Afternoon tea in Hertfordshire: 32 of the best
- Credit: Archant
Afternoon tea is a hallmark of British culture that these days comes in many varieties. With its green landscape, attractive towns and beautiful venues, Hertfordshire is a great location for this delight. Here are 32 of the best places in the county to indulge
Prices and details are correct as of March 2019
The Mansion House, Luton, Bedfordshire
The Robert Adams-designed Luton Hoo has a colourful history dating back to the 18th century, involving Russian royals, diamond magnates and movie stars. Visitors to today's grand hotel, which straddles the Herts-Beds border near Harpenden, are served afternoon tea consisting of tiered plates of sandwiches, scones and cakes in the exquisite drawing room. Film buffs can bask in the knowledge that the room was used in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Eyes Wide Shut and War Horse.
Afternoon tea £32 from Monday to Friday, £40 on Saturday and Sunday. Champagne afternoon tea: £11 per glass of Champagne
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London Road, Apsley nr Hemel Hempstead
For a mix of contemporary style and grandeur - think Victorian meets sleek design - Shendish Manor Hotel in Apsley near Hemel Hempstead is the place to visit. The hotel boasts 70 beautiful rooms and for afternoon tea diners there is a terrace facing formal gardens. Indulge in finger sandwiches, expertly made cakes and of course, scones with your tea. Add Prosecco (£5.50) or Champagne (£11).
Traditional afternoon tea £19.95. Make your afternoon tea bottomless for an additional £18.50 per person.
Cow Lane, Tring
While many former aristocratic piles in the county are now open to the public, you won't find many venues with a richer history than Pendley Manor Hotel. The house in Tring dates back as far as 1066, so there are almost a thousand years' of stories locked away in its old bones. Today's hotel has won numerous awards for excellence and the restaurant has a dedicated and enthusiastic head chef.
Afternoon tea served daily, 1pm until 5.30pm. Full afternoon tea is £24.95 or Champagne afternoon tea is £31.95
Fore Street, Hertford
The Salisbury Arms is hailed online as one of the best hotels in Hertford. It is a cosy hotel, with a friendly and personal service that makes both local residents and guests feel relaxed while dining on clotted cream scones. The building has been a social hub in part of Hertford for more than 150 years and many of the staff have been here for 15 or more, so have a good understanding of customer's needs. The hotel has remained true to its original structure, so you may hear the odd creak of a floorboard.
Book an afternoon tea by calling 01992 583091. Served 3pm until 6pm
For a spread with a hint of elegance, a visit to Hanbury Manor in Ware is in order. The grand country house, which was built by Edmund Hanbury in 1890 with no expense spared, became a hotel and restaurant in the 1990s. Guests can enjoy afternoon tea sandwiches on an array of breads and can choose to dine in Oak Hall, the library or the cocktail bar. It's advisable to book your afternoon tea to avoid disappointment.
Traditional afternoon tea is £40 with option to add Champagne (+£10), rosé and more for extra. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free versions also available (48 hours notice required). Check website for tea selection and further details
Fishpool Street, St Albans
The handsome 500-year-old St Michael's Manor in St Albans provides homemade sandwiches and cakes from its excellent restaurant on the lake-view terrace overlooking five acres of immaculate gardens.
Full afternoon tea is £24.50 or Champagne tea for £29.50. Available daily 3.30pm until 5.30pm
Hemel Hempstead Road, Redbourn, St Albans
Aubrey Park Hotel has a popular traditional and Champagne afternoon tea. These can be enjoyed on the terrace, in the contemporary bar or stylish lounge. The home baked ham with seeded mustard sandwiches are a delight as are its freshly baked scones with Cornish cream and jam. Top off with a glass of Champagne.
Traditional afternoon tea is £19.95. Prosecco afternoon tea is £24.95. Champagne afternoon tea is £28.95. Vegetarian options also available
Hamels Mead, Buntingford
Not only is Pearce's Cafe purse-friendly, but its afternoon tea is created with homemade ingredients sourced from the family-run farm. While the Pearce family has been running Puckeridge Farm for over 45 years, the café on the farm in Buntingford is a new venture to complement its excellent farm shop. The contemporary venue does not disappoint and diners can choose from eight of the finest hand-picked teas.
Traditional afternoon tea £16.95, glass of Prosecco £4.25
Unit 1 Mardleybury Farm, Mardleybury Road, Datchworth
Having expanded to seat 33 people, We R Cakes in Datchworth is a delightful little 1940s-style vintage tea room housed in a converted barn surrounded by fields and an ancient bluebell wood. The tearoom is next to a gallery with work by local artists. Eclectic, creative and scrummy.
Prices vary. Call 07790041104 to book
198 High Street, Walkern, Stevenage
It might not be possible to get a more at-home feeling when dining out than a visit to The Brewery Tea Room in Walkern. Once a lemonade factory, it is now owned and run by Sarah Parker, husband Nigel and Sarah's mother, Mary. The family decided the house was so special they had to share it with the public. Now they serve a lovely afternoon tea including Mary's home baked cakes, which she prepares each morning. The Brewery Tea Rooms were the winners of the Outstanding Customer Service award in the Hertfordshire Life Food and Drink Awards 2018.
Afternoon tea is £22.50
12 Market Square, Bishop's Stortford
The historic town of Bishop's Stortford is blessed with two tea rooms on its High Street, and frankly, both are divine. Rosey Lea has beautiful English bone china along with smiley staff. Customers can escape from the bustling town centre and enjoy home made cakes either on the terrace overlooking the market or in the cosy indoor tea room with floral table cloth-clad wooden tables.
Rosey Lea's Traditional Afternoon Tea is £14.25
70 South Street, Bishop's Stortford
The other Stortford town centre tea room is South Street Pantry. With its shabby chic style and vintage crockery along with rich, mouthwatering home made cakes and friendly service, it has customers queuing round the corner at weekends. A garden area has been created that's perfect for summer. Sample a highly-coveted slice of cake with a cup of Masala Chai tea with vanilla.
Afternoon tea is £12.95, add £3.95 for a glass of Prosecco or £20 for a bottle
64A High Street, Harpenden
A delicious scent wafts from Yummy Mummys Bakery, where cakes are baked in the parlour. Afternoon tea is by appointment only, as owner Maria is often hard at work making her award-winning cake creations. Those lucky enough to dine are seated in a pretty pink and cream tea room. Traditional afternoon tea is served, and, given the fabulous cakes on show, customers will not be disappointed by the sweet treats.
Afternoon tea from £20, call 01582 712700 to book
Hare Street, Buntingford
The Old Swan Tea Shop near Buntingford prides itself on its home grown produce - you won't find a chip or a coffee machine in sight. Their afternoon tea has proved such a hit that owners, Lynda and Bill, now sell their produce on local farmers' markets. They also welcome children to enjoy the garden, complete with a duck pond.
White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne
For those seeking an adventure with their sandwiches, the Tiger Treetops Café is hard to beat. Visitors to Tiger Tea at Paradise Wildlife Park begin their experience with a guide to the big cats at the Broxbourne venue, including snow leopards, tigers and cheetahs, from a walkway overlooking the enclosures. Afternoon tea is then served in a raised wooden café which faces on to the tigers' enclosure and provides great photo opportunities. While dining, visitors are given a talk by a big cat expert. An afternoon tea experience ideal for children and adults.
Afternoon tea with the tigers and a whole day's entry to the park from £59
Chandler's Cross, Watford
A family experience amid historic grandeur, The Grove in Watford is as impressive as its afternoon tea, which is prepared and served by gold certified tea masters. Drop-in visitors for the tea service are treated to exquisite chocolate creations by the pastry chef, while those that choose to stay at the hotel can use bikes to explore the 300-acre grounds.
Book online or call 01923 296010
London Road, Hertford
Kept in the family for more than a century, Foxholes Farm in Hertford is dedicated to producing high quality home grown meats and delicatessens, both for its afternoon tea and produce shop. The farm is a great place to take the little ones for afternoon tea, as children can enjoy the play area and explore the pet's corner.
High tea for two is £24.95
Knebworth House provides cherished childhood memories. After all, not many afternoon tea venues can say they have a dinosaur trail and an adventure playground. The house caters for a more sedate experience too, with tours of the house and gardens. The Garden Terrace Tea Room offers a traditional tea spread to visitors, who can choose their own cake (and eat it).
Pepper Hill, Great Amwell
Those with hobbies of the green-fingered variety will enjoy a visit to the Great Amwell-based Van Hage Garden Centre. Not only does it cater for your horticultural needs, it also provides afternoon tea as well as an animal farm and a miniature steam railway - bound to cause excitement among family members both young and young at heart.
High Street, Stevenage
Housed in an attractive red brick converted farmhouse, which dates bake to the 16th century, Hotel Cromwell is a charming hotel which was newly refurbished while keeping the soul of the old building alive. Afternoon teas at Cromwell come in the form of scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream, decadent mini cakes and tempting finger sandwiches.
Afternoon tea is £14.95 per person. Add a glass of Prosecco (+£5) or Champagne (+£10)
Lee Valley Boat Centre, Old Nazeing Road, Broxbourne
What could be a more relaxing afternoon tea experience than drifting along the River Lee while tucking into sandwiches? River Lee Cruises invites diners aboard The Lady of Lee Valley where they can relax while enjoying a circular guided tour starting at Broxbourne and heading downstream through one of the prettiest river stretches in Hertfordshire.
Check online for 2019 dates
Westmill nr Buntingford
Hertfordshire is blessed with lovely countryside, so it is important to have plenty of rural tea rooms on hand to replenish thirsty explorers. Westmill Tea Room is a family-run quaint venue on Westmill's picturesque village green near Buntingford. Dating back to the 1800s, the tea room was once a post office and has been used in period dramas including Foyle's War. Visitors can enjoy homemade afternoon tea while taking in the nostalgic décor. It's also full to the brim with goodies to take home including jams and sweets.
Afternoon teas are £18.50. By booking only
Matching Road, Hatfield Heath
A long-established country house, Down Hall, on the edge of Bishop's Stortford, is situated within 110 acres of landscaped gardens, which guests can explore. Visitors to the grand stately home can enjoy afternoon tea on the terrace and test some of the finest fusions. In chillier weather, tables by the grand fireplace come highly recommended.
Afternoon tea is £30, served between 1pm and 5.30pm, with occasional themed afternoon teas available
Great Hallingbury, Bishop's Stortford
Great Hallingbury Manor is so popular, staff are probably already taking bookings for Christmas. The Tudor-style grand building near Bishop's Stortford has a stylish contemporary interior from which visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the lake while eating fine delicacies. The hotel has an emphasis on being eco-friendly.
Opt for traditional afternoon tea or a 'G & Tea' which comes with a gin cocktail
Verulamium Park, St Michael's Street, St Albans
The Inn on the Park is set in 100 acres of St Albans parkland. The tea room uses fair trade produce, and, where possible, goods sourced from local suppliers to provide customers with the freshest ingredients. Visitors to Verulamium Park can enjoy the river and Roman ruins as well as playgrounds, a splash park and crazy golf.
Afternoon tea requires a table reservation 24 hours in advance. Plase call the café on 01727 838246
Moneybury Hill, Berkhamsted
Ancient woodland with breathtaking bluebells and rare species of trees, Ashridge Estate is a feast for the eyes. A perfect destination for dog walkers and strollers, the Brownlow Café on the Berkhamsted estate provides a traditional afternoon tea. Make sure you wrap up warm on chillier days, though, as seating is all outdoors.
37-39 Station Road, Melbourn, Royston
Just north of Royston in Melbourn, is a former mill house set in pretty landscaped gardens. A popular wedding venue, Sheene Mill also offers a delicious afternoon tea spread of sandwiches, scrumptious homemade scones and heavenly mini desserts with the option of upgrading to champagne (well, why not?). Booking is essential due to the fresh preparation of the items. Sheene Mill was our Restaurant of the Year in the 2018 Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards.
Traditional afternoon tea is £19.95; Champagne afternoon tea is £27.95
Barnet Lane, Elstree
If you have an eye for interior design, stop for tea in The Manor Hotel in Elstree. The mansion is furnished by Laura Ashley to create a tasteful and relaxing atmosphere. Guests can enjoy a seasonally-themed afternoon tea, while the hill that the hotel is built on provides panoramic views as far as Canary Wharf.
The Manor Afternoon Tea is £25.95. With a glass of Prosecco is £32.95 and with a glass of Champagne is £35.45
Hatfield Forest, Bishop's Stortford
Follow the carefully-crafted footpaths through National Trust woodland, while spotting a variety of wildlife on the way, to a final destination at The Forest Café. This small outlet in Hatfield Forest near Bishop's Stortford provides tea and cake for walkers, who can relax on wooden tables overlooking a vast lake. Bear in mind there is no indoor shelter for diners and a fair stroll beforehand - but that's the point.
Cottonmill Lane, St Albans
Sopwell House offers an interesting twist to its clotted cream and jam afternoon tea with the choice of either the cocktail bar or the light, airy restaurant.
Traditional afternoon tea is £25.95 from Monday to Friday and £29.95 on weekends and bank holidays. Champagne afternoon tea is £35.95 from Monday to Friday and £39.95 on weekends and bank holidays
Stevenage Road, Little Wymondley, Hitchin
Not only is Redcoats Farmhouse Hotel and Restaurant in Redcoats Green aesthetically pleasing - a combination of elegant red brick building, fine restaurant and lovely garden - the hotel is a family-run venture, and they pride themselves on a delivering a premium afternoon tea. Booking is advised.
Afternoon tea is £22, with a glass of bubbly is £29.50 in total
- Tewin Bury FarmHertford Road, Welwyn Garden City, Tewin
Previously a dairy farm and now a popular tea room and hotel, Tewin Bury Farm is an idyllic rural escape. Set in 490 acres of fine countryside in Tewin, there is still a working farm, from which the hotel sources many of its ingredients. While enjoying afternoon tea, it's possible to watch the farmer and his tractor at work.
Afternoon tea is £22 per person. Afternoon tea vouchers are also available - a perfect gift. Free from afternoon teas are also available