The best local afternoon teas
More scones, madam? Nibble your way through petit fours and finger sandwiches with our round up of the best afternoon teas in the area - Champagne with ours, please.
It’s indulgent, soothing, better value than lunch or dinner and involves a LOT of cake. What’s not to like about afternoon tea? Here are some of the best places in Bucks and Oxon to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week…
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges
What’s lovely about Stoke Park’s luxe, classic afternoon tea in the new update Orangery is how well they cater for children – it’s in Condé Nast Traveller’s Top 10 child-friendly retreats, no less. Their Little Stars under-12s tea, with its cute teddy bear biscuits, is a very reasonable £13.50, although I’ll be making a beeline for the classic Champagne option at £52.
The Orangery, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
The Orangery at Blenheim is back, with a thoroughly civilised al fresco restaurant to take your afternoon tea at. Tea is served between 3pm and 4.45pm on selected dates and you’ll need to book a ticket in advance, but once you’re settled you can expect Cotswolds Gin-cured salmon, freshly baked buttermilk scones and Rectory Farm strawberry cheesecake, accompanied by loose-leaf tea from Jeeves & Jericho Teasmiths of Oxford (or a glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne if you fancy). Prices start at £28pp.
Café Wolseley, Bicester Village
If you usually just whizz into Pret for a coffee while at Bicester Village, there’s now a whole new level of refreshment indulgence to enjoy. This is the little sister outpost of the gorgeously elegant Wolseley on Piccadilly (where I spent about 90 percent of my working day in ‘meetings’ in a previous life). Champagne afternoon tea comes in at £38.75 and it’s available anytime from 11.30am – 6.30pm so you can definitely fit in some ruinous designer shopping around it.
Hartwell House, Aylesbury
What better place to enjoy an English tradition than a National Trust-owned Grade 1 listed Jacobean and Georgian hotel and spa? Indulge yourself at Hartwell House, where you can take tea in in the elegant surrounds of the Morning Room, Drawing Room or Library for £33 a head. Wash it down with a glass of Dinton Folly from super-local vineyard Dinton Wines.
Don’t chuck out the chintz, go revel in it – this elegant tea room has floor to ceiling windows (complete with rather swanky pelmet curtains, obvs) with views across the hotel’s 10 acres of grounds. Open daily from 12-6pm, the classic afternoon tea costs £22.50 per person or £30 with a glass of champagne.
Danesfield House, Marlow
This exquisite Grade II-listed, late Victorian five star country house hotel just outside Marlow serves a classic afternoon tea with petite sandwiches, scones, homemade cake, Cornish clotted cream, plus stunning views of the Thames if you eat out on the terrace. Afternoon tea is £30pp, or you can upgrade to Champers for an extra £10 (there’s a kiddie offering for £15 too). If it’s good enough for George and Amal Clooney’s wedding party, it’s certainly good enough for us. Reservations essential.
Miller of Mansfield, Goring
Gastropubs don’t tend to be big on afternoon tea but this Goring hotspot is an exception. Priced £24.95, there’s an emphasis on top quality ingredients – think homemade bread and locally sourced cheeses. And the cakes alone sound worth the price of entry – I’ll take a massive slab of banana cake with lime cream and walnut, please.
The Tea Set, Chipping Norton
At this exceedingly English tea room in the middle of Chipping Norton your scones come served on gorgeous mismatched vintage china and cake stands. Choose from a classic Luxury Afternoon Tea (£16.75) with finger sandwiches and dainty petit fours, or the Cotswolds Afternoon Tea (£14.25) with chef’s sandwiches and wedges of cake from the selection of the day. The owners – previous Muddy Awards winners, it should be noted – also offer an afternoon tea catering service for weddings, parties and events.
Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield
About as Crazy as genteel Beaconsfield can cope with, with its opulent velvets, superglam mirrors and huge sweeping decadent bar. Those who frequent the Crazy Bear for its cocktails might be interested to know that it also serves a traditional ‘tear drop’ sandwiches, tea cakes, scones and pots of tea in the English restaurant from Sun-Thurs 12pm-7pm or Fri-Sat 12pm-5pm for £29.50 per person. Add a tenner for a glass of champagne to wash it down with.
Have we missed off your favourite afternoon tea spot? Let us know below!