Afternoon tea in Suffolk: 9 of the best places to go

Afternoon tea in Suffolk

Afternoon tea in Suffolk - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Suffolk is home to some of the best cream teas in Britain – from country house hotels to chilled out coffee shops, we pick 9 places worth a visit

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If you fancy something sweet, elegant and indulgent, what could be more fabulously British (and delicious) than treating yourself to afternoon tea at one of the many tearooms and hotels in Suffolk.

Once you’ve decided upon where to go, the toughest part will be choosing between an ‘afternoon’ or ‘cream’ tea. Will it be the more reserved cream tea; with scones, clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea (ours is an Earl Grey, in case you were wondering). Or, will you go the whole hog and opt for the traditional afternoon tea; with delicate finger sandwiches and dainty pastries – it’s a tough call! Which ever you decide upon, here are 10 places guaranteed to satisfy your sugar cravings.

1. Salthouse Harbour Hotel

Head to this boutique hotel in Ipswich’s vibrant Harbour quayside for an afternoon tea from the 2 AA Rosette restaurant. Relax in the waterfront eatery and sip a choice of luxury teas from around the world, before you tuck into a variety of finger sandwiches, cheese scones with cream cheese followed by a selection of cakes. Afternoon tea is available daily between 2.30pm and 5pm. For those wanting a real taste of luxury, upgrade your afternoon tea to include a glass of champagne.

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2. The Swan at Lavenham

Well known in East Anglia for its Michelin-recommended food, the 15th century hotel and spa sits in the heart of the beautiful medieval village of Lavenham. The Swan offer three different types of afternoon tea: the Traditional - the standard option that can be upgraded to include a glass of champagne - the Gentleman’s - a savoury-oriented offering - and the High Tea for those with the most decadent taste. Afternoon tea is served in the Gallery Restaurant between 12pm and 5pm.

3. Maison Talbooth

Find the luxury country house hotel on the Suffolk and Essex border, set amongst grounds that look out across Constable’s countryside and the Dedham Vale. Guests can settle into the Garden Room and gaze out towards St. Mary’s Church as they sample the afternoon tea selection. Maison Talbooth offer a selection of sandwiches and buttermilk scones with jam and clotted cream, plus a changing menu of cakes which may include chocolate brownies, Battenberg, raspberry puffs with fresh cream or fruit cake. Everything is freshly prepared for every sitting and tea is served every day between 2pm and 6pm.

4. Tuddenham Mill

The sympathetic refurbishment of this traditional watermill makes it a little different to the average boutique hotel, with its cast iron water wheel and towering chimney. The kitchen is run by award-winning chef Lee Bye who has earned Tuddenham Mill its 2 AA Rosette. The afternoon tea is served with the traditional scone with jam and clotted cream, pretty pastries, delicate sandwiches plus a variety of tea to choose from, ranging from organic earl grey to Himalayan Peak darjeeling. Served Monday to Saturday between 2.30pm and 5pm.

5. Hintlesham Hall

Over 400 years old, Hintlesham Hall is a Grade 1 Listed Country House in Hintlesham, Suffolk. Just 10 minutes drive from Ipswich, the tranquil property is surrounded by broad front lawns and picturesque rear gardens, complete with a rose garden and orchard. In addition to the usual treats expected with one’s afternoon tea, guests can also add a glass of champagne, prosecco or Bucks Fizz to really make it special. Served daily between 2pm and 5pm.

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6. Stoke by Nayland Golf, Hotel and Spa

The family owned golf hotel and spa in Leavenheath, on the Suffolk-Essex border, boasts a 2 AA Rosette restaurant. As well as the traditional afternoon tea and sparkling tea, they are now offering a Gin & Tonic afternoon tea featuring gins from their new menu and a jam containing Bombay Sapphire. Tea can be taken next to a roaring fire in the winter months or al fresco on the terrace when the sun is shining. .

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7. Westleton Crown

The traditional Suffolk coaching inn on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, between Southwold and Aldeburgh, dates back to the 12th century. Now offering both afternoon and cream teas at incredibly good prices, the Westleton offers way more than just a cosy pub experience. Served between 3pm and 6pm.

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8. Milsoms Kesgrave Hall

A 20 minute drive from Ipswich, Kesgrave Hall is a 4 star boutique hotel set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Enjoy a delicious-looking selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes in the relaxed lounge or the outside terrace on a sunny day. Afternoon tea is served between 3pm and 5pm.

9. White Lion, Aldeburgh

In-house restaurant Brasserie Bleue produces a number of themed afternoon teas that mix up their sandwiches, scones, cakes and treats to reflect just what is going on in that particular month. For example, their Suffolk-themed afternoon tea promoted some of the county’s very best produce, in the process guaranteeing that you are supporting local business and getting incredibly fresh ingredients. Available daily between 3pm and 5pm.

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