16 best spots for afternoon tea in Cornwall

Headland Hotel Afternoon Tea

It would be criminal to go to Cornwall and not sample in the delights of an afternoon tea. Cornwall is synonymous with the cream tea, even if the battle is waged with its neighbouring county, Devon.

It may be sacrilege to say, but it really doesn’t matter if you put the jam or the cream on the scone first, the defining factor is that it must be Cornish clotted cream. A foodstuff with Protected Designation of Origin (DPO), it’s rightly famous far beyond Cornwall and even the UK. So, when you book your afternoon tea in Cornwall, how can you find the best spot?

Firstly, there are the basics to a fabulous afternoon tea in Cornwall. There must be delicious savoury sandwiches with a range of fillings. There should be freshly baked scones with lashings of strawberry jam and clotted cream. You should have a choice of fantastic cakes. All washed down with a choice of teas and even a glass of Prosecco or Champagne.

For me, the setting matters also. The best place for afternoon tea in Cornwall is one where I’m in a decadent or cosy setting, pampered and may even have a fabulous view.

An indulgent afternoon tea is also one of the best things to do in Cornwall when it rains – or whatever the weather!

So, without further ado, and with the thought of getting your taste buds tingling, let’s dive into the best spots for afternoon tea in Cornwall. 

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1. The Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth

Best for: Afternoon tea with a coastal view in Cornwall

Scarlet Hotel Afternoon Tea in Cornwall

Mawgan Porth is home to this luxuriously distinctive eco spa hotel in Cornwall for adults only. Perched on the cliffs above the sandy beach below, it is perfectly positioned for a framed view of the blue sea beyond. The Scarlet is a gorgeous retreat from the hustle and bustle of life. 

Afternoon tea at The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth is served daily between 2pm and 4pm. As expected, the view is on full display with magnificent windows overlooking the bay. So that even on the most blustery days, you can still feel at one with the Cornish coastline.

The food is exquisite. Expect delicious finger sandwiches and a traditional cream tea, but the patisseries here become the stars of the show. Not only do they look beautiful but they taste divine with delightfully delicious flavours.

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2. Fowey Hall Hotel, Fowey

Best for: A themed afternoon tea to delight families

Fowey Hotel Matilda Themed Afternoon Tea

From adults only at the Scarlet, to a luxury family resort at Fowey Hall. The Fowey Hall Hotel offers an opportunity to enjoy a high-quality afternoon tea even with the little ones in tow.

Afternoon tea at Fowey Hall runs to an expertly done Matilda (by Roald Dahl) theme. Children aren’t just kept delighted with Matilda themed activity sheets, they get their own personal selection of deliciously themed food including, of course, a newt biscuit and newt juice!

Adults don’t miss out on the fun. The Matilda theme continues with such delights as Crunchem Hall Sandwiches including Honey & Truffle Butter, as well as Lavender’s Macarons and of course, a decadently rich slice of Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake!


3. Trevallick’s Farm Shop & Tea Room, Liskeard

Best for: A quaint tea room complete with Cornish gins if you fancy

Unpretentious, and representing everything that’s fabulous about simply stopping by the roadside in Cornwall at a friendly, local farm shop. Afternoon tea at Trevallick’s shouldn’t be missed.

All of their tasty food (think classic cream tea with finger sandwiches, scones and cakes) is presented on a three-tier Cornish slate cake stand. Of course, Tregothnan teas are available, but why not push the boat out and enjoy Trevallick’s Gin taster afternoon tea? You’ll get to sample four different Cornish gins.


4. Polurrian Bay Hotel, Helston

Best for: A hotel afternoon tea with clifftop view on the Lizard

Polurrian Afternoon Tea in Cornwall

If you’ve trekked all the way to nearly Land’s End then you’ll want to know there’s a warm welcome waiting for you. That’s what you’ll find at the Polurrian Bay Hotel in Helston.

With wide-reaching views over the coastline from its clifftop vantage point, you can take your pick of afternoon teas according to your appetite.

Of course, you could go for the full afternoon tea experience with sandwiches, scones and cakes, even adding in a glass of Cornish Prosecco if you wish.

However, if you don’t think you’ll manage the full monty then there’s a few different smaller choices. I particularly love the Savoury Cream Tea option which includes two savoury scones with Cornish Cheese and Halzephron Herb Farm Chutney. 

Vegan teas are on offer too.


5. The Headland Hotel, Newquay

Best for: Seasonal afternoon tea with cocktails 

Headland Hotel Afternoon Tea

The Headland Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Cornwall. Whether you’ve taken a dip in the hotel’s magnificent pools (you can do so as a day guest) or worked up an appetite learning to surf on the Atlantic’s waves, afternoon tea at the Headland Hotel is calling you. It’s another of the best places for afternoon tea with a view in Cornwall.

There are a number of options, but I heartily recommend you opt for the seasonal afternoon tea which showcases local fresh flavours.

For example, the current seasonal menu includes Cornish Gouda and Cider Chutney sandwiches followed by fabulous tastes such as Peach Melba Cheesecake and Pimms Jelly with Strawberries. Yes please!

What’s more, The Headland Hotel serves fabulous cocktails too, making this undoubtedly one of the best places for afternoon tea in North Cornwall. 


6. The Royal Duchy, Falmouth

Best for: Afternoon sandwiches with a sea view

Duchy Hotel Tea

Falmouth is one of the best towns in Cornwall for a UK staycation, so what better place to indulge in a Cornish afternoon tea.

Enjoyed either in the terrace lounge or outside on the terrace itself, and therefore another afternoon tea with a view in Cornwall, The Royal Duchy excels with sandwiches.

Of course, you can indulge in a full scrumptious afternoon tea or Champagne afternoon tea, and you’ll love every morsel. But leave room for the standalone sandwiches!

With options such as Cornish Crab & Avocado with Lemon Mayonnaise & Rocket and Honey Roast Ham & Pickled Vegetables with Watercress, you’ll have difficulties deciding, but you won’t be disappointed.


7. The Alverton Hotel, Truro

Best for: Traditional or vegan afternoon tea in Cornwall in a glorious garden setting

Alverton Truro Afternoon Tea

At the Alverton Hotel, in Truro, you can enjoy a traditional, gluten-free or vegan afternoon tea on a beautiful garden terrace. Expect refined finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with lashings of Cornish cream and a marvellous selection of miniature cakes.

Available every day from midday (except Sunday, when it’s served from 3pm to 5pm), so you could even make it your lunch given how filling afternoon teas are!

When you’ve had your fill, go for an enjoyable stroll through the peaceful manicured gardens.


8. Rectory Tea Rooms, Morwenstow

Best for: A quintessential cottage-style afternoon tea

Rectory Tea Rooms

Rectory Farm Tea Rooms in Morwenstow near Bude is one of the best places for afternoon tea in North Cornwall. The Tea Rooms are everything you’d hope for with quintessential charm and a friendly welcome.

Jill Savage is the latest family member to run the tea rooms since the 1950s and brings a warm character to this award-winning tea room.

Listed time and again as one of the best tea rooms in the country, in publications ranging from the Telegraph to Country Living Magazine, you can rightly expect fantastic food and fantastic tea!

With a focus on locally-sourced food (including good and proper Cornish pasties using the farm’s own beef and lamb), you must make time for afternoon tea here.

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9. Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, Lostwithiel

Best for: A garden centre afternoon tea with style

Duchy of Cornwall Afternoon Tea

With exquisite presentation and fresh locally-sourced ingredients, afternoon tea at the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery in Lostwithiel is not to be missed. The afternoon tea is a feast for the eyes, served up on individual ‘Duchy Woodland’ hardwood boards. 

Savoury treats include a Cornish garlic, salami and basil pesto palmier and a quail’s scotch egg. Followed by the classic Cornish cream tea scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Sweet treats include a rose macaron and toasted lemon meringue tart. Add Prosecco as well as Cornish Tregothnan teas.


10. Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth

Best for: A vegan afternoon tea that doesn’t feel second best

Greenbank Afternoon Tea

When in Falmouth, head to the harbour to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at the Greenbank Hotel. The afternoon tea here is presented in the award-winning Water’s Edge restaurant overlooking the harbour. It’s a wonderful mixture of savoury and sweet generous bites. You can make it bottomless too with unlimited Prosecco.

Meat eaters and veggies are well catered for, as you would expect, but so too are vegans. With 24 hours’ notice, vegans can enjoy a spread that rivals any classic afternoon tea. You will get delights such as maple & sesame sausage rolls, sea salt caramel cheesecake and even a traditional Cornish scone with jam and ‘cream’.


11. Pentillie Castle, Saltash

Best for: Exclusive afternoon tea events and weddings

Pentillie Castle Afternoon Tea

Most renowned for its exclusive hire, wedding venue and outdoor theatre events, Pentillie Castle sometimes also offers afternoon teas.

The stunning 1698 country house set in wooded gardens on the bank of the Tamar offers a wonderful setting for an exclusive afternoon tea.


12. Mullion Cove Hotel, Heston

Best for: Edge of the world views with a Champagne afternoon tea

Mullion Cove Afternoon Tea

The Mullion Cove Hotel on the Lizard offers afternoon tea all day. Available either in one of the decadent lounges or outside in the gardens where the views are out of this world.

Expect to enjoy an afternoon tea featuring hand picked quality teas, and tasty treats that are wonderfully fresh. Spoil yourself with a Mullion Cove Champagne afternoon tea with a chilled glass of Gremillet Champagne – it’s what holiday days are made of.


13. Strawberry Fields, Launceston

Best for: A summer afternoon tea with plot-to-plate strawberries

Strawberry Fields Afternoon Tea

Described as their afternoon picnics because they are adorably served on miniature real oak picnic benches, the afternoon teas at Strawberry Fields in Launceston is a real treat of homemade Cornish delights. The menu is seasonally themed and can be enjoyed with tea, coffee or Prosecco.

This isn’t just any old farm shop. There’s huge variety here, so make sure you leave some time for shopping. If you can, time your afternoon tea with a PYO session harvesting strawberries. 


14. Hotel Meudon, Falmouth

Best for: Afternoon tea in a lush tropical paradise while still being in the UK!

Hotel Meudon Afternoon Tea in Cornwall

With strikingly beautiful patisseries, there’s no doubt that you’ll experience afternoon tea at Hotel Meudon as one of the best you’ve ever had. Keep an eye out for when they offer themed teas – from festive fare to Cornish gin-centric offerings. 

What’s even more amazing is that you can enjoy afternoon tea here out in the valley gardens. Here, you can be forgiven for thinking you’re in a lush tropical paradise. You’ll definitely want to burn off some of the calories consumed by exploring the gardens!


15. Talland Bay Hotel, Looe

Best for: Afternoon tea in an unspoilt hidden corner of Cornwall away from the tourist crowds

Talland Bay Hotel Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea at the Talland Bay Hotel is beautifully presented and can be enjoyed in the spacious gardens overlooking the mesmerising coastal view.

This lesser-known corner of Cornwall allows for a recharging break away from the crowds. The leisurely pace of this Cornish afternoon tea is just right for the occasion.


16. St Michaels Resort, Falmouth

Best for: Saturday lunch made wonderful with afternoon tea.

While you can enjoy a Cornish cream tea every day at St Michael’s overlooking the sea, the real star of the show is on Saturdays.

On Saturdays, from 12:30 – 2:30pm you can enjoy a full afternoon tea experience. Complete with delicious sandwiches and savoury treats, scones with jam and cream, and then finally some exquisitely presented sweet mini morsels. You can enjoy it with tea, prosecco, or champagne.

Served in their Garden Kitchen, renowned for its excellent fresh and local delights, you know you’re in good hands.


The best afternoon tea in Cornwall will be the one which most appeals to you from the above list. You can be sure that each and every one is unique and delicious, so feel confident taking your pick. 

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Looking for more Cornwall inspiration? Discover the best waterfalls in Cornwall or find the best paddleboarding spots in Cornwall. For more foodie ideas, read my guide to the best seafood restaurants in Cornwall.

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