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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 note a national day to 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 South 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.
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 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.
Buckland Tout-Saints, near Kingsbridge, is an award-winning, luxurious country house that resides amongst several acres of meticulously tended gardens and woodland. Indulge in a decadent menu of finger sandwiches, homemade scones, cakes and fine teas and for a special touch of luxury, why not enjoy a glass of fizz.
Luxurious, relaxed and friendly, the Dart Marina Hotel and Spa 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. 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.
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.
South Devon is the perfect holiday destination for those with a passion for delicious food. 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 South Devon: