10 al fresco afternoon teas in Berkshire
Why not take your scones and tea in the sunshine darlings? We've scoured the county for the best outdoors teas, from fancy flotillas to pinkies-out palaces. Chink chink
Tea in a meadow
Nothing says summer like Coworth Park‘s magical wild flower meadow. Throw in an award-winning afternoon tea and it’s a match made in gastronomic heaven. From July to September, Coworth offers its Meadow Afternoon Tea with the usual array of seasonal sarnies, cakes and precision pastries but inspired by the beautiful Berkshire countryside. In fact they try and source as many ingredients as possible from the estate’s natural larder. Champagne afternoon tea, from £60. Child’s tea (ages 5-11), £25. Under 5s, complimentary. Served daily 12.30-4.30pm.
Tea on the terrace
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 had starring roles in St Trinian’s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and most recently the Oscar-winning Theory of Everything. always had a superb local rep for a Served outside on our stunning Terrace during the Summer, many of the ingredients are home-grown in Oakley’s Kitchen Gardens. Afternoon Tea £34.50. With Champagne
or sparkling wine flight £48. Kids Afternoon Tea £15.
Tea on the river
Cliveden House’s history is drenched in drama, so for the ultimate afternoon tea experience, book a Cliveden boat trip and take your Veuve Clicquot Rich Afternoon Tea to go. Your warm scones, soldier sarnies and chilled Champers will be carefully packed into a picnic hamper and taken down to river where you can indulge in views, food and a luxurious boat trip like no other. Grab your boater, hop aboard one of Cliveden’s vintage flotilla and live your best life.
Tea on a barge
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 than the one your get on Whittington’s Tea Barge. 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. Fun fact: Owner and cook Andrew is a descendent of the OG Dick Whittington.
Tea at the castle
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
Teashop by the Canal in Newbury At this exceedingly English tea room in the middle of Chipping Norton 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. You’ll be lucky to bag one of a handful of outside tables, but they’re perfectly sized for an intimate tea for two.
Tea at Downton
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.
Tea in the garden
Hurley House Hotel has become a foodie destination in its own right – with a stylish garden for some al fresco action. The afternoon tea is like a culinary food tour of Great Britain (useful in a post-Brexit world). Take a pew and tuck into sarnies filled with cheddar cheese and cucumber, Cumbrian air-dried ham and grain mustard, Scottish smoked salmon blinis and sausage rolls, served alongside Vanilla Cream choux buns, lemon polenta cake… and not forgetting the scones. Foodie heaven. £45pp with Champagne, £35 without. Available Thu-Sat, 3.30pm-5.30pm. Minimum two guests, two days notice required.
Tea in the greenhouse
Worship at the eco luxe altar that is Heckfield Place, just a smidge over the border in Hants. 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.
Tea in the Garden
The Summer Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Marlow Garden is sooooo totally quintessential English summer on a plate, or rather, cake stand. Marinated cucumber and dill finger sandwich on basil bread anyone? And for £24.95 you’ll also get sweet goodies such as a lemon and raspberry doughnut with pink lemonade (it’ll be like you’ve dropped into tea with Alice and the White Rabbit…) plus hot drink, or obligatory upgrade to the champers for £33.95.
The Ivy Marlow Garden
Nuts about scones? Devour our entire Muddy section dedicated to afternoon tea
Have we missed off your favourite alfresco afternoon tea spot? Let us know below!