15 best places for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds

Lucknam Park Hotel Afternoon Tea

Think of the Cotswolds, and you think of quintessentially English villages and, of course, picturesque tea rooms.

Whilst Devon and Cornwall may be home to the cream tea, there aren’t many places in England that quite encapsulate the afternoon tea vibe in the way that the Cotswolds does. I

ndeed, you could say that unless you’ve had afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, then you’ve not really had the full afternoon tea experience!

A classic afternoon tea is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds. Especially considering that this area of the country is bursting with fine hotels in historical houses and estates.

So, where is the best place for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds? Well, with so many contenders, that’s tricky to answer, but here are some of my favourites.

Pick a place depending on your mood and luxury level and you won’t be disappointed.

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1. Lygon Arms

Address: High St, Broadway WR12 7DU

Best for: A cosy traditional afternoon tea

The Lygon Arms Afternoon Tea

Set against a backdrop of immense history, afternoon tea at the Lygon Arms doesn’t disappoint.

Tuck into the delicious fluffy freshly baked scones, dainty finger sandwiches and tasty sweet cakes and bakes while soaking up the incredible heritage of the place.

Offering a boozy option for celebrations with some house Champagne, this establishment knows how to blend the historical classic British pastime with modern flavours.

Book a stay at the Lygon Arms Hotel

2. Dormy House

Address: Willersey Hill, Broadway WR12 7LF

Best for: Afternoon tea followed by a spa treatment

Dormy House Afternoon Tea

Dormy House is a luxury boutique hotel and spa in the Cotswolds serving up an indulgent afternoon tea in The Potting Shed.

If you want to combine an afternoon tea with a spa treat, then this is the best afternoon tea to be found in the Cotswolds for you. 

Choose between sweet and savoury treats, including delights like lemon meringue tarts and the staple fruit or plain scones.

Expect classic sarnies like cheese and tomato chutney alongside tasty sweets like pistachio and cherry macaroons.

Book a stay at Dormy House

3. Blenheim Palace

Address: Woodstock OX20 1PP

Best for: Delicate luxury

If grand is what you’re after then you aren’t going to do better than afternoon tea at Blenheim Palace in The Orangery.

You’ll feel completely at home in the luxury style, sipping champagne and snaffling a macaroon or two. 

As you’d expect, the afternoon tea here is formal, delicate and beautiful. Expect an afternoon of indulgence. Service is second to none and the atmosphere is impressive.

You can always walk off some of the calories by exploring the 11,500 estate afterwards. Between formal gardens and characterful parkland, you’ll certainly be able to walk for miles.

4. Huffkins

Address: Various locations, including 98-96 High Street, Burford OX18 4QF and The Square, Stow on-the-Wold GL54 1AB

Best for: Celebrating a special occasion

Afternoon Tea Huffkins

Huffkins dates back to 1890 and you can expect to find one of the best afternoon teas in the Cotswolds in any of its branches – Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Witney and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Classic homemade goodies are the order of the day here, and it’s no surprise that this afternoon tea was named by Country Life Magazine as one of the top afternoon teas in the area.

Huffkins is also a great spot for a delicious brunch in the Cotswolds.

I particularly recommend the Stow-on-the-Wold branch. The bakery is housed in a wonderful 17th century building within one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. Enjoy your top-notch fare!

5. The Painswick Hotel

Address: Kemps Ln, Painswick, Stroud GL6 6YB

Best for: Cocktail afternoon tea

The Painswick Afternoon Tea

A gorgeous boutique hotel in Stroud, The Painswick serves up a wonderful afternoon tea.

The setting is classic, with 18th century architecture and interiors, but they take a modern pick and mix approach to afternoon tea.

This is fantastic as you get to eye up what you fancy most from the delectable buffet. Then enjoy it with a glass of fizz or a pot of tea – whatever takes your fancy. 

This is an excellent afternoon tea option for you if the classic sandwiches, scones and cakes leaves you uncomfortably full and you’d rather be more exclusive with your choices.

6. Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

Address: Lucknam Park, Chippenham SN14 8AZ

Best for: Wonderful garden views

Just outside of Bath, nestled in the rolling Cotswolds landscape, you can find a luxury afternoon tea in the grand mansion of the Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa

Expect dainty delights and exquisite tastes as you imagine this being your country home. Every element of the experience is considered and you’ll feel very spoilt. 

In the summer, I recommend enjoying your afternoon tea out on the terrace.

Book a stay at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

7. Barnsley House

Address: Barnsley, Cirencester GL7 5EE

Best for: From garden to table

Barnsley House, which you’ll find near Stow-on-the-Wold, is a charming Tudor manor house and home to the Potager restaurant, where you can enjoy afternoon tea.

From here, there are relaxing views over the gardens, and a fine choice of sandwiches, scones, cake and, of course, tea! 

In the summer, and for a real English summery treat, why not choose the Pimms Cream Tea? The experience won’t get much more iconic than this!

Book a stay at Barnsley House

8. Whatley Manor

Address: Easton Grey, Malmesbury SN16 0RB

Best for: A quintessentially English experience

For a truly luxurious afternoon tea, you won’t go wrong by selecting Whatley Manor in Malmesbury.

The characterful 18th century house offers a remarkable setting to enjoy this classic delicious feast.

With delicate finger sandwiches and perfectly hand-crafted treats, this is a wonderful afternoon tea. Elegance is the order of the day here!

After tea, make sure you leave time to amble through the 12 acres of Cotswolds gardens steeped in old world charm. 

Book a stay at Whatley Manor

9. Lords of the Manor

Address: Upper Slaughter, Cheltenham GL54 2JD

Best for: Michelin-star food

Enjoying afternoon tea here, in Cheltenham, you’ll certainly feel like lords and ladies of the manor! Come early to explore the eight acres of gardens and grounds, and work up an appetite.

Everything is beautifully made at Lords of the Manor – that’s no surprise given that this hotel kitchen has been awarded a Michelin star.

Indeed, many would say that this is the best afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, and as such, make sure you plan your booking in plenty of time.

The loose leaf tea menu will have you amazed, so even the biggest tea drinkers will have ample choice. Or, choose to have a glass of Taittinger too.

Be sure to explore the beautiful villages of Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter.

Book a stay at Lords of the Manor

10. Thornbury Castle

Address: Castle St, Thornbury, Bristol BS35 1HH

Best for: Tudor dining

Thornbury Castle is a boutique hotel steeped in Tudor opulence. As you pass through the gateway, expect grand fireplaces and extravagant comfort.

It’s well worth heading to this former home of Henry VIII to enjoy afternoon tea, which is served daily. 

Choose whether to enjoy your tea in one of the dining rooms or, if you prefer, one of the lounges.

While the menu contains classics, such as smoked salmon and horseradish cream sandwiches, the delicate cakes are always seasonally fitting.

Book a stay at Thornbury Castle

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11. Highgrove House

Address: Doughton, Tetbury GL8 8TN

Best for: Afternoon tea fit for a King

Indulge in an experience like royalty and book onto a luxurious Champagne Tea Tour at Highgrove Estate, the private home of Their Majesties The King Charles III and The Queen Camilla.

In the spring and summer, you can walk the peaceful gardens, led by an experienced guide.

See for yourself how the Prince’s passion for the Cotswold landscape is evident. Once your tour is complete, you’ll then enjoy a Champagne tea afterwards.

Alternatively, skip the tour and go straight to enjoying afternoon tea in The Orchard restaurant.

12. The Close Hotel

Address: The Close Hotel, Long Street, Tetbury GL8 8AQ

Best for: Tranquility

A peaceful retreat nestled in Tetbury, The Close Hotel offers a wonderful afternoon tea option for those needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the market town.

Prioritising locally-sourced ingredients, this establishment serves up treats like mini pavlovas, crab and citrus tarts, and a variety of delicious sandwiches.

Book a stay at The Close Hotel

13. Tisanes Tea Rooms

Address: Cotswold House, 21 The Green, Broadway WR12 7AA

Best for: Loose leaf tea selection

Tisanes Tea Rooms, snugly housed in a classic 17th century stone building, offer a classic way to enjoy afternoon tea in the pretty village of Broadway.

There’s a small stonewalled garden if you’d prefer to tuck in outside.

Boasting a menu of 40 loose leaf teas, choose afternoon tea here for fabulous flavours and a warm welcome.

Don’t expect refinement, but do expect afternoon tea done generously and deliciously.

14. Ellenborough Park

Address: Southam Ln, Cheltenham GL52 3NJ

Best for: Scrumptious handmade treats

Describing itself as the finest afternoon tea in Cheltenham, you’re certainly in for beautifully crafted treats that look almost too good to eat.

Ellenborough Park is a stately venue, with much of its 15th century charm retained, but contemporary elegance at its finest

Afternoon tea is served seven days a week at this luxurious hotel and spa. This is certainly an indulgent afternoon tea to enjoy.

Your cakes are even served up on silver cake stands.

Book a stay at Ellenborough Park

15. The Kitchen

Address: 7 High St, Minchinhampton, Stroud GL6 9BN

Best for: Locally-sourced ingredients

The Kitchen is a charming, quaint, and bijou tea room found in Minchinhampton. There are three choices: classic, traditional, and vintage afternoon tea.

Expect the vintage option to be served up in fine vintage china on a table bedecked with a linen tablecloth and flowers!

This heavenly little spot won’t compete with the hotels and country estates for elegance.

But it most certainly does compete in terms of exceptional food made with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. 

A visit to the Cotswolds is surely not complete with a decadent or homely afternoon tea thrown in. There is so much choice – from elegant and refined boutique hotels to classic tea rooms with welcoming hosts.

You’re sure to find the best place for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds that fits in with your plans and location.

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