Afternoon tea is one of the great British traditions – an occasion that was introduced way back in the 1840s to curb hunger pangs between lunchtime and an 8pm evening meal. Now, though, it’s seen as a decadent choice for a celebration, and a popular meal option for occasions like baby showers, hen parties, birthdays and more.
It’s such a big deal, in fact, that there’s even an Afternoon Tea Week which celebrates the tradition, as well as the huge number of venues across the UK that offer their own take on the occasion. So, with this year’s celebration on the horizon (it takes place from August 12th to 18th in 2019), we’ve rounded up some of our favourite spots for afternoon tea in Bournemouth.
Arbor Restaurant at the Green House Hotel on Grove Road is a unique restaurant – where else will you find a dining room with a huge tree right in the centre? And it’s a great place for an afternoon tea, too, with a traditional afternoon tea including a variety of cakes and pastries prepared fresh every morning. The offerings change with the seasons, too: depending on when you go, you could find yourself presented with anything from chocolate brownies or banana cake to crème brulée or peanut butter cheesecake.
Ventana Grand Cafe
With its stunning Art Deco dining room and two AA Rosettes, the contemporary opulence of the Ventana Grand Cafe at the Cumberland Hotel on East Overcliff Drive is not to be missed! Take your afternoon tea in the hotel lounge and enjoy an impressive selection of cakes and sweet treats alongside traditionally filled finger sandwiches, and incredible raisin and cinnamon scones. To make it even more of an occasion you can choose a glass of Prosecco or a cocktail alongside – we love their Hendrick’s Gin tea cocktail, which includes the perfumed notes of Earl Grey tea.
Over in Poole, The Courtyard Tea Rooms is a family-run business with a stunning courtyard garden that’s the perfect setting for an afternoon tea at the end of summer. The 16th-century building is a cosy and welcoming place, and the afternoon teas are both generous and delicious. We love the fact that you have a choice of three types of scone – plain, fruit or cherry – and the spiced, creamy coronation chicken sandwiches are incredibly moreish!
Cottonwood Boutique Hotel
One of a number of hotels on Bournemouth’s Grove Road, the Cottonwood Boutique Hotel has an incredible bar and terrace offering beautiful panoramic sea views – a great setting for a leisurely afternoon tea! And if you’re a chocolate lover, even better. In addition to a traditional afternoon tea, they also offer a chocolate afternoon tea designed for those with a seriously sweet tooth. As well as the traditional sandwiches, you’ll enjoy chocolate scones with cream and chocolate spread, as well as various cocoa-based sweet treats (think chocolate-dipped strawberries, brownies, profiteroles, cookies and more). You can even opt for a creamy, rich hot chocolate instead of a cup of tea if you’ve a really sweet tooth…
Steam Vintage Tea Rooms
Finally, Steam Vintage Tea Rooms on Poole Hill gives you the chance to step back in time and enjoy a bite to eat in a quirky, shabby chic setting. With music spanning everything from jazz to rock and roll, too, walking through the doors is like being transported back to a previous era. Steam’s afternoon teas – served on three-tiered vintage china stands – are homely and delicious: generously filled sandwich triangles, sugar-dusted scones and thick slabs of homemade cake. There are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan versions available, too.