13 of the best afternoon teas to try in Cornwall

Afternoon tea at Pentille Castle

Afternoon tea at Pentille Castle - Credit: Archant

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without a traditional Cornish cream tea, so we've picked 13 of the best places to celebrate.

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

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1. Fowey Hall

Believed to be the inspiration behind Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows, Fowey Hall provides the perfect location for a traditional afternoon tea. The coastal manor looks out over the Fowey estuary with views of the fishing port and the sea beyond.

The Cornish afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches, a variety of home made cakes and both savoury and sweet scones, alongside Fowey Hall's own blend loose leaf tea. Currently they are running a Wind in the Willows inspired afternoon tea which promises some of the favourite food of the famous characters including Mr Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole.

Traditional £27 per person, with a glass of Hambledon English sparking wine £35 per person, and children £15.

2. Pentillie Castle

Set on the Cornish bank of the River Tamar, Pentillie Castle's extensive gardens and ancient woodlands provide the perfect backdrop for an elegant afternoon tea. The current owners of the castle and its 2000 acre estate undertook an ambitious restoration project in order to restore the castle to its former glory while simultaneously modernising it for today's use.

Afternoon teas are offered every Sunday, Monday or Thursday with a selection of homemade sandwiches, cakes and scones available, including the chef's special orange and dark chocolate éclairs, served alongside freshly brewed tea or coffee.

During the festive season a Christmas afternoon tea is also available consisting of the Pentillie afternoon tea with a festive twist.

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Traditional £25.00per person (min. two people).

3. The Royal Duchy

The Royal Duchy was set up over a hundred years ago, making it one of the first hotels in Falmouth. This historical building's Sun Terrace is the perfect place to sit and enjoy an al fresco afternoon tea with views overlooking Falmouth Bay. The Royal Duchy can provide a classic Cornish cream tea as well as a full afternoon tea and a champagne afternoon tea.

During December a festive afternoon tea is available which includes cucumber and smoked salmon finger sandwiches, festive cake, mice pies and Cornish cream tea, enough to satisfy any sweet tooth!

Cornish cream tea £9 per person, full afternoon tea £18 per person, Champagne afternoon tea £26 per person.

4. Rectory Tea Rooms, Morwenstow nr Bude

Set just a 10 minute walk from Cornish coastline, the award winning Rectory Tea Rooms provide an excellent location for those looking to enjoy an afternoon tea close to the sea.

The Rectory prides itself on its use of locally sourced ingredients so customers can enjoy an authentic, Cornish afternoon tea experience. Using recipes passed down through generations, the home made cakes, scones and jams have stood the test of time and continue to satisfy. There is a wide range of loose leaf teas available to go alongside the scones and cakes including the house blend, 'Smugglers Choice', supplied locally by the first tea plantation in Cornwall.

Gluten, wheat and dairy free options available.

5. Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, Lostwithiel

Located on the Duchy estate and looking out on to Restormel Castle this welcoming little café provides a relaxing atmosphere for an afternoon tea. Bringing together some of the best local suppliers, its afternoon tea includes Boddington's jam and clotted cream from the neighbouring Trewithen Dairy. Unlimited coffee or tea comes as part of the afternoon tea package and visitors can add a glass of prosecco or cocktail too.

Afternoon tea £25 per person, with a glass of prosecco £30. 

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6. Mullion Cove Hotel

Set in a dramatic sea view location on the Lizard Peninsula, the luxury Mullion Cove Hotel provides a luxury afternoon tea to match. Describing itself as one of the most romantic hotels in Cornwall, it is unsurprising that afternoon teas are perfect for two people to share. A variety of sandwiches and scones (gluten free options available) are served with local jam and plenty of clotted cream alongside a selection of handpicked teas. Add two glasses of Gremillet to upgrade to a champagne afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea for two £19.95 per person, Champagne afternoon tea for two £26 per person.

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7. Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Idle Rocks is the perfect place to sit and enjoy an afternoon tea while appreciating the view across the water. Situated on the harbour side in St Mawes, Idle Rocks aims to re-engage guests with the simpler pleasures in life.

The Cornish afternoon tea includes all the classic sandwiches as well as a vast selection of sweet options such as carrot cake, raspberry shortbread, macaroons and Battenberg. Loose leaf tea is grown in the United Kingdom's first tea garden, based locally in Cornwall, and options include English breakfast, Earl Grey, chamomile, Darjeeling and red berry. Idle Rocks also offer a cocktail afternoon tea as an adventurous alternative to the classic or sparkling afternoon teas.

Cornish Afternoon Tea £25, Sparkling Afternoon Tea £35, Cocktail Afternoon Tea £37

8. Charlie's, Tintagel

Based in the pretty village of Tintagel, this family run tearoom offers a traditional Cornish cream tea at a very fair price. £5.50 will get you two warm scones with Boddington's strawberry jam and William's clotted cream served with a pot of English tea or coffee. Charlie's were finalists for Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year at the Cornwall Life Food & Drink Awards 2018 so they're unlikely to disappoint!

Cornish Cream Tea is £5.50, with hot chocolate it is £6.30 or £9.95 with a mini bottle of prosecco. 

9. The Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth

The Scarlet Hotel is a luxury eco hotel situated right by the sea in Mawgan Porth near Newquay. It is an adult only hotel and so it is the ideal place for couples to enjoy a selection of freshly made sandwiches on artisan bread, a broad selection of cakes including lemon curd and rhubarb tartlet, Victoria sponge, and dark chocolate and peanut butter Paris breast, followed by warm scones with locally sourced clotted cream and jam. The afternoon teas can be served with either Scarlet champagne or a pot of Tregnothan tea.

Afternoon tea £25 per person.

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10. Trengwainton Tearooms, Madron nr Penzance

Based on the grounds of the eponymous National Trust property, Trengwainton Tearooms is the perfect place to stop for an afternoon tea after a wander round the gardens. This award winning tea room offers a traditional afternoon tea as well as a savoury cream tea with cheese scones, cream cheese and chutney. Many of the ingredients used have travelled just a matter of metres from the walled gardens and into the kitchen; it doesn't get much more locally sourced than that!

11. The Dwelling House, Fowey

Formerly a Georgian merchant's building, this elegant tearoom is situated in the small, picturesque town of Fowey. The afternoon tea includes cakes mostly baked in the Rayburn and with 25 different varieties of tea guests will be spoilt for choice. There is a small, walled courtyard where guests can sit, soak up the sun and breathe in the fresh sea air on those warmer days.

Call 01726 833662 to book.

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12. Twisted Currant, Porthleven

If you're looking for a bright and modern but cosy atmosphere in which to enjoy an afternoon tea then the Twisted Currant is ideal. This dog friendly tea room offers a very reasonably priced afternoon tea made using home made bread and cakes. The varied menu offers 'The Chocolate Cream Tea' with chocolate chip scones, Cadbury's chocolate spread and clotted cream for those with a sweeter tooth. There is also a 'Gentlemen's Cream Tea' available with cheese scones, Philadelphia cheese and red onion relish. Catering for gluten free, dairy free or vegan means the Twisted Currant always has something to offer.

13. Chapel Cafe, Port Isaac

The Chapel Café is a restored 19th century Methodist chapel in the heart of Port Isaac on the rugged Cornish coast. It has been running for three years as a successful addition to the family run Port Isaac Pottery. The cream teas come with a pot of tea for one, a large heart shaped scone and ethically sourced jam and cream. It also prides itself on coffee which has been locally roasted exclusively for Chapel Café and served in one of the mugs made at Port Isaac Pottery.

Cornish cream tea £5.95 per person

Updated by Martha Griffiths in May 2021.