Few things are quite so delightfully decadent as a spot of afternoon tea. Whether served with copious cups of piping Earl Grey or a flute or two of champagne, there’s little doubt that us Brits excel at this rather refined past time. And for the book lovers among us, what could be better than pairing a tower of finger sandwiches and lashings of cream with a literary edge to boot? From scones served in stunning libraries, to high-teas inspired by some of literature’s most famous figures, read on for Britain’s best literary-inspired afternoon teas.
Walking into Georgian House Hotel’s atmospheric dining room for their wizard-themed afternoon tea feels like entering into a fantasy realm from the pages of a well-worn novel. The inventive menu consists of everything from smoking salmon and caviar to lemon cursed tart and head popping chocolate lollipops, and offers all would-be wizards an enchanting afternoon experience.
Inspired by the world of renowned explorer, Phileas Fogg – the central protagonist of Jules Verne’s much-loved novel, Around the World in Eighty Days – the afternoon tea offered at Mr Fogg’s is anything but traditional. Highlights include a unique selection of champagne and gin teas, served alongside both sweet and savoury Victorian treats. With decadent colonial decor featuring luscious greens a-plenty, and a resident pianist providing a melodic soundtrack, this literary-inspired high-tea is a serious treat for all the senses.
For anyone with an appetite for all things regal, afternoon-tea takers can’t fail to be charmed by the refined backdrop of the quintessentially British Cliveden House. With a cedar-panelled library bar that fuses elegance and glamour, this English country house is a decadent delight for anyone with a penchant for literature. Guests can opt for the Classic Red Velvet Afternoon Tea – and those feeling particularly indulgent can choose to have it served with a glass of Verve, all the while enjoying the unrivalled views of the landscaped lawns. With finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a selection of bite-sized cake, Cliveden House truly offers the crème de la crème of brilliantly British high-teas.
Fans of Jane Austen will love the high tea on offer in Bath’s Regency Tea Rooms. A city known for its literary links to one of the UK’s best-loved novelists, the staff are dressed in full regency regalia, allowing guests to step back in time to enjoy a delightful range of loose leaf teas, coffees, sandwiches, snacks and sweets.
Named after Virgina Woolf’s high-society protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway, The Bloomsbury Hotel’s Dalloway Terrace is undoubtedly one of London’s most picturesque spots, and the perfect setting for a spot of elegant afternoon tea. The vibrant menu boasts an impressive selection of both teas and champagnes, while the sweet treats include everything from blueberry and lavender eclairs to orange and thyme macaroons.
Want to tuck into your tea surrounded by tomes? You can do just that at luxury London hotel, 11 Cadogan Gardens. The selection of homemade savouries feature a sophisticated twist on much-loved classics and include the likes of a lobster, truffle and tarragon roll, while the homemade scones are served with clotted Cornish cream and strawberry jam.
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