21 best afternoon tea spots in the Lake District

Afternoon Tea in the Lake District

If you’re looking for a quintessential British experience, look no further than afternoon tea in the Lake District. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon in the region.

This charming area is known for its stunning natural beauty, and what better way to take it all in than over a piping cup of tea and some delicious treats?

You’ll find plenty of tea rooms and hotels offering their take on this classic ritual. With everything from traditional scones and clotted cream to more contemporary offerings like macarons and mini burgers.

I’ve gathered the best afternoon tea recommendations for the Lake District, including my own personal favourites, plus suggestions from locals and fellow travellers.

Many of the afternoon tea places on this list are located in historic buildings or in picturesque locations, with views of the surrounding countryside and the region’s famous lakes.

Find a cosy spot to warm up on a chilly day or a sunny terrace to soak up the sprawling views across the Lake District, cup of tea in hand. To me, that’s pure heaven!

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Cedar Manor, Windermere

Address: Ambleside Road, Windermere LA23 1AX

Best for: Local loose leaf tea

Cedar Manor, Windermere

For a quintessential English afternoon tea experience, I’d recommend the magical Cedar Manor in Windermere.

The elegant country house hotel is located in the heart of the Lake District and boasts wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.

The cosy lounge area features comfortable armchairs and sofas, as well as a roaring fire during the colder months – one of my favourite ways to spend a chilly afternoon.

Choose where you want to enjoy your lovely afternoon cream tea: in the hotel’s restaurant, lounge or garden.

Just maybe avoid the garden if the gloomy British weather persists!

Cedar Manor Afternoon Tea

The afternoon tea menu at Cedar Manor features a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of sweet treats.

Sandwiches are freshly made and generously filled, while the scones are light and fluffy. The sweet treats include mini cakes, pastries, and macarons, all of which are beautifully presented.

The tea selection at Cedar Manor is extensive, with a range of loose leaf teas to choose from, all from local suppliers.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of their speciality blends for a great cup of tea. I should also mention that Cedar Manor offers gluten-free and vegetarian options as well. 

Why not book at a stay at Cedar Manor too – one of the best hotels in the Lake District

2. The Wild Boar, Kendal

Address: Crook Rd, Kendal LA23 3NF

Best for: Alternative afternoon tea

If you love the scones with jam and cream – or cream and jam – but aren’t too keen on the finger sandwiches, The Wild Boar’s ‘Alternative Afternoon Tea’ will be right up your street. 

This charming inn, located in the heart of the Lake District, offers a unique afternoon tea experience that is sure to delight.

Forget the finger sandwiches and dive into a spread of delicious mini fish and chips, pork scratchings and pigs in blankets, finished off with the traditional scones you’d expect.

I do love the sandwiches, although I can’t help but admit that this sounds utterly delightful!

Cosy and inviting, this spot offers an alternative to the much-loved afternoon tea. It keeps the essentials and adding a modern twist.

On warmer days, opt for the ‘Alternative Afternoon Picnic’ for a basket of delights you can take into their 72 acre private woodland.

3. SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel, Windermere

Address: Crook Road, Windermere LA23 3NF

Best for: Fine dining

Affectionately dubbed ‘posh scran’, afternoon tea at SOURCE at the Gilpin Hotel is luxurious and scrumptious.

A Michelin-starred restaurant, trust me when I say that you’re in for a real treat here. 

This sophisticated hotel is renowned for its exceptional service and attention to detail. And the afternoon tea experience is no exception.

As you step into the hotel’s stylish lounge, you’ll be greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The décor is modern and chic, with plush furnishings and tasteful artwork adorning the walls.

The afternoon tea itself is a feast for the senses. The delicate finger sandwiches are filled with classic combinations such as salmon and cream cheese or cheddar and pickle. While the scones are freshly baked and served with lashings of clotted cream and jam. 

The patisserie selection is equally impressive, with miniature cakes and pastries that are almost too beautiful to eat – I said almost!

Read my review of staying at the nearby Gilpin Lake House.

4. Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Cumbria

Address: Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria, CA18 1SW

Best for: Railway lovers

For a unique way to experience the stunning scenery of the Lake District while indulging in a delightful cream tea, a trip on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a must. 

This exclusive experience takes you along seven miles of dramatic landscapes as you enjoy a scone and a slice of cake – or two!

The journey takes you through some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the Lake District, with views of mountains, forests and rivers.

You’ll also pass through several small villages and hamlets, giving you a glimpse of local life in this part of Cumbria.

As you lounge in plush comfort, feast on a selection of delectable cream tea items. Complete with mouth-watering cakes, and scrumptious scones with clotted cream and jam.

Hot drinks are provided on your journey in a souvenir keep-cup, which makes for the perfect personal memento of a wonderful day out.

It’s one of the best things to do in the Lake District

5. Storrs Hall Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere

Address: Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3LG

Best for: Lake Windermere views

Storrs Hall Afternoon Tea

This elegant Georgian mansion is set in 17 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens on the shores of Lake Windermere.

It offers stunning views of the surrounding fells – I can’t think of a better location for afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at Storrs Hall Hotel is served either in the sophisticated drawing room, restaurant or study. All of which feature large windows overlooking the gardens and lake. 

The atmosphere is refined and sophisticated, with attentive staff on hand to ensure that your every need is taken care of.

Afternoon Tea at Storrs Hall

The menu features a delectable selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, and a range of delicate pastries and cakes. 

Not forgetting a pot of freshly brewed tea, you can choose from a range of fruity herbal teas to the traditional English Breakfast.

In addition to the classic afternoon tea, Storrs Hall also offers a Champagne afternoon tea, which includes a glass of Champagne to accompany your food. 

I can never resist the temptation of a glass of Champagne, and it’s a great option if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply want to add that extra touch of luxury to your afternoon.

Read my full review of my stay at Storrs Hall.

6. Bassenthwaite Lake Station, Cockermouth

Address: Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth CA13 9YL

Best for: Agatha Christie fans

For a truly unique setting for afternoon tea, I’d suggest heading to Bassenthwaite Lake Station for some scrumptious treats in a carriage that could be straight out of the Orient Express. 

This elegant art-deco style tea room is located in the heart of the town. It offers a truly unique and memorable experience for couples, friends or families. 

With two beautifully decorated carriages – the Restaurant Carriage and the Salon Carriage – afternoon tea is served up in the latter.

Aboard this carriage café, you’ll find plush seating, stylish table settings, and vintage details throughout. 

The attention to detail at this establishment is impeccable, with each element of the tea carefully crafted and presented, from the delicate sandwiches to the intricate pastries.

7. The Gaddum Restaurant, Windermere

Address: Brockhole on Windermere, Windermere LA23 1LJ

Best for: Indulgent pâtisserie

The Gaddum Restaurant

This elegant restaurant is located in the stunning Brockhole House, a historic property with beautiful gardens overlooking Lake Windermere.

Here, you’ll be treated to indulgent pâtisserie, hand-crafted finger sandwiches and scrumptious oven-fresh scones in the Garden Room or the Orangery. Both offer wonderful views to the Lakeland fells and beyond.

The menu changes seasonally, so you can expect fresh, locally sourced ingredients and creative flavour combinations.

The Gaddum Restaurant Afternoon Tea

When it comes to tea, there are plenty of delicious choices on offer, including: British Mint & Caramel, Green Flamingo and White Elixir. 

The restaurant has a relaxed yet still sophisticated atmosphere, with attentive and friendly staff who will make you feel welcome.

The décor is classic and stylish, with comfortable seating and a roaring fire in the cooler months.

If, like me, you have any dietary requirements, you’ll be pleased to know that The Gaddum Restaurant can accommodate them with advance notice.

8. Mae’s Tearoom & Gallery, Uldale

Address: Uldale Old School, Uldale, Cumbria CA7 1HA

Best for: Charming tearoom

For a quaint and charming tearoom in the Lake District, I’d really recommend stopping by Mae’s Tearoom & Gallery in Uldale.

This hidden gem is located in a picturesque village and offers visitors a warm and welcoming atmosphere, served up with a scrumptious afternoon tea.

You’ll find this tearoom in one of Lakeland’s finest Victorian buildings of its type, and the history is certainly celebrated here. 

The tearoom is known for its delicious homemade cakes, scones, and sandwiches. Sample the delights with their afternoon tea, and enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee to accompany your food.

In addition to the tearoom, Mae’s also has a gallery showcasing the work of local artists. You can browse the artwork while enjoying your cup of tea and slice of cake.

The gallery features a range of styles, from traditional landscapes to contemporary abstract art. I think this is such a wonderful combination of activities!

9. The Lingholm Kitchen, Portinscale

Address: The Lingholm Estate, Portinscale, Keswick CA12 5TZ

Best for: Beatrix Potter fans

The Lingholm Kitchen

A quintessential Lake District afternoon tea experience with some added charm, The Lingholm Kitchen in Portinscale offers delicious homemade food in an airy and spacious café. 

This charming café is set in the idyllic grounds of the Lingholm Estate, which was once home to Beatrix Potter over 10 summers and autumns.

The connection doesn’t stop there, as this establishment has an outdoor gallery in the garden which is dedicated to the work of Beatrix Potter.

The menu at The Lingholm Kitchen features a range of classic afternoon tea treats. These include finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and a variety of mouth-watering cakes and pastries. 

The Lingholm Kitchen Afternoon Tea

What I think sets The Lingholm Kitchen apart is its beautiful location. The café overlooks Derwentwater, one of the most breathtaking lakes in the whole of the Lake District. 

The café itself is decorated in a rustic style, with wooden tables and chairs and plenty of natural light. This spot came highly recommended from a good friend.

10. Rothay Manor, Ambleside

Address: Borrans Road, Ambleside LA22 0EH

Best for: Country house setting

Rothay Manor

This sophisticated country house hotel in Ambleside is set in two acres of beautiful gardens and boasts stunning views of the surrounding fells.

Tea and scones are always on the menu, but from Thursday to Saturday they offer delectable afternoon tea. It’s complete with classic sandwiches, freshly baked scones and delicious clotted cream.

Here, you will be greeted with a selection of loose leaf teas or a glass of bubbly to start your experience off in style.

But I think the real star of the show is the selection of homemade cakes and pastries. Indulge in treats such as lemon drizzle cake, macarons, and chocolate brownies. 

The attention to detail in the presentation of the food is impressive, with delicate edible flowers and intricate designs on the cakes.

Good to know: Scrumptious afternoon tea is served here every day except Sunday.

11. Hillthwaite House Hotel, Windermere

Address: Thornbarrow Rd, Windermere LA23 2DF

Best for: Miniature desserts

This charming hotel offers a beautiful setting for a taste of lovely afternoon tea with gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.

The afternoon tea here is served in the lounge or on the terrace, weather permitting.

You’ll enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones, and a variety of cakes and pastries – including hand-crafted miniature desserts. 

What’s more, if you fancy going all out and indulging in something extra special, you can upgrade to prosecco, gin or champagne afternoon tea. 

If you’re as indecisive as me, note that he speciality tea selection at Hillthwaite House Hotel is extensive!

There are a range of traditional blends and herbal infusions to choose from, such as Darjeeling, Assam, as well as Cranberry and Raspberry. 

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12. The Hazelmere Café, Grange-Over-Sands

Address: 1&2 Yewbarrow Terrace, Station Square, Grange-over-Sands LA11 6ED

Best for: Children’s afternoon tea

The Hazelmere Café Afternoon Tea

Award winning, the afternoon tea at the Hazelmere Café in Grange-Over-Sands is definitely worth a visit next time you’re in the scenic Lake District. 

Choose from Traditional Afternoon Tea, Cumbrian Cream Tea or the adorable Children’s Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea – the little ones don’t have to miss out on the tasty treats!

With a warm and welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff and a comfortable seating area, it’s no surprise why this café draws people in and has them coming back for more.

The Hazelmere Café offers a delicious spread of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries.

The scones are a particular highlight, freshly baked and served warm with lashings of clotted cream and homemade jam. My mouth is watering already!

13. The Tearoom at Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, Nr Windermere

Address: 2 Woodside Cottages, Haverthwaite, Ulverston LA12 8AL

Best for: Family-run business

Situated near Windermere, I love this nostalgic tearoom that’s located in a charming and historic railway station building that dates back to the 1860s.

The tearoom offers a selection of teas – including loose leaf teas – as well as a variety of homemade sandwiches, cakes, and scones. 

The homemade fruit scones are freshly baked and served with the classic combination of clotted cream and jam. While the sandwiches are made with fresh locally sourced ingredients.

With a warm and welcoming atmosphere, this tearoom is a firm favourite with locals.

Just off the platform at Haverthwaite Station, their Station Tea Room is the perfect stop for a tasty afternoon tea while on your travels. 

If you’re interested in visiting the Station Tea Room for scrumptious afternoon tea, booking beforehand is a must. 

14. The Inn on the Lake, Glenridding

Address: Ullswater, Glenridding, Penrith CA11 0PE

Best for: Mountain views

This four-star hotel is located on the shores of Ullswater, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lake.

The hotel’s afternoon tea is served in the Orangery, a bright and airy conservatory with floor-to-ceiling windows.

These provide panoramic views of the lake, or on the large outdoor terrace which looks out towards the lake. 

The menu includes a selection of finger sandwiches, scones (including an orange and sultana scone) with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of cakes and pastries.

The sandwiches are freshly made and generously filled, while the scones are warm and crumbly. 

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, you can add a bit of sparkle and a glass of bubbly to your afternoon tea.

There are various alcoholic options available, including Aperol Spritz, Bellini and Prosecco – you had me at Aperol Spritz!

15. Daffodil Hotel, Grasmere

Address: By The Lake, Keswick Road,, Grasmere, Ambleside LA22 9PR

Best for: Delightful pastries

Indulgence is on the menu at the Daffodil Hotel in Grasmere. Located in a picturesque setting overlooking the lake, this hotel offers a traditional afternoon tea with a modern twist.

This spot offers an artistic contemporary afternoon tea prepared with a selection of local produce and their own freshly baked cakes.

Here, you’ll be treated to a selection of fruit and spiced teas from Teapig, freshly brewed coffee, and a range of sweet and savoury treats.

Indulge in a butternut squash and red pepper soup shot or a Cumbrian cheddar and caramelised onion quiche.

Or help yourself to treats such as chocolate and sour cherry shortbread, and a peaches and cream choux bun. 

All the treats are beautifully presented on a tiered stand, making for an Instagram-worthy photo if you’re into that sort of thing!

16. Lakeside Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge

Address: Newby Bridge, Lakeside LA12 8AT

Best for: Panoramic views

Perched on the shores of Lake Windermere, this elegant hotel offers incredible panoramic views and a peaceful atmosphere.

The Lakeside Hotel & Spa’s afternoon tea menu features a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of delicate cakes and pastries. 

You can choose from a range of traditional or fruit teas, loose leaf tea or opt for a glass of champagne to make your experience even more special.

The hotel’s conservatory, with its panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside, is the perfect setting for your afternoon tea.

Alternatively, you can enjoy your tea in the hotel’s comfortable lounge or on the terrace. Providing the Great British weather doesn’t interfere of course!

If you’re looking to make a day of it, I’d recommend bookinig a spa treatment or taking a stroll around the hotel’s beautiful gardens. 

17. Shed One Distillery, Cumbria

Address: The Old Calf Shed Auction Mart, North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston LA12 9AU

Best for: Gin lovers

If you’re a gin lover, you won’t want to miss a visit to Shed One Distillery in Cumbria for Afternoon G&Tea.

Botanical inspired, the afternoon tea at Shed One Distillery comes with a distillery tour to finish the experience in style. 

Located in the picturesque market town of Ulverston, this establishment greets you with a welcome G&T and invites you to relax in their stylish bar, overlooking Ulverston’s iconic Pepperpot .

Flavours used in their signature G&Ts are expertly incorporated into the afternoon tea. Expect to find juniper, elderflower and honey notes throughout. 

This afternoon tea in the Lake District is truly an experience, with a second G&T to ready you for the tour. Now that’s my kind of afternoon ‘tea’!

18. Castle Green Hotel, Kendal

Address: Castle Green Ln, Kendal LA9 6RG

Best for: Lovely gardens

Castle Green Hotel
Photo credit: Lucy Barden

This four-star hotel offers a traditional afternoon tea in its elegant Greenhouse restaurant, with stunning views of the hotel’s gardens.

The Greenhouse restaurant is bright and airy, with large windows that let in plenty of natural light.

The decor is modern and stylish, with comfortable seating and tasteful furnishings.

Castle Green Hotel Afternoon Tea
Photo credit: Lucy Barden

I’m told that the views of the hotel’s gardens are stunning, and really add to the overall ambience of the experience.

Here, you’ll be treated with a selection of savoury bites as well as classic scones and sweet cakes and bakes.

Beautifully presented, this Lake District afternoon tea is sure to make you smile.  

19. Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere

Address: Holbeck Ln, Windermere LA23 1LU

Best for: Locally sourced ingredients

If you’re looking for an idyllic spot to enjoy afternoon tea in the Lake District, Holbeck Ghyll in Windermere is a top pick. 

This luxurious country house hotel offers unrivalled views of Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells. This makes it the perfect place to relax and indulge in a traditional afternoon tea.

At Holbeck Ghyll, you’ll be treated to a selection of freshly baked scones, cakes, and sandwiches, all served on a tiered stand.

The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons and local produce. So you can be sure that the ingredients are of the highest quality.

If you’re feeling particularly indulgent – like I usually am – you can upgrade to the Champagne afternoon tea, which includes a glass of bubbly to accompany your treats.

The elegant surroundings of Holbeck Ghyll provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing afternoon tea with loved ones. 

20. Armathwaite Hall Hotel, Keswick

Address: Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick CA12 4RE

Best for: Cosmopolitan afternoon tea

This stunning hotel is situated on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake and offers a cosmopolitan take on the traditional afternoon tea, with flavours from around the globe.

The afternoon tea menu at Armathwaite Hall Hotel is extensive and features a variety of both sweet and savoury treats. 

Here, you’ll find a selection of delicate savoury finger sandwiches and pastries.

Followed by a delectable selection of sweet cakes, pastries and scones, served traditionally with strawberry jam and clotted cream. 

Good to know: This Lake District afternoon tea caters for vegan and coeliac with prior notice. 

21. Leeming House, Penrith

Address: A592, Watermillock, Penrith CA11 0JJ

Best for: A decadent treat

Leeming House Exterior

This sophisticated Georgian house, set in 22 acres of beautiful gardens, offers a traditional afternoon tea with a modern twist.

The elegant setting is perfect for a special occasion or a relaxing afternoon with friends.

The afternoon tea menu at Leeming House includes a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, warm homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of sweet treats. 

Leeming House Afternoon Tea

One of the highlights of the afternoon tea at Leeming House is the selection of Twinings loose leaf teas.

You’ll find classic blends as well as more unusual flavours, such as rose petal and elderflower.

No matter if you put your jam or cream on first, I know you’ll be in for a delightful experience at this spot. 

Planning a trip to this beautiful part of the UK? Read my Lake District guide or discover more of my articles on the region:

Feel free to ask any questions or share your own recommendations in the comments!

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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