8 wonderful places for afternoon tea in and around Bournemouth

The signature three-tiered cake stand at Arbor

The signature three-tiered cake stand at Arbor - Credit: Archant

Helen Stiles seeks out the crème de la crème of deliciously stylish afternoon tea venues in the BH postcode.

Remember to practice social distancing on your visit and book ahead wherever possible to avoid disappointment.

1. Cumberland Hotel, Bournemouth

When the sun is out this art deco boutique hotel has a glamorous Miami vibe about it as you lounge by their outdoor pool. At their Ventana Grand Cafe, alongside its Traditional Afternoon Tea (with or without bubbles), there are some beguiling options - the Hendrick’s Afternoon Tea comes with a tea-inspired gin cocktail.

2. Sandbanks Hotel

Fancy a cream tea while watching the waves crash on the shore? The Sandbanks Hotel is right by the beach and offers a traditional afternoon tea which includes homemade scones, thick Dorset cream and fruity jam. They also offer gluten free and dairy free options. For an extra treat, add a glass of fizz or a Pimm’s, then move onto the cocktail menu for sundowners accompanied by one of the best sunsets in the county. Full afternoon tea starts at £14.50 per person.

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3. The Captain’s Club Hotel, Christchurch

Panoramic views that overlook the River Stour and Christchurch provide the scenic backdrop to your afternoon tea in the Club Lounge. Tuck into finger sandwiches with classic fillings, freshly baked vanilla and raisin scones, coffee and walnut Battenburg and white chocolate and raspberry macaroons. Add a glass of Taittinger if you’re in a celebratory mood.

4. Arbor Restaurant at the Greenhouse Hotel, Bournemouth

Situated in a beautifully restored Grade II Victorian villa on Grove Road, this award-winning hotel’s legendary afternoon teas are served on its three-tiered signature wooden ‘tree’ stand. Enjoy delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked fancies created by talented pastry chef Beth Coombes and warm scones (chocolate chip and plain) with lashings of Dorset clotted cream and locally sourced preserves. Need a gluten free or dairy free afternoon tea? Not a problem. Dorset bubbles or cocktails can be added.

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5. Hotel Miramar, Bournemouth

Enjoy superb coastal vistas as you browse this hotel’s ‘Afternoon Tea by the Sea’ menu which is stacked with dainty savouries including warm sausage rolls, pastries such as fruit tartlets, rich chocolate cake and freshly baked scones with strawberry jam and cream. Select from over 12 different types of tea (or coffee should you wish) or push the boat out with a ‘Wimbledon Tea’ which comes with Pimm’s or a ‘Champagne Tea by the Sea’. Gluten free available if requested in advance.

6. Hilton Bournemouth

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It’s hard to beat the amazing panoramas offered by Level8ight The Sky Bar at the Hilton Bournemouth on Terrace Road. Treat your taste buds to a selection of mini brioche filled with smoked salmon and crème fraiche, ham and mustard mayonnaise and crostini with beetroot, watercress and goats cheese. Alongside are fresh mini scones flavoured with Dorset apple, red velvet cakes, mini Bakewell tarts with blackberry and cassis and the Level8ight signature dark chocolate and raspberry cannelloni. With all this decadence it seems daft not to add a glass of Prosecco or champers!

7. Dot. Teas Vintage Tea Boutique, Westbourne

Step back time at this beguiling vintage teashop on Seamoor Road. Pretty bunting and linen, cut glass sugar bowls and mismatched china have helped make it a busy local favourite in Westbourne. If you want the full works, go for the luxury cream tea, which includes a slice of cake (Victoria sponge and coffee and walnut are a popular choice). The scones and bread are made by the acclaimed Oxfords artisan bakery, while a talented local baker works her magic with the cakes. Small well behaved dogs are welcome.

8. The Courtyard Tea Rooms, Poole

According to our readers The Courtyard Tea Rooms serves afternoon teas that are on a par with The Ritz – which may explain why it won the Best Tea Room category in the 2015 Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming Awards. The tea room, which is on Poole High Street, has an impressive menu of loose leaf teas, served in Japanese cast iron teapots and a delicious range of homemade cakes, scones and savouries, including gluten free.

Updated by Martha Griffiths in May 2021

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