October 10, 2023

Destination: Cotswolds


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Best Places for Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds

You can’t get much more quintessentially British than an afternoon tea in the Cotswolds. First invented in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford, afternoon tea was originally a way of fighting off hunger between lunch and dinner.

Today, afternoon tea is enjoyed by people all over the world, whether it’s just a slice of cake at home with a proper English brew or a full afternoon tea experience with all the trimmings: finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, and scones with thick clotted cream and jam. 

In the Cotswolds, afternoon tea is something of a regional speciality. From quaint tea rooms in picturesque villages to grand medieval houses, here’s our pick of the 10 best places to enjoy afternoon tea in the Cotswolds.

Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter

Lords of the Manor is one of the most luxurious hotels in the Cotswolds. Their fine dining restaurant, Atrium, has been awarded the 3 AA Rosette, so you can only imagine how delicious the afternoon tea is.

The classic finger sandwiches are joined by a savoury quiche, and baked scones come with strawberry preserve (not jam); then it’s onto delicately decorated cakes and pastries. 

Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, GL54 2JD; Lordsofthemanor.com. 

Cake stand at Lords of the Manor in Cheltenham

The Kitchen, Minchinhampton

Many walks pass through the pretty little town of Minchinhampton, making it the perfect place to stop for afternoon tea.

You can feast on finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, scones, and pastries, washed down with a cup of tea. It’s all prepared in-house and served on china, too. The best spot is in the bay window – if you’re lucky enough to be able to secure yourself a seat.

The Kitchen, 7 High Street, Minchinhampton, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 9BN; Thekitchenminch.co.uk. 

Charingworth Manor, Charingworth

At Charingworth Manor, they’re firm believers in the fact that afternoon tea is one of the joys of life, made to be shared.

Served from 2pm to 5pm, the Deluxe Afternoon Tea (which we highly recommend), comes with a choice of sandwiches, including roast beef and celeriac remoulade, and smoked salmon with apple and chive créme fresh, chef’s apricot and shallot sausage roll, homemade scones and delectable cakes, too.

Tea – only the finest loose-leaf variety – is a given, of course, and a glass of fizz if you like, too. If the weather’s nice, grab a table on the terrace, which has panoramic views of the surrounding area. 

Charingworth Manor, The Cotswolds, Charingworth, Chipping Campden, GL55 6NS; charingworthmanor.co.uk.

Charingworth Manor Afternoon Tea

The Old Rectory, Colesbourne

You can enjoy afternoon tea in the sculpture gardens of this grand Victorian rectory whilst marveling at the famous artwork.

Fresh scones, clotted cream, local jams, and a pot of tea are all served on traditional vintage china – very British. And you can even get one of their renowned cocktails, too.

The Rectory Restaurant and Sculpture Gardens, Colesbourne, Cheltenham, GL53 9NP; Oldrectoryrestaurant.co.uk.

The Manor House, Moreton in Marsh

In the historic market town of Moreton in Marsh is The Manor House, where you can pop in for an afternoon tea, even if you’re not a guest at the hotel.

They offer a sweet or savoury afternoon tea, served high on a beautiful tier stand. And if you like, you can also add Champagne. Dogs are also welcome if you have your furry friend in tow.

The Manor House, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0LJ; Cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk.

The Manor House Hotel Afternoon Tea

The Lygon Arms, Broadway

The Lygon Arms is a charming hotel in Broadway, offering everything from spa retreats to archery and quad biking.

But the main reason you should visit is for the delicious afternoon tea. The sandwiches are fresh and the cakes soft and spongy, with delicate layers that you can tell took real skill, precision and time.

They also offer a children’s afternoon tea, if you’re going with family, as well as dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options.

The Lygon Arms, High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7DU; Lygonarmshotel.co.uk.

Thornbury Castle, Thornbury

Served daily from 12:30pm – 4:30pm, sandwiches follow the classic combos but the cakes certainly have a royal spin, with caramel, banana and lime curd chou, bitter chocolate and blackcurrant gateaux, and fig and apple tart. A glass of Gusbourne English sparkling wine to wash it down really provides the cherry on top.

20 London Road, Chalford, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8NW; Thornburycastle.co.uk.

Afternoon tea fireside at Thornbury Castle

Afternoon tea doesn’t have to be an ultra-luxurious affair. Below are a few of our favourite muddy boot-friendly stop-offs.

Jacks Tea Room & Kitchen, Cirencester

Great afternoon teas aren’t just found in country manors, some are hidden away in little tea rooms. Jacks Tea Room & Kitchen in Cirencester is one such place.

Jacks is great for everything from a morning pastry to a quick lunch, or even better, a slice of cake. It may not come on a fancy tier stand, but the quality of the cakes really is something special. 

Jacks Tea Room & Kitchen, 44 Black Jack Street, Cirencester, GL7 2AA; Jackscirencester.co.uk.

Lavender Bakehouse, Chalford

This beautiful bakehouse, coffee shop and tea room passes that all-important test: it’s very popular with the locals. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible, and cakes and patisseries are made on the premises.

Afternoon tea is served from 2pm – eat in or takeaway – and consists of finger sandwiches, mini cheese and chive scones, sweet mini scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of homemade cakes. Choose from tea, coffee, prosecco, or Champagne if you’re feeling fancy.

Lavender Bakehouse, 20 London Rd, Chalford, Stroud, GL6 8NW; Lavenderbakehouse.co.uk.

Lavender Bakehouse Afternoon Tea Cake Stand

Farleigh Road Farm Shop, Bath

Always full of tempting local goodies, British farm shops are great for having a wander around. Farleigh Road is no different, with a wonderful selection of fresh fruit and veg, homemade cakes, and a delicatessen with local Cotswold cheese and meats.

The fantastic afternoon tea, though, is the main reason to pop in. Choose from a classic Cream Tea, a Savoury Tea, or a Vintage Afternoon Tea. The Savoury Tea makes a great lunch, complete with homemade cheese scones, a wedge of cheddar cheese and pickles.

Farleigh Rd, Norton St Philip, Bath, BA2 7NG; Farleighroadfarmshop.co.uk.

Like our pick of the Cotswolds’ finest afternoon teas? To see more of the area at its traditional best, check out our handpicked selection of top pubs.

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