Here are some of Surrey's finest spots for afternoon tea as suggested by you, our lovely readers, with a few extra notes from Essential Surrey & SW London's resident tea and cake lover, Hattie Curl.
Afternoon tea is as British as queueing or starting a confrontation with 'Look, I'm sorry, but...'
We asked our wonderful readership who does the best afternoon tea in all of Surreydom. These fabulous purveyors of tea and cake were our top picks from all of your suggestions.
Now go forth, have your cake and eat it too.
- Page 1 (Results 1-10)
Cameron: “Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park is my choice. The views are beautiful, the lodge is covered in wisteria and makes for a tranquil place for afternoon tea. They offer a wide selection of cakes and tea blends. You can drive to the lodge or enjoy a leisurely stroll around whilst trying to spot stags and parakeets. Lovely views from outside.”
There is also a self-serve tea room which is excellent for families and those with buggies. The car park can get very full on weekends, however Richmond station is within easy walking distance so consider burning off some of that cake with a nice leisurely stroll.
Tarran: “I like The Casa Hotel, Yateley because it's set in lovely gardens (with plenty of photo opportunities when celebrating a special occasion). There's outdoor and indoor seating, as well as a cosy bar plus the food is fantastic. The staff are also very attentive and can't do enough for you. It’s perfect for mother's day as they can cater to large or small parties and various dietary requirements.”
A restaurant by Marco Pierre White, you know that you will receive high quality food and service.
Dan: “Bills in Reigate do a great 'trendy' version of afternoon tea. Great and friendly service, even though it’s a chain the service is personal and it’s not too expensive. Varied options for vegetarians also.”
Bills have multiple cafes across the region, from central London to Richmond and the suburbs, so there’s plenty of choice in terms of access. The pancakes are to die for as is the house dressing. Not together, of course.
Caroline: “I love Grayshott Pottery which has a very nice tea shop. It is especially unique as you can watch people making pottery whilst you have your tea, plus the food is lovely. It’s such an interesting setting and makes for more of an interesting day out than a normal café.”
This is particularly ideal for families or larger groups as seating in the café has a capacity of 70 and you can book for lunch time. There’s a covered patio area outside also. There is lots for kids to see and do too.
Jeni: “I love The Tea Terrace at the top of House of Fraser in Guildford, it’s so airy and bright. The highlight has to be the stunning views across Guildford and the Surrey Hills. If you can, try to get a window seat, it can get very bright but the views are worth it. If the weather is warm you can sit outside on the roof terrace where there is a small pond and garden. The décor inside the tea room is elegant with plenty of pastels. The Tea Terrace has a wonderful selection of cakes, salads, sandwiches/paninis/hot food and various afternoon tea options too.”
If that doesn't tempt you then here is a poem they wrote about themselves. I don't think you can get more British than that.
Here at the tea terrace, we only have one mission
Our food and our service must be borne of great passion
We believe our tearooms should be a paradise for the palate
And that excellence should be the only shade in our palette
Chris: “Gorgeous Gertie's in Dorking is nice and friendly, it is set out like a cottage and everything looks so homely. Intriguingly, all the café décor is available to buy as the tea room is also a shop stocking vintage inspired items. Their hot chocolate and toasties are both lovely. 90% of the place was full when I last went and I can see why. Overall I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting a really homely and friendly café.”
As well as offering incredible tea, cakes and a vintage boutique, Gertie's also offers furniture restoration and painting workshops.
Winnie: “The Original Maids of Honour, Kew has always been a favourite of mine. It’s steeped in history, comfy and a welcoming atmosphere. From afternoon and high tea, to delicious pastries and baked goods, there’s delicacies here to suit every palate. It’s quite an inspiring tea room too that leaves you feeling nostalgic.”
Established in 1868, these guys have been doing tea and cakes for a very long time. There is a legend, (quite possibly started by them) that King Henry VIII loved the 'melt-in-the-mouth' sensation so much, he took the recipe and kept it under lock and key in Richmond Palace.
June: “Orange Pekoe is one of my favourite places for afternoon tea. With tea sourced from all over the world, a wonderful selection of cakes and food plus a great location, it makes for a relaxing afternoon. It’s a beautiful tea room, spacious and airy, it’s also quite casual which is wonderful for families. Outside the front there are a few tables which are nice to sit at in the summer and the location is relatively peaceful.”
In 2008 they gained national recognition as “London’s Best Tearoom” by Time Out London and in May 2016 Tatler listed them as one of “The best Afternoon Tea’s in London”. Bookings for full Afternoon Tea are advisable as this is such a trendy and delectable spot.
And to save you from making a terrible faux-pas, it's pronounced pee-ko.
Laura: “The Cloister Coffee House at Strawberry Hill is a wonderful little find and does an excellent selection for afternoon tea. It’s laid back and not over complicated like some cafes, they have a lovely selection of cakes, scones and crumpets for a traditional afternoon tea. It’s perfect for families too and there’s plenty to see in the park including tours of the mansion."
Strawberry Hill House was built by Horace Walpole, son of Britain's first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. It is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian Gothic revival architecture and was the inspiration behind one of the first gothic novels The Castle of Ortanto. If that doesn't impress you, then perhaps their rather nice finger buns will.
Leigh: “The French Tarte in Surbiton is a lovely patisserie that almost makes you feel as if you were on holiday in France. Afternoon tea comes with miniature pastries which sets this apart from other cafes. They also have plenty of seating outside for those warmer days. Friendly staff and great for smaller groups.”
Afternoon Tea is available every afternoon from 1pm till 3pm, by reservation only. They have a Teddington location as well. I would especially recommend the confit duck and fig salad with mushrooms and a merlot reduction. Gorgeous.
Lauren: "The Dabbling Duck is friendly, warm and welcoming. Set in the quaint and picturesque village of Shere in the Surrey Hills, you couldn’t wish for a friendlier welcome. It is a little pricey, but you get what you pay for and the members of staff really go out of their way to make sure your visit is perfect. It’s shabby chic at its finest, spacious inside, with lovely views of the village from the windows. They do a wide range of food perfect for afternoon tea.”
If you are lucky enough to get a window seat at this little café then you can often see the ducks dabbling about by the river (hence the name.) They also do a fantastic array of giftware, perfect for any pressie.
Will: "By now everyone knows how good The Cellar Magneval Wine Bar in Woking is for a night out. They do incredible wine, amazing cheese and have absolutely nailed the concept of informal but friendly service. What most people don't know is that during the day they are a wonderful little coffee bar with an amazing selection of good food for afternoon tea. They have an array of cakes, open sandwiches and tapas on offer as well as plenty of artisan teas and coffees. My favourite was the strawberry venison!"
This is a great place for a bit of an alternative take on afternoon tea. The shady chic parisian style decor combined with an array of unusual but delicious finger foods, make this an ideal place to hang out and watch the world go by. They also have an array of unbelievably good wine, I'm not suggesting it would be a good idea to get drunk at afternoon tea but I do like knowing the option is there.
Petra: "This is a great place to eat. The fresh food is cooked on the premises, and the scones are cooked daily. The lunch menus vary and are original and the cakes and scones are beautifully traditional. The staff are very friendly and efficient and the environment in which to eat is comfortable and in keeping with the gallery."
The Tea Room at Watts Gallery is a great place to go to mull over the incredible artwork in the gallery, or as a perfect pitstop on your country walk. The food is delicious and if you're feeling particularly peckish then I'd highly recommend the Watts Works Welsh Rarebit - it doesn't get much tastier than that.
14Loseley Park Stakescorner Road, Guildford, GU3 1HS
Ruby: "We had a lovely day out at the walled garden at Loseley Park. The gardens are beautiful and immaculate, well laid out and very English so if you are looking for a nice garden to visit this one is a gem. The tea room is really worth a visit, we had a light lunch and the standard was very good."
The onsite caterers, Caper & Berry, do a splendid job serving delicious homemade food including cakes, sandwiches and soups which are all prepared fresh onsite daily. The house and gardens are well worth a visit, with beautiful plants and gorgeous features.
Make sure you don't get caught out though as the Park and tea rooms are currently closed and will reopen May 1 2017.
Michele: "Excellent afternoon tea with champagne. Delicious sandwiches. A good choice of teas to choose from. Lovely little cakes in a variety of flavours. The freshly baked scones with cream and jam was particularly wonderful."
Warren House is a magnificent Victorian private House, set within beautiful landscaped gardens within Kingston-upon-Thames. A tranquil, relaxing setting for a delightful afternoon tea.
Christine: "I went for afternoon tea here with 3 others, it was excellent. Lots to eat, we left food! Plenty of tea to choose from and my daughter had her own cake stand with lots of gluten free goodies. All in all we had a lovely time and we all said we'd do it again."
The Guildford Harbour Hotel offers a delightful traditional afternoon tea. For a slightly quirkier take on the trea, why not try their Gentleman's Tea, featuring cured meats, sausage rolls, scotch egg, fried pickles and crusty bread served with a Craft Beer. Tempted? I am.
Trish: "Wonderful afternoon tea with a good selection of sandwiches and cakes. Great service with attentive, friendly, polite staff. It was a special experience"
Soak up the beautiful views from the window as you enjoy a scrummy afternoon tea (with real tea!)
Julie: "Went to Wisley and finished it off with a lovely afternoon tea in the restaurant. Staff were attentive and nothing was too much trouble. As much tea or coffee as you wanted and the sandwiches and cakes were all lovely and fresh."
Following a wander around the best gardening in Surrey, polish off your day with some finger sandwiches, scones, and Wisley bakery cakes.
19Woodlands Park Hotel Woodlands Lane, Cobham, KT11 3QB
Pam: "From the warm welcome to the final farewells our afternoon tea at the Woodlands Park Hotel was an absolute delight. They readily agreed to provide tea made with teabags for those who could not manage the strainers with arthritic hands! The sandwiches were beautifully fresh, the vegetarian option was far from boring and the savoury option was rated as excellent. The scones were warm, and there was a generous supply of delicious jam & cream. The small cakes, meringues, trifles, macaroons and mini lemon meringue pies were a real treat."
Settle back for speciality teas, dainty sandwiches, handmade cakes, pastries and scones. You will have a really lovely experience in a beautiful wood panelled dining room set in glorious grounds.
Did we miss someone out? Include someone we shouldn't have? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment in the comments box below or tweeting us @EssentialSurrey
Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter for exclusive interviews, competitions and reader offers
- Page 1 (Results 1-10)