Afternoon tea is the ultimate British pastime; in any other circumstance, devouring a selection of sandwiches would not feel as sophisticated. And you don’t have to be a Jane Austen or Bridgerton fan to enjoy it either – although it might improve the experience by imagining a Mr Darcy waiting for you at home.
Everyone, from Brits to tourists, must try it at some point. And whether you’re after a traditional afternoon tea in a fancy hotel or a marvellous and quirky twist on the classic, there’s something in Birmingham for everyone. Check out our guide to the very best afternoon tea in Bristol and the South West. These tiers tower over the rest!
1. No.4 Clifton Village
Situated at The Rodney Hotel, an afternoon tea here is quintessentially British. No.4 offers an assortment of sandwiches, traditional cream teas and a variety of cakes to accompany your pot of tea. As well as serving your classic afternoon tea of miniature sandwiches and freshly baked scones and cakes, guests can also opt for an afternoon tea served with prosecco or a Hendrick’s gin and tonic to make things a little boozy, and for just £24 per person.
Plus, vegans needn’t miss out as No.4’s plant-based afternoon tea features sweet treats such as almond Victoria sponge cake, chocolate dipped strawberries and lemon sponge cake. To add to all the traditional offerings, all afternoon teas come served on kitsch vintage crockery, which is also available to hire.
No.4 Clifton Village, The Rodney Hotel, 4 Rodney Place, BS8 4HY
2. Hotel du Vin
Within this charming city centre hotel you’ll find Bistro du Vin where afternoon tea is served. For £27.50 per person, guests can tuck into a moreish finger sandwich selection which features the likes of Severn & Wye smoked salmon and cream cheese on dark rye bread and Croxton Manor cheese and pickle on malted loaf.
However, it’s the vegan options that are out to impress with sumptuous savouries such as Provençal vegetable, basil pesto and feta wrap; beetroot and baba ganoush on white tin loaf; and Isle of Wight heritage tomato and olive tapenade on a white roll. The hotel also has a vast selection of teas to choose from, which range from classic Great British cuppa to more exotic teas like fruit salad and gingerbread chai, as well as three different champagnes and mouthwatering cocktails that take your afternoon tea in Bristol up a notch or two.
Hotel du Vin Bristol City Centre, The Sugar House, Narrow Lewins Mead, BS1 2NU
3. Ashwell & Co
Have you ever sipped on tea and gorged on cake in a vintage boutique? Well, there’s a first for everything. At Ashwell & Co you can eat, shop and dress as not only is the store brimming with handpicked vintage fashion, it’s also a bridal shop and tearoom. Ashwell & Co’s menus always change seasonally and their summer menu features the likes of greengage and elderflower Victoria sponge, lavender blondies, lemon curd shortbread bites as part of their sweet treats.
You can also enjoy satisfying sandwiches with fillings like coronation chickpea and Granny Smith apple; pea and mint purée; plus ricotta, dill and cucumber. Everything from the bread to the cakes, to the scones and even the clotted cream is homemade and the tearoom also has an extensive loose leaf tea menu courtesy of Bristol Tea Company. Ashwell & Co aims to provide a proper, traditional afternoon tea in Bristol like you’re granny might’ve made.
Heartfelt Vintage, 32 Alma Vale Road, BS8 2HY
4. The Last Word
Another Clifton favourite for afternoon tea is The Last Word. During lockdown, this cocktail bar was bringing their amazing afternoon teas to our doors but now we can enjoy the real deal at their swanky spot on Regent Street. Served every Saturday, 12pm to 5pm, The Last Word’s afternoon tea is reasonably priced at £25, or get it delivered for £22.50.
The bar offers your classic scones with jam and cream plus a pot of tea, and brings plenty of decadence with cakes such as lemon and blueberry cupcakes, chocolate brownies and strawberry Victoria sponge with fresh cream. As well as enjoying a cup of tea and a glass of prosecco, be sure to try one of the cocktails with standout drinks being pineapple margarita, vanilla and apple martini and a gin cocktail named after the bar.
The Last Word, 3A Regent Street, Clifton, BS8 4HW
5. Berwick Lodge
This north Bristol hotel brings plenty of atmosphere at teatime whatever the weather as you can sit in their beautiful, wood-panelled lounge with a roaring fire or sit back on one of their vintage white garden chairs to witness amazing views of the grounds. Choose from three elegant afternoon teas (and there’s also a children’s one that includes milkshakes and a unicorn cake)- Traditional, Berwick and Champagne.
If you’re feeling ultra fancy, we recommend ordering the Berwick afternoon tea which includes a cheese scone, smoked duck breast and smoked salmon blini as well as classic yet exceptional sarnies. Their wintery sweet specials include banoffee choux, chocolate and orange liqueur macaron, lemon posset, raspberry and meringue, and coffee and walnut cake. Plus, warm scones with clotted cream and Earl Grey jam. Drooling yet? Head here to learn more.
Berwick Lodge, Berwick Drive, BS10 7TD
6. The Ivy
A special occasion calls for a lavish meal at The Ivy in Clifton and nothing says lavish quite like an afternoon tea. Overlooking The Mall Gardens, The Ivy adds to the chic of Clifton Village especially with its food and drink offerings and impressive décor featuring brass chandeliers, Art Deco details and banquettes to sit back on whilst you sip on tea or champagne.
The Bristol brasserie’s afternoon tea includes savouries like smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwich, grilled chicken and truffle mayonnaise brioche roll and pickled cucumber, courgette and basil double decker. As well as the traditional scones, cream and jam, The Ivy offers dainty sweet treats like red velvet raspberry cake, almond macaron, chocolate shortbread slice and berry smoothie bottle.
The Ivy Clifton Brasserie, 42-44 Caledonia Place, Clifton, BS8 4DN
KIBOU in Clifton puts a Japanese twist on the traditional afternoon tea. It’s the same daintiness we have come to expect from the English pastime but, rather than cucumber sandwiches and jam-filled scones, expect salmon, sashimi and traditional Japanese sweets. Highlights include tempura prawn California rolls, sea bream nigiri and the yuzu cheesecake.
There is also a vegetarian afternoon tea menu available too. Guests can sip on a choice of Japanese teas and infusions, such as jasmine or genmaicha, while a matcha tea option is also offered. Those looking to get a little boozy can also enjoy champagne, KIBOU’s signature cocktail and sake – to keep the afternoon truly Japanese.
KIBOU, 16 King’s Road, Clifton, BS8 4AB
8. SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain!? We hear you say. Yes, throughout the summer, and starting this Mother’s Day, the legendary ship will host afternoon tea in the First Class Dining Saloon. During voyages, the room would have been available only to first-class passengers – so it’s the perfect place to make someone special feel like a VIP this Mothering Sunday.
Visitors will tuck into a delicious array of treats, including finger sandwiches, mini savouries, scones and macaroons. After tea, guests will be free to stroll through the Victorian dockyard, explore the ship, and visit the Being Brunel Museum. This exclusive afternoon tea experience costs £39.95 per adult, and will take place on March 19, May 7 – King Charles III’s Coronation weekend – June 25, July 23, August 20 and September 24. To learn more head here.
Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol BS1 6TY