” which includes finger sandwiches, a homemade fruit scone with fruit preserves and clotted cream, and of course, a pot of tea.
Yelp / Dominique N
Sketch’s unique purpose is an all-in-one destination for food, art, and music. It hosts art exhibitions and is continuously “fusing musical genres to diversify the landscape of sound.” The different rooms are worlds apart – one resembles the backdrop of a Shakespearean play set in the forest, another looks like a princess’s pink-and-copper dining room. The venue’s afternoon tea includes delicacies like caviar and quail egg, macarons, and a variety of cakes.