From dainty pastries to delectable sweets, freshly baked scones and a delicate assortment of sandwiches, the British afternoon tea is a culinary craze dating back to the early 1800s when the Duchess of Bedford, a close friend of Queen Victoria, decided she needed a late-afternoon treat between lunch and dinner. She requested that a pot of tea and a slice of cake promptly be brought to her room and in that moment, the afternoon tea was born!
In recent years, having experienced something of a modern-day revival, the afternoon tea has become the ultimate excuse for a spot of indulgence. Now synonymous with Mother’s Day in the UK, it is reserved predominantly for special occasions and often accompanied by a glass (or two) of fizz.
So, if you’re a fan of the finer things in life including sandwiches, socialising and lavish surroundings; here are a few of Edinburgh’s most splendid afternoon teas.
Unwind in style at one of the trendiest hotspots in Edinburgh’s fashionable New Town. This stylish boutique hotel is the perfect spot for a girlie afternoon of socialising over scones and a glass of bubbles. With chic interiors, cascading chandeliers and ivy-covered walls, Tigerlily is a renowned favourite for its exquisite cocktails and indulgent afternoon teas. Choose from a satisfying selection of both sweet and savoury nibbles and wash it all down with a soothing cup of tea.
Set within 20 acres of rolling parkland in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, the grounds of Prestonfield House feel much further than a 10-minute drive outside the city centre. With its lavish furnishings and baroque-style features, this opulent boutique hotel oozes luxury and ambience. Cosy up next to a roaring log fire and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea of hot savouries, tempting patisseries and a choice of tantalising leaf tea in the most extravagant surroundings.
For a more casual affair – visit Eteaket. Tucked away off one of Edinburgh’s busiest high streets, you could be forgiven for walking right past this hidden gem. With its cosy interiors, it provides a welcome escape for tired shoppers and a less formal take on the classic afternoon tea. Tea lovers will be spoilt for choice here, with an extensive range of loose leaf varieties, served in quirky mismatched crockery and an offering of delicious cakes, scones and sandwiches.
© Rocco Forte Hotels
For the ultimate luxurious treat, visit the award-winning Palm Court at Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel. This 5* property houses one of the most grand and elegant dining halls, adorned with intricately hand-painted wallpaper, under a canopy of tropical palm trees and a crystal chandelier. Enjoy impeccable service, a menu filled with both classic and contemporary delights, and soak up the sophisticated splendour as a harpist softly serenades you from one of the balconies.
© Royal Yacht Britannia
For an afternoon tea that’s fit for a queen, visit the Royal Yacht Britannia! This top Edinburgh attraction was once the royal residence belonging to none other than Queen Elizabeth II. Visitors can enjoy cream tea in the Royal Deck Tea Room, which offers all of the traditional elements, including freshly baked scones topped with clotted cream and lashings of jam. Enjoy stunning waterside views from the Port of Leith dockside and indulge yourself in an enticing assortment of cakes, soups and sandwiches.
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