Afternoon Tea Guide

Check out these purveyors of afternoon tea for a spot of refined indulgence!

Afternoon tea is a British tradition that has been fashionable for centuries. The custom is appropriate for special occasions or just because…  So, whether you’re meeting the girls, fancy ‘Lording it up’ or want to treat your mum or gran to an afternoon out and a bit of indulgent bite to eat while being pampered, we’ve put together this list of places where you can enjoy a great afternoon tea in impeccable surroundings with friendly, welcoming service and fantastic food and drink...

The Northgate Hotel

The Northgate is the perfect environment to sit back, relax and enjoy delicious local ingredients prepared to the highest standards.

The historic house, located just a few moments’ walk from Bury’s iconic ancient Abbey, has undergone extensive renovation resulting in the creation of a restaurant and a Chef’s table, a bar and lounge area, 9 bedrooms and a large south facing terrace.

The Northgate has launched afternoon tea to mark and indeed donate to the Abbey 1000 celebrations this year.

The team have created a full afternoon tea that befits the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund by King Canute 1000 years ago. This special tea includes raisin scones, brown butter and honey madeleines, Suffolk Pink Macarons, sourdough meringues with lemon curd, egg custard tarts with fresh nutmeg plus a selection of sandwiches including salmon, Rattlesdon egg mayo and Norfolk Dapple – not forgetting their speciality the ice-cream sandwich. For those with an even sweeter tooth there are also Cacao choux buns with whipped chocolate from local chocolatier Tosier. All served with tea, coffee or a glass of fizz.

The Northgate will match £1 donated by guests for every Abbey afternoon tea sold with an extra £1 to the Abbey 1000 Celebrations. Afternoon Tea is available between noon and 5.30pm any day of the week for £20 pp at

Harriet's Cafe Tea Rooms

Harriets Cafe Tea Rooms have adopted “remembering the old days’” as a mantra to live by. They have recreated the vintage era so stylishly that the business has seen them open not one but three Harriet’s – in Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and Norwich.

The tearoom in Bury St Edmunds was opened in 2001 and has become a must visit café for both the locals and tourists alike. It is situated within one of the grand Cornhill buildings, originally built around 1900 which is adorned with a grand entrance, high ceilings spilling down beautifully ornate chandeliers and you may be fortunate enough to be serenaded by a pianist who regularly plays on selected afternoons. 

Afternoon tea is something of an occasion at Harriets. They like to make their guests feel comfortable, relaxed and unhurried so they can enjoy their afternoon tea. There are four options of Afternoon Tea to select from – Traditional, Special, Savoury and Celebration and if that wasn’t enough choice; you’ll find no less than 18 teas on offer to choose from. These include special blends, Gunpowder Green, Lapsang Souchong and Russian Caravan among many others. All are made using loose leaves to ensure that maximum flavours are captured.

Ben's Restaurant

The new afternoon tea menu at Ben's Restaurant is not just for ladies who like to lunch, there's also a 'Gentleman's Afternoon Tea' menu too featuring beef slider with chorizo mayo, Ben's scotch egg, Sutton Hoo terrine, crostini, blue cheese and bacon scone, fish finger sandwich, red cabbage slaw, cheese and onion tartlet and crispy cracking, accompanied by 1/2 pint of draught of your choice or a pot of tea. 

Alternatively, if you like your sweet treats, the Traditional Afternoon Tea includes egg & cress, chicken nd chorizo mayo, smoked salmon and cucumber and ham and mustard sandwiches, cheese and onion tartlet, homemade fruit scone with clotted cream and jam, vanilla & raspberry panacotta, chocolate brownie, cheesecake of the day, strawberry pavlova and your choice of loose leaf tea. 

Afternoon tea is available on Saturdays from 12pm - 4pm costing £23.50 per person. 

Really Rather Good

Really Rather Good is exactly that. An independent tea lounge and coffee house sat on the famous Angel Hill, perfectly placed opposite Bury St Edmund’s historic Abbey Gardens. 

They serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea seven days a week. You can enjoy afternoon tea either outside on sunny days with the view of the gardens directly in front of you or settle down inside the light and airy interior with its welcoming buzzy atmosphere.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the teas available (there is even a ‘Sniff Box’ of teas if you can’t make your mind up!)

The menu promises handmade food created with quality ingredients and that is exactly what you will get; light scones with jam and clotted cream escorted by a wide choice of teas, from earl grey, blue lady or English breakfast tea to name a few!

The Angel Hotel

The Angel Hotel, a striking Georgian ivy-clad boutique hotel can be found in the very centre of Bury St Edmunds and offers daily Afternoon Tea “in glorious fashion” best described as an experience one can enjoy surrounded by stylish decoration and furnishings.  

You can partake within the lounge - seated in front of the large open fire or settle in the Angel’s contemporary Eaterie Restaurant. The afternoon tea menu is carefully thought out and you will find freshly made fare which might include super savoury options, including homemade scotch egg, Smoked salmon, goats cheese or pork sausage roll accompanied by delicate pastries, sweets, fruit scones with fresh jersey cream and strawberry preserve.

The cake menu is extensive and diverse and includes Lemon drizzle cake, Caramel éclair, Strawberry pavlova, Chocolate delice, Raspberry and white chocolate choux bun and Pineapple and coconut marshmallow. Teas include luxury and world speciality, beautifully presented with choices to please every palate or appreciation and if you are looking to really unwind (or treat mum!), why not plump for the optional glass of fizz.

Costs are £19.50 per person or £28.50 per person for optional glass of fizz.

Beyond Bury St Edmunds ...

The Weeping Willow

A quirky mix of scones, pastries, open sandwiches and even the odd jelly baby and marshmallow can be found at The Weeping Willow in Barrow!

This listed pub is one of the oldest buildings in Barrow and dates from the early sixteenth century and has been lovingly restored and expanded to create Suffolk’s first modern country pub. 

The Bar is traditional with lots of oak beams, comfy nooks and open fires with a good assortment of cask ales, larger and craft beers. There is a cocktail menu and an extensive collection of Gin as well as an impressive wine list. 

The dining room is a modern architectural open plan extension which has been added to the original pub. On one side it has a view into the stunning state of the art kitchen. On the other side it overlooks a beautiful garden and meadow and the Weeping Willow Tree. 

Afternoon tea starts from £12.50pp.

The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa

While away your afternoon with Afternoon Tea in The Swan at Lavenham's grand Gallery Restaurant in the heart of one of the best preserved Medieval villages in England, just 20 minutes from Bury St Edmunds.

There are three afternoon teas to choose from here - a Traditional, Gentleman’s or a decadent High Tea.

Each of the afternoon teas are traditionally served stage-by-stage with sandwiches or main dishes first, followed by delicious scones and cakes and can be paired with a bottle of Champagne should you wish to celebrate. All are presented on fine Royal Worcester Crockery specifically created for The Swan by Walpole of Stoke-on-Trent, whose prestigious special commissions are found in many of Britain’s Royal palaces – the perfect crockery then upon which to savour their delicious treats.

While Champagne adds an opulent touch, for the traditionalists The Swan has a range of over 20 specialist Newby teas will ensure there is a brew to suit all tastes. 

Costs are £22.50 for a Gentleman's or Traditional Afternoon Tea or £34.00 to include a glass of Frerejean Frères Premier Cru Brutchampagne.

Ravenwood Hall Hotel

Situated in Rougham just a few miles outside of Bury St Edmunds, Ravenwood Hall Hotel is set within 7 acres of gardens. In the colder months, you can enjoy your tea whilst sat next to a roaring fire, or in spring and summer, opt for one of the garden tables on the patio which overlooks the outdoor pool.

Afternoon tea is served between 3pm and 5pm and includes Suffolk Cream Tea with your choice of freshly brewed tea or coffee,a traditional baked fruit scone and strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream or Traditional Afternoon Tea which includes your choice of freshly brewed tea or coffee with a traditional baked fruit scone, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream with a selection of freshlymade finger sandwiches and homemade cakes.

Costs are £10.95 for Suffolk Cream Tea or £18.95 for Traditional Afternoon Tea (bookable in advance). Indulge a little further with a glass of Champagne; a glass of Gobillard Reserva Brut Champagne By the Glass 125 ml £9.50 or Gobillard Reserva Brut Champagne By the Bottle 75cl £49.50.

The Ickworth Hotel

When you visit The Ickworth Hotel, you will be hard pressed to decide what you’d like to do. With so much on offer at the former country home, over 1,800 acres of elegant parkland to explore, tours of the house available or cycle rides, the family friendly hotel will have you spoilt for choice.

Their afternoon tea is not to be missed though and you will be in the fine company of the many previous ‘English gentry’ who have consumed the same in bygone years at the estate.

This spring, the hotel is launching two new 'Edible Garden' afternoon teas; one especially designed for adults; and the other for children; both incorporating Potter’s best known characters and drawing on her life as well as her classic tales for inspiration. 

The adult menu celebrates Potter’s life outside her writing and alongside the traditional sandwiches and scones, it also features a delicious Herdwick lamb pie to reflect the years she spent breeding Herdwick sheep on her Lake District farm. Adults can also indulge in Benjamin Bunny’s carrot cake with mascarpone and orange icing, Mr McGregor’s stolen vegetables served in chocolate mousse ‘soil’ and Mrs Tiggywinkle’s rhubarb and custard crunch. A fresh and floral gin-based drink - Hill Top Hurrah! – named after the place where Beatrix Potter wrote 13 of her 23 books, has also been created and will make for a refreshing accompaniment.

The children’s tea includes healthy options of a hummus and crudités flowerpot and fresh carrot and orange juice, together with a selection of sandwiches and a freshly baked scone.  

The Ickworth’s afternoon tea is available between 12-5pm Monday to Saturday and 2-5pm Sundays with a choice of historic and atmospheric locations ranging from The Conservatory, Drawing Room, Library or Terrace.

Prices are £25 for adults (£8 extra if you opt for the gin!), £12.50 for children. Edible Garden afternoon tea is available from 19th March - 31st May

Contact 01284 735350 or book online at 

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