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Holiday Inspiration

Five of the Best Places for Afternoon Tea in Britain

By Susan Ward Davies

The English Tea Room – Brown’s Hotel - London

Head to Brown’s Hotel in the heart of Mayfair for an elegant afternoon tea with a fashionable twist, wood panelled walls, roaring fires and a tinkling piano complete the experience. Love afternoon tea but don’t want the calories? Then Brown’s new ‘tea-tox’ is for you, with innovative touches like spelt and rye bread finger sandwiches, divine wheat free chocolate cake and delicate sugar free treats all served alongside more traditional afternoon tea fare. There’s even a tea sommelier on hand to help with your tea choice. And, of course, champagne is very low in calories too...

Address: Brown’s Hotel, Albermale Street, London, W15 4BP; brownshotel.com

Prices: Traditional afternoon tea and Tea Tox £39.50 per person, with champagne £49.50.

Grey’s Dining Room, Totness, Devon

For tea, vintage style in Devon’s favourite hippy haven of Totnes, you can’t miss Grey’s Dining Room with its heart stopping window display, crammed full of lavishly decorated cakes. The hardest thing here is choosing between the best clotted cream tea in Devon, cake to die for or hot buttered muffins, or you could always try them all? Expect quintessential British style; mix and match crockery, bunting, silver teapots, muffin warmers and an enormous tea selection. And if you like their style, then why not take it home, choosing from the tempting selection of vintage bric-a-brac on sale.

Address: Grey’s Dining Room, 96, High Street, Totnes, Devon, 5SN

Prices: Grey’s serve a selection of set teas from £5.50 to £12.95 per person

Downhouse Farm Garden Cafe, Higher Eype, Dorset

Soak up the spectacular views of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline in the relaxed secret Garden cafe at Downhouse Farm. Warm scones and comforting cakes are all baked in the farmhouse kitchen, using eggs from the farm and served with lashings of local clotted cream and homemade jam. Hearty walkers’ sandwiches and spicy cheesy Welsh rarebit are the order of the day. Luckily this hidden gem of a cafe is minutes away from one of the most beautiful coastal paths in England, so you can walk it off later, or stagger back to Eype beach and sleep it off.

Address: Downhouse Farm, Higher Eype, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6AH; downhousefarm.org

Prices: Cream tea £4.95 per person, Welsh rarebit £3.25, sandwiches from £4.75.

The Angel, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

The Angel is rapidly becoming as renowned for its award -winning afternoon tea as it is for its sleek and contemporary interiors. This cool converted Georgian coaching inn, slap-bang in the middle of the bustling town of Abergavenny, is run by the co-owners of the nearby Michelin-stared Walnut Tree, so you know it’s going to be good. Crisp white linen, bone china crockery and tiered tea stands, topped with delicate sandwiches and bite size cakes and pastries, makes this the prettiest afternoon tea in town. And if you simply can’t eat another thing, any leftover cakes are boxed and wrapped with ribbon for you to take home.

Address: The Angel, 15, Cross Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 5EN; angelabergavenny.com

Prices: Afternoon tea £16.80 per person, with champagne £23.80

Lainston House, Hampshire

Sink into a comfy sofa in front of the vast log fire and linger over an indulgent traditional afternoon tea at this small but perfectly formed 17th-century country house hotel. Homemade savouries, toasted teacakes smothered in butter, warm scones dolloped with lemon curd and cream and decadent cakes are generously served up in style, in the hotel’s cosy light filled drawing room. On heady hot summer days tea is served on the terrace with its sweeping manicured lawns and never-ending avenue of trees. Take time out to wander around the kitchen garden and pet the hotel’s own free-range pigs.

Address: Lainston House, Woodman Lane, Sparsholt, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 2LJ; lainstonhouse.com

Prices: Afternoon tea £23.00 per person, with champagne £32.00

Love an afternoon tea, but not leaving the capital? Check out our pick of the best places for afternoon tea in London.

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