6 best afternoon teas
Gather your girls, block out the diary and pass the bubbly and cucumber sandwiches
For a catch up with the girls or some quality one-to-one time with mum you can’t beat an afternoon tea. Big pants on? Bring on the Champagne and clotted cream by the gallon…
The Grove, Chandler’s Cross
This quintessentially English tea is at the pricey end at £37.50 a head (£45 to upgrade to Champagne) but it offers a twist on the classic sarnies (all crustless, of course) such as smoked salmon with herb Boursin, and roast beef with sun-blush toms and Mediterranean bread. Then along with your traditional slice of Vicky sponge you’ll get a selection of fancier cakes too, like a salted caramel and gianduja chou pastry (er, yum!). Plus there are veggie and vegan menus available.
Shendish Manor, Hemel Hempstead
Everything you’d expect from an luxury afternoon tea and good value at £19.95, but we love the way that you can the tailor your package depending on how boozy (or greedy – don’t worry, we won’t tell!) you’re feeling. Add a glass of Champagne for Prosecco, or go bottomless (now you’re talking) with unlimited Prosecco refills – well, for two hours – for an additional £18.50. Cocktail upgrades are also available with Pimms, bellinis and Cosmos on the menu. Plus you can have your sandwiches, scones or cakes replenished for under a fiver.
Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Dust off your Sunday best for this one. Silver cutlery, fine bone china and crisp white table cloths are the order of the day. Choose to take your tea in the regal setting of one of the hotel’s lounges, the pillared hall or the drawing room underneath the super sparkly chandeliers. From £32 per person (£40 on Saturday and Sunday). Add Champagne for £11. Tea is served ma’am.
Duchess Anna Maria Afternoon Tea, Woburn Abbey
We’ve got the Duchess Anna Maria (wife of 7th Duke of Bedford) to thank for making this tasty tradition so popular. Apparently she entertained her guests over afternoon tea at Woburn Abbey back in the 1840s and it soon became a ‘thing’. Now you make like aristocracy and scoff finger sandwiches to your heart’s content in the Duchess’ Tea Room. Although the house and gardens are closed until 4 April, you can book ahead (and make sure you do, as it’s super popular!). £18.50 per head.
Moggerhanger Park, Bedford
This imposing Grade I-listed Georgian House, designed by architect Sir John Soane is a suitably stately setting for afternoon tea, with all cakes and treats freshly baked by the in-house chef. Upgrade yours with a glass (or bottle) of Prosecco, and kids are welcome too, at a reduced price of £10.50 for under 16s. Normally £21.95.
Sopwell House, St Albans
Plump for a traditional, Champagne or Pimms afternoon tea, from £25.95 – £39.95, in this contemporary country house hotel’s AA restaurant or cocktail lounge. There are special themed teas too, such as the Mother’s Day weekend one for £44.95 per head, and just look how pretty it is!