Afternoon tea is a long standing British tradition that we love! After all, who doesn’t enjoy an afternoon of tea, sandwiches, cake…and maybe even a cheeky glass (or two!) of champagne? Relaxing yet indulgent, it is the perfect way to celebrate with friends, treat your mum or spend quality time with your partner. Afternoon tea also makes a wonderful gift for someone special so why not book a table and surprise the recipient with details of the booking, or purchase a gift voucher from the venue and let them book a time that suits?
Here in Hertfordshire, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to Afternoon Tea. From upmarket hotels to cosy tea rooms, there are venues to suit everyone and every occasion – the tricky bit is choosing which one to visit! To help you out, we have rounded up some of our top favourites.
In no particular order…….
Sopwell House (St Albans) This family owned, luxury hotel is situated in 12 acres of Hertfordshire countryside. Afternoon tea at this Georgian manor house is served in either the 2AA Rosette Restaurant or the Cocktail Lounge and takes place between 12.30 and 4.30 daily. If you happen to be there between 1.30-3.30pm you will also have the pleasure of some live music while you eat. Special menus are often prepared for particular occasions such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas so it’s worth checking the website if you are booking for a special day.
Luton Hoo (Luton) While this is, strictly speaking, located in Bedfordshire, it is right on the Hertfordshire border and we simply couldn’t leave it out of our list! This grand, imposing mansion house is perhaps one of the most impressive in the area. Once inside this magnificent hotel, you will experience a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for enjoying afternoon tea. It is served in two beautiful, regal lounges between 1.30 and 5pm daily. As well as their standard menu, there are also vegan, vegetarian and children’s menus on offer. Due to it’s popularity, booking well ahead is recommended (at least 4-6 weeks).
The Grove (Watford) Book afternoon tea here and you really won’t be disappointed. This magnificent building was once the home of the Earls of Clarendon and has since been transformed into a luxurious 5 star hotel surrounded by 300 acres of countryside. Afternoon tea is served in their historic lounges each day between 1.30 and 4.30pm (although you have to be a resident guest to take tea on Saturdays and during peak times such as Easter and Christmas). Champagne can be provided at an extra cost and vegans and vegetarians are catered for with their own menus. Children can also join you with their own special menu!
St Michael’s Manor (St Albans) Steeped in history, this hotel is set in five acres of beautiful gardens and overlooks a pretty lake. Afternoon tea is served in the hotel lounge between 1.30 and 5pm on weekdays and Saturdays and 3.30pm-5.30pm on Sundays. If you can’t manage a full course of sandwiches and cakes, they also offer a lighter ‘cream tea’ with delicious scones.
Tewin Bury Farm (Welwyn) This hotel, set in beautiful countryside and alongside the River Mimram, has won an Award of Excellence at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2019 so is well worth a visit. Tea is served in ‘The Cowshed’, a newly converted farm building (don’t let the name out you off as the renovation has been beautifully done!) between 12.30-4.30pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 12.30-4pm on Fridays and Saturdays. As well as their standard menu, they also offer a ‘free from’ menu to cater for all dietary needs.
Hanbury Manor Hotel & Country Club (Ware) This Jacobean-style manor house is set in 200 acres of countryside and it’s regal interior features wood-panelled rooms and cosy fireplaces. Afternoon tea is served in four rooms, all equally charming and elegant. They offer a selection of menus including vegan, gluten free vegetarian and even one for children. There are a wide range of beverages available too, including a gin infused tea! Booking is essential and tables can be reserved between 2-5pm from Monday to Saturday, or 1-5pm on Sunday when there is also live music.
The Manor Elstree (Elstree) This Tudor style mansion is set in 10 acres of gardens and natural woodlands and if you choose to visit here you will be in good company – they have entertained a number of famous celebrities in the past, including Peter Sellers, Tom Cruise and John Cleese! Afternoon tea is served in an elegant restaurant throughout the winter but in the warmer, summer months it is served outside overlooking wonderful gardens and views towards London. You can sample their afternoon tea between 1.30 and 5.30pm.
Brewery Tea Rooms (Walkern, Near Stevenage) So far our list has only featured hotels, but this cosy tea room has won several awards and has been voted Hertfordshire’s best independent tea and coffee shop. They promise to offer ‘the most delicious afternoon tea in Hertfordshire’ and it is well worth a visit to find out if this is true! The Brewery Tea Rooms are located in a rural village where all guests are given a warm welcome. Afternoon Tea here is by reservation only and they ask for at least 2 days notice. Larger groups of up to 28 can be accommodated at an after-hours High Tea Party. All diets can be catered for as they offer Gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options.
Salisbury Arms Hotel (Hertford) This cosy hotel dates back the the 18th century and is located right in the centre of Hertford. Choose from tea, coffee, or a bottle of champagne if you want to make it extra special! Afternoon tea is served from 3pm to 6pm.
Pearce’s Farmshop & Cafe (Buntingford) Enjoy beautiful views over a meadow while indulging in the sweet and savoury delights on offer. Afternoon tea is served Monday to Saturday from 12pm and includes a selection of loose-leaf teas from local company Tealicious. Gluten free and vegetarian options are also available.
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