I absolutely love going for sunny day trips or weekends away in the UK, discovering and exploring historical towns and cities, and finishing with a quintessential afternoon tea. Afternoon tea was introduced in Britain in the early 1840′s as a small meal to tide hungry Brits over between a breakfast and dinner. Traditional afternoon tea today still consists of scones with cream and jam, finger sandwiches with various fillings, sweet cakes and pastries, and of course, a pot of hot tea.
1. Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire – Tea for two, £27
The Duchess of Bedford held her famous afternoon teas at Woburn Abbey, a beautiful 3000 acre estate. Afternoon tea is available in their perfectly decorated tea rooms which overlook their fantastic gardens. Their tea selection includes home made gingerbread cake, fruit cake, and Fairtrade tea. The charge also includes entry to the Woburn Abbey gardens, so you can enjoy a stroll around their beautiful landscaped grounds.
2. The Grosvenor Hotel, Stratford upon Avon – Tea for two, £27
I’ve been to this hotel a few times for afternoon tea. The English market town of Stratford upon Avon is ideal for a day trip as it’s got a lovely stretch of river, a bustling market, and a pretty high street. Shrieves walk, a very quaint walkway, has several small independent stores, including a vintage clothing shop. The afternoon tea starts with a pot of tea of your choice as well as a selection of sandwiches. Options include cucumber, smoked salmon, cheddar, and ham, followed by home-made scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The finale is a round of delicate home-made cakes and a grand chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and marshmallows to dip. Yummy!
3. The Crooked House, Windsor – Tea for Two, £38
This afternoon tea is a little pricier, but it’s a bit of a unique experience as the tea room building is crooked! It was originally a butchers shop and it acquired its famous tilt due to the use of unseasoned green oak. The Lady Windsor choice includes a selection of sandwiches, fruit garnish, a large slice of cake, scones with jam and clotted cream and a pot of tea, served on Victorian tiered platters. The carrot cake from here is gorgeous!
4. The Goring, Victoria, London – Tea for two, £78
The ultimate in afternoon teas, The Goring has recently been honored with receiving the coveted Top London Afternoon Tea Award 2013 from the UK Tea Guild. The tea is served on their terrace which overlooks their private garden and oasis, or you can take a seat in front of their fireplace. Their traditional afternoon tea includes a choice of chicken caesar ham and mustard, egg mayonnaise and watercress cucumber sandwiches. Their sweets selection sounds absolutely mouthwatering, with a massive selection to suit everyone’s tastes including orange Victoria sponge, chocolate and mint slice, and sugar popcorn macaroons! If you hit a sugar wall and need somewhere to lie down, our Travelodge Vauxhall hotel is just a short walk away.
5. The Sanderson, Oxford Street, London – Tea for two, £76
Another grand London hotel offering the very best in the Great British afternoon tea, but this one is with a twist! The Sanderson offer the famous Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea in their courtyard garden. This tea is a mix of traditional English along with an eccentric, carnival themed design. The food is served on bespoke crockery, the menu is hidden inside a vintage book and the linen napkins are wrapped with a riddle. The themed menu includes ‘strawberries and cream’, home-made marshmallow mushrooms, a ‘Tick Tock’ traditional Victoria sponge clock, and ‘Jelly Wonderland’, where the fruit jellies are made in Victorian jelly moulds and presented on a lavish cake trolley. It’s got rave reviews online, and I’d absolutely love to go (perhaps for my birthday one year)!