Cotswolds Afternoon Tea: Where to Find the Best Tea Rooms and Treats (2023)

According to the UK Tea & Infusions Association, the Brits manage to drink 100 million cups of tea a day. This love for tea is deeply ingrained in British culture, with tea being a part of everyday life and consumed across all social classes and age groups.

An average cup of tea in the UK is between 8.5 and 12 oz compared to 12 oz for a cup of coffee.

The tradition of tea drinking in Britain has a rich history dating back centuries and is deeply intertwined with the country’s culture and social fabric.

Related to their love of tea is the famous afternoon tea; a simply must try activity for any visitor to the UK.

The British tradition of afternoon tea began in the 1840s by Duchess Anna of Bedford and evolved from a private snack to a social event, with women wearing formal attire.

Typically served between 4-5 in the afternoon and includes a mix of sweet and savory sandwiches, scones, and pastries and used to be for high society ladies before becoming a formal occasion known as “tea receptions” under Queen Victoria.

Today, the afternoon tea is a cherished institution and reflects the elegance of English culture and, if you find yourself in the Cotswolds, which has some of the best tea rooms for you to enjoy, afternoon tea is an absolute must.

Best of British

If you’re looking for a quintessentially British experience, then the Cotswolds’ afternoon tea scene is something you simply must do.

This charming region in the heart of England is known for its rolling hills, picturesque villages, and cozy tea rooms that serve up some of the best tea and pastries in the country.

Whether you’re a fan of classic scones with clotted cream and jam or prefer more modern twists on traditional tea fare, you will find something to satisfy your taste buds in the Cotswolds.

One of the most popular destinations for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is Highgrove House, the private residence of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.

Their Champagne Tea Tour is the most luxurious on the list, costing about £85 per person, but it’s a unique opportunity to see the grounds of a royal residence while indulging in some of the finest tea and cakes in the region. Best Book in advance, but be quick, tickets go fast!

Another must-visit spot for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is Huffkins Café Tea Room in Burford High Street, which offers a selection of handmade cakes and pastries that are sure to delight your taste buds.

If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, Lucy’s Tearoom in Stow-on-the-Wold is housed in a 300-year-old building and serves up hearty breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon tea.

For those who prefer a modern twist on traditional tea fare, the Cotswold House Hotel offers a remarkable afternoon tea experience, where modernity meets tradition.

With a wide selection of loose-leaf teas served in locally made teapots and silverware, and a view of Cotswolds’ high streets, afternoons don’t get better than this.

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History of Afternoon Tea

If you’re looking for a quintessentially British experience, afternoon tea is a must-try. This tradition has been around for centuries and is still popular today.

The story goes that afternoon tea was introduced in the 19th century by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.

At that time, it was customary to have only two meals a day: breakfast and dinner. The Duchess found herself getting hungry in the afternoon, so she started having tea and a light snack to tide her over until dinner. This soon became a regular habit, and she started inviting friends to join her.

Afternoon tea quickly became a social event, and it wasn’t long before it became a fashionable pastime among the upper classes. The tradition of afternoon tea spread throughout the UK and beyond, and it remains a popular activity to this day.

When you sit down for afternoon tea, you’ll typically be served a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of cakes and pastries.

The tea itself is usually served in a teapot, and you can choose from a variety of blends. Some places even offer champagne or other alcoholic beverages to go with your tea.

The afternoon tea is a tradition that has been around for centuries and is still enjoyed by many today. It’s a great way to experience British culture and indulge in some delicious treats.

Traditional Components of Afternoon Tea

If you’re looking to experience a quintessential British tradition, then you can’t go wrong with an afternoon tea. The Cotswolds is home to many establishments that offer this delightful experience, and each one has its unique take on the traditional components of afternoon tea.

Tea Selection

The tea selection is the cornerstone of any afternoon tea experience. You’ll be presented with a variety of teas to choose from, including black, green, herbal, and fruit teas. Some establishments may even offer their own signature blends. Make sure to take your time and choose a tea that suits your taste buds.

Sandwiches and Savories

Afternoon tea is not complete without a selection of sandwiches and savories. Sandwiches are typically made with thinly sliced bread and filled with ingredients such as cucumber, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, and ham. Savories can include items such as quiches, sausage rolls, and mini pies.

Scones and Pastries

Scones are an essential component of afternoon tea. They are served warm and accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry jam, or perhaps fruit scones and cheese scones. Pastries are also a popular addition to afternoon tea and can include items such as tarts, eclairs, and macaroons.

Cakes and Sweet Treats

No afternoon tea is complete without a selection of cakes and sweet treats. You can expect to find items such as Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake, and chocolate brownies. Some establishments may even offer their own unique creations.

In conclusion, afternoon tea is a delightful experience that you won’t want to miss. The traditional components of afternoon tea include tea selection, sandwiches and savories, scones and pastries, and cakes and sweet treats. Take your time and enjoy each component of the experience.

Afternoon Tea in The Cotswolds

If you’re looking for a quintessentially British experience, indulging in an afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is a must. Whether you prefer to enjoy your tea in a manor house surrounded by beautiful gardens, a cozy tearoom, or a quaint village, the Cotswolds has something to offer for everyone.

Manor Houses and Gardens

If you’re looking for an elegant and luxurious setting for your afternoon tea, the Cotswolds has manor houses and gardens to choose from with tea rooms with popular options, including Blenheim Palace, Barnsley House, and Sudeley Castle.

Some of the Best Tea Rooms and Lounges

For a more laid-back and cozy atmosphere, the Cotswolds has a variety of tea rooms and lounges to choose from. Some of the most popular options include Huffkins, Lucy’s Tearoom, and The Daffodil. These venues offer a wide selection of teas, delicious cakes and sandwiches, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Villages and Towns

If you want to combine your afternoon tea with a stroll through a picturesque village or town, the Cotswolds has plenty of options to choose from.

Some of the most popular destinations include Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden, and Tetbury. These destinations offer a charming and idyllic setting for your afternoon tea, with plenty of opportunities to explore and discover the beauty of the Cotswolds.

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Notable Afternoon Tea Locations

If you are visiting the Cotswolds, you cannot miss the chance to indulge in a traditional English afternoon tea.

Here are a few notable locations to consider:

Manor Houses and Hotels

  • The Lygon Arms: This historic hotel in Broadway offers a cozy and traditional afternoon tea experience. You can enjoy your tea in their lounge or courtyard, and choose from a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and pastries.
  • Ellenborough Park: This 15th-century manor house in Cheltenham offers a luxurious afternoon tea experience. You can choose from a classic or champagne afternoon tea, and enjoy your treats in their Great Hall or on their terrace with stunning views of the countryside.
  • Whatley Manor: This 19th-century manor house in Malmesbury offers a unique afternoon tea experience. You can enjoy a Japanese-inspired afternoon tea with green tea, sushi, and other Japanese treats, or a classic afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones, and pastries.
  • Lords of the Manor: This 17th-century manor house in Upper Slaughter offers a traditional afternoon tea experience with a modern twist. You can enjoy your tea in their lounge or on their terrace, and choose from a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and pastries.
  • Lucknam Park: This 18th-century Palladian mansion in Colerne offers a luxurious afternoon tea experience. You can choose from a classic or champagne afternoon tea, and enjoy your treats in their drawing room or library.

Gardens and Palaces

  • Blenheim Palace: This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Woodstock offers a unique afternoon tea experience. You can enjoy your tea in their Orangery Restaurant or on their terrace, and choose from a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and pastries.
  • Barnsley House: This 17th-century manor house in Cirencester offers a traditional afternoon tea experience with a modern twist. You can enjoy your tea in their Potager restaurant or on their terrace, and choose from a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and pastries.
  • The Painswick: This 18th-century Palladian mansion in Painswick offers a modern and stylish afternoon tea experience. You can enjoy your tea in their restaurant or on their terrace, and choose from a variety of teas, sandwiches, scones, and pastries.

These are just a few of the many notable locations for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern experience, there is something for everyone.

Special Afternoon Teas

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, consider trying one of the special afternoon teas available in the Cotswolds. Here are a few options to consider:

Champagne Afternoon Tea

For a truly indulgent experience, Highgrove House in Tetbury offers a luxurious Champagne Tea Tour, where you can enjoy a selection of sandwiches, scones, and pastries, all served with a glass of bubbly. The private home of Their Majesties, The King Charles III and The Queen Camilla, Highgrove Estate is a stunning location for an afternoon tea fit for a king.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

The Barnsley House in Cirencester offers a vegan afternoon tea that includes a selection of sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats. The tea is served with a choice of tea or coffee. For gluten-free options, head to The Frogmill in Cheltenham. Their gluten-free afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes, all made with gluten-free ingredients.

No matter what your dietary restrictions or preferences may be, there’s a special afternoon tea in the Cotswolds that’s perfect for you. Whether you’re looking for a classic cream tea or something a little more extravagant, you will find it here.

It always pays to ask to ask before seating about food and drink options especially if with dietary needs.

Calories in Afternoon Tea

The calorie content of a British afternoon tea can vary depending on the specific items served, typically containing around 1000-1500 calories.

This amount fluctuates based on the selection and quantity of food consumed, with components such as dainty sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and sweet pastries and cakes contributing to the overall count.

For instance, two ham and mustard sandwiches contain approximately 178 calories, while two cucumber sandwiches contain about 108 calories.

The calorie count can be influenced by factors such as the type of tea served, the amount of milk or sugar added to the tea, and any additional butter or cream used, making the calorie content of a British afternoon tea dependent on the specific menu and individual preferences.

Homemade Afternoon Tea

If you’re looking for a cozy and intimate atmosphere to enjoy your afternoon tea, why not make it yourself?

Homemade afternoon tea can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially when you get to share it with friends and family.

Here are some tips to help you create the perfect homemade afternoon tea.

Tea Selection

The first and most important step in creating a homemade afternoon tea is selecting the right tea. Loose leaf tea is the best option, as it provides a more authentic and flavorful experience.

You can choose from a variety of teas, such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, or even herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile. Make sure to steep (but don’t over stew it) the tea for the right amount of time and serve it hot with milk and sugar on the side.

Sweet Cakes

No afternoon tea is complete without sweet cakes. You can make a variety of cakes such as Victoria sponge cake, lemon drizzle cake, or chocolate cake. You can also add some fruit to your cakes to make them more refreshing. If you’re short on time, you can always buy some cakes from your local bakery.

Savory Treats

Savory treats such as sandwiches and scones are also an essential part of afternoon tea. You can make a variety of sandwiches such as cucumber, egg, or salmon. Scones can be served with jam and clotted cream. You can also add some cheese and crackers to your selection to balance out the sweetness of the cakes.

Presentation

The presentation is key for afternoon tea. Use a tiered cake stand to display your cakes and sandwiches. Use proper teacups and saucers and add some fresh flowers or a small vase to your table to create a cozy atmosphere.

Creating a homemade afternoon tea can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the right tea selection, sweet cakes, savory treats, and presentation, you can create an intimate and cozy atmosphere to enjoy with your loved ones.

Planning Your Visit

If you’re planning a trip to the Cotswolds, be sure to include an afternoon tea experience in your itinerary. The Cotswolds is known for its charming villages and rolling countryside, and what better way to enjoy it than with a cup of tea and some delicious treats?

Notable best tea rooms include Lords of The Manor in Upper Slaughter, Lygon Arms in Broadway, and The Slaughters Manor House in Lower Slaughter. These places offer a cozy and traditional afternoon tea experience with a stunning view of the countryside.

Before you make your reservation, keep in mind that some places may require you to book in advance. This is especially true for weekend and holiday visits. Some places may also offer daily afternoon tea, while others may only offer it on certain days of the week, such as Sunday.

If you have any dietary requirements, be sure to let the establishment know when you make your reservation. Many places offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options, but it’s always best to check beforehand to avoid any disappointment.

Overall, planning your afternoon tea experience in the Cotswolds is a must-do when visiting the area. With so many great options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

Enjoy your afternoon tea!

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 TravelCotswolds.com website dedicated to helping others plan their own trips to the Cotswolds.

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