Luxurious, elegant surroundings or a cosy and cheerful atmosphere? We have sipped, supped and savoured to bring together our recommendations of the top spots to enjoy the quintessential tradition of afternoon tea, right here in the capital. It’s always time for tea!
‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea’ – Henry James
Afternoon tea favourites
- Scott’s on Princes Street
- Patisserie Valerie
- Prestonfield House
- Browns Edinburgh
- Colonnades at the Signet Library
- The Dome
- Palace of Holyroodhouse
- Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian Hotel
- Palm Court, Balmoral Hotel
- The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant
- The Bonham
- Harvey Nichols
- Mimi’s Bakehouse
- Red Bus Bistro
- The Ivy on the Square
- The Cauldron Bar
Scott’s on Princes Street
With walls adorned with images from the country’s heritage, and stunning views looking out onto Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens and the Scott Monument, you’ll feel truly immersed in all things Scottish with afternoon tea at Scott’s on Princes Street. Their Scottish-inspired menu includes Arran cheddar and tomato finger sandwiches, poached salmon sliders and homemade scones with fresh cream and strawberry preserve.
Located on Rose Street in the New Town, Patisserie Valerie is the perfect place to relax after a day’s shopping and sightseeing.
Available all-day, everyday, their eye-catching afternoon tea includes British tea infusions, freshly baked fruit and plain scones served with jam and clotted cream, mini profiteroles and a selection of mini cake slices.
Can’t make it in person? Don’t worry – they offer UK delivery!
Tantalise your taste buds with a divine selection of leaf teas, home baking and traditional sandwiches served in the beautiful surroundings of Prestonfield House.
In the summer months, afternoon tea is served in the rose-filled garden or pretty tea house, while in the winter, diners can enjoy the cosiness of a roaring fire in the sumptuous Tapestry Room.
Traditional, vegetarian and vegan menus are available.
Nestled among the neo-classical town houses and pretty Georgian architecture of New Town, the beautiful Browns Edinburgh echoes art deco styling with high ceilings, black and white tiled floors and opulent gold finishes – providing a simply stunning backdrop for guests to enjoy afternoon tea. Dainty sandwiches are followed by warm scones and a lovely selection of mini sponges and tarts.
Colonnades at the Signet Library
Set within a stunning 19th century building, Colonnades at the Signet Library provides a truly memorable afternoon tea experience from start to finish. Every detail is just so, from the incredibly ornate, neo-classic decor to the bespoke silver tea stand on which your delicacies are served.
Their sandwiches and cakes are all made using the finest, freshest seasonal ingredients with gluten-free and vegetarian options available. They also have an extensive list of teas, including their own signature blend.
Enjoy afternoon tea in majestic surroundings in The Dome’s Georgian Tea Room.
Delicate finger sandwiches are served along with light scones and clotted cream and a selection of mouth-watering pastries accompanied by your choice of tea or coffee. So the smallest members of the family don’t miss out, a children’s afternoon tea is also available.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
In the historic settings of the mews courtyard at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, enjoy a delicious range of homemade cakes, pastries and sandwiches, all served with your choice of loose leaf tea.
Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan afternoon teas are available on request, and a special children’s version is also available.
Top Tip: Look out for their crown cappuccino or sample their rich soaked fruit cake – delicious!
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian Hotel
Definitely one for a ladies’ afternoon out. A sophisticated and elegant ambiance welcomes you for afternoon tea in Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh’s Peacock Alley.
In homage to the grand Caledonian Railway, formerly located beneath the hotel, every element of dining here evokes a charm from a bygone era.
Your choice of fine loose leaf tea or speciality coffee is served with a divine selection of dainty sandwiches, freshly baked scones and delightful pastries. The menu options also include a savoury tea – perfect for those who prefer something less sweet. Vegan and gluten-free menus are available, as well as a children’s version.
Palm Court, Balmoral Hotel
Exquisite. One word sums up the style and luxury of the afternoon tea served in the Balmoral’s Palm Court.
Sumptuous surroundings and a delicious array of savoury and sweet, tasty treats await you as you relax with friends and people watch in this Edinburgh landmark hotel in the heart of Princes Street.
The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant
Situated at the gardens’ entrance of the Scottish National Gallery on the Mound with iconic views to Princes Street Gardens, The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant is an award-winning restaurant, sourcing the best locally produced ingredients wherever possible.
Serving both a traditional and vegetarian afternoon tea, their mouth-watering menu includes sandwiches with seasonal fillings, delicate scones and a selection of petit fours, all served with a choice of Scottish blend tea or Americano coffee.
Vibrant and quirky, Eteaket is a welcoming little tearoom on Frederick Street, popular with both residents and visitors alike. Mismatched vintage china and a mind-blowing selection of loose teas served with wholesome baking have firmly put this little gem firmly on the map.
For a lighter afternoon tea experience, why not book their High Tea? It includes your choice of sandwich, a freshly locally baked scone with raspberry preserve and cream, a mini patisserie and a pot of tea of your choice.
Be seen with the in-crowd at Tigerlily, a contemporary and very on-trend hotspot situated on Edinburgh’s fashionable George Street.
They offer a sumptuous range of afternoon tea options, including classic, deluxe, cocktail and champagne tea.
For spectacular views, you cannot beat the Forth Floor Restaurant and Brasserie at Harvey Nichols. Afternoon tea overlooking St Andrew Square is a lovely way to pass the time of day.
Enjoy a relaxed afternoon tucking into an indulgent, traditional tea after a little shopping, plus, everything tastes better in miniature, and even more scrumptious partnered with the finest leaf tea.
For a delicious selection of sandwiches, homemade scones, cakes and traybakes be sure to make a beeline for the hugely popular Mimi’s Bakehouse, either in their Leith or Corstorphine bakeries.
Choose from classic afternoon tea, or if you’re feeling fancy, why not opt for the champagne or cocktail menu.
Vegetarian and gluten-free options are also available.
Can’t make it to one of their bakeries? Don’t worry – they also offer Afternoon Tea at Home. Enjoy the same delicious baked treats delivered to your door. Available seven days a week (48 hours notice required) for local delivery in Edinburgh (EH1-22) or collection from a Mimi’s Bakehouse of your choice.
Red Bus Bistro
The Red Bus Bistro is one of the most unique afternoon tea experiences that Edinburgh has to offer.
Visitors have the opportunity to indulge in a selection of sandwiches, cakes, savouries and home baked scones whilst touring the city’s main attractions in a vintage Routemaster bus.
The tour last 90 minutes and explores the areas including Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Old Town.
Add a whole different dimension of luxury to this most decadent and dainty of British traditions aboard former Northern Lighthouse Board ship, Fingal.
Sit under a shimmering ceiling aboard Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel and tuck into a selection of perfectly formed savoury and sweet delicacies. Add some sparkle to the occasion with a glass of champagne and enjoy the backdrop of exquisite art deco interiors and views to match.
Brewhemia blend Scottish flavours with traditional staples, making for a delightfully decadent result. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches, savouries, cakes and freshly baked scones, served with your choice of tea or artisan coffee. Or why not kick things up a notch with a glass of prosecco, or a handcrafted gin cocktail for a truly special experience?
If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, their Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea is a substantial menu consisting of homemade pies, tarts, filling sandwiches and a variety of sweet treats – all of which is washed down with a pot of strong tea and a flight of three beers.
The Ivy on the Square
Overlooking St Andrew Square in the centre of the city, The Ivy on the Square offers a chic location to dine and watch the world go by.
Its luxurious afternoon tea includes an array of sandwiches, freshly baked fruit scones with clotted cream, fresh strawberries and strawberry preserve. The moreish sweets include delights such as chocolate plant pot, madeleine cake with lemon curd, red velvet raspberry cake and a strawberry milkshake, all accompanied by a choice of teas, infusions or coffees.
The Cauldron Bar
If you’re looking to turn an afternoon into something magical, The Wizard Afternoon Tea at The Cauldron Bar may be just the ticket.
An immersive, interactive and magical experience which is suitable for both adults and children, guests have the opportunity to brew exciting teas using a working magic wand, while tucking into a tea tree that is served with tasty treats, all of which are a magical twist on the traditional afternoon tea.
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