Character Cottages

17 of the Best Places for Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds

17 of the Best Places for Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds

Afternoon tea was first invented in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford, who was a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria. The consumption of tea, sandwiches and cakes were a way of staving off hunger during the long afternoons, between lunch and dinner.

It soon became a tradition and she would regularly entertain members of the aristocracy, as well as the Queen, in her home with a serving of afternoon tea. Afternoon tea would eventually become customary in middle and upper class households and would form an iconic part of Britain’s food landscape.

Today, it is a tradition that is accessible to everyone, no matter class or status. And the Cotswolds, home to many medieval towns and villages, is one of the best places to experience a classic afternoon tea. In fact, a delicious afternoon tea could well be one of the highlights of your visit to the Cotswolds, whether you are on a romantic getaway or a group family holiday, there are plenty of places to enjoy good old English tea and cake.

1. Dormy House, Broadway

Dormy House Hotel and Spa serves its afternoon tea in The Potting Shed, a stylish on-site eatery with some of the best regional food around. The hotel and spa itself has been featured in The Telegraph, with a Telegraph expert rating of 8/10 for its spa facilities. So for anyone wanting to combine a luxury spa weekend with afternoon tea, this is the perfect place to go.

There are two different afternoon menus on offer to suit your appetite; the Farmhouse Tea which features filling bites such as bacon scones and sausage rolls or Champagne Charlie which is served with a glass of Veuve Clicquot. Additionally, Dormy Hampers are also now on offer for anyone wishing to enjoy a ramble and a picnic on the estate – a great summer al fresco alternative. 

Address: Willersey Hill, Broadway WR12 7LF

cake

2. Huffkins, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Huffkins Bakery and Tearoom has been around since 1890, with some of the tastiest Cotswold cakes made by hand. The bakery is set in a stunning 17th Century listed building in Stratford-upon-Avon, but there are also branches in Cheltenham, Witney, Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford. You can choose from the Classic Afternoon Tea or the Celebration Afternoon Tea menu, depending on how fancy you’re feeling.

Both come with finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and a homemade cake selection. With the latter being served with chilled prosecco to toast with. This bakery is a household name across the region and has been featured in Country Life Magazine as one of the ‘Top 5 Afternoon Teas in the Cotswolds’. 

Address: Unit 1, Old Red Lion Court, Bridge St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6AB

3. Lucknam Park Hotel, Chippenham

This grand venue houses a hotel and spa, and offers an incredible backdrop for a country wedding. Set in an elegant country manor on more than 500 acres of landscaped grounds, this is the epitome of luxury. Afternoon tea is, as expected, seriously indulgent. This is the place to come if you want to treat yourself to something special.

The full afternoon tea selection includes finger sandwiches, cakes and sweet treats, pastries prepared by the in-house pastry chef, a wide selection of teas to choose from, as well as champagne. This is usually served in the Library or Drawing Room, where guests can enjoy their nibbles with fantastic views of the lush green gardens. In the summer, you also have the option to sit out on the terrace.

Address: Colerne, Chippenham SN14 8AZ

tea set

4. Whatley Manor, Malmesbury

Take a trip back in time at the beautiful Whatley Manor. A restored manor house set on 12 acres of gardens in the heart of the Cotswold region. The venue prides itself on keeping with tradition and having a unique old world charm. So if you’re after a quintessentially English dining experience, Whatley Manor comes highly recommended. There are two afternoon teas on offer; one which is a Wiltshire cream tea serving freshly baked scones and the other which offers traditional sandwiches and pastries. 

Address: Easton Grey, Malmesbury SN16 0RB

5. The Slaughters Country Inn, Lower Slaughter

Afternoon tea is served in the bar, lounge or terrace at The Slaughters Inn, and prices start from as little as £10.50 per person for a classic menu. You also have the option to upgrade your repast with champagne and you can also order Cotswold club sandwiches if you don’t have a sweet tooth.
Gift vouchers are also available if you’re looking to surprise a loved one. And with the idyllic and green setting of Lower Slaughter, you’ll find plenty to fill your day with. 

Address: Lower Slaughter, Cheltenham GL54 2HS

6. Barnsley House, Cirencester

It doesn’t get better than Barnsley House when it comes to choice and selection for afternoon tea. Feeling summery? Then opt for the Pimms Cream Tea served with a scone, clotted cream and jam.
For something quintessentially British, opt for the Classic Tea which comes with finger sandwiches, sweet treats and your choice of tea or coffee. Or if you’re feeling celebratory, upgrade to the G & Tea menu or the Champagne Tea. 

Address: Barnsley, Cirencester GL7 5EE

cheesecake

7. Lords of the Manor, Cheltenham

This spectacular countryside hotel is multi-award winning and comes with a Michelin starred kitchen, so it’s no wonder their afternoon tea has become such a famous affair. This is the place to come if you’re after views of manicured lawns and the finest afternoon tea in the Cotswolds! Set in more than 8 acres of grounds and gardens, guests can come and take a stroll to work up their appetite. They have an extensive loose tea menu with everything from Oolong and Keemun Gong Fu to Kalahari Redbush, so teaheads will be in their element here. Afternoon tea starts from £27.50 per person or £37.50 with a glass of Taittinger, but it’s worth every penny. 

Address: Upper Slaughter, Cheltenham GL54 2JD

8. Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

Another delightful afternoon tea hangout in the beautiful city of Cheltenham, with a fantastic tea chest full of different blends that tea drinkers will love. Ellenborough Park is a grand venue, a stunning 15th Century estate offering the perfect mix of tradition and contemporary charm. It houses a luxury hotel and spa, as well as a fine dining restaurant and a relaxed 5-star pub.

Afternoon tea is served 7 days a week between 3pm and 5pm and the menu features posh sandwiches with freshly baked scones. From that first bite of your Uig Lodge smoked salmon on soft bread to the final sip of your Henriot Brut, afternoon tea is every bit the indulgence. 

Address: Southam, Cheltenham GL52 3NJ

high tea

9. Blenheim Palace, Woodstock

Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and larger than both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace is the grandest venue you could choose for a ramble and some tea and cake. Guests can enjoy the palace, park and gardens whilst the traditional tea is served in the beautiful Orangery.

This 11,500 acre estate as is a royal and as British as it gets, having been the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough since the 1700s and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. As well as delightful champagne teas, the Orangery also serves lunch and hosts fancy cocktail evenings every Friday and Saturday. 

Address: Woodstock OX20 1PP

10. Thornbury Castle, Thornbury

Fancy taking your afternoon refreshments in a castle? This large Tudor castle was once the home of one of British history’s most famous kings, Henry VIII. It’s been the setting for some of the most important historical, political and social events throughout time. And today, it’s a 26 room luxury hotel and wedding venue, with an on-site restaurant that prides itself on local cuisine. Afternoon tea is served daily, from 12:30pm to 4:30pm with a generous selection of finger sandwiches, freshly made scones, pastries and a choice of tea blends. 

Address: Castle St, Thornbury, Bristol BS35 1HH

11. The Painswick Hotel, Painswick

Relax in the boutique style interiors of this 18th Century mansion, a traditional venue with a modern take on service. They embrace the concept of ‘hygge’ in the winter (think roaring fires and hearty dinners) whilst also offering an outdoor terrace with amazing views in the summer. Afternoon tea comes a little differently too.....it’s a pick and mix selection where you can choose your own sweet and savoury bites. Or pay £16 to enjoy a choice of 5 from the buffet. 

Address: Kemps Ln, Painswick, Stroud GL6 6YB

strawberry cake

12. The Well Walk Tea Room, Cheltenham

A charming little tea room in Cheltenham, with cottage chic interiors and vintage teaware. This family run establishment is actually one of the oldest shops in the town, dating all the way back to the 1790s! So if you want an authentic afternoon tea in cute and cosy surroundings, this is the place to come. There are four different afternoon tea selections to suit your occasion (or appetite) and there’s even a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea (complete with pork pies and cheese). 

Address: 5-6 Royal Well Rd, Cheltenham GL50 3JX

13. Highgrove House, Tetbury

If you want to dine like royalty whilst doing your bit for charity, book a table at Highgrove. Family residence to HRH the Prince of Wales. All profits from the sale of Highgrove products and events go to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, so you can contribute to a very worthy cause. The Royal Gardens of Highgrove are not to be missed in the spring and summer months, and there are two hour tours to take you round the entire estate (finished with champagne tea at the end). 

Address: D Highgrove House, Doughton, Tetbury GL8 8TN

14. The Kitchen Café, Minchinhampton

The Cotswold market town of Minchinhampton offers a quaint setting for visitors and The Kitchen Café is one of our favourite spots to enjoy a little pick-me-up in the late afternoon. Get a window seat and you will be able to watch the world on the common, a place where time seems to have halted. Food is made with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, so you’ll find every element of your afternoon tea selection to be utterly delicious. 

Address: 7 High St, Minchinhampton, Stroud GL6 9BN

tarts

15. The Lygon Arms, Broadway

Enjoy a generous afternoon tea served in the Courtyard or one of the seven cosy lounges on the property. If you’ve got a big appetite, you won’t be disappointed. Anyone with a sweet tooth will love the huge offering of fruit scones, puddings and pastries as well as some classic finger sandwiches. You also have the option to upgrade to premium teas, which are served with miniature cocktails made from the most prestigious home grown vodkas in the UK. 

Address: High St, Broadway WR12 7DU

16. The Tea Set, Chipping Norton

So very aptly named, The Tea Set in Chipping Norton is all about serving up afternoon tea in traditional tea sets. Think floral patterned dishes, gold rimmed cake stands and vintage tea cups.

You can enjoy everything from scones with clotted cream and a round of chef’s sandwiches to a selection of cakes and sweet treats – including luxurious macarons! You can choose to enjoy you nibbles with or without champagne, and the tea and coffee menu is impressively extensive.

Address: Elmsfield Industrial Estate, Worcester Rd, Chipping Norton OX7 5XL

tea cup

17. Farleigh Road Farm Shop, Bath

Just a few miles outside of Bath city centre in Norton St. Philip is this wonderful afternoon spot. A farm shop first and foremost and a café a second, you can be assured that fine, fresh, local produce is at the heart of everything served here. All meat is from the in-house butchery, whilst all milk and dairy is from the nearby Midway Farm Dairy and all eggs are free range.

There are a range of afternoon tea menus to suit your taste, including the Vintage Tea which is offered on the farm shop’s finest vintage china. Other treats you can opt for instead of a traditional cream tea include toasted crumpets, teacakes, sandwiches or tray bakes. 

Address: Farleigh Rd, Norton St Philip, Bath BA2 7NG

pastries

If this list has inspired you to visit the Cotswolds, then please do get in touch today and we can discuss which of our beautiful cottages will suit you best.

Receive exclusive offers from Character Cottages