During the early nineteenth century afternoon tea was born. Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford created the idea of afternoon tea as a way to bridge the gap between breakfast and dinner. What started as a private activity soon became publically fashionable, and the upper classes began to take afternoon tea on a regular basis. These days it’s not so much of a routine but more of a treat, and a scrumptious one at that.
1.Sopley Mill, Hampshire
The location itself makes this place special. The restaurant is situated in a Victorian mill that sits on the river Avon. With a riverside patio and lawned gardens, it really is idyllic on a sunny day. Their cream tea is good value for money at £4.25 and offers a generous helping of New Forest jam and Dorset clotted cream.
2.The Salisbury Chocolate Bar & Patisserie, Wiltshire
Robert Lewis and John Richardson own the only independent chocolate shop in Salisbury, which has a great reputation around the local area. In the summer they have a small patio outside the shop where you can look across to Salisbury Cathedral Highstreet Gate. Their ‘33 High Street’ cream tea consists of two scones with all the trimmings for only £4.95, and it’s absolutely delicious!
3. Fanny’s Farm Shop, Merstham, Surrey
A cream tea experience like no other, this family run business is situated in the middle of the Surrey countryside, with beautiful views. Fanny’s farm offers cream tea in a treehouse, for up to 12 people. The treehouse can be hired for up to 1 ½ hours and costs £8.50 for weekend cream tea. Fanny serves warm scones with aga-made jam, and waters the garden with your leftover tea.
4. Fir Tree House tearooms, Penshurst, Kent
Fir Tree House, originally part of the Penshurst Estate was built in the 16th century in traditional Kentish style. It certainly has character, with the five tea tables being made out of the 250 year old Scots Pine that died after the 1987 storm. The tearooms are open Wednesdays to Sundays and cream tea is delicious.
5. Farthings, Cowbridge, Wales
Located in a building that dates back to 1720, Farthings is a cosy, welcoming restaurant. In the winter you can warm yourself by the fires and in the summer there is a lovely courtyard to enjoy. They do a fabulous afternoon tea, consisting of finger sandwiches and a selection of beautifully made cakes. If it’s just a cream tea you’re after, they’ve got it sorted, with big scones and generous helpings of local cream and jam.