Cornwall is well known for being the best county to enjoy some delicious afternoon tea and tasty treats.
This county has various hotels, cafes and resorts that offer some of the best Cornish cream tea. Some of these places are famous for their delicious homemade sandwiches, Cornish cream cheese, homemade cakes, jams, and much more that pair well with Cornish tea.
But choosing the right place can be challenging since there are several factors a person needs to consider if they are visiting Cornwall for the first time. Thus, we have compiled this guide to help you find the best spots in Cornwall for enjoying some quality time with friends and family.
Top 13 Places You Must Visit In Cornwall For A Full Afternoon Tea Experience
1. The Scarlet Hotel
Enjoy delicious afternoon tea while admiring the coastal view of Cornwall as the Scarlet Hotel is situated at Mawgan Porth. It is well known for being a distinctive, luxurious eco-spa hotel in Cornwall and you can find this hotel perched on a cliff that overlooks the beach.
This place is perfectly located to face the magnificent blue sea and afternoon tea is usually served at The Scarlet Hotel between 2 pm and 4 pm. You can enjoy the full beauty of the coastline while enjoying your tea.
When it comes to the food, it is famous for its delicious sandwiches and cream tea. However, the primary attraction of this beautiful place that attracts tourists from the world over are the patisseries since they have an elegant look and mouthwatering taste.
2. The Headland Hotel
Best suited for enjoying a seasonal afternoon tea menu with cocktails, the Headland Hotel is among the top luxury hotels in this county and has various activities for customers. For instance, you can plunge into the magnificent pool, which is a part of the hotel. In addition, you can work up some appetite by hitting the Atlantic before you enjoy the best afternoon tea for that season at this gorgeous place.
Regarding the seasonal menu, you will find some fresh local delicacies, such as Cornish Gouda, Peach Melba cheesecake, Cider Chutney sandwiches and much more. Apart from that, Headland hotel has a selection of top-notch cocktails, which you can enjoy with snacks.
3. Fowey Hall Hotel
Best suited for families that want to enjoy themed settings, the Fowey Hall Hotel is a luxurious family resort. It offers plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy authentic afternoon tea, as the place isn’t exclusive to adults and can be enjoyed by young kids.
At Fowey Hall Hotel, the afternoon tea follows a Matilda theme concept which was inspired by Roald Dahl. in fact, children are given a special selection of delicious themed foods which are healthy and tasty.
And as the children enjoy their tea party, adults can order from a special menu. Some of the items on the menu include Crunchem Hall sandwiches, Lavender’s Macarons, Honey & Truffle Butter and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake.
4. The Royal Duchy
Saviour afternoon finger sandwiches while looking at a beautiful sea view at the Royal Duchy situated in Falmouth, a town known for being a highly sought-after UK staycation. You can enjoy your Cornish afternoon tea either on the lounge or the open terrace itself.
But this place is most popular for its sandwiches and we suggest you opt for the Honey Roast Ham & Pickled Vegetables with Watercress sandwich. There are other tasty options on the menu as well, so feel free to take your pick.
Another speciality of the Royal Duchy is that it serves some of the best Champagne afternoon tea in the region.
5. Rectory Tea Rooms
The next place on your list should be the Rectory Tea Rooms that serves afternoon tea in a cottage. This place attracts a lot of tourists to try afternoon tea when they are sightseeing in North Cornwall.
Rectory Tea Rooms have a friendly ambience, which makes it ideal for all types of visitors. It is currently run by Jill Savage, who continues to serve traditional afternoon tea with Cornish pasties, the ingredients for which are locally-sourced.
These pasties are stuffed with the best lamb and beef ingredients procured from their own farm. We suggest you visit this place when you want to enjoy a quintessential cottage experience.
6. Duchy Of Cornwall Nursery
A garden-themed spot abounding in elegance and style, the Duchy of Cornwall Nurser is a place you must visit. Like the Rectory Tea rooms, the ingredients for afternoon teas are locally sourced and are served with individual “Duchy Woodland” hardwood boards, making this place a favourite among tourists.
On the hardwood board, you will find savoury treats such as salami, Cornish garlic, quail’s scotch egg and other exotic food items. This place is also famous for traditional Cornish cream tea, strawberry jam and scones with clotted cream.
Meanwhile, some of the popular sweet treats are toasted lemon meringue tart and rose macaron, which go well with a traditional Cornish cream tea.
7. Greenbank Hotel
Whenever you visit Falmouth, you should always check out the afternoon tea menu in Greenbank Hotel. It is the perfect place for vegans since it serves vegan afternoon tea by the harbour, so you can admire the picturesque south coast while enjoying the treats and tea.
Moreover, this place has different food items that can cater to both vegans and meat eaters. Everyone gets to enjoy and have a good time since they don’t miss out on any of the traditional afternoon tea experiences. Some of the vegan options include sea salt caramel cheesecake, freshly baked scones with cream and jam and maple & sesame sausage rolls.
8. Strawberry Fields
Enjoy a traditional summer Cornish cream tea with freshly harvested strawberries at this place.
Unlike a traditional tea room or resort, the Strawberry Fields offers a unique afternoon picnic experience since the establishment uses adorable picnic benches made from authentic miniature oak. Apart from that, it makes homemade Cornish delicacies such as freshly baked homemade scones, freshly brewed tea, coffee and savouries.
You can find an old farm shop that serves some of the freshest ingredients and household groceries. So, we recommend taking out some time to visit the shop and purchase some fresh ingredients from the local farm. The Strawberry Fields further provides an interactive session for harvesting strawberries for beginners and hobbyists.
9. Talland Bay Hotel
Talland Bay Hotel is well known for its spacious garden overlooking the magnificent coastal view. This makes it ideal for sampling traditional Cornish cream tea in a secluded section of Cornwall, which is far away from any tourist crowd. So, don’t forget to spend some time here, ordering your favourite delicacies for recharging and relaxing your mind.
10. Miss Molly’s Tea Room
Well known for its traditional china cups and teapot sets, this traditional tea room is located in a historical old Dolcoath Mine Counting House. It has a mishmash look of a tea shop and an antique shop, while the afternoon tea is served in some of its traditional teapots and china cups.
If you love any of the antiques you see, the tea room will let you purchase them as a souvenir. Another interesting fact about Miss Molly’s Tea room is that it has a separate menu for your furry friends. This is one of the few tea rooms that provide Cornish treats for dogs, so you can bring your pooch along with the family for a memorable experience.
11. Trevallick’s Farm Shop & Tea Room
A quaint tea room complementing the Cornish gins and delicacies, this tea room can easily be found by the roadside at a friendly and hospitable local farm shop in Liskeard. The food is served in a three-tier Cornish slate cake stand, and you will find the cakes, finger sandwiches and warm scones neatly presented on the stand.
This tea room is famous for the Tregothnan teas, which pair well with cheese scones, fruit scones and other savouries. Or you can always opt for the famous Trevallick’s Gins that come in 4 different Cornish flavours.
12. Polurrian Bay Hotel
If you are trekking near the Land’s End, you will find it difficult to miss the warm and welcoming Polurrian Bay Hotel awaiting you at Helston. Enjoy the cliff top view while sampling some of the finest afternoon teas in this place.
It offers a wide-reaching view of the coastline from the clifftop, which can be breathtaking and mesmerising. And when it comes to the menu, you will find traditional delicacies, such as warm scones, cakes and sandwiches.
You can also add a glass of Cornish Prosecco to go with the savoury dishes. But if you are looking for something light and small, the hotel has a few options that are worth trying. For instance, you can enjoy a cup of savoury cream tea paired with two scones and Cornish cheese. Consumers can even add the Halzephron Herb Farm Chutney to the scones to bring out a different taste.
13. The Alverton Hotel
Providing vegan and traditional afternoon tea in a garden setting you can find all sorts of healthy tea options, such as vegan or gluten-free afternoon tea. At the Alverton Hotel, guests can enjoy tea at the beautiful garden terrace, which is the main attraction of this place.
You can expect freshly baked scones and refined finger sandwiches which instantly melt in the mouth. Besides, it offers gluten-free scones for costumes that are on a strict diet so that they don’t miss out on the fun.
The marvellous miniature cakes are definitely one of the main attractions of the hotel since they are delicious and packed with flavour. You will find that the Alverton Hotel usually operates between 3 pm and 5 pm, so you can go there for a late lunch because the food is quite filling.
What Is Afternoon Tea?
The concept of afternoon tea first originated in Britain in the 1840s. It was a small meal people would usually have before dinner since it would enhance their appetite. Later on, it became quite popular among ladies who held private social events in their houses.
Queen Victoria popularised the concept of afternoon tea on a larger scale by referring to them as tea receptions. The upper classes slowly grew fond of having afternoon tea but it became more mainstream when tea shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels included afternoon tea in their main menu.
In simple terms, afternoon tea is usually enjoyed in the mid-afternoon, during the gap between lunch and dinner. So, you will need to save some space after lunch if you want to enjoy the savouries and sweets along with the tea.
What Is A Typical Afternoon Tea Menu?
When it comes to having a proper afternoon tea experience, there are three main classics you should definitely try along with the tea. Notably, scones, sandwiches and cakes are the holy grail of every afternoon tea menu.
The sandwiches should be light and packed with flavour to complement the pleasant taste of the tea. And sandwiches that contain ingredients such as cress, cucumber, cream cheese, smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise should be your top pick.
Moreover, the sandwiches should be prepared like finger food and we highly recommend cutting them not more than two fingers thick if you want to enjoy all the flavours thoroughly.
For cakes, there are plenty of options you can savour along with the tea. We have seen that eclairs, sponge cakes, millefeuilles and tarts are some of the best cakes that go well with afternoon tea.
Meanwhile, scones are usually enjoyed with strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream, but you can try other spreads such as honey, lemon curd and marmalade.
Having these three classics will complete the overall afternoon tea experience. If you are wondering which tea would go well with the above-mentioned savouries and sweets, we suggest trying the usual black tea, earl grey tea or English breakfast tea.
Afternoon Tea Etiquette
No matter wherever you go, certain etiquettes need to be followed if you want to blend well with the culture and the people of that place. Similarly, afternoon tea does have some etiquette you must follow for the best experience.
On that note, we listed a few things you should keep in mind whenever you opt for afternoon tea.
- You should always eat sandwiches with your fingers
- When it comes to spreading cream and jam, spread the jam first and then cream
- Scones should always be eaten while they are still warm
- Afternoon tea should be stirred in a back-and-forth manner
- Cakes are always kept to be eaten at the end
What Is The Difference Between High Tea And Afternoon Tea?
The main difference between afternoon tea and high tea is the items on the menu. Usually the afternoon tea menu contains items such as cakes, scones and sandwiches, which are light and easy to digest. In contrast, high tea is usually complemented with heavier dishes like meat.
Another interesting difference between high tea and afternoon tea is the time of the day when you enjoy them. Normally, high tea is ideal for an early evening setting since the meals are heavier but afternoon tea is mostly enjoyed during the early afternoon.
Most notably, afternoon tea is more elegant since it closely resembles a classic English teatime setting while high tea has derived its name from the customs followed by lower-class labourers. Back then, the lower class section of labourers and workers was not allowed to have a lunch break. Thus, they would feel peckish before dinner, which would affect their health.
To overcome this problem, people started practising high tea as it helped them receive the required nutrients for the day.
We hope you have a splendid time sampling some of the best afternoon tea in Cornwall. Before signing off, here are a few tips you should follow while choosing the best place to have afternoon tea.
Firstly, always ensure the hotel or resort has a good ambience since it helps to soothe the mind while you enjoy a cup of cornish tea. Secondly, places that prepare their own homemade sandwiches, like Cornish cheese, hot chocolate and other tasty treats should be your top choice.
Such places use fresh ingredients while making these lovely delicacies and will be worth the visit. Or you can always take recommendations from the locals to get a better idea about different spots that serve some of the best afternoon tea in Cornwall.
There are few better ways to enjoy your time in Cornwall than sitting in a quiet spot with friends or families, chatting and enjoying your tea.
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