Afternoon tea in the Cotswolds: 19 of the best places to go
PUBLISHED: 16:28 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:02 08 June 2020
Once the preserve of high society, an afternoon tea is now widely available in cafes, tearooms and restaurants across the UK. This is no less true in the Cotswolds. We pick 19 of the best places to enjoy this indulgent treat in the region
Tisanes Tea Room, Broadway
Tisanes Tea Rooms occupy a 17th century stone building full of olde worlde charm in the beautiful village of Broadway. They offer over thirty different teas, most of which are loose leaf, compiled in a dedicated tea menu. The usual blends such as Assam, English Breakfast, Camomile, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Jasmine and Camomile are available, as well as some more unusual choices, such as; Rwanda Burundi, Ginger and Lemon, Apple and Cinnamon, Rooibos, Gunpowder, Mango Indica, Keemun and Japanese Sencha, among others.
Scones, teacakes, Victoria sponge, banana cake, flapjacks, shortbread and other cakes and snacks are available as a sweet accompaniment. Tisanes Tea Rooms is a member of the UK Tea Council, so you're unlikely to find a more refined cuppa in this corner of the Cotswolds to accompany your scone and clotted cream.
The Tea Chest, Lechlade
A quirky café just off the River Thames in the Cotswold town of Lechlade, The Tea Chest offers plenty of tea blends including Smokey Russian Caravan, Earl Grey, Spiced Masala Chai, Gunpowder Green, Mojito Mint and a traditional afternoon tea, available by the cup or by the pot. Perfect to wash down the cakes and savoury snacks also on offer!
Well Walk Tea Room, Cheltenham
Well Walk is an eccentric tea room decorated with antiques and vintage memorabilia in the heart of the large Regency town of Cheltenham.
They offer a wide range of tea bought by the pot, with cakes, crumpets and, of course, scones with jam and cream all available. The quirky tea room is one of Cheltenham's earliest shops, with very reasonable prices, and the party menu is ideal for those seeking afternoon tea. There's also a touch of the Mad Hatter about the place!
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire
Lucknam Park Hotel, an 18th century Palladian mansion set amidst 500 acres of gardens and unspoilt parkland, is an idyllic location for a spot of afternoon tea. Sitting just six miles from the popular regency city of Bath, it also offers a little escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living.
Full English afternoon tea is served in the Music Room, Library or Drawing Room overlooking the gardens, or - if it's pleasant weather - on the terrace. The leaf tea selection is wide, and includes the favourites; Assam, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Jasmine, Camomile and Green Tea, as well as less usual choices such as Broken Orange Pekoe, Vanilla, Fresh Mint (from the garden) and China Rose. Sandwiches on offer include ham and tomato, egg and cress and smoked salmon, and there is a selection of warm homemade scones for the perfect cream tea, as well as dainty patisserie prepared by Lucknam's pastry chef.
Jelly Pickle Jam, Evesham
Located in the Vale of Evesham, Jelly Pickle Jam is busy celebrating local and sustainable produce. In their vintage tea rooms, staff serve high quality Suki tea and Lawn Collection Teas, ranging from a traditional great British brew to more adventurous and unusual blends to match your mood.
Lovingly prepared homemade cream teas are available to satisfy those with a sweet tooth, as well as a wide selection of sandwiches.
Whatley Manor, Malmesbury
Whatley Manor is a beautifully restored Cotswold manor house hotel and spa located three miles from the ancient town of Malmesbury, and serves afternoon tea and Wiltshire cream tea every day of the week.
Wiltshire cream tea includes two freshly baked scones with clotted cream and homemade jam, with a choice of tea or coffee, and the full afternoon tea includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and preserves, a selection of pastries and a choice of tea or coffee. They also appeal to those in a celebratory mood, with the option of a glass of champagne, Pimms or a mojito depending on your taste. When its warm and sunny, afternoon tea at Whatley is served on one of the terraces overlooking the beautiful English country gardens or in the comfort of either The Sitting Room, Reception Hall or The Drawing Room.
Heartsease Tea Rooms, Drybook
Formerly known as Aunt Martha's Victorian Tea Rooms, Heartease Tea Rooms still retains the charm of high tea taken in the 19th century with costumed servants, oil-lamp lit dining area and traditional recipes, while also serving delicious delights not available to our Victorian ancestors.
The quirky award-winning establishment has a variety of themed afternoon teas available; the Countess, the Baroness and the Marquis, each with a distinct menu of edibles and recommended tea blend. If it's bright and warm outside, there's even the opportunity to 'take tea' in the 1/4 acre outdoor garden.
Smiths Kitchen, Bourton-on-the-Water
For a quintessential Cotswold tea room experience, pay a visit to Smiths Kitchen located in the back streets of the pretty village of Bourton-on-the-Water, known fondly as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'.
The delicious high tea consists of a selection of sandwiches, quiches, scones and cakes - all bound to satisfy your tastebuds and quell any hunger pangs!
Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham
Ellenborough Park, a grand manor house built in the 1500s on the original Cheltenham racecourse estate, now serves as a 5 star luxury hotel and venue. The award-winning Ellenborough offers afternoon tea served in The Great Hall, The Beaufort Dining Room or on The Beaufort Terrace with its stunning views of the Cotswolds.
Served on silver cake stands and bespoke fine china, it includes a selection of delicate sandwiches, freshly baked scones with rich clotted cream and preserves as well as an assortment of handcrafted cakes and pastries. The handpicked tea blends range from black teas to herbal teas, as well as homemade infusions including Hot Ginger and Fresh Mint.
Lavender Bakehouse & Coffee Shop, Chalford
The Lavender Bakehouse & Coffee Shop is a café and bakery located in the village of Chalford, only four miles from Stroud.
Afternoon cream tea is available from 2.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and from 3pm Thursday to Saturday. Lavender offer a range of speciality teas from exotic infusions to traditional black tea blends. Sandwiches sold include classic combinations such as cheese and pickle, egg and mayonnaise, tuna and mayonnaise and smoked salmon, many utilising locally sourced ingredients.
Sitting proudly in the small market town of Chipping Campden, The Kings Hotel is a charming 18th century hotel. Aside from accommodation, The Kings also offers a variety of cream teas, full afternoon teas as well as sparkling afternoon teas with a glass of bubbly.
Expect a variety of tea blends, sandwiches, fresh scones, clotted cream and jam as well as delectable cakes presented in a traditional way. The hotel itself is also the ideal point from which to explore the Cotswold town of Chipping Campden, its honey-coloured stone buildings so iconic of the region.
Thornbury Castle is a Tudor castle-turned-hotel in the heart of the market town of Thornbury. Afternoon tea at Thornbury gives you an opportunity to take in the 500 year old architecture whilst indulging in the tea and edibles of your choice.
You can choose from a Creaam Tea, Full Afternoon Tea or Champagne Full Afternoon Tea; all served with freshly baked scones and homemade jam and cream. A wide range of teas are available, and special dietary requirements can be catered for providing prior notification is given.
Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott
The 16th century kelmscott manor house lies just around the corner from the Thames, and is a perfect place to take tea. The manor's Tearoom is located in an attractive old barn, accessible at ground-floor level, and offers a full afternoon tea service.
If the weather is good, you could enjoy your cream tea in the tranquil tea lawn area alongside a picturesque stream that runs throughout the grounds.
The Wharf House, Gloucester
The Wharf House is an award-winning waterside restaurant and hotel in the historic city of Gloucester.
Afternoon tea here features freshly made sandwiches, cakes and sweet treats, including fudge, macaroons and Pate De Fruit. Teas to pick from include Lady Grey, Earl Grey, Traditional English Breakfast, Peppermint, Lemon & Ginger or Fruit Tea. And you can toast the tea with the optional addition of a glass of sparkling wine.
Huffkins, various locations throughout the Cotswolds
Huffkins is a 125-year old family business with tearooms dotted around the Cotswolds. There's a Huffkins tearoom in Burford, Cheltenham, Stow-on-the-Wold, Stratford-upon-Avon and Witney - there's even a Huffkins in the recently opened John Lewis in Cheltenham.
They serve a range of Afternoon Teas all day; Classic Afternoon Tea, Cotswold Afternoon Tea, Burford Afternoon Tea and their Huffkins Celebration Afternoon Tea, each offering a slightly different selection of accompaniments. Depending on your pick, you could enjoy traditional sandwiches, award-winning scones and your choice of loose leaf tea.
Marshmallow Tea Room, Moreton-in-Marsh
The award-winning Marshmallow Restaurant and Tea Rooms sits in the charming Cotswold market town of Moreton-in-Marsh.
The establishment has been awarded the Tea Guild of Excellence, so you're guaranteed a good cuppa at the very least. They offer High Tea, with traditional sandwiches, homemade fruit scones, cake and your choice of House blend tea.
Badgers Hall, Chipping Campden
Badgers Hall is a traditional English tea room and eatery in the Cotswold town of Chipping Campden specialising in wholesome produce and fresh daily baking.
Cream teas are served all day between 2.30 and 5.30pm, and their Afternoon Tea on a Tier, which features a tempting array of homemade savoury and sweet treats to accompany your cup of tea, is also served daily.
The Old Bakery, Stow-on-the-Wold
This traditional tearoom in Stow offers a range of loose leaf teas, delicious home-made scones, toasted crumpets and teacakes. Tea is served in fine bone china, and blends sold include Assam, Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Darjeeling, a range of herbal and fruit teas, as well as traditional breakfast tea.
The Old Bakery is open 10.30am-4pm during the week and open until 5.30pm on Saturdays. The tearoom is closed on Thursdays and Sundays. Booking is essential.