Our pick of the best festive afternoon teas

Tea (or champagne) and festive fancies, served in opulent surroundings, is the ultimate seasonal indulgence. Here’s our guide to afternoon tea with a Christmas twist.

Allow yourself a time out from Christmas shopping with a festive retreat to an opulent hotel for afternoon tea with a seasonal twist

Cliveden House, Berkshire

Dating back to 1666, and set in 376 acres of spectacular parkland, Cliveden has been home to dukes, earls and viscounts. It opened as a luxury hotel in 1985. Afternoon tea is served in the beautiful surroundings of the Great Hall with its giant Christmas tree and roaring log fire. A fine three-tiered selection includes finger sandwiches, warm scones with homemade jams and clotted cream, festive pastries, warm mince pies and other seasonal treats. There is a wide selection of teas to choose from, including Cliveden’s own blend. From £37 per person, from 25 November to 2 January, excluding its House Party period; clivedenhouse.co.uk

 Langshott Manor Hotel, Surrey

Enjoy finger sandwiches, homemade scones, chocolate éclairs, clementine and ginger posset and coffee and walnut delice in the picturesque 16th-century Elizabethan manor house hotel. From £29 per person; from 1 to 31 December excluding 23 to 26, alexanderhotels.co.uk/langshott-manor-luxury-hotel-surrey 

Hotel Cafe Royal, London

Served in the opulent Oscar Wilde Bar, the ‘Festive Diptyque Afternoon Tea’ matches pastries with fragrance by the iconic French perfumer. From £55 per person; from 16 November to 3 January except Christmas Day; hotelcaferoyal.com

The Salutation, Sandwich, Kent

This Grade I Listed hotel was until recently run by stars of Channel 4’s Gogglebox, husband and wife Steph and Dom Parker. Its festive tea includes finger sandwiches with turkey and cranberry, savouries of apple chutney on focaccia bread, plus stilton and broccoli quiche, followed by mince pies, Christmas cake and lime and ginger torte. (NB the menu is subject to change.) From £18 per person; every day throughout December; the-salutation.com   

The Midland Hotel, Manchester

This historic hotel (it’s where Rolls met Royce) has been offering afternoon tea for more than 110 years; following a major refurbishment, it’s served in the new Tea Room overlooking St Peter’s Square. Relax with a glass of champagne and mulled wine with artisan-bread finger sandwiches such as festive roast turkey with cranberry relish, before moving on to home-baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and Mrs Darlington’s jams, festive cakes and pastries and bespoke blends of tea. From £35 per person; from 24 November to 30 December (excluding Christmas Day); tearoomatthemidland.co.uk  

Lucknam Park, Wiltshire 

Built in the 18th century, the mansion is set in beautiful grounds. Cosy up in the elegant Drawing Room or Library with sandwiches including honey-glazed ham and cranberry or prawn cocktail, and avocado muffin and cheese and onion scones. Dainty festive patisserie follows, including gingerbread, white chocolate and banana delice, pear and chestnut choux ‘Mont Blanc’ and Gillards of Bath leaf tea, or coffee. From £29 per person; from 4 to 31 December excluding 25, 26, 31 for non-residents; lucknampark.co.uk 


The Balmoral, Edinburgh

The Balmoral (the word means ‘majestic dwelling’ in Gaelic) has stood in the city centre for more than 100 years. Sip champagne in its elegant Palm Court under a glass dome and Venetian chandelier, accompanied by music from a harpist. The festive tea includes game farmhouse and pistachio sausage roll, stilton and candied pecan quiche, smoked salmon with nutmeg crème fraîche; cakes include blood orange and pistachio tart and vanilla and spiced redcurrant choux. From £44 per person; daily throughout December; roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel/ 

The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport

Enjoy a host of seasonal sweet treats including mince pies and Christmas pudding chocolate truffles, freshly baked cranberry and vanilla and chestnut scones, assorted pastries and cakes and a seasonal savoury selection, served with a warming glass of mulled wine. From £26 per person; from 30 November to 1 January, excluding Christmas Day; celtic-manor.com




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