Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Best Places For Afternoon Tea In Cambridge

I get asked several times a week on my opinions of the best Afternoon Tea spots in Cambridge and the surrounding area. I have reviewed many places over the last 2.5 years for my column in The Cambridgeshire Journal Magazine, it's so much fun! Of course, first of all, I would say, book me to visit you in your home and teach you how to make your own AMAZING Afternoon Tea offerings.. but if that doesn't suit your need for this sort of affair.... then fair enough. Bettys of Harrogate Until now, I haven't really gathered all of my favourite places and put them in one place, so I thought for easy referral, I would list them here for you with a few notes on each one to help you decide. This also helps me to point you here to cover absolutely everywhere I can think of and not have to think it through individually each time. I hope it helps... If I don't enjoy somewhere, I don't write about it, rather than say horrible things and make them feel bad. So, if there isn't a venue of your choosing on here, it's either because I haven't yet made it there, or I truly did not like it and it wasn't worthy of a mention - I won't send you anywhere I haven't enjoyed, you won't thank me for it! This system of mine should hopefully help you as the reader to decide where may be worth a nosey ; ) And do let me know if you visit any of these venues, by leaving a comment below. Afternoon Tea:  The Angel Hotel - Bury St Edmunds A trendy hotel in close proximity of the Abbey, it's a stunning hotel and their Afternoon Tea is one of the best I've ever had. There is a lot of food on this tier and you are seated in a very relaxed lounge to enjoy it in, roaring fire included in the winter! This is a fab place to go as a couple or a small group, I wouldn't say the most family orientated venue, especially if kids need free reign. It's a quiet sanctuary. Not Cambridge, I know, but it's worth a drive out and Bury is a lovely market town worth visiting. Click here for more. John Lewis Brasserie - Cambridge  Nobody realised, myself included, that this fabulously trendy brasserie has a fab view of Cambridge from it's huge full length window and their superb Afternoon Tea menu is in fact made on site. I presumed initially that this was bought in, however John Lewis in Cambridge is lucky enough to have it's own Pastry Chef and their venue is perfect for an Afternoon Tea away from the crowds, you are spaced out and the seats are very comfy indeed. I even host my Afternoon Tea Etiquette sessions here, it's fab! Click here for more. Teacake of Shepreth - Near Royston Not technically an Afternoon Tea venue, as they don't offer a tier unless you book privately. However, Christine & Maurice have got this spot on, with homemade cake, amazing coffee & tea selections, all of the finest choosing. The cakes are to die for, everything from huge fluffy scones with the trimmings, traditional Victoria Sponge through to Tiffin, Chocolate Beetroot Cake and specials that change every day. Vintage China, a chocolate box thatched cottage in the country, a tea garden to boot, there's no better place. The only small downside, literally, is that there isn't a huge amount of space, so be wary of large groups. Click here for more. Miss Sue Flay Quy Mill - Cambridge  This hotel had originally lured me in for their "Gentleman's Tea" which comprised of pork pie, cheese & half a pint of ale, however when we arrived, this was not on the menu and hadn't been for some time. Truly gutted. But, all was rectified when the traditional Afternoon Tea tier arrived and the open top sandwiches and warm scones filled us up. We had to take their gorgeous cakes home for a second sitting later on. It's a relaxed venue and the perfect country "Retreat" close to Cambridge itself. Click here for more. Fitzbillies - Cambridge  This world-famous bakery has been taken over in the last couple of years by the lovely Alison and her husband, with slow changes to get things right. Not only do they still sell their Chelsea Buns, they also still make the mini Sacher Tortes and Coffee Choux Buns that I have lusted over as a treat when in town for years & years. They have started to offer Afternoon Tea, although I have not personally tried it yet, this is a must-visit venue for a well loved Cambridge cake spot - Their coffee will make you buzz too! Click here for more. Hotel Du Vin - Cambridge  This is a venue perfect for a small group who want to be in quiet & relaxed, but slightly luxurious surroundings whilst they enjoy Afternoon Tea. Having hosted several events here, the last one left a slight bad taste in my mouth after some very embarrassing cupcakes, but I will let it slide, as on the whole, this is one of the best Afternoon Teas in Cambridge. Their tea selection is superb, you aren't rushed and it's perfectly located for a hop over to the Fitzwilliam Museum for some culture afterwards. Click here for more. Pinnies of Godmanchester - Near Huntingdon  Again, not quite Cambridge, but worthy of a mention. This is a very small tea shop, so again, don't take larger bookings unless you call ahead first. Everything is homemade on the premises including the fluffiest and largest layer cakes I believe to have ever seen. The scones are large with lashings of jam & cream and the view of the river from here is fabulous. I love this tearoom and it's great value for money with an extremely friendly service. Perfect for families. Click here for more. Jocalatte Coffee Shops & Tea Stops:  Hot Numbers - Cambridge Just off Mill Road, this coffee house is the GO TO place for good quality coffee, live music, great cake & a warm welcome! Click here for more. Greens Coffee & Co - Cambourne  My local, now serving sloppy joes, freshly made panini's, a kicking coffee, fab cocktails & supporter of local music & cake. Click here for more. Jocalatte - Cambridge A Chocolate shop worthy of a visit, they serve homemade sandwiches, panini, soups, cakes & serve tea in china cups -Love them! Click here for more. Southill Village Stores & Tearoom - Near Biggleswade  This is in the middle of nowhere, but stunning. An old post office, the old desk area is a reading corner for 4, perfect for Tea! Click here for more. Shelford Deli - Near Cambridge  It's a *Treat* place for me, with the perfect ingredients to piece together a picnic, grab a Monmouth coffee & go for a walk. Click here for more. Afternoon Tea Etiquette Simply Coffee & Cake: D:Licious - Histon  Great coffee bar for a *grab and go* style lunch. Hot food served too and don't get me started on their White Hot Chocolate ; ) Click here for more. Betty Marshmallow - Ely  Jenny makes cupcakes to die for. End of. Tucked away just off the High Street - don't dare leave without buying her rolo flavour! Click here for more. Benets - Cambridge  These guys not only run a couple of coffee shops in town,they have an ice cream parlour to boot. Afternoon tea in Ice Cream form! Click here for more. William Curley Afternoon Tea Further Afield:  William Curley at The Halkin - London Japanese inspired cakes and the loveliest finger sandwiches I've ever indulged in, including Salmon Caviar - This is a treat! Click here for more. Bettys of Harrogate - Harrogate  I was treated to a Champagne Tea at the Holy Grail of Afternoon Tea and I wasn't disappointed, even if others have been... Click here for more. angelhotel These are of course my own personal views, sometimes a venue may have a very good day or a very bad day, so I can only comment on my own experiences at the time of visiting, if I don't go regularly. I hold no responsibility for  a bad experience after my ratings! There are plenty of other places I could rate highly, but I may well save those for another day... It's also nature of the beast that places do close down, so if I am not aware of it, I may continue to recommend a venue. It's well worth calling ahead for any Afternoon Tea as common courtesy and checking the finer details directly with them to book. Miss Sue Flay   

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