The best local afternoon teas
More scones, madam? Nibble your way through petit fours and finger sandwiches with 10 of the best afternoon teas in Somerset and Dorset - a glass of fizz with ours, please.
It’s indulgent, soothing and involves a LOT of cake. What’s not to like about afternoon tea? Here are 10 of our favourite places in Somerset and Dorset to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week…
Onboard a WW1 railway carriage on the old West Bay station platform, nr Bridport
The Station Kitchen in West Bay near Bridport, is a cafe/restaurant in a quirkily restored WW1 train carriage, with tables out on the platform too. Nosh on finger sandwiches, chef’s secret savouries, lemon scented scones (mmm…) with strawberry preserves and Devon clotted cream, sweet bites and micro desserts, cakes and pastries (gluten-free, if you request when you book). £25 per person; £30 with a glass of fizz or a cocktail. Every Saturday 12pm – 4pm.
A Beatrix Potter inspired tea in a hotel overlooking Chesil Beach, nr Weymouth
One for the kids. Well it would be, at the luxury super-family-friendly Moonfleet Manor Hotel in Weymouth: who’ve created an edible garden afternoon tea available for non-residents, celebrating the books of Beatrix Potter. So you get Mr McGregor’s stolen vegetables, Jemima Puddle-Duck’s mini eggs, and even a gingerbread Peter Rabbit made using the recipe from the author’s own recipe book. £25 per adult; £12.50 per child. Available until Sun 20 Sept.
Off yer bike and into a former Sunday School in Merriott, nr Crewkerne Ilminster
Popular with the cyclists (Sustrans Route 30 passes their front door) and with vintage cycling memorabilia – and bikes – on the walls, the homemade cakes at The Feed Station in Merriott nr Crewkerne – vegan apricot slice, chocolate Guinness cake, triple Victoria sponge, toffee caramel cake, tiffin, rocky road, all types of scones and more – are stupendous. Book to be sure of a table but you can trust to luck and just rock up. Teas, coffees, soft drinks or a glass of bubbles. Cakes £2.50 – £3. Weds to Sun, 9am to 3pm.
Traditional with a twist at a 2 AA rosette restaurant close to Bournemouth’s beaches – eat in or take away
Afternoon tea at The Abor restaurant at Bournemouth’s eco-friendly boutique The Green House Hotel includes a twist on the traditional scone (though they do those too) with their chocolate chip scones with clotted Dorset Cream and house-made preserves, trad finger sandwiches, chef’s fancies, Joe’s Tea Co organic teas, cocktails, Pimms and all sort of chilled fizziness. Gluten, dairy free and vegan afternoon teas available on request. They also offer a Collection Afternoon Tea (order online and collect). Classic Afternoon tea £18.50 per person (booze on top). Daily from 2pm – 4.30pm.
In a riverside pod in a former monastery turned luxury hotel in Wareham
Race you to a seat in the riverside pod, a table on the terrace or in the drawing room of The Priory, a former monastery turned grand private house and now a boutique country hotel and restaurant on the banks of the River Frome in Wareham. On the menu, treats like homemade warm Priory Dorset Apple Cake Tea or the Priory ‘Ritzy’ Tea which comes with finger sarnies, homemade cakes and scone with jam and clotted, and a pot of Twinings looseleaf (natch). Priory Apple Cake and tea,, £7.50 per person; Priory ‘Ritzy’ Tea £24.50 per person, £34.50 with a glass of prosecco. From 3.30 to 5pm.
In an elegant Georgian townhouse hotel in Bath
Classic afternoon tea Bath-style in at 15 Great Pulteney, a Georgian townhouse hotel on one of the city’s most elegant streets. Scrumptious sandwiches (Severne & Wye smoked salmon and cream cheese, Bath White egg mayo), delectable desserts (18 carat chocolate orange dome, pistachio panna cotta) and warm scones with strawberry jam and Devon clotted cream. And all sorts of teas from their own blends, Jing and Comins specialist teas. £30 per person; add in a glass of AR Lenoble Champagne and it’s £38. Monday – Saturday: 12noon – 5pm and Sunday: 2.30pm – 5pm.
In the gardens of a thatched cottage with great views of Exmoor
Traditional clotted cream teas – which includes fruit, plain, vegan and gluten-free scones with whortleberry jam (that’s a new one on me) – in the gorgeous gardens of traditional thatched cottage the Periwinkle Tea Rooms in Selworthy on the National Trust’s Selworthy Green on Exmoor. See the menu. Open daily, 11am – 4pm.
Somerset Cream teas in a cafe within an interiors shop, in Curry Rivel, nr Langport
Scoff your cream tea with or without (wiith! with!) a mini bottle of prosecco at Living Pretty inside in their teashop or outside in their courtyard. Then browse their range of shabby chic and vintage country-style interiors. Tea for two £30. Open Weds to Sat with reservations for afternoon tea reservations taken for 12pm and 2.15pm.
In two cool, contemporary tea houses – no chintz here – in Bath and Sturminster Newton
‘Fine, single estate…’ We’re not talking about vintage wine but loose leaf tea – nearly 100 varieties of the stuff. Tea experts Rob and Michelle Comins are passionate about tea, which they serve, along with locally sourced food at their cool, contemporary Comins Tea House in Bath and Comins Tea House in Sturminster Newton. For afternoon tea, start with a selection of tartines (a type of open sandwich) with homemade toppings, paired with a pot of Comins Fine Tea, followed by cakes and blueberry scones, clotted cream and another pot of Comins Fine Tea. £16 per person. Bath: Weds, Thurs & Fir 11am–4pm; Sat 11am –5pm. Sturminster Newton, Sat 11am–3pm.
In a converted chapel with a sunny terrace in Bruton
Head to the lofty, light At the Chapel and its sunny, jasmine-scented terrace on Bruton’s High Street, for traditional afternoon teas with finger sarnies – Westcombe cheddar on 5-seed sourdough, Somerset ham, free-range Somerset egg mayo; freshly baked scones, Somerset clotted cream and jam; and a selection of mini cakes – lemon drizzle, orange polenta, choc brownie and iced buns. Available to go, too (with 24 hours notice). £15 per person. Open daily, with afternoon tea always available.