We've just come to the end of Afternoon Tea Week here in the UK, so we thought it was only right to share our favourite places around the UK to enjoy this famous British tradition. As big foodies here at OTUK, we are in full support of enjoying an entire meal between lunch and dinner, especially when scones are involved. Let's just try not to enter into the age old debate on whether the cream or jam goes first… Official rules state that in Cornwall it's jam first, and in Devon it's cream - but it's a controversial topic among us Brits. Let's face it though, whichever way round it goes, it's always going to be delicious. So after much deliberation, and of course plenty of sampling, here are our top five places to enjoy afternoon tea around the UK…
Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Western Highlands - Scotland
Inverlochy Castle is set among beautiful glens and lochs in the foothills of Ben Nevis in the West Highlands of Scotland - an idyllic setting for this country house hotel. After a day of enjoying the scenery and numerous outdoor activities on offer (including fishing, boating or golfing), settle in for a delicious afternoon tea where you can choose from a range of tea leaves and indulge in savoury sandwiches, homemade scones and other sweet treats. If you've spent the day outside embracing the Scottish countryside, you will be well and truly deserving of a glass or two of champagne to enjoy on the side as well.
Hotel Endsleigh, Devon - England
Located in the Tamar Valley in Devon, Hotel Endsleigh is home to Alan Holloway, the former Pastry Chef of Claridges, so you know you're in for a real treat here. The cream tea in particular is a must as this is a tradition that originates from Devon and Cornwall (the exact origin is disputed). The library table at Hotel Endsleigh is set every afternoon with an array of tea time treats, including scones fresh out of the oven with huge pots of clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. One of our favourite things about the afternoon tea here is that, rather than being served, you can help yourself, meaning you can enjoy as much or as little as you like (and add an extra dollop of clotted cream onto those scones…).
Bodysgallen Hall, Conwy - Wales
Afternoon tea at Bodysgallen Hall is served in either the oak panelled hall, the library or the drawing room, or outside on the terrace on warm sunny days. Tuck into finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, cakes, pastries and a selection of teas. If you're celebrating a special occasion or just feeling extra indulgent, you can even add in a glass of champagne. The house itself stands in 200 acres of grounds, including beautiful formal gardens and views across the countryside to Snowdonia and Conwy Castle. This is a true Welsh haven.
The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh – Scotland
The Royal Yacht Britannia is a must-visit on any trip to Edinburgh, to explore the yacht that served the Royal Family for over 44 years. While on board, you can stop to enjoy afternoon tea in the Royal Deck Tea Room, a location like no other because the Royal Deck was previously used by the Royal Family for games and entertaining (fans of Netflix's The Crown may remember such scenes aboard the boat during the series). In this unique setting, you can enjoy a traditional cream tea or choose from the variety of other goodies on offer while looking out over the water.
Image Credit: ©VisitBritain/VisitScotland
Fortnum & Mason, London - England
Fortnum & Mason have been selling tea for more than three centuries so this seems like an obvious one to add to the list. They source their ingredients from around the world to create the very best tea blends, resulting in an almost alarmingly extensive tea menu. There are also sandwiches, scones, tea cakes and more on offer, with the option of a special menu for children. Thousands of scones are baked in their Piccadilly store every morning and everything is served in only the finest Fortnum's teaware. The tea salon itself has been serving tea since 1926 and was named the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in honour of the Queen's visit in 2012, when she formally opened the room. This is about as sophisticated and iconic as afternoon tea gets, and any trip to London would not be complete without it.
Image Credit: ©VisitBritain Andrew Pickett