BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR
Tea and Bath time in Wonderland – Wiltshire, from £135 pp with holidaycottages.co.uk
Tumble down a hole into a tantalising world of nonsense at The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, an Alice in Wonderland-themed tearoom in the centre of the city of Bath.
Tuck into a cream tea with homemade cakes, surrounded by huge teacups and teapots, clocks of all different shapes and sizes, and tables and chairs designed to replicate playing cards.
Sticking with the rabbity theme, stay nearby at Hares Barn (sleeps four, plus one dog), a stylish and contemporary property with gorgeous bedrooms and a hot tub.
Legendary Bettys and a Teapot stay – North Yorkshire, from £93 pp with Canine Cottages.
For something really special, experience afternoon tea at the renowned Bettys Harrogate. Bleiker’s tea-smoked salmon sandwiches, sultana scones with strawberry preserve and clotted cream, Carrot Gugelhupfs, Gooey Rascals…sloshed down with a glistening glass of champagne in the most impeccably presented, old-fashioned tearoom.
Stay right in town at Teapot Cottage – Harrogate (sleeps four, plus two dogs), a lovely period property popular with families, including their four-legged members.
A three-night self-catering stay costs from £93 pp (£371 total). £20 supplement per dog. Visit Canine Cottages (www.caninecottages.co.uk).
Hot tub afternoon tea? Yes please! – Tea from £32 pp & overnight stay from £323 pp at Seaham Hall
Enjoy delicious sweet and savoury favourites with a North East twist from the glorious comfort of your own hot tub. Staying in one of Seaham Hall’s Garden Suites, the indulgent and frightfully British Afternoon Teasdesigned by Executive Chef Damian Broom will be set up in your own private garden, as you sink into the bubbles.
The menus are changed seasonally and have previously featured smoked salmon from Aberdeenshire and a Yorkshire strawberry and elderflower tart, all accompanied by your choice of loose-leaf tea, premium coffee, or a glass of Taittinger Champagne.
An overnight stay in a Garden Suite costs from £323pp (two sharing), including breakfast and spa access.
Afternoon Tea from £32 pp for a Traditional Afternoon Tea or £45 pp for Champagne Afternoon Tea. To book, visit Seaham Hall at www.seaham-hall.co.uk.
Afternoon tea fit for a Duchess – Suffolk, from £23 pp with Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa
Indulge in the nation’s favourite pastime of drinking tea with the delicious ritual of afternoon tea at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, Newmarket’s only 4-star hotel.
The property was built for the 6th Duke of Bedford, but it was the duke’s daughter-in-law Anna Maria Russell, who was the original creator of the much-loved concept of afternoon tea.
As the Duchess of Bedford, she considered a light meal of tea (usually Darjeeling) and cakes or sandwiches a perfect balance to stave off mid-afternoon hunger pangs.
The famous tradition continues today, and is, naturally, a specialty at the hotel. With three secluded acres of rose gardens, the stylish Squires Restaurant, Roxana Bar, and a sun terrace – there is no shortage of spots to take tea with friends or family.
Delight in the hotel’s Summer Afternoon Tea which includes locally sourced Suffolk ham & English mustard on tomato bread, homemade Sage & Onion Newmarket Sausage Roll wrapped in Parma Ham, warm scones with homemade lemon curd, and Chocolate & Lavender Shortbread and Gooseberry & Mint “Pimms” Macarons. (£23 pp). Visit www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk or call 01638 663175.
Afternoon tea with the experts (and Winne-the-Pooh) – Elite Hotels from £30 pp
Appreciate the warm Hampshire hospitality whilst listening to soothing foot-tapping jazz at Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens. Guests can experience the magic of enchanting jazz whilst overlooking the blooming gardens with the Jazz Afternoon Tea.
Offering a gourmet selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones all paired with a huge selection of Birchall Teas, available on selected dates until 18 Dec (£45 pp). Not forgetting the kids, head to Ashdown Park Hotel in the heart of the East Sussex countryside for a mouthwatering Winnie-the-Pooh Afternoon Tea.
Children can spend a fun-filled afternoon in the hotel’s grand lounge, with wonderful views of Ashdown Forest (the inspiration for Pooh Corner in the Winnie the Pooh stories), and tuck into Hunny Sandwiches, Tigger’s Sponge, and Owl’s Popped Corn (£12 per child).
Alternatively, stroll along Eastbourne’s promenade and spend a genteel afternoon at the ‘white palace’ that is The Grand Hotel with their fabulous Seaside Afternoon Tea.
Sit in the splendour of the Great Hall, look out to sea, and dine on delicate sandwiches of smoked salmon and honey-roasted ham, pastries, and scones whilst sipping a cup from one of the largest selections of tea on the south coast (£30 pp).
Visit www.elitehotels.co.uk for more information on offers and overnight stays.
Afternoon tea in glorious rewilded Cotswolds grounds – from £25 pp with Pride of Britain Hotels
The welcoming honey-hued tones, verdant gardens and rolling countryside of traditional Cotswolds hotel Calcot & Spa, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, envelop guests in a feeling of serenity the moment they arrive.
Where better to sit back and enjoy a tranquil afternoon tea than surrounded by its lush rewilded grounds? The hotel, set within a 220-acre estate, has worked extensively to rewild its grounds over the last 25 years, through wildflower planting, organic farming, creation of native woodland, and encouragement of rare and endangered birds, butterflies, moths and wildflowers to its grounds.
Delight in Afternoon Tea sitting in the garden patio of the hotel’s acclaimed Conservatory restaurant, with views over swathes of fragrant lavender to the butterfly-dotted wildflower meadows and leafy woodlands beyond.
A selection of delicate sandwiches, fluffy homemade scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, sumptuous handmade cakes and pastries are accompanied by Canton loose leaf teas or local Bristol coffee.
From £25 pp or £35.50 with a glass of Champagne. Or stay overnight from £324 including breakfast. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).