12 Places to Have Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds (2024 Guide)

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Looking for the best places to have afternoon tea in the Cotswolds? I got you covered. You see, the moment I started planning our week-long trip to the Cotswolds, the first thing that came to mind was afternoon tea! 

It’s one of the must-dos when in the area, and once you’ve tried it, it’s easy to see why.

Imagine taking a break after a busy morning exploring villages surrounded by lush views, yummy finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream, and of course, a piping hot pot of tea.

Just thinking about it makes me want to go back to the Cotswolds!

Sure, you can enjoy afternoon tea in many other areas across England. However, the Cotswolds has a unique charm, as well as countless luxury hotels and cafes, that make afternoon tea a must when you’re there. 

Here are some of the places you can head to for a memorable afternoon tea experience in the Cotswolds.

Enjoying afternoon tea in The Cotswolds
Afternoon tea in The Cotswolds

Afternoon Tea Tradition

The traditional afternoon tea consists of a wide selection of delicate finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and preserves, as well as cakes and pastries. Of course, tea will be served from teapots into pretty teacups! 

You might be wondering, how did the tradition of afternoon tea come to be?

While drinking tea has been a custom in England since the 1660s, the concept of afternoon tea is actually fairly new. It was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.

The Duchess became hungry at four o’clock in the afternoon but had to wait for their evening meal, which was typically served at eight o’clock at night. 

This left a long gap between lunch and dinner. To fight off the hunger, the Duchess requested for a tray of tea, bread, butter, and cake to be brought to her room during late afternoons. This late afternoon snack had become her habit and she started inviting friends to join her.

From there, afternoon tea transformed into a fashionable social event, where upper-class and society women would wear long gowns, hats, and gloves to enjoy their afternoon tea. Typically served in their drawing rooms between four o’clock to five o’clock in the afternoon. 

Fast forward to today, afternoon tea isn’t only a chic social event for aristocrats, but an iconic part of English cuisine. It’s also one of the best things to do in the United Kingdom!

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Best Places to Have Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds

One week in the Cotswolds was not enough to enjoy as many afternoon teas, which is why I swear I’m coming back for more soon!

Let me share some of my favorite places to enjoy the best afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, as well as more places recommended by locals and fellow travelers. Looking for something different? Then check out the top pubs in the Cotswolds.

1. Lords of The Manor in Upper Slaughter

Afternoon tea at Lords of The Manor in The Cotswolds
Image from Lords of The Manor

Lords of the Manor is the most spectacular manor house in Upper Slaughter, especially when you visit during the summer season. During this time, you can enjoy your afternoon tea on the vast lawn with the manor house as your view. 

That said, Lords of the Manor can be enjoyed even during the colder months when you can warm up to a hot cup of tea (or hot chocolate) and your favorite selection of finger sandwiches and scones over a log fire. 

Make sure you try their smoked salmon finger sandwiches and Grand Marnier Opera Gateau. They’re displayed on fancy-looking silver cake stands.

2. Charingworth Manor in Chipping Campden

Afternoon tea at Charingworth Manor
Image from Charingworth Manor

When I visited the Chipping Campden, one of the first places I headed to was Charingworth Manor. It’s known for its traditional afternoon teas and picturesque gardens complete with rose bushes and lavender shrubs.

Feel like royalty as you sip your coffee or tea and enjoy a wide variety of finger sandwiches. If you’re treated to nice weather, enjoying afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is one of the best outdoor activities in the UK.

My favorite part of the experience wasn’t only my green, regal-like surroundings, but the homemade cakes specially selected by the manor’s amazing team. 

Using ingredients sourced from the village, their cakes are changed all year round. Expect to get different flavors based on the season and available ingredients. 

3. Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham

Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham
Image from Ellenborough Park

Ellennborough Park is a five-star historic hotel in the Cotswolds, making it one of the best places to have high-class afternoon tea in Cheltenham.

Not only does Ellenborough Park have fantastic views and a garden to match, but it also offers more flexibility when it comes to afternoon tea.

You can choose from various teas and coffee. However, if you want something different, there are cocktails or gin and tonics available too.

If you’re traveling with family, you can book a mini afternoon tea made for children so they can experience luxurious and traditional afternoon tea too.

Another reason why Ellenborough Park is a personal favorite is the food selection! From sausage rolls, quiches, finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, and other desserts, you will surely indulge and leave with a happy stomach. 

4. Tisanes Tea Rooms in Broadway

Afternoon tea at Tisanes Tea Rooms in Broadway
Image from Tisanes Tea Rooms

If you’re staying in one of Broadway’s many luxury cottages, then one of the best places to spend afternoon tea is the Tisanes Tea Rooms.

Located within a 17th-century stone building, stepping inside is like taking a step back in time, with a charming tea room and indulgent treats. 

Can’t have gluten? The lovely staff of Tisanes Tea Rooms can accommodate your dietary needs, replacing bread and scones with other gluten-free options.

So, if you’re looking for a traditional tea room set in a Cotswold stone building, this quaint little tea shop is for you.

5. Barnsley House in Barnsley, Cirencester

Barnsley House at Barnsley, Cirencester
Image from Barnsley House

Barnsley House is a Tudor manor house offering afternoon tea from their in-house restaurant, The Potager.

You can enjoy their traditional and luxurious afternoon tea with a nice garden view thanks to their floor-to-ceiling windows. 

If you’re planning to have afternoon tea in Barnsley House during the summer, you can opt to have it in the garden with their Pimm’s cream tea option. 

Expect nothing but high-quality food and drinks at this fine-dining restaurant. Their classic afternoon tea features sweet and savory options like homemade fruit scones, finger sandwiches, fresh cakes, and your choice of tea or coffee. 

You can even get a glass of champagne or gin and tonic! Not a fan of sweets? There are also other savory finger foods to indulge in, such as cheese scones, chicken bakes, or sausage rolls. 

6. Lucknam Park Hotel in Chippenham

Afternoon tea at Lucknam Park Hotel
Image from Lucknam Park Hotel

Located just outside of Bath, the Lucknam Park Hotel is a gorgeous mansion offering luxury afternoon tea, complete with your choice of drink and freshly-made finger foods. 

I also regard the Lucknam Park Hotel as one of the best cream teas in Bath thanks to their crispy, buttery, flaky scones that become tender in the center. They go perfectly with clotted cream, alongside tea to elevate the flavors.

7. The Manor House in Castle Combe

The Manor House in Castle Combe
Image from The Manor House

The Manor House in Castle Combe offers afternoon tea that you can’t find anywhere else. Being a 17th-century country house hotel surrounded by the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, everything you see and touch feels magical regardless of when you go.

While I’m the type who loves afternoon teas in the gardens during summer, the amazing staff of The Manor House exceeds expectations even during frosty days when it’s too cold to stay outdoors.

You’ll be led into one of their plush drawing rooms with a log fire prepared to keep you warm as you take in views of the vast gardens and fountain.

There is a great selection of ethically sourced Shibui teas and a 3-tier silver cake stand featuring classic finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and jam.

It also includes cakes and pastries like Lemon Meringue Tarts and French macarons to end your afternoon. The homey yet luxurious ambiance makes me want to go back to the Manor House again and again.

8. Highgrove Gardens in Tetbury

Highgrove Gardens in Tetbury
Image from Highgrove Gardens

You can’t go to Tetbury without experiencing Highgrove afternoon tea! The Highgrove Gardens is a majestic landscape garden on a royal estate, where you can live out your Bridgerton dreams (just like I did).

In fact, the Highgrove is the private home of Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Consort. As you walk around the Highgrove Gardens, you get to see royalty up close and personal, with The Prince’s whimsical touches to his residence.

You can also join the Garden Tour, where you can learn all about the garden’s history and sustainability.

Afterward, head over to The Orchard Room, where the ultimate Champagne afternoon tea begins! Feel like royalty as you sip on champagne and traditional refreshments, including finger sandwiches, scones, and more sweet treats. 

9. Blenheim Palace in Woodstock

Blenheim Palace in Woodstock
Image from Blenheim Palace

If I had to describe Blenheim Palace afternoon tea with just one word, it’s got to be grand. You’ll be receiving luxurious treatment throughout your afternoon, with stellar service and an elegant atmosphere that can’t be beaten.

Feeling full after all the Cotswold tea and food? Walk it out around Blenheim Palace, which is a whopping 11,500-acre estate.

You can spend an entire day roaming around the formal gardens and parks, surrounding yourself with peace and nature after an indulgent and formal afternoon tea in the Cotswolds. 

10. The Slaughters Manor House in Lower Slaughter

Looking for afternoon tea at a Lower Slaughter manor? The Slaughters Manor House is a classic Cotswold manor house with five acres of landscaped gardens ready to be explored before or after a wonderful afternoon tea.

You can choose to have your traditional afternoon tea in the bar, lounges, or gardens, weather permitting.

Wherever you choose, you’ll experience the grand British tradition, as you’re served a variety of plain and fruit scones with clotted cream, different savory sandwiches, and tea or coffee. 

Upgrade your afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly champagne, or get an afternoon tea hamper to enjoy your tea and scones picnic style.

11. Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden

The Cotswold House Hotel afternoon tea experience was a remarkable one, where modernity meets tradition.

With a wide selection of loose-leaf teas served in locally made teapots and Robert Welch silverware, as well as a view of Cotswolds’ High Streets, afternoons don’t get better than this.

What’s so interesting is that the hotel can cater to every palate, including vegans and those going gluten-free! There was no need to worry about dietary restrictions because of the great selection of sweets and savories, all of which were absolutely delicious.  

If you’re feeling extra fancy, treat yourself to the sparkling set, which includes a mini bottle of Prosecco. After your afternoon tea, you can head out to explore more of the hotel or take your R&R a bit further with the spa treatments offered.

12. Whatley Manor Hotel in Malmesbury

The Whatley Manor Hotel takes afternoon tea to a whole new level! Set in an 18th-century house, you can either enjoy afternoon tea in their in-house restaurant or by the terrace surrounded by greens and floral blooms. 

Indulge in the fine selection of handcrafted treats and finger sandwiches paired with tea and sparkling wine. With elegance in the air throughout your stay, dress your best to feel like royalty!

Also, make sure you prepare your legs after tea because it’s worth exploring the 12 acres of Cotswolds gardens. Lastly, book your afternoon tea beforehand, as the Whatley Manor Hotel does not accept walk-ins.

Conclusion of Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds

There will always be somewhere in the area to enjoy Cotswolds afternoon tea, whether you’re looking for something homey and simple, or fancy and extravagant. 

That being said, if afternoon tea in the Cotswolds isn’t on your itinerary yet, then this is your sign to add it. Make sure you visit some of the places I mentioned for a memorable experience with your loved ones.

The Dial House in The Cotswolds
The Dial House in The Cotswolds

Afternoon tea is a quintessential part of any trip to the Cotswolds, but it isn’t the only thing to do in the breathtaking villages. 

Check out our other article on what to do in Bourton on the Water, and watch out for upcoming travel guides about the Cotswolds so you won’t catch yourself booking last-minute cottages and missing out on key activities!

Planning to visit the UK sometime soon? Check out these guides:

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Afternoon Tea in the Cotswolds | Hey there, tea enthusiasts! Ready to embark on a delightful journey through the picturesque Cotswolds?  Immerse yourself in the coziness of 12 handpicked afternoon tea spots that'll warm your heart and tickle your taste buds. From charming cottages to serene gardens, we've got your tea cravings covered! Join us for a virtual tea party and get all the scoop in our latest blog. #CotswoldTeaTrail #Cotswoldsafternoontea #TeaTimeAdventures
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