A Guide To Afternoon Tea In The Cotswolds (2023)

Best Afternoon Tea In The Cotswolds

Afternoon Tea is a British Institution

Indulging in an afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is not just about savoring the delicious treats, but also about immersing yourself in the cozy ambiance and relishing the moment. 

Created in the 19th century, the afternoon tea is a British tradition of sandwiches, scones, cakes and a pot of tea, and sometimes menus with optional extras such as artisanal cheeses, smoked salmon, pastries, and even champagne.

An afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is a unique experience due to the area’s exceptional natural beauty, abundance of picturesque villages, and an overall sense of old England.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, and even how to make the perfect cup of tea.

The Love of Tea in the UK

Tea has been the UK’s go-to beverage for centuries and is an essential part of their culture. In fact, 36 billion cups of tea (that’s 100 million a day) are consumed every year in Britain.

This shows just how seriously tea is taken and why “tea-time” is a sacred ritual that has been celebrated for generations. 

From bustling tea parlors, tearooms, tea houses, and corner cafes, to cozy inns and stately homes, the UK offers an extensive range of establishments to choose from when a spot of tea is needed.

What Is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a light meal served between lunch and dinner that typically includes tea, finger sandwiches (without the crusts), scones, and pastries.

The sandwiches are served on a small plate while the scones and pasties are presented on a two or three tier cake stand, the tea in a teapot and poured into cups on saucers.

Origins

We all love an origin story, and the history of the afternoon tea is no exception.

Afternoon tea originated in the 19th century in England when Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, came up with the idea.

At that time, people had only two meals a day – breakfast and dinner. 

The Duchess found herself feeling hungry in the late afternoon, and so she asked her butler to bring her a tray of tea, cake, and sandwiches to satisfy her cravings. And the afternoon tea was born!

Soon, the afternoon tea idea spread like wildfire and became a fashionable social event and a way to socialize with friends and relatives.

Afternoon Tea Variants

Today, the afternoon tea is still a British institution and while the traditional way continues to be popular, many places have put their own spin on it, adding a modern twist with mousses, different and richer cakes, and, sometimes, exotic teas, and even champagne. 

Cream Tea
A variant is the cream tea which is freshly baked plain or raisin scones, jam and clotted cream (created by heating full-cream cow’s milk and allowing “clots” to form).

High Tea
Then there’s high tea, which is another variant of the afternoon tea, but only tea and savory dishes are served. These might be fish pie or other baked food. In the old days (late 19th century), a high tea was served at a high table with high backed chairs and was a working class meal.

Light Tea
Like a cream tea with added sweet or savoury choices.

Royal Tea
This is afternoon tea with a glass of champagne.

The afternoon tea remains a popular British tradition, and the Cotswolds has an abundance of elegant city cafes, quaint tea rooms, country manor houses, and hotels where you can experience this popular pastime. 

How To Enjoy An Afternoon Tea

Traditionally, the sandwiches are eaten first, followed by the scones with jam and clotted cream, and rounded off with the cakes as you sip your tea. 

Like a long lunch, to properly enjoy an afternoon tea allow at least two hours.

Where To Go For Afternoon Tea

There are dozens of afternoon tea places in the Cotswolds and some have their own twist on the classic British tradition. 

Here are a few places to enjoy the best afternoon tea in the Cotswolds:

Calcot Manor Hotel
Here you can appreciate the stunning view of the picturesque countryside through the expansive windows while enjoying the restaurant’s sophisticated and fashionable decor, and savoring the locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Afternoon Tea: £25 per person plus taxes. The menu is here.

Lucknam Park (www.lucknampark.co.uk/dining/afternoon-tea)
A luxury hotel and spa. Tea is served in the elegant surroundings of the hotel’s drawing room or library, and features a selection of teas, sandwiches, cakes, and scones made with locally sourced ingredients. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated upon request. £44 per person plus taxes.

Tisanes Tearooms
A traditional English tearoom in Broadway serving afternoon tea from 12.30pm to 4pm and costing £16 per person plus taxes.

Cotswold Antiques & Tea Room
Found in Bourton-on-the-Water, enjoy your afternoon tea surrounded by antiques. Open every day from 9am to 5pm.

Lucy’s Tea Room
Over in Stow-on-the-Wold is the delightful Lucy’s Tea Room with tables next to bay windows offering views of the market square or sit outside in a courtyard to the rear. Afternoon tea is £14.95 and there are cream teas and plenty of other choices.

Other places to enjoy afternoon tea in the Cotswolds include The Lygon Arms, The Painswick, and The Slaughters Manor House, all of which offer a unique and memorable experience for tea lovers.

Cotswolds produce

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

If you want to make your own cup of tea, this is a skill that takes practice and patience. To get the best cup of tea, you need to look at every step of the process – from the temperature of the water to the brewing time.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to making the perfect tea. 

First, boil fresh water in a kettle. Preheat a teapot by filling it with hot water and tossing out the water after a minute. Add one tea bag or a tablespoon of tea leaves plus one for the pot. 

Pour hot water into the pot and let it sit for three to five minutes. Finally, pour the tea into your cup and add milk and sugar, according to your preference. Or you may prefer to drink tea without sugar and milk, with the teabag.

Escape to the Cotswolds for the perfect quintessentially British experience – afternoon tea. You’ll love the picturesque countryside views, the cozy ambiance, and the delectable treats made with locally sourced ingredients.

This is an unforgettable feast for your senses, whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a fun day out with friends and family.

From historic manor houses to quaint tea rooms, visitors can indulge in a variety of delicious treats and teas while taking in the stunning surroundings and enjoying your afternoon tea in the Cotswolds!

Enchantment Awaits
Enchantment Awaits

The Cotswolds region is home to many charming villages and towns, churches, historic landmarks, outdoor activities, in a beautiful part of England.

After visiting the region many times, we created the Travel Cotswolds website dedicated to helping others plan their own trips to the Cotswolds.

If you’re looking for other places to visit, click on Cotswolds Villages A-FVillages G-O, and Villages P-Z.

Contact: hello@travelcotswolds.com

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