Developed in the 1800s, enjoying an afternoon tea has become a quintessentially English activity, and it’s one that Oxfordshire has fully embraced. You’ll never be far away from a restaurant, hotel or tearoom offering warm scones, home-baked cakes and delicious finger sandwiches for a cream or afternoon tea. Whether you want to munch your cakes in a renovated prison, on a train or sat in the Great Hall from Harry Potter, in Oxfordshire you’ll be able to. We asked the knowledgeable folk at Visit Oxford and Oxfordshire to tell us about the best in the county.
You could tuck into the Fallowfields “low tea” – traditionally known as such because guests were seated in low armchairs with low side tables on which to place their cups and saucers. Alternatively, you could hope on one of the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway trains and enjoy some locally produced scones whilst you travel in style through the foothills of the Chilterns.
If you want to live in the lap of luxury, there’s the stunning Macdonald Randolph Hotel which offers one of the finest afternoon tea selections of homemade delicacies created by their skilled chefs. At the Randolph you can relax in the grand setting of their charming Drawing Room and enjoy the array of sandwiches and cakes served on traditional tiered cake stands. Oxford also plays host to several themed events, including the Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter’s Christmas Afternoon Tea at Christ Church (which includes jam tarts and ‘eat me’ fancies), which are perfect if you want to take your little ones along with you.
Some of Oxfordshire’s prime activities and tourist attractions also boast stellar afternoon teas. At Oxford Castle Unlocked you can take a tour of the Oxford Castle and be inducted into the castle’s prison, and then settle down in Cafe 1071 for a cake and a cuppa, or you could take a stroll through the stunning Batsford Arboretum before enjoying one of their sumptuous cakes with afternoon tea at The Garden Terrace Café.
Cake or crumpet, there’s bound to be the perfect afternoon treat for you. For a full list of the best afternoon teas that Oxfordshire has to offer visit the Visit Oxford & Oxfordshire website