Mother’s Day 2017: Best 15 UK Afternoon Teas From Liverpool to Devon

An afternoon tea service in a garden
Photo by EmmaIsabelle iStock Getty Images Plus Getty Images

by Kate Hilpern, The Independent, March 24, 2017

Stuck for Mother’s Day inspiration? A nice afternoon tea never goes amiss but sometimes you need something a little more special than scones and finger sandwiches. For teas as individual as mother dearest, try this lot.

‘Game of Thrones’ afternoon tea: Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones fans, rejoice. Not only is Ballygally Castle a great base from which to explore some of the main filming locations of the popular series, but they’ve also come up with a themed afternoon tea. Inspired by the fantasy lands of Winterfell, Iron Islands, Kings Landing and Stormlands, treats include Baratheon bread, Lannister egg rolls, Little Finger Chicken Caesar wraps, Jon Snow cakes and Dothraki trifle with mini ‘dragon’s eggs’. From £22


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Punk afternoon tea: the Baltic Social, Liverpool

This one is all about letting go and getting your fingers dirty with sticky chicken wings, juicy burgers and hotdogs – and drinking gin cocktails and beer. It was designed when Baltic Social’s owner was organising a friend’s hen do and was shocked to find that afternoon teas seemed to be all about cucumber sandwiches and actual tea. The setting is a uniquely designed Grade II listed warehouse with mismatched furniture, reclaimed cinema seats and vintage touches. Veggie and vegan versions are available. From £19.95

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ afternoon tea: One Aldwych, London

This is the wittiest afternoon tea we’ve come across – a feast for the eyes and mouth that genuinely captures the eccentricity, originality and quirkiness of Roald Dahl. Our favourites from the generous spread include the heritage tomato tart, golden egg with vanilla cheesecake and mango puree, mini bottles of chocolate milkshake and homemade candy floss (you’re encouraged to guess the flavour). Oh and the Cocktail Charlie – a blend of whisky, champagne, fruit and chocolate bitters, presented in a spectacular smoking teapot. From £39 (children £29)

His and hers afternoon tea: Buckland Tout Saints Hotel, Devon

Afternoon tea traditionally attracts many more women than men, but everyone will be kept happy at this charming Devon country house hotel. There is local real ale and hearty treats include a delicate selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones, along with a glass of bubbly for the boys. Obviously, role reversals are more than possible. From £32.95 per couple

BB Bakery bus tour: London

This one, which is served on a London Routemaster, is both fun and laid back. You’ll take in some of the capital’s landmarks, including the London Eye and Big Ben, while sipping tea (which, incredibly, doesn’t spill) and eating a fabulous array of fresh sandwiches, quiche, scones, cupcakes, macaroons and other treats. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable and there’s no annoying tour guide. From £45 (children £35)

Gentleman’s afternoon tea: Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire

It’s time for those delicate finger sandwiches and French fancies to step aside in favour of this more masculine offering of hearty fare which includes (among other things) crusty bloomer sandwiches, Cheshire cheese, scones and double chocolate cake. Plus, of course, some strong northern tea – or just order a pint or G&T instead. Not only for men, obviously. From £32

Indian afternoon tea: Daawat, Strand Palace Hotel, London

Dawaat’s Indian afternoon tea is where east meets west and it really does work. Savoury treats includes the Bombay burger, kolhapuri wrap, chatpata paneer roll, lamb samosa, while sweeter goodies include the likes of mango burfi and mini rasamalai – all washed down with a cup of cardamom chai. From £29.95

Seafood afternoon tea: The Grand, Brighton

While there’s nothing to stop you settling down to a traditional afternoon tea at this famous seaside hotel, we prefer its seafood alternative. The imaginative savoury menu includes salted scones served with crème fraiche, chives and Keta caviar, treacle cured salmon, Poole Bay oysters, fresh crab and picked shellfish and brown bread gelato. From £22.95

Gin & tonic afternoon tea: Hotel du Vin, Birmingham

Forget the champers – opt for the hard stuff instead with this wonderfully naughty gin-inspired tea, in which top-drawer gin and tonics slide down very nicely indeed with the mini sandwiches and scones, followed by sweet treats including knickerbocker glory, rhubarb custard donuts and homemade apple candy floss. While you can enjoy it at any of the 17 Hotel du Vin hotels dotted around the UK, we recommend this ornate Victorian red-brick former eye hospital for an unusual and distinctive setting. From £20 (excluding booze)

Drover Cycles active afternoon tea: Hay-on-Wye, Wales

If exercising fills you with as much glee as eating cake (or you feel you have to do the former to earn the latter) then you’ll love this active afternoon tea, which involves a half-day bike hire, complete with advice on routes. Then you return to the full works in the café, which is well known for its delicious cakes. For Mother’s Day, there’s a special package in which mum can get an electric bike, while you have a standard one (or hire a tandem). From £25 (Mother’s Day package: £59 for two)

Cupcake afternoon tea: Hey Little Cupcake, Manchester

Decorated in candy pink and filled with all manner of delicious goodies, Hey Little Cupcake is a treat for all the senses. Its Cupcake afternoon tea has an eccentric selection of cute cupcake-shaped finger sandwiches, fresh warm scones and the best mini cupcakes you’re ever likely to eat. Take the kids along too if you can – they’ll love it. From £14

Down on the Riverbank afternoon tea: Cliveden, Berkshire

Enjoy the gentle pace of river life by taking Cliveden’s famous afternoon tea on the hotel’s vintage flotilla, where the delectable food is combined with first-class hospitality. The lovingly restored 100-year-old river boat provides beautiful views and is ideal for couples, families or groups of friends. Top tip: leave room for their homemade fruitcake – it’s incredible. From £33 + £195 for boat hire

Pret-a-Portea: The Berkeley, London

This fashion-themed tea takes inspiration from top designers including Burberry, D&G, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Jason Wu. Its offering changes twice a year in line with London Fashion Week – pastry chefs attend every show for inspiration. This year they’re launching masterclasses so you can have a go too – and there’s a book available of their top 20 recipes. Scone fans are out of luck, though – they don’t do them, darling. From £52

Jermyn Street afternoon tea: The Cavendish, London

Drawing on the history of Jermyn Street and its iconic tailors, this afternoon tea is all about sewing, with the delectable cakes all served up in a vintage sewing box, while the menu is beautifully illustrated with a nod towards stitching. For Mother’s Day, parties of three or more mums get gifts to take home and there’s a more “masculine” tea also available. From £29

The Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea party: The Grand, York

This is, as it sounds, an Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea party, with a vast table packed with colourful sandwiches and cakes, drink-me potions, lollipops and more. It’s buffet-style, so each person can help themselves to as much as they like. The only problem: it’s only held on the last Sunday of each month. From £36


This article was written by Kate Hilpern from The Independent and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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