Cotswolds Afternoon Tea- A Taste of Tradition

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Embark on a fairytale journey through the Cotswolds, where the quintessential English tradition of afternoon tea reaches new heights. Set in picture-perfect rolling hills and stunning historic villages, discover a treasure trove of tearooms and establishments that elevate this time-honored ritual to an art form.

From historic manor houses to cozy cottages, each Cotswolds Afternoon Tea venue offers its unique blend of charm, ambiance, and delicious treats.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds, located in south-central England, is renowned for its English countryside charm. Spanning 800 square miles with multiple counties including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is characterized by rolling hills, picturesque villages, and lush meadows adorned with horses and sheep.

The villages of the Cotswolds are perhaps its most famous feature. Built from the distinctive golden, honey Cotswold stone, these settlements have quaint thatched-roof cottages adorned with climbing roses, charming tea rooms, and historic churches.

Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Castle Combe, and Stow-on-the-Wold are just a few examples of the enchanting villages that dot the area.

When visiting the Cotswolds (which one can take a day-trip tour from London) or staying for a few days like we did, having a proper Cotswolds afternoon tea is a must.

Come with us as we explore the very best Cotswolds afternoon tea offerings amidst one of England’s most enchanting landscapes.

Cotswolds afternoon tea; Pinterest Pins

Bridge Tea Rooms-Bradford Upon Avon

Costwolds Afternoon Tea-Bridge Tea Rooms. Bradford Upon Avon
Photo Bridge Tea Rooms; Facebook

Step into the internationally renowned Victorian The Bridge Tea Rooms in Bradford-Upon-Avon. This Instagram-worthy tea room established in 1502 is a journey into the heart of traditional English hospitality.

From its enchanting exterior reminiscent of a listed storybook cottage to the inviting interior adorned with rustic trinkets and sturdy wooden beams, every corner is of cozy sophistication.

Friendly staff, dressed in elegant Victorian attire, will present a tempting array of treats, including homemade cakes, traditional cream teas served in delicate china, and savory sandwiches displayed on elegant cake stands.

You can find hours and menus for the Bridge Tea Rooms here.

Afternoon Tea Cheltenham

Cheltenham, a Regency gem in the heart of the Cotswolds, is a town steeped in history and culture. Renowned for its therapeutic mineral waters, it blossomed into a fashionable spa destination in the 18th and 19th centuries, leaving a legacy of elegant Georgian architecture. Today, Cheltenham hosts world-class festivals celebrating literature, jazz, and horse racing’s prestigious Gold Cup.

Amidst this rich tapestry, Cheltenham’s picturesque parks, boutique shops, and vibrant dining scene create a unique blend of tradition and modernity that captivates visitors.

The Painswick Hotel

Photo: Painswick Hotel 2024, Cotswolds afternoon tea
Photo Painswick Hotel 2024

In the beautiful English village of Painswick, one can indulge in the perfect Cheltenham afternoon tea at the Painswick Hotel. Savor a selection of neatly prepared sandwiches, a classic pork pie, our renowned Scotch egg, and freshly baked scones accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry jam, alongside a seasonal cake of the day.

Alternatively, explore meticulously curated grazing boards, perfect for sharing. These culinary experiences are best enjoyed fireside in their cozy lounges or outside on the sun-drenched terrace or balcony, where you can take in the picturesque valley views.

Find reservations and menus for the Painswick Hotel Afternoon Tea here.

Ellenborough Park

Ellenborough Park is a magnificent estate that seamlessly blends its storied past with contemporary elegance. Situated between the majestic heights of the Cotswolds and the renowned Cheltenham Racecourse, this sprawling 90-acre property is true tranquility.

Afternoon Tea in Cheltenham. Photo Ellenborough Park, 2024
Photo Ellenborough Park, 2024

The restored manor house has been meticulously revived to its original five-star splendor, now offering guests a collection of indulgent experiences. From the laid-back dining venues to the soul-soothing spa, a perfect afternoon tea, every aspect of Ellenborough Park exudes the charming character of a traditional country manor.

Find reservations and menus for Ellenborough Park here.

The Manor House-Castle Combe

Afternoon Tea in Cotswolds. Manor House Castle Combe. Photo:   Angela Ward Brown 2022
Photo Manor House Castle Combe, 2022 Angela Ward Brown 2022

Residing in one of the most picturesque villages of the Cotswolds, Castle Combe,  lies the enchanting Manor House. This stunning English manor exudes timeless elegance and charm, offering an idyllic retreat for visitors seeking a taste of old-world luxury.

As you approach the Manor House, you’ll be greeted by its ivy-clad facade and immaculately manicured gardens, setting the scene for a truly unforgettable stay or afternoon tea in the Cotswolds.

Indulging in Afternoon Tea at the Manor House in Castle Combe is like stepping into a scene from a fairytale. Set against the backdrop of the charming Cotswold countryside, this English tradition takes on a new level of elegance and charm.

Afternoon Tea at Manor House offers a wide assortment of single-estate teas, infusions, and SHIBUI blends. Served in a three-tier silver tray, savories, and sandwiches to start. Special Manor House recipe scones served warm with strawberry jam and rich clotted cream.

Lastly, indulge in pastries and delicate slices of cake.

Afternoon tea is served at 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm daily. Reservations are required along with a 50% deposit. Find menus and information here.

Luckham Park Hotel-Wiltshire

Luckham Park Hotel Wiltshire
Photos Luckham Park Hotel Facebook

Lucknam Park Hotel, an 18th-century Palladian mansion, provides the perfect setting for a traditional English afternoon tea. Nestled within 500 acres of magnificent gardens and untouched parkland, the hotel offers a tranquil oasis, just 6 miles from the city of Bath.

Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply looking to unwind after a day of shopping, Lucknam Park’s afternoon tea has long been a much-loved tradition.

Luckham Park Hotel offers a full afternoon tea, champagne afternoon tea, and a children’s offering:

  • A selection of sandwiches including ham and tomato, egg and cress, and smoked salmon
  • A selection of warm home-made scones with clotted cream and home-made preserves
  • A selection of dainty patisserie prepared by our pastry chef
  • Your choice of leaf tea or coffee

Find bookings and menus for Luckham Park Hotel here.

Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds-Stow-On-The-Wold

Set within the beautiful landscape of the Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold captivates a time long ago. This charming market town invites exploration along its cobblestone streets, where visitors can peruse antique shops, unwind in cozy pubs, and indulge in traditional Cotswolds afternoon tea.

St. Edward’s Church, a historic gem dating back to the 11th century, stands as a testament to the town’s rich heritage. With its vibrant market square and picturesque surroundings, Stow-on-the-Wold promises an enchanting storybook time in the heart of rural England.

Lucys Tearoom

Lucys Tea Room
Photo_Lucys Tearoom Facebook

Lucy’s Tearoom is located in the Square of the picturesque village of Stow-on-the-Wold.  Lucys is a 300-year-old tea room invites all visitors and community members to gather and enjoy life.

Lucy’s grade 2 honey exterior, adorned with vibrant flower boxes and a thatched roof, is the perfect Cotswold afternoon tea experience. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a warm and cozy ambiance, where the scent of freshly baked treats and the aroma of fine teas mingle in the air.

Best Afternoon Tea Cotswolds
Photo_Lucys Tea Room; Facebook

Vintage teapots and mismatched china add a touch of whimsy, while the exposed beams, an inglenook fireplace, and stone walls pay homage to the region’s rich history. Settle into one of the cozy nooks or grab a spot in the outdoor courtyard on a sunny day, enjoying cream teas and a seasonal menu.

Lucys Tearoom uses homegrown and locally sourced ingredients for delicious light bites, a wonderful tiered afternoon tea, and fresh-baked pastries and cake slices.

Lucys is a first-come-first-serve, you can find menus and hours here.

Old Bakery Tearoom

After a heartbreaking loss, Jackie and Alan bought Old Bakery Tearoom 2005 and made it their mission to welcome guests to their second home. Conversation is encouraged, time spent while enjoying a meal is not rushed, and the food is prepared fresh, and to order.

This quaint spot has a menu that offers genuinely homemade (on the premises), freshly prepared meals, snacks and cakes, using quality ingredients sourced from local suppliers as much as possible.

If you’re in the Cotswolds on a blustery day, be sure to try their homemade soups or our favorite, Ploughman’s Lunch.

Reservations are encouraged. Find the menus and opening times here.

The Slaughters Manor House

Slaughters Manor 2023; Afternoon Tea Cotswolds
Slaughters Manor 2023

Slaughters Manor 2023; Cotswolds Afternoon Tea
Slaughters Manor 2023

Situated in one of England’s prettiest villages, The Slaughters Manor House is a beautiful 17th-century manor house that combines contemporary interiors with rural English charm, attentive service, and one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the Cotswolds.

indulge in a full afternoon tea of savory homemade finger sandwiches, fruit & plain scones with clotted cream and seasonal jams, and a selection of delicious sweets & fancies. This Cotswolds afternoon tea is served with Newby London teas or hot coffees.

Served with your choice of Newby London teas or coffee.

The Slaughters Manor House will also pack an afternoon tea basket to go. Enjoy in the lunch gardens, in the lounge, or on a day trip.

Find reservations and afternoon tea menus here.

The Swan Hotel-Bibury

Located in the charming village of Bibury in the Cotswolds, The Swan Hotel invites guests to experience the timeless beauty of rural England. If you follow any Cotswolds Instagram accounts, you have likely seen this beautiful hotel in many photos.

Housed in a historic building dating back to the 17th century, this boutique hotel seamlessly blends traditional charm with modern luxury in a serene setting.

Afternoon Tea Cotswolds
Photo-The Swan Hotel Facebook

If you want a lovely Cotswolds afternoon tea in Bibury, the Swan Hotel is the ideal location. You can request to have tea on a sunny day by the river or enjoy a light lunch in the Swan Brasserie.

Afternoon Tea at the Swan includes scones, clotted cream, savory sandwiches, and mini cakes. Or enjoy a light lunch of Somerset Brie or a Devonshire Crab Roll.

Reservations are highly encouraged. You can find menus and accommodations here.

Best Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds-Broadway

Broadway is a stunning village in the Cotswolds region of Gloucestershire, England. Known for its English charm and rich history, it attracts visitors from around the world who are drawn to its scenic beauty and well-preserved architecture.

The village is centered around its iconic High Street, a long, wide street lined with honey-colored Cotswold stone buildings that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. These buildings, now house shops, galleries, pubs, and restaurants, have been meticulously maintained, preserving the area’s historical character.

One of the most notable attractions in Broadway is the Broadway Tower, a unique folly built atop an ancient Saxon fort. Standing tall at 65 feet, the tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding Cotswold countryside, showcasing the rolling hills, picturesque villages, and the Vale of Evesham.

Broadway’s charm extends beyond its picturesque streets and attractions. The village is also renowned for its excellent dining options, including a proper Cotswolds afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea at the Lygon Arms

Cotswolds Afternoon Tea-Lygon Arms Facebook 2024
Photo_Lygon Arms Facebook

The Lygon Arms, a historic 650-year-old gem, offers the perfect escape for those seeking relaxation or a place to have an exquisite afternoon tea.

Steeped in a rich tapestry of over six centuries of captivating history, this Cotswolds hotel has played host to royalty and notable figures, including those who challenged the establishment.

Have an indulgent afternoon tea experience of light and airy, freshly baked scones, delicate finger sandwiches, and an array of sweet treats.

For an extraordinary twist, complement your tea experience with a signature house Champagne, adding a touch of sophistication to this beloved English pastime.

Reservations and menus can be found here.

Hunters Tea Room

Located in the middle of Broadway, this cozy, intimate spot is perfect for a Cotswolds afternoon tea, a hearty English breakfast, a fantastic lunch, or a picnic to-go.

Bookings are not taken, for hours, and menus are here.

Tisanes Tea Rooms

Tisanes Tearooms-Afternoon Tea Cotswolds
Photo-Tisanes Tearooms Facebook

Tisanes Tearooms is an inviting establishment in the heart of the picturesque Broadway next to the War Museum. Housed in a beautifully restored 17th-century Cotswold stone building, this Old World tea room exudes warmth and character, transporting visitors to a bygone era of elegance and hospitality.

Tisanes Tearooms presents an extensive selection of over 40 premium loose-leaf teas, complemented by a curated range of expertly roasted and freshly ground coffees, as well as an array of refreshing soft drink options.

Sandwiches are traditionally served on wholesome wholemeal bread and will accommodate requests for gluten-free, granary, or classic white bread alternatives to cater to individual dietary preferences.

Tisanes takes great pride in its exceptional selection of cakes and snacks, designed to for a wide range of tastes and cravings.

This Cotswolds Afternoon Tea can be enjoyed indoors or in the garden area on a sunny day, open in late spring, summer, and early autumn.

Reservations are not taken. Find hours and menus here.

The Broadway Hotel

Indulge at the Broadway Hotel’s Jockey Bar, where afternoon tea becomes an elegant and unforgettable experience. This popular establishment invites you to savor the timeless pleasures of a classic Cotswolds afternoon tea.

Photo Broadway Hotel Cotswolds 2024: Afternoon Tea Cotswolds

During the perfect afternoon tea, you’ll be enveloped in a warm and inviting ambiance, where the rich history of the hotel seamlessly blends with contemporary sophistication.

The afternoon tea experience at the Broadway Hotel is a celebration of locally sourced ingredients and artisanal craftsmanship.

A beautifully presented three-tier stand, from light and fluffy scones with rich Cornish clotted cream, and tangy homemade jams to delicate finger sandwiches bursting with flavor, and decadent sweet confections, all served with fresh-brewed coffee or a selection of loose-leaf teas.

Reservations are required. Find menus and bookings here.

Whatley Manor-Chippenham

Whatley Manor offers a quintessential Cotswolds afternoon tea experience steeped in elegance and tradition. Set within a meticulously restored 19th-century manor house, the hotel’s Drawing Room or Garden Room provides an idyllic backdrop for this beloved British ritual.

Guests are treated to a curated selection of freshly baked scones, delicate finger sandwiches, and an array of treats and pastries, all complemented by a premium choice of teas. The attentive service and refined ambiance transport visitors to a bygone era, allowing them to savor the unhurried pleasures of this timeless tradition amidst the Cotswold countryside.

Find reservations and menus for Whatley Manor Afternoon Tea here.

Lords Of The Manor-Upper Slaughter

Photo Lords of the Manor Facebook 2024

Afternoon tea at Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter is known as the “finest afternoon tea in the Cotswolds.” This luxurious tea can be enjoyed on the picturesque lawn during warmer weather, or in the cozy lounge by a log fire during cooler seasons.

The award-winning team at Lords of the Manor offers a selection of finely crafted finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, and a variety of delicate pastries and cakes.

Guests can choose from an extensive range of teas or opt for a glass of champagne to elevate the experience.

You can find pricing, menus, and reservations for Afternoon Tea at Lords here.

Charingworth Manor-Chipping Camden

Perched atop the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Charingworth Manor commands a unique vantage point, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. This luxury manor house hotel is situated in the charming village of Charingworth, providing a truly picturesque setting.

Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds. Charingworth Manor 2024
Photo: Charingworth Manor 2024

The hotel seamlessly blends the character of a traditional country estate with contemporary four-star amenities, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be immersed in the perfect balance of historic ambiance and modern comforts, providing a cozy retreat in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Find reservations and menus for afternoon tea here.

Rixys Cotswolds Tearoom

Photo: Rixys Tearoom Facebook

In the heart of the picturesque town of Moreton-in-Marsh, Rixy’s Cotswold Tearoom is a charming haven for those seeking a quintessential Cotswolds Afternoon Tea. This family-run establishment exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere, using high-quality, local, and sustainable produce.

Each tea service features a delightful array of freshly prepared sandwiches, savory treats like tomato, pesto & goat’s cheese tart, and sausage rolls, and a selection of homemade scones accompanied by jam and clotted cream. To finish, guests can savor an assortment of delicious cakes, including favorites like lemon drizzle or chocolate orange.

The interior is cozy and welcoming, with dog-friendly policies that make it a great stop for pet owners. Or have tea with the resident dogs Albert and Fletcher. Whether you’re enjoying a cup of their special house blend, Smugglers Brew by Cornish Tea, or treating yourself to their freshly baked goods, this is a beautiful space to indulge.

For those with dietary preferences, Rixy’s is notably accommodating, offering gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options upon request.

Find menus and hours for Rixys Cotswolds Tearoom here.

Key Takeaways of a Cotswolds Afternoon Tea

The Cotswolds is a fantastic region filled with local culinary highlights that have attracted food lovers for generations. One of the signature delights in an Afternoon Tea Cotswolds experience is the traditional combination of homemade scones, served with local jam and rich cream.

Many establishments offer an array of teas, gently diffusing the flavors of the surrounding countryside, such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Pairing the perfect tea with an array of delicious bites is a skill itself, and you’ll be amazed by the flavors and ingredients these talented hosts use.

Here are some locally sourced products you can expect:

  • Local cheese: Cotswold cheese, Double Gloucester, and Stinking Bishop
  • Ham: several types of specialty ham, come from generations of family recipes
  • Jams and spreads: sourced from local orchards and homemade in-house

Adding to the experience, many places will present these selections on delightful tiered stands that allow customers to savor each bite visually before indulging in the flavors!

  • The Cotswolds offer a unique afternoon tea experience amidst splendid surroundings
  • Venues range from grand hotels to cozy tea rooms, providing options suitable for all preferences
  • Visitors can expect a blend of traditional tea menus with regional delicacies for a truly memorable experience.

Quintessential Cotswolds Tea Rooms

A visit to the Cotswolds would not be complete without experiencing its tea rooms. In each village, you’ll find a variety of traditional establishments that offer a charming ambiance perfect for enjoying your afternoon tea.

Some highlights of the region’s tea rooms include:

  • Old-Fashioned Decor: Embrace the quintessentially British experience, as many Cotswold tea rooms feature antique furniture and vintage tea sets, transporting you to a bygone era of elegance and sophistication.
  • Garden Settings: Imagine yourself in a Jane Austen novel as you sip your tea amidst beautifully manicured gardens. Some tearooms boast serene outdoor seating areas for a truly picturesque afternoon tea experience.
  • Locally-Sourced Ingredients: Keeping with the rural charm of the region, many tea rooms take pride in using fresh, local ingredients, ensuring the highest quality of food and drink. From handmade cakes to artisanal cheeses, indulging in a Cotswolds afternoon tea is a treat for the senses.

Booking Advice

When it comes to afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, making reservations in advance is highly recommended, especially during peak season or if you plan to visit a popular venue. Many places fill up quickly, so reserve a table a few weeks ahead to avoid disappointment.

Tip: If you’re planning your visit around a celebration or special occasion, be sure to mention this during the booking process, as some establishments may offer additional services or special arrangements to make your experience even more memorable.

Local Etiquette

Afternoon tea is a cherished British tradition that has been enjoyed by both locals and visitors for centuries. When visiting the Cotswolds for afternoon tea, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local customs to ensure a perfect experience for all:

  • Dress Code: Although there isn’t a strict dress code for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, it’s recommended to dress smart casual or semi-formal depending on the venue. Avoid wearing overly casual attire like tracksuits or flip-flops. When in doubt, it’s always better to be slightly overdressed.
  • Tea Service: Typically, afternoon tea consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of cakes and pastries. It’s customary to start with the savoury sandwiches before moving on to the scones and sweets. When drinking tea, avoid clinking your teaspoon against the cup and always place the spoon on the saucer after stirring.
  • Polite Interaction: Interact with the servers and staff politely. Remember to say “please” and “thank you” when making requests. If you wish to call the server’s attention, a gentle wave or brief eye contact is appropriate.

Cotswolds Tea Frequently Asked Questions

What are some recommended places for the best afternoon tea experience in the Cotswolds?

Some highly recommended places for a delightful afternoon tea experience in the Cotswolds include The Old Stocks Inn, Tisanes Tea Rooms, and The Slaughters Manor House. At these venues, you can expect a charming ambiance and a variety of delicious scones, sandwiches, and pastries.

Where can I find a luxury afternoon tea setting in the Cotswolds?

For a luxurious afternoon tea setting, consider visiting The Lygon Arms in Broadway, Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham, or Barnsley House in Cirencester. These venues offer exceptional service, elegant surroundings, and indulgent treats such as champagne and truffles.

Can you suggest any quirky locations for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds?

If you’re looking for something a little different, try The Potting Shed Tea Room at Miserden Nursery, The Old Prison in Northleach, or The Duck and Willow near Stroud. These quirky locations offer unique surroundings and delightful afternoon tea menus.

Are there affordable options for enjoying afternoon tea in the Cotswolds?

Yes, of course! Affordable afternoon tea options can be found at Lucy’s Tearoom in Stow-on-the-Wold, The Tea Set in Chipping Norton, and The Old School Room Tea Shoppe in Chipping Campden. These venues offer delicious afternoon tea experiences without breaking the bank.

Which venues in Bourton-on-the-Water offer a delightful afternoon tea?

In Bourton-on-the-Water, you can enjoy a delightful afternoon tea at The Small Talk Tea Rooms, The Rose Tree Restaurant, or Chester House Hotel. These venues offer tasty treats and a warm, cozy atmosphere.

What are the top-rated spots for afternoon tea in Moreton-in-Marsh?

In Moreton-in-Marsh, some of the top-rated spots for an exceptional afternoon tea experience are The Tea Clipper, Rixy’s Tearoom, The Black Bear Inn, and The Manor House Hotel. Each venue offers a varied menu and comfortable surroundings where you can relax and enjoy your afternoon break.

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