Enjoy an indulgent treat: Great places for afternoon tea in Norfolk and Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 15:07 04 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:03 13 June 2017
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When you fancy something sweet, elegant and indulgent, what could be better than afternoon tea at one of the many great tearooms and hotels in East Anglia. But where to go for the ultimate decadent treat? From country houses to chilled-out coffee shops, we list some of the best places across the region to enjoy this delightful repast.
Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich
Head to this boutique hotel in Ipswich’s vibrant Harbour quayside for an afternoon tea from the two-AA Rosette restaurant. Relax on the waterfront and sip a choice of luxury teas from around the world, before you tuck into a selection of sandwiches, Earl Grey scones with jam and amaretto cream, and a selection of cakes. Afternoon tea is available daily between 2pm and 5pm and three packages are available to suit every need. Basic Afternoon tea includes a choice of teas from around the world, a selection of savoury delights, fruit scones with jam and Jersey cream and a selection of sumptuous home-made cakes - £19.50 per person. Cream Teas also available, with scones, clotted cream and jam, and your choice of tea or coffee, for £8.50.
Emily Cotton says: “The Salthouse Harbour Hotel and its restaurant are what I’d describe as ‘antique chic’, and its waterfront surroundings offer glorious views. Beautifully placed on the three-tier stand in front of us, our afternoon tea looked almost too good to eat. The perfect mix of savoury and sweet, we were spoilt for choice with seriously tasty scones, cakes and sandwiches. The staff were more than happy to continually supply us with pot after pot of refreshing fruit teas to wash it all down with too!”
Biddy’s Tea Room, Norwich and Aylsham
Biddy’s is an independent Victorian-inspired tea room, dreamed up in 2010 by owner Charlie Buchan and named after her dog Biddy. Everything is home-made in its Aylsham bakery which also features a courtyard for sunny days and a dog-friendly area. The Norwich tearoom is on two floors, with squishy sofas in the casual lounge area downstairs. Afternoon Tea is large and traditional, served on tiered stands with sandwiches, cakes, scones and more than 50 loose-leaf teas to choose from. Served between noon and 4pm every day.
Full Afternoon Tea is £13.95 per person or £25.90 for two.
The Swan Hotel and Spa, Lavenham
This 15th-century hotel sits in the heart of the beautiful medieval village. Choose from the Traditional Afternoon Tea - with a selection of freshly-baked cakes, pastries and finger sandwiches - or indulge in the ‘Lavenham High Tea’ that includes culinary treats such as the Adnams Welsh rarebit with Suffolk chutney, followed by scones, cake and pastries with your choice of teas. Afternoon tea is served between noon and 5pm. Traditional Afternoon Tea, £22.50 per person. Lavenham High Tea, £26.50 per person.
Recommended by Le-Anne Burman, who says: “I had afternoon tea in the gallery restaurant with my husband and our friends from across the pond. The staff were very attentive, filling up our teas and checking to see if we were OK. They provided me with a dairy-free option which was very tasty, and vegetarian for my friend. The selection of goodies were very well presented and dainty and the sandwiches were delicious. The surrounds were great - great company, very attentive staff and delicious food, everything you could ask for in an afternoon tea.”
Enjoy a special Afternoon Tea in this beautiful landmark building in Norwich. After a little shopping in the city, head to Cafe Benjamin in the well-known department store to indulge in a selection of freshly made sandwiches, individual handmade pastries, scones with clotted cream and jam and a pot of tea or your choice of coffee.
Served Monday to Friday, from 2.30pm to 4pm. Afternoon Tea is £14 per person. Pre-booking is essential.
Afternoon teas are a speciality at Byfords in the centre of Holt where you can build a selection to suit your tastes in the characterful restaurant, full of beams, nooks and crannies.
The scones are baked fresh every day, the cakes are - locally and the sandwiches are made to order. Served daily between 3pm and 5pm, Classic Afternoon Tea costs £14.95 per person or £28.95 for two. High Tea (as Afternoon Tea with savoury treats) is £17.95 per person or £31.95 for two.
The Teahouse, Norwich
A traditional choice. Located in the historic cathedral quarter on Elm Hill, this Tudor retreat offers an old English experience. Afternoon tea consists of finger sandwiches with four different fillings, mini scones with clotted cream and preserve, small cakes finished off with meringue kisses and two pots of tea per person. The treat is all served on china plates with cake stands and tablecloths to complement the whole occasion. Booking essential.
A Cream Tea for one is also available - pot of tea, home made fruit scone, clotted cream and strawberry preserve - for £4.50.
Hintlesham Hall, near Ipswich
More than 400 years old, Hintlesham Hall is a Grade I-listed country house in Suffolk. Just 10 minutes drive from Ipswich, the tranquil property offers a traditional Afternoon Tea with a selection of finger sandwiches, home-made fruit scones with clotted cream and preserves, a variety of home-made cakes and a choice of tea, tisanes, coffee and luxury hot chocolates. Guests can also expect to find a chocolate éclair, fresh fruit tartlet and fruit cake adorning their tiered cake stands.
The Traditional Afternoon Tea is served daily between 2pm and 5pm and costs £18 per person.
Maison Talbooth, Dedham
This luxury country house hotel is located on the Suffolk and Essex border, set among grounds that look out across Constable’s countryside and the Dedham Vale. Guests can settle into the Garden Room and gaze out towards St Mary’s Church as they sample the afternoon tea selection. Maison Talbooth offer a selection of sandwiches and buttermilk scones with jam and clotted cream, plus a changing menu of cakes which may include chocolate brownies, Battenberg, raspberry puffs with fresh cream or fruit cake.
Afternoon Tea is served every day between 2pm and 6pm and costs £21.50 per person.
Tearoom at Alby Craft and Gardens, Erpingham
Set in the Upper Courtyard of Alby Crafts and Gardens, the tea room serves traditional fayre including an Afternoon Tea consisting of scones with cream and jam, cakes, sandwiches and tea or coffee - £13.95. Also on offer is a High Tea which adds a variety of savoury treats - £15.95. Both are available after noon and booking is advised. All cakes are gluten-free.
Recommended by Donna-Louise Bishop, who says: “This has to be one of the most beautiful places in Norfolk. It’s a hidden little gem on the north Norfolk coast and does the most spectacular cream teas as well as amazing cakes. There’s also a wide selection of gluten-free options. Staff make you feel as if you are in a home-from-home.”
Applaud Coffee, Ipswich
Set among the independent and artisan retailers of The Saints in Ipswich, Applaud Coffee is a great place to go for afternoon tea because it is right in the centre of town. Enjoy a pot of tea or cup of coffee, served to your table with a selection of sandwiches and home-made cakes – always including a fruit scone with clotted cream and jam. Afternoon tea is served every day from 2pm and costs £12.50 per person.
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis says: “Although it doesn’t come on a fancy cake stand, the afternoon tea at Suffolk’s Best Cafe 2016 is excellent. Freshly-made sandwiches, huge fluffy, warm scones and lovely local jam, and big fat wedges of interesting cakes. The cafe’s courtyard garden, which spills out into the grounds of Cake & Catwalk is a little oasis for taking tea in the centre of Ipswich.”
Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa, Newmarket
This four-star hotel in Newmarket offers a special Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, adding a ‘masculine’ twist to the traditional offering. Servings include the Bedford Lodge Club Sandwich – toasted Bloomer bread, poached chicken, grilled bacon, mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, plum tomatoes - alongside savoury treats and a selection of cakes and fancies, including a warm fruit scone with cream and jam, mini treacle tart and lemon loaf slice.
The Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea can be taken in Squires Restaurant, the Roxana Bar or on the sun terrace overlooking the stunning lawns and rose gardens at the hotel. Price: £20 per person (with English tea or cafetiere coffee), £24 per person (with a choice of a pint of Peroni, pint of Adnams Bitter or Aspall Cyder 380ml).
Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk
The sympathetic refurbishment of this traditional watermill makes it a little different to the average boutique hotel, with its cast-iron water wheel and towering chimney. The afternoon tea is served with the traditional scone with jam and clotted cream, pretty pastries and delicate sandwiches – plus a variety of tea to choose from, ranging from organic Earl Grey to Himalayan Peak darjeeling.
Afternoon tea is served Monday to Saturday between 2.30pm and 5pm and costs £18.50 per person.
White Lion, Aldeburgh
Enjoy a relaxed afternoon tea at this stylish hotel, located on the Suffolk coast at Aldeburgh. Each month features a themed offering - eg Wimbledon Afternoon Tea in June - and tea includes a selection of finger sandwiches and pastries. Or you can opt for the Traditional Cream Tea which includes a scone, cream and strawberry jam, served with a pot of tea or coffee. Afternoon Tea is available between 3pm and 5pm and costs £15 per person.
Traditional Cream Teas are served from 10am to 5pm and cost £5.50 per person.
Stoke by Nayland Golf, Hotel and Spa, Leavenheath
The family-owned hotel on the Suffolk border boasts a two-AA Rosette restaurant. Expect to find a sumptuous array of finger sandwiches, cakes, scones with clotted cream and freshly brewed tea or coffee. Afternoon Tea can be taken next to a roaring fire in the winter months or al fresco on the terrace when the sun is shining. £17.95 per person. Themed afternoon teas are also available.
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis says: “The Chocolate Afternoon Tea is not for the faint-hearted. Sandwiches, huge scones filled with chocolate chips served with chocolate hazenut spread, brownies, gateaux – it is to die for. I hear there’s now a Gin Afternoon Tea as well!”
Ufford Park Hotel, Golf and Spa, near Woodbridge
Located in the heart of Suffolk’s beautiful, peaceful countryside, this hotel is set in 120 acres of historic parkland and offers the perfect relaxed environment for an indulgent afternoon tea. The menu features a variety of teas (or coffee) along with finger sandwiches, home-made sausage roll, warm fruit scone with Tiptree strawberry preserve and clotted cream, chocolate cup filled with lemon posset, chocolate cupcakes and vanilla macarons.
Afternoon Tea is served daily between 2pm and 5pm and costs £16.95 per person.
Set in a historic 450-year-old building, Kindreds offers a Classic Afternoon Tea which features a selection of finger sandwiches, warm sausage roll, mature cheddar cheese and rosemary scone, sultana scone with Norfolk strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream, a selection of cakes and pastries and passion fruit posset - all made by the kitchen team. This is accompanied by your choice of tea or coffee.
Afternoon Tea is £14.95 per person. Vegetarian, gluten free and other dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice. Booking required.
Westleton Crown, near Southwold
This traditional coaching inn on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, between Southwold and Aldeburgh, dates back to the 12th century. The Cream Tea on offer comprises of a home-made scone with strawberry jam and vanilla cream, served with a sticky toffee pudding cake, shortbread and a choice of tea.
Cream Teas are served between 3pm and 6pm and cost £6.85 per person.
Caistor Hall, near Norwich
An elegant choice, with gorgeous Georgian décor inside and lovely gardens and terrace outside. Enjoy afternoon tea in the peaceful open air or in colder weather, cosy up to the fireplace for warmth while sipping your tea. Classic Afternoon tea, priced at £14.95 per person, includes selection of sandwiches, home-made scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, and a selection of cakes. Those looking for something a bit lighter can opt for a simple Cream Tea for £7.95, which includes a home-made scone with jam and clotted cream, as well as your choice of tea or coffee.
Special dietary options are available on request. Booking essential.
The Angel Hotel, Bury St Edmunds
This boutique hotel in the heart of Bury St Edmunds offers the perfect location to indulge after a day’s shopping. Take a seat and relax in the contemporary Eaterie Restaurant or Lounge and try the basic Cream Tea - a large scone with jam and Jersey cream - or choose the full Afternoon Tea which also includes a selection of savoury delights and homemade cakes. Both packages offer your choice of teas from around the world. Afternoon Tea is available daily between 2.30pm and 4.30pm and costs £19.50 per person. The basic Cream Tea costs £7.95 per person.
Kim Briscoe says: “A very stylish location, with its quite modern interior, and definitely an afternoon tea which requires a bit of effort with your outfit. I went as part of a hen do and we enjoyed fizz with our delicious scones, cakes and sandwiches.”
Stratton’s Hotel, Swaffham
A small, family-run boutique hotel, Strattons offers a delicious traditional afternoon tea in relaxed, comfy and funky surroundings - go al fresco in summer or by the fire in winter in the fabulous hotel lounges. Indulge in unlimited tea or coffee, a selection of finger sandwiches, two fruit scones with cream and jam, and small cakes for £15.50 per person. Available daily from noon to 4.30pm (booking essential). Seasonal afternoon teas are also available, so look out for Wimbledon and Halloween specials.
Strattons won the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Award for ‘Best Afternoon Tea Norfolk’ in 2016.
Ravenwood Hall Hotel, Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds
Steeped in history with origins in the reign of Henry VIII, Ravenwood Hall is set in seven acres of secluded and tranquil countryside just outside Bury St Edmunds. It has been restored over the years but retains an ornate carved oak structure, inglenook fireplaces and rare 15th-century wall paintings.
The Suffolk Cream Tea includes your choice of freshly-brewed tea or coffee and traditional baked fruit scones with fruit compote and Cornish clotted cream. Or opt for the Traditional Afternoon Tea which adds a selection of freshly-made finger sandwiches and home-made fruit cake. Relax by the log fire when chilly or sit in the gardens beneath the grape vine covered patio overlooking the swimming pool if the sun is shining. Served between 2.30pm and 5pm, Suffolk Cream Teas are £7.95 per person and Traditional Afternoon Tea is £14.95 per person.
River Kitchen Café, Wroxham
Situated on the river, enjoy the beautiful views of the Norfolk Broads while spoiling yourself with a fabulous afternoon tea beautifully presented on vintage bone china. Home-made treats include a selection of sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, cake and sweets - all served with unlimited tea or coffee.
Afternoon Tea costs £14 per person and is served from noon Tuesday to Friday and from 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday. Booking essential.
The Mill Hotel, Sudbury
Enjoy a quintessential Afternoon Tea in this converted water mill on the banks of the picturesque River Stour in Sudbury. Relax in The Mill Bar or, weather permitting, sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the view across the meadows. Full Afternoon Tea features a selection of traditional finger sandwiches, homemade pastries with scones, clotted cream and Tiptree strawberry jam, all complemented by a choice of fine teas or coffee. It is available from noon to 5pm every day and costs £14.95 per person.
The hotel also caters for gluten-free diets.
Helmingham Hall, Helmingham
Treat yourself to a traditional afternoon tea in the stunning surroundings of Helmingham Hall Gardens. The Coach House Tea Rooms are open between noon and 5pm giving you ample time to enjoy the quintessential English Cream Tea on offer; Cornish clotted cream and jam with handmade scones. From May 1 to September 14, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 3pm to 5pm, you can also enjoy a Vintage Afternoon Tea, with sandwiches, cakes and tea all beautifully presented on vintage bone china (pre-booking is required). Sit inside or take advantage of the flower-filled courtyard on sunny days.
Vintage Afternoon Tea costs £15 per person,
Tiffins Tea Emporium, Long Melford
This traditional tea room in Long Melford offers a choice of three indulgent afternoon teas with treats baked fresh on the premises. The Cream Tea consists of a home-made scone served with Tiffin’s strawberry jam, clotted cream and a selection of teas for your pot - £5.50. A Traditional Afternoon Tea includes plain or fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream, a choice of dainty sandwiches, home-made cake, mini dessert pots and Tiffin’s finest loose leaf tea for your pot; all served on a tiered stand - £14. Tiffin’s Afternoon Tea includes all of these plus luxury sandwich fillings and tea pot refill - £16.95. Gluten-free options are available. The tearoom is open until 4.30pm every day.
Bethany Whymark says: “The café is a cosy array of small, well-lit spaces – including a suntrap of a garden – which lend themselves perfectly to enjoying an afternoon treat. The towering home-made cakes, including dairy and gluten-free options, are all home-made and there is a list of different coffee varieties and loose leaf teas as long as your arm. If you fancy something savoury their sandwiches are among the best I’ve tasted in a Suffolk tea room.”
The Assembly House, Norwich
Enjoy afternoon tea in the Georgian splendour of The Assembly House, where classic tiered stands are filled with a carefully-designed menu of sumptuous delicacies - from delicate finger sandwiches to sweet and cheese scones, perfectly-formed pastries to an array of bite-sized cakes - all served with a choice of loose leaf tea or a glass of Champagne. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan all catered for with prior notice.
Afternoon tea is served between noon and 4.30pm and costs £19.95 for one and £38 for two.
Folly Tearoom, Holt
Afternoon tea at the romantic Folly Tearoom in Holt is not to be missed. The Traditional includes sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, miniature cakes and tea or coffee, for £13.95 per person. Add sparkling pink bubbles with The Pink Folly, £17.95, or choose The Gentleman’s Folly with its savoury treats for £13.95. Served on vintage china, each one is three tiers of heaven!
A variety of basic cream teas is also available for £5.75. Open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm.
Congham Hall Hotel, Grimston
This Georgian haven, set in the Norfolk countryside, is a perfect place to sit and enjoy afternoon tea, perhaps after a walk around the herb garden and orchard, or on colder days in front of the roaring log fire.
The hotel offers a basic Cream Tea - tea or coffee with freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and home-made jam – for £8.75, or enjoy Full Afternoon Tea - a selection of freshly-made sandwiches, home-made cakes, freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and home-made jam, chocolate eclairs, seasonal desserts and tea or coffee – for £20 per person.
Harriet’s Cafe Tearooms, Bury St Edmunds
Set in the centre of town within one of the old Cornhill buildings (circa 1900), Harriet’s benefits from a grand entrance and high ceilings adorned with chandeliers with a pianist playing on selected afternoons. The Traditional Afternoon Tea includes sandwich quarters, freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and Harriet’s strawberry jam, assorted miniature sponge cakes and tea or coffee - all for £16.95 per person. Also available is the Special Afternoon Tea which adds fresh patisseries and costs £19.95, and the Savoury Afternoon Tea which features cheese scones and a trio of home-made savouries for £17.95.
Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available. Harriet’s also has branches in Norwich in Cambridge.
The Old Fire Engine House, Ely
This restaurant and art gallery can be found west of the cathedral in an attractive Georgian house with a large walled garden. The Full Cream Tea is served between 3.30pm and 5.15pm and consists of two scones with home-made jam and cream, cake and tea. Price: £9.25 per person. The winter tea menu also features home-made gentleman’s relish and Cambridgeshire honey, while in the summer cucumber sandwiches are served.
Recommended by Patrick Widdess, who says: “Delicious scones, freshly baked in an old-fashioned kitchen. The place has a homely feel with a beautiful garden in which to enjoy your cream tea in the sun.”
The Cookhouse Restaurant, Wherstead
Situated in Suffolk Food Hall, this restaurant offers stunning panoramic views and Afternoon Tea served on a beautiful vintage cake stand. Serving includes three sandwiches, two savouries, two sweets and unlimited tea. Afternoon Tea is available from 3pm to 5pm and costs £14.50 per person.