8 of the Best Afternoon Teas 

In celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week, which runs from August 9th to 15th, contributing editor Margaret Hussey has rounded up eight of the best afternoon teas serving everything from Champagne and scones to crisp sandwiches and Saké.

Peggy Porschen at the Lanesborough, London 

With her trademark fairy pink and beautiful floral features, Peggy Porschen is coming back to The Lanesborough and bringing a taste of her famous Belgravia bakery. It’s a return full of memories for Peggy as she held her first pastry chef position here in 1999 after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu’s The Grand Diploma of Cuisine & Patisserie. 

Working alongside The Lanesborough’s Head Pastry Chef Kevin Miller, they have created a unique afternoon tea which includes finger sandwiches, scones as well as Peggy’s Pink Pavlova, lemon & elderflower tartlet, chocolate chip cupcake and salted caramel and popcorn cupcake. An Instagrammer’s dream.

The Lanesborough’s Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea costs £54 per person or £73 per person with a glass of Champagne. It runs from August 5th to November 11th. For more visit: Peggy Porschen at the Lanesborough, London 

Castle Hotel Windsor

You couldn’t get a more quintessentially afternoon tea than at the Castle Hotel Windsor. Its Captain Sir Tom Moore Afternoon Tea celebrates the great man himself – with a ten per cent contribution to The Captain Tom Foundation.

Captain Sir Tom visited the hotel after he received his knighthood from The Queen at Windsor in July 2020. And the afternoon tea includes his favourite Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and homemade pickle sandwiches, as well as plain or jumbo fruit scones served with homemade berries of the forest jam and Devonshire clotted cream. There are also delicious mini pastries including Victoria sponge cake, The Great British army fruit torte and a Hope chocolate opera cake. A lovely salute to a gentleman.

Captain Sir Tom’s Afternoon Tea starts from £30 per person and 10% from each tea sold will be donated to The Captain Tom Foundation. For more information visit: Castle Hotel Windsor

Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire

Tucked away on the Ayrshire coast, afternoon tea at Glenapp Castle is a real sense of occasion. With beautifully crafted sandwiches, macaroons, praline choux buns and carrot cake, and even a glass of champagne you can indulge while overlooking the beautiful Ailsa  Craig island.

The sumptuous afternoon tea is served in the castle’s drawing room and private dining areas can be also arranged for groups of 15 or more people. Afterwards you can walk the scones off in the Victorian Walled Garden or the Italian Garden, designed by Gertrude Jekyll. The castle, which has 21 rooms, is set in 110 acres of private estate and woodland. 

Afternoon tea cost £35 per person, Monday to Thursday, £39, Friday to Sunday and an extra £10 for a glass of Champagne. For more visit: Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire

Everglades Hotel, Derry 

Be like a Derry Girl and drink copious amounts of tea at the Everglades Hotel in Derry. Inspired by the hit Channel 4 show the menu includes the cream horn, as enjoyed by Granda Joe, a cone of chips, Derry sausage roll bap, a classic Tayto cheese and onion sarnie and cakes. You also get an exclusive Derry Girls Duck. 

If you want to extend the trip you can walk in the footsteps of Erin, Michelle and the wee English fella at key locations around the city, hearing about life in the Bogside from an expert local guide. The tour finishes at the famous Derry Girls Mural.

Afternoon Tea alone is £30. The Be a Derry Girl Package includes an overnight stay at the Everglades Hotel, Afternoon Tea and cocktail and walking tour from £95 per person sharing. For more information see: Everglades Hotel, Derry 

Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel, London

You can forget cucumber sandwiches at London’s Karma Sanctum Soho. Its Wild Heart Bar and Shokudo serves a much more decadent Japanese-inspired affair of mini platters of Aged Wagyu Beef Sliders or Salmon Tartar with wasabi, coriander and mint, while standard scones are updated to ones topped with orange blossom curd, a mini yuzu and red fruit tart. 

As well as British tea, guests can enjoy some Japanese favourites; Hojicha, a roasted Japanese green tea or Matcha, known for its signature subtle sweet and bitter flavour. You can upgrade with a glass of Tattinger Brut or a signature Saké Royale cocktail. And in keeping with the hotel’s Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit, you can include a Davidoff Cigar plus a glass of whiskey or tipple of your choice to be enjoyed on the fifth floor roof terrace al fresco.

Afternoon tea costs £28 per person, £40 with champagne or a cocktail and £25 extra for a cigar and Jack Daniels on the roof terrace. Visit: Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel, London

Dukes, London 

It’s known for its signature Martinis – so what better way to celebrate than combining afternoon tea with James Bond’s favourite drink. The MarTEAni afternoon tea comprises three mini martinis, created with The East India Company Gin, as well as all the traditional offerings. They also have a vegan afternoon tea with treats including avocado hummus, pickled cucumber on beetroot bread, shredded cabbage, carrot & apple on granary bread, coconut cookie cake and kirsch cherry muffin. And if you want, you can enjoy them al fresco in nearby Green Park or St. James’s Park.

Traditional and vegan afternoon tea costs £35 per person, the MarTEAni tea is £48 per person. Visit: Dukes, London 

Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa, Warwickshire 

Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa, a 16th Century luxury country hotel, is in the heart of Shakespearean England. Shakespeare wrote As You Like It Here in 1599 and you can certainly take your afternoon tea as you want. There are two on offer, the Manor and the Royal, both with a selection of finger sandwiches, tartlets, red velvet cake and scones. You can enjoy afternoon tea in the Stuart restaurant, Great Hall Bar or opt for an alfresco treat on the patio. 

The Manor tea costs £20; the Royal with a glass of Prosecco costs £26. For more visit: Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa

Ellenborough Park, Gloucestershire  

Why not be a lady of the manor at Ellenborough Park in Gloucestershire. You can sip everything from classic Earl Grey to Strawberry & Mango or even Tiramisu, as well as homemade infusions of hot ginger or fresh mint. Classic sandwiches on offer include smoked salmon and crème fraiche, ham and red onion marmalade, free range egg and cress and cucumber with cream cheese. Enjoy freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve as well as a selection of delicately handcrafted cakes and pastries.

Afternoon tea costs £30, cream tea £15 and an upgrade to a glass of Taittinger, house cocktail or house spirit mixer is £9 per person. Visit: Ellenborough Park, Gloucestershire  

Featured image: Peggy Porschen at The Lanesborough

Further images: courtesy of hotels