Ah, the great British tradition of afternoon tea! So popular, it even took off up here, in the generally regarded "salt of the Earth" North East.
As you may recall from our history of your favourite cakes and desserts, this tradition can be traced back to one woman. Anne Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, to be specific.
Feeling peckish around four o’clock, she started ordering tea, buttered bread and cakes to be brought to her room every afternoon. She later started inviting her friends to join her.
Soon, the tradition caught on and was further popularised when Queen Victoria herself adopted the practice of afternoon tea and cakes. As tea became more affordable, the practice was adopted by the wider British people, thus cementing our image as a nation of tea drinkers.
While many countries still like to picture afternoon tea as a British norm, we know that modern tea breaks look very different nowadays.
However, traditional afternoon teas are still enjoyed as an occasional treat, and for good reason! There is just something so satisfying about pouring from a fancy pot of tea. Not to mention the delicate finger sandwiches and selection of delectable cakes and scones.
It’s a great activity to enjoy as a treat for yourself and your friends and/or partner or with your family, especially during school holidays.
Of course, even with the end of lockdown in our sights, this year’s Easter holidays are still going to look different from normal. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a traditional afternoon tea right from the comfort of your home withour afternoon tea hamper delivered right to your door!
Of course, lockdown won’t last forever and we’ll all be able to start making plans to go out and see our loved ones again soon. So we thought we would provide you with our top picks of the best places for afternoon tea in the North East to inspire you!
With bakeries in Felton, Longframlington and Shilbottle, this small village bakery chain is absolutely perfect for treating yourself to a sumptuous afternoon tea!
While the original Running Fox in Felton is definitely the most picturesque, dog lovers should head to their dog friendly Longframlington and Shilbottle locations.
What makes The Running Fox stand out is the fact that you won’t find dainty finger foods with your afternoon tea here! Instead, they pride themselves on providing a more rustic and ultimately more filling experience for their guests.
And with an average 4.5 TripAdvisor score, it’s clear that their customers are loving what they are offering!
The Running Fox offers a range of afternoon tea options at slightly different price points;
You can find this pretty pink Instagram worthy cake parlour on Queen Street on Newcastle Quayside.
Founded in 2013, this mother-daughter run business prides itself on providing exquisitely made cakes that are just as much a feast for the eyes as for the stomach. And their cakes are indeed swoon-worthy to look at!
As The Great British Cupcakery isn’t a very big parlour, their seating areas are reserved for afternoon teas only - and what an afternoon tea spread it is! A sample menu includes;
This sublime spread will set you back £19.99 per person. With an average 4-star TripAdvisor score, it certainly seems worth it!
Located in Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, this historic Grade II listed Georgian building became Newcastle’s first independent boutique hotel in 2005.
Overlooking Jesmond Dene Valley, it has the peace and quiet charm of a country hotel whilst still being part of the city. This makes it an absolute joy to visit, as you can visit for some peace and quiet after a busy day’s shopping or sightseeing.
As well as being a charming hotel to stay in, Jesmond Dene House also has a fantastic 4-star TripAdvisor rated restaurant that offers an incredibly fancy-sounding afternoon tea!
Truly a sumptuous experience, this spread is definitely worth the £22.50 per person asking price!
This 300 year old coaching inn is located in the historic town of Alnwick. Just a stone’s throw away from the town’s famous castle and gardens, it is an ideal place to stay or enjoy a meal in.
Served in the hotel’s stunning bistro restaurant, the White Swan Hotel offers a range of afternoon tea options at different price points to suit everyone’s tastes;
With an average 3.5 star score on TripAdvisor, the White Swan Hotel might not be the highest rated on our list, but it’s location and good range of options makes it a worthy entry on our list.
This stunning luxury hotel can be found on Castle Garth, right next to the Castle Keep. With beautiful views and it’s perfect central location, it’s little wonder that Vermont Hotel is considered one of the jewels in Newcastle’s city landscape.
As well as being a luxurious hotel to stay at, Vermont Hotel also serves a wonderful array of afternoon teas in their 5-star Maven restaurant.
If you want to treat yourself to something truly special, you can’t go far wrong with choosing Vermont Hotel for your afternoon tea.
Located in the beautiful Beamish valley within the vale of Durham, South Causey Inn is a beautiful independent luxury hotel. As well as being a great place to stay overnight, it also has a lovely rustic style restaurant and outdoor eating area for non-staying guests. Oh, and it's dog friendly, too!
With easy access to Beamish open air museum and great transport links to Newcastle airport and Durham, Chester-Le-Street and Newcastle train stations, it’s an absolute doddle to get here.
Afternoon tea at South Causey Inn’s 4.5 star restaurant is always a traditional affair uniquely served on miniature picnic tables. They also offer a vegan and gluten-free version of their afternoon tea menu.
All variations cost £25 per person, apart from their Children’s Afternoon Tea, with costs £15 per child.
Of course, you can also opt for an upgraded afternoon tea with a floral tea or glass fizz for £29.95 per person instead.
Based on Elvet Bridge, Tealicious is an independent speciality tea room in the historic centre of Durham.
This is definitely one for devoted tea lovers. There are 24 blends of loose leaf tea to choose from, served in fine bone china cups. On top of this, there is always a selection of freshly made sandwiches, scones and cakes available.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tealicious offers a fabulous traditional afternoon tea. Served every day, with vegan and gluten free options available as well, partaking in afternoon tea at this 5-star tea room will cost you £19.95 per person.
Let There Be Crumbs is one of the most recently opened places on our list. Established in 2015, this tea room can be found on Roker Terrace in Sunderland.
As well as their patisserie counter, this little tea room prides themselves on their tea and coffee service and the intimate dining experience they offer their customers. They currently have a 3.5 average rating on TripAdvisor but we are sure they will only go from strength to strength.
Their afternoon tea costs £16.95 for one, or £24.95 for two people. For a further £6.50, you also have the option to upgrade to a “fizzing afternoon tea” by adding a glass of prosecco or Poetic License Gin.
Furthermore, for £4.00, you can add a choice of 6 cakes from the patisserie counter.
There is also a children’s afternoon tea service for £6.95.
While Blackfriars Restaurant itself first opened its doors in 2001, the building itself is undoubtedly the oldest on this list. Dating back to 1239, it was originally built as a monastery for Dominican friars after the land being donated by three anonymous sisters and the first Mayor of Newcastle.
An interesting side note about Blackfriars - their uniform of white tunics and black cloaks is the reason why Newcastle United’s team colours are black and white today.
Back to afternoon tea, though. Blackfriars offers a traditional afternoon tea in their Cloister Gardens for £20 per person (£26 if you want to add a glass of prosecco).
One of the standout afternoon tea menu items absolutelyhasto be their hand-made wild hog and winter truffle sausage roll!
Nestled in rural Northumberland, Eshott Hall is an absolutely beautiful luxury country house hotel.
With a 4.5 star restaurant, this grand historic building is one of the most perfect places to enjoy the tradition of afternoon tea.
Served between 3:00 and 5:00 PM, afternoon tea at Eshott Hall will set you back £18.00 per person - £21.50 for an added glass of Prosecco or flute of Perrier–Jouët Grand Brut. £25 for a glass of champagne).
This is as traditional as you can get. The spread includes a selection of finger sandwiches, handmade scones, cakes and fancies and, naturally, a selection of teas or freshly brewed coffees.
This stately home situated in Matfen, Northumberland dates back to the 1830s. These days, it has been transformed into an upscale golf course, spa, restaurant and hotel.
Matfen Hall prides itself on having served a traditional afternoon tea for over a decade, with their loose leaf teas provided by the Newcastle-based company Ringtons. When booking afternoon tea at Matfen Hall, you have a couple of options to choose from:
Located on the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside, Six is a stunning riverside terrace bar and dining room.
It is also part of the wider BALTIC centre for contemporary art, which makes Six the perfect venue for modern art lovers.
While Six only offers afternoon tea at the weekends between 1:00 and 3:00 PM, it’s absolutely superb menu definitely makes up for limited availability. Stand-out items have to be the banana and date cake with peanut buttercream and the dark chocolat, cinder toffee, raspberry and hazelnut flavoured mousses.
A traditional afternoon tea here will cost you £25 per person, while a Prosecco afternoon tea will cost £28 and a champagne afternoon tea £32.
Langley Castle Hotel is a close candidate for the oldest location on this list. It dates all the way back to 1350 when construction began for Sir Thomas de Lucy, who died one year after the castle’s completion in 1365.
Situated in Langley-on-Tyne near Hexham, this is a truly beautiful location to visit, with so much history behind it. With guided tours of the battlements, chapel and garderobes available and a 4.5 star TripAdvisor rating, it would be a shame not to make a full day of it and book in for an afternoon tea here as well.
Langley Castle offers a traditional afternoon tea for £20.50 per person. This provides the expected selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes and sweet treats, as well as a choice of tea or coffee.
There is also a gentleman's afternoon tea for £22.50 per person. As well as a choice of tea or coffee, scones and a selection of cakes and sweet treats, this version of afternoon tea also includes the following;
I know which version I’d be most interested in!
This picturesque Victorian country house hotel can be found in Rothbury just on the edge of Northumberland National Park.
With Cragside a mere five minutes away and surrounded as it is by stunning countryside, this dog friendly hotel is absolutely perfect for dog owners and outdoor adventurers alike.
Coquetvale Hotel’s 4-star rated restaurant also offers three types of afternoon tea, which is perfect for whether you are staying a couple of nights or just on a day trip.
For £6.95 per person, you’ll get a classic cream tea, served with a plain and fruit scone with cream and strawberry jam, along with a choice of loose leaf tea or speciality coffee.
A traditional afternoon tea with the class selection of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and sweet treats alongside your choice of tea or coffee will cost you £14.95 per person. You can also add a glass of prosecco for an extra £5.95.
Or, if you prefer more savoury food, there is the savoury afternoon tea for £16.95, which offers a selection of hot and cold savouries, followed by a selection of sweet treats alongside your tea or coffee.
<h2>Wrapping Up The Best Places for Afternoon Tea in the North East</h2>
And so concludes our list of the best places for afternoon tea in the North East.
As you can see, there is quite a variety in terms of venues offering afternoon tea. From village bakeries and Instagrammable cake shops and tea rooms through to historic castles and manor houses.
You’ll certainly be spoilt for choice should you decide to plan a trip out for afternoon tea once everything opens up again.
In the meantime, don’t forget that we offer anafternoon tea at home package, as well as a vast array of sweet and savoury treats on our website that we can deliver right to your door.