18 awesome local afternoon teas
More scones, madam? Nibble your way through petit fours and finger sandwiches with our round up of Berkshire's awesome afternoon teas. Hmm, brew or bubbles?
It’s indulgent, soothing, better value than lunch or dinner and involves a LOT of cake. What’s not to like about afternoon tea? Here are some of the best places in Berkshire. Shall I be, Mum?
Cliveden Dining Room, Cliveden House Hotel Taplow
Whether you’re taking tea like a duchess like or swinging from the chandeliers like Christine Keeler, afternoon tea at Cliveden House is a bit spesh (from £50pp). You’ll be seated in the Cliveden Dining Room or the Great Hall and served delicate finger sandwiches, scones with homemade jam and clotted cream with delicate pastries and red velvet cakes (a nod to Cliveden’s very own special relationship with the US). Yes, you can choose from the menu of teas but popping the cork on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot sounds much more fun. Taaaaaxiiiiii!
The Drawing Room, Coworth Park Ascot
Before Megxit, Coworth Park was of Prince Harry’s favourite hangouts. What’s not to love? It’s elegant and romantic with an award-winning afternoon tea to match. You’re more likely to find Hazza on the polo field, but Head Pastry Chef, Jonas Plangger’s precision pastries, finger sarnies and scones will lure you into The Drawing Room like the Bisto kids. For a taste of summer, I’d recommend the Meadow Afternoon Tea, inspired by Coworth’s famous sea of wild flowers and the surrounding Berkshire countryside. From £42pp.
Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor
A quintessential English setting to pop out your pinkies, sip tea and champers on a terrace overlooking the Thames. Oakley Court in Windsor is a Gothic beauty set in 25 acres, that has starred in St Trinian’s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and most recently the Oscar-winning Theory of Everything. This lovely afternoon tea is served outside on the Terrace or in the Parlour, depending on the weather. Many of the ingredients are home-grown in Oakley’s Kitchen Gardens and the kids afternoon tea is an absolute belter. Who wouldn’t a Nutella sarnie? Afternoon Tea £34.50. With Champagne or sparkling wine flight £48. Kids Afternoon Tea £15.
Hurley House Hotel, Hurley
Hurley House Hotel has become a foodie destination in its own right. The perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, then – and the afternoon tea is a culinary food tour of Great Britain (useful in a post-Brexit world). Cheddar cheese and cucumber and ham and mustard sarnies. Smoked Loch Duart salmon mousse belini, posh sausage rolls, served alongside the sweet stuff – vanilla cream swan choux bun, lemon polenta cake, créme brulée, chocolate macaron and scones… not forgetting the scones. There’s also a vegetarian menu. Foodie heaven. Available Thu-Sat, 3.30pm-5.30pm. £35pp. Add Champers for an extra £10.
Tea. Cake. Create, Made By Tamalia at Creativ.Spaces, 14 Aug
It a killer creative combo: Tea! Cake! Art! Join artist Tamalia at her cool studio Creativ.Spaces in Caversham for a quirky traditional afternoon tea while tying yourself in knots to create a beautiful macrame plant holder. to take home with you. £49pp, 3pm-5.30pm. Quirky, cool and a handcrafted creation to take home. Sounds like fun.
The Vineyard, Stockcross
Pinkies perfectly poised, it’s five-star all the way. The Vineyard in Stockcross is one of the finest wine hotels in the UK with 30,000 bottles snuggled up in the cellar, 100 of them available by the glass. Woohoo! Throw in a quintessentially English afternoon tea and it’s practically perfect in every way. This is the Pastry Chef’s playground, serving exquisite cakes, scones and the neatest finger sarnies ever. *Dabs napkin and starts on the 100 wines*. From £31.50pp. Available Wed-Sun, 3pm-4.30pm.
7 Flowers & Tea, Reading
Is it a florist? Is it a tea room? It’s both, people, and 7 Flowers & Tea is a Instaworthy fragrant hangout. Settle in for a decadent afternoon tea in the blissful surrounded by fresh blooms and a faux plant wall. It’s an utterly quirky setting, and the cakes and sarnie stack are a very reasonable £18.99pp. It’s not a huge space, so be sure to book.
Sir Christopher Wren Hotel, Windsor
Slo close to Windsor Castle, you could practically declare you’re having tea with the Her Maj. Sir Christopher Wren, has a cracking spot in Windsor – enter from the Eton Walkway and drift towards the river terrace. They offer a traditional English afternoon tea, with gluten free and vegan teas available too. Enjoy scones with Cornish clotted cream and jam; tea cakes and finger sandwiches with tea or coffee for £25.95. Or upgrade to the Champagne tea, £35.96pp. Served 12pm-6.30pm.
Tea by the Canal, Newbury
Teashop by the Canal in Newbury is an exceedingly English tea room where your scones come served on gorgeous mismatched vintage china and cake stands. Choose from a Teashop Afternoon Tea (£23) or the Sparkling Afternoon Tea (£29) with chef’s sandwiches and cake, meringue kisses, macarons, brownies, shortbread and more – all baked fresh daily.
Highclere Castle, Newbury
The biggest star of Downton Abbey? No, Carson it’s not you or the Earl of Grantham’s labradors (they come a close second though) – Highclere Castle takes the crown. Set in the Capability Brown gardens, this Champagne Afternoon Tea (£35pp) in the Tea Tent will be one to remember. There are three sittings, and three menus – standard, vegetarian and gluten free. Booking is essential and you’ll need to pay the admission in addition to the cost of the afternoon tea. No children’s menu available.
Rosebourne‘s afternoon tea is a crowd-pleaser, for sure. No dainty finger sandwiches, the sarnies are a bit more robust with classic flavours – ham, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayo and coronation chicken and grated smoked cheddar, tomato and spring onions bound with mayonnaise. If you’re a sucker for starched table cloths and patisseries then you’ll be reaching for the smelling salts. But with tea for two costing just £27 (Vegan and Gluten-Free available £13pp), it would be rude not to splash out on a bottle of bubbles… or two.
Whittington’s Tea Barge Reading
Now, this is a truly unique experience – eating scones al fresco on a narrowboat on the north bank of the River Thames alongside Christchurch Meadows in Reading. Afternoon teas don’t come quirkier. Be warned though – it’s only open Friday to Sunday. But, don’t just rock up unannounced, as it can be booked up for private parties. Expect mismatched vintage china, homemade cakes, sarnies and scones. Go for the Special Occasion Vintage Tea, £20pp.
Royal Afternoon Tea , Bel & The Dragon Windsor
Royal Weddings are like buses in Windsor. Two come along at once, and then Princess Beatrice at the last minute swaps her grand Buckingham Palace for a bijou Windsor bash for her I dos. No need for FOMO, we can all jump on the bunting bandwagon with a Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea at Bel & The Dragon Windsor. It’s a stylish gastropub that’s so close to Windsor Castle you can practically boast the queen is sitting opposite you. For £17 pp (£24 with English sparkling wine) you’ll get cake, House of Windsor scones, Scottish salmon, cucumber and egg sarnies, plus a large selection of teas. Shall I be Ma’am?
FAB FIVE… FURTHER AFIELD
Glass House, Heckfield Place Hook
Worship at the eco luxe altar that is Heckfield Place. It attracts a celebrity crowd who want to polish their sustainability halo (shh, without compromising on luxury). Take a pew in the Glass House surrounded by lavender, wisteria and peonies and sample the diddy sarnies and pretty cakes made from produce grown on the hotel’s farm. It’s under the culinary stewardship of Skye Gyngall (ex Petersham Nurseries) so expect something really special. Open for afternoon teas from 5 Sep.
Café Wolseley, Bicester Village
If you usually just whizz into Pret for a coffee while at Bicester Village, there’s now a whole new level of refreshment indulgence to enjoy. This is the little sister outpost of the gorgeously elegant Wolseley on Piccadilly (where I spent about 90 per cent of my working day in ‘meetings’ in a previous life). Afternoon tea is decent value at £29.75pp and it’s available anytime from 11.30am – 6.30pm so you can definitely fit in some ruinous designer shopping around it.
The Orangery, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
The new ‘Let’s Misbehave Afternoon Tea’ by Searcys will bring to life some of the decade’s iconic and all-time favourite dishes. Classic finger sandwiches with a twist, handmade pastries, scones, plus a selection of teacakes (I’ve got my eye on the apple and gin jelly – yum!). And if you really want to misbehave, add a Gin Rickey cocktail or Champagne to your order. From £28pp, booking advised.
The Ivy Marlow Garden, Marlow
I’ve had afternoon tea here with girlfriends a couple of times and it’s the perfect atmosphere for the occasion – grown-up, glam and indulgent. Served 3pm – 5pm daily, you can order Cream Tea for £7.95, full afternoon tea for £18.95 or have it with Champagne for £26.50. Top tip: ramp up the alcohol levels with an English Spritz cocktail on the side. It involves Earl Grey gin so that’s technically tea, right?
Danesfield House, Marlow
This exquisite Grade II-listed, late Victorian five-star country house hotel serves a classic afternoon tea with petite sandwiches, scones, homemade cake, Cornish clotted cream, plus stunning views of the Thames if you eat out on the terrace. Afternoon tea in £30pp, or you can upgrade to Champers or tea-inspired cocktails for an extra £10 (there’s a kiddie offering for £15 too). If it’s good enough for George and Amal Clooney’s wedding party, it’s certainly good enough for us.