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Putting the kettle on is as much a part of the British culture as talking about the weather, queuing and Buckingham Palace. It is therefore only natural that we celebrate the humble cup of tea. To help you experience the best afternoon tea in Devon, we’ve collated a list of our favourite foodie establishments. Commemorate this truly British tradition and treat yourself to an afternoon of scones, sandwiches and sweet treats to go alongside your daily cup of ‘rosy-lea’!
Afternoon tea first became a custom in 1840 after the Duchess of Bedford, who believed there was too much time between lunch and dinner, began ordering tea and sandwiches to be brought to her chambers at around four o’clock every afternoon. She began inviting her friends to join her and soon, because of her ‘socialite status’, the Duchess had created a fashion that would stand the test of time.
Today, afternoon teas are usually reserved for special occasions, birthday parties and, of course, holidays. From themed tea events to simple scones and jam, there is something rather nostalgic about seeing that three-tiered plate on your table. Indulge whilst in Devon and visit one of these wonderful places for an afternoon tea.
There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea – Henry James
With stunning views overlooking the Salcombe estuary, the Salcombe Harbour Hotel is one of the most desirable waterside hotels in the country, and is in a prime location for enjoying afternoon tea. Choosing from a selection of menu variations, relax in the lounge, or even better, on the terrace to enjoy al fresco dining at its most spectacular. Click here to view their afternoon tea menu.
Nestled within a lush valley, Soar Mill Cove Hotel is located just outside Salcombe and boasts breathtaking views towards a stunning coastal cove. Here, fine dining meets family-friendly, and even the dog is welcome to join for afternoon tea, making the perfect location for everyone. Offering various menu options, expect to enjoy sumptuous patisseries, sandwiches, fresh handmade scones and Cove jam topped with lashings of cream. The ultimate treat is that you can buy their mouth-watering, home made Cove jam to take a piece of Devon back home with you! Click here to view their wonderful afternoon tea menu, and start planning your afternoon to this picturesque valley.
The Thurlestone Hotel, set within nineteen acres of stunning gardens and just a five minute walk from sandy beaches, is both luxurious and family-friendly in equal measures. From the comfort of their elegant lounge, you can enjoy a traditional cream tea or full afternoon tea with sweeping views towards Thurlestone Rock. What’s more, they even cater for little people with a full children’s afternoon tea menu. Explore their delicious menu on their website.
Luxurious, relaxed and friendly, the Dart Marina Hotel is situated alongside the breath-taking River Dart. Afternoon tea has almost become a ritual here, and they are firm advocates of enjoying slow afternoons on the terrace. With an indulgent menu of delicate finger sandwiches, homemade pastries, macaroons and hand picked tea leaves, you will not be disappointed.
Known by many as ‘The Enchanted Place on the Hill’, Boringdon Hall Hotel is a luxurious Elizabethan manor house, situated on the edge of Dartmoor near Plymouth. They specialise in classic, memorable dining and take afternoon tea extremely seriously, so much so, they have devised a tea-centric loyalty club! Served in the English Great Hall, they offer an extensive menu range; from traditional, seasonal, gluten-free, vegan and even a special edition afternoon tea to suit the season. Click here to find out what their latest special edition afternoon tea of the moment is.
For those who want to try something a little more ‘rustic’ than your usual afternoon tea, then head to the Walkers’ Hut at the East Soar Outdoor Experience. Situated next to the South West Coast Path, you will experience sumptuous, home-cooked food within a friendly environment. Serving delicious cream teas and freshly baked cakes, (all of which are homemade on the farm!), they employ an honesty box system so be sure to bring a pocket full of change with you. What’s more, the farm has resident pet sheep, donkeys, pygmy goats, pigs and chickens and an adventure trail, making it the perfect environment for young families. Post feast, why not explore the footpath that runs along the coastline, or explore the hidden coves and sandy beaches. Find out more about the East Soar Walker’s Hut here.
Set on the outskirts of Powderham Castle, located on the banks of the River Exe in Kenton, The Orangery is a fabulous place to enjoy a delicious Devon Cream Tea. With mouth watering scones and exquisite cakes, this lovely café has everything you need, plus it overlooks the castle’s Deer Park, home to around 600 fallow deer.
Why not follow your afternoon treat with a visit to the Powderham Country Store next door, where you will find a delicatessen, butchery, bakery, not to mention a fabulous array of plants and gifts to peruse! Or head in to Powderham Castle itself, where you can tour the building, find out the history of the estate, or explore the stunning Victorian walled garden.
One thing is for sure – you will struggle to find a more coastal view than the one you get at The Guardhouse café at Berry Head, Brixham… and what better way to enjoy a cream tea than with a stunning seascape stretching out before your eyes! We love it so much that we rated it as one of our favourite eateries in Brixham.
A historic building, the Guardhouse was built in 1802, and was used by troops defending the Berry Head fort. In fact inside the café remains part of the tunnel system which, was built inside the fort all those years ago.
There has been a tearoom in the Guardhouse for over 100 years, and whilst in recent times it has been renovated and extended, the passionate team continue to have the same values they have always held. Their emphasis is on providing the best local food possible. Expect ingredients from within the region, including cakes and brownies baked locally. Such is their pride in delivering locally produced food, they have even created a dedicated webpage ‘Meet our suppliers’.
Nestled just meters from the historic Mayflower Steps, on the Barbican’s New Street – one of the oldest cobbled lanes in Plymouth – sits The Tudor Rose Tearooms. Complete with a fabulous walled garden, this listed building is the perfect pit stop for resting weary legs, tired from exploring the extraordinary surrounding area.
With not one, but two well-known local chefs at the helm in the form of award-winning duo, Louise O’Keeffe and Gemma Ferguson, guests can expect only the finest Afternoon Tea menu. Crustless finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones made daily, and divine slabs of cake… not to mention gluten free options and a ‘savoury cream tea’ available for those with less of a sweet tooth, everyone is catered for!
Devon is the perfect holiday destination for those with a passion for delicious food. Whether you’re visiting the area for a special occasion or you simply want a grand foodie experience in your holiday home as a getaway treat, read our blog on how to host an afternoon tea in your holiday home for the ultimate delicious experience! Or, why not hire a local catering company during your stay to take the hassle out of the kitchen for you? Read our blog the best local catering companies to start planning your foodie break.
Find out more on our food and drink pages, or browse our articles below to learn about our favourite places to eat in the region of Devon: