Afternoon tea is more popular than ever, which is surprising considering it’s been around since 1840. It all started when the Duchess of Bedford decided that there should be a meal between lunch and dinner. So, before we get on to the best afternoon teas in Birmingham, let’s recap. While opinions vary, the core ingredients of the tradition are finger sandwiches, cakes and/or pastries, warm scones with clotted cream and, of course, tea. Typical sandwich fillings include egg mayonnaise with cress or ham and mustard, although many modern afternoon teas have expanded their horizons. Classic sweet treats, meanwhile, include the likes of Victoria sponge or brownies.
Since 1840, however, afternoon tea has evolved with the times and Birmingham's scene is no exception. Here you’ll find creations like ‘high chai’, an Indian street food-style take, with classic teas swapped out for masala chai and savouries including the likes of chicken tikka sandwiches and bhel puri. Elsewhere in the second city, you’ll find additions like burger-esque sliders, Thai chicken rolls or perhaps a beetroot and goat's cheese tart. Modern sweet options, meanwhile, include treats like mango cheesecake, strawberry profiteroles and orange madeleine cakes. Teas haven’t changed as much, although you’ll find plenty more global blends than back in 1840.
Of course, there is another new addition that you’ll find throughout Birmingham (and indeed this list): booze. While it’s all well and good sipping on tea through the afternoon, many Brits like something a little stronger. As such, many restaurants offer the optional addition of Prosecco or Champagne. Some also like to offer cocktails too, although that starts leaning towards more of a bottomless brunch situation. So, now that we’re all caught up, here are the best afternoon teas in Birmingham. We’ve included pictures, prices and where to find them, so all you have to do is book a table and enjoy!
Zindiya Streatery & Bar
Beloved neighbourhood eatery Zindiya Streatery & Bar offers something a little different. Instead of afternoon tea, experience ‘high chai’, which features Indian spices, flavours and teas. Savoury dishes include Bombay sandwiches, aloo tikki chaat, bhel puri and chicken or paneer tikka, while sweet options feature the likes of homemade cardamom scones, almond and pistachio shortbread (nankhatai) and seasonal macarons. While Earl Grey, English breakfast and jasmine tea are available, we recommend choosing the house-brewed masala chai for the full experience.
How much: £18.95pp
Where: 21 Woodbridge Road, Birmingham, B13 8EJ
Book now: Zindiya Streatery & Bar
1565 Bar at Park Regis
Luxurious hotels are the true afternoon tea experts, and Park Regis is no exception. In the plush 1565 Bar, you can enjoy a classic, Champagne, vegetarian or vegan afternoon tea, as well as a children’s tea party for the little ones. In the classic, you’ll find savouries like mackerel and cucumber on brioche or egg and cress sandwiches, and sweet treats like a strawberry profiteroles or mango cheesecake.
How much: £21.95pp
Where: 160 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT
Book now: 1565 Bar at Park Regis
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill
What’s better than afternoon tea? Why, afternoon tea with a view, of course! At the top of the futuristic-looking Cube, you’ll find Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar & Grill, which also offers a lovely afternoon tea. Gaze across the city while tucking into an elegant selection of sandwiches, cakes, scones and Teapigs teas. Add prosecco for just £2 per person or £6 for champagne.
How much: £23.95
Where: 200 Wharfside Street, The Cube, Birmingham, B1 1PR
Book now: Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill
Noel’s Bar and Restaurant
Noel’s Bar and Restaurant has become a staple for high-end dining in Birmingham. And, while the excellent Mediterranean cooking and cocktails aren’t to be missed, the afternoon tea is rather lovely too. Enjoy sumptuous savouries like smoked salmon bruschetta with cream cheese and caviar, alongside the like of vanilla panna cotta in the sweet department. Choose from classic, Champagne or the house pink butterfly cocktail; a colourful mix of pink gin, rose syrup, lemon and pink Champagne.
How much: £27pp
Where: 22 Waterfront Walk, Birmingham, B1 1SN
Book now: Noel’s Bar and Restaurant
Hotel du Vin
The team at Hotel du Vin clearly knows their stuff (there’s even a history of the tradition on the menu). Choose from a simple cream tea, afternoon tea with all the classics (think egg and cress, Victoria sponge and the like), or Champagne afternoon tea with Cuvee, Lanson or Lanson Rose. The hotel also does gift cards, so this year why not give the gift of afternoon tea?
How much: £27.50pp
Where: 25 Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2NR
Book now: Hotel du Vin
The Ivy Temple Row
The Ivy is another great example, offering decadent food and drink galore. Savouries include the house cure smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwich, grilled chicken and truffle mayo brioche roll and pickled cucumber, courgette and basil double-decker, while the sweeter elements are similarly extravagant. Naturally, Champagne is an optional addition.
How much: £26.95pp
Where: 67-71 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS
Book now: The Ivy Temple Row
Three Church Road at St George’s Place
Three Church Road at St George’s Place is a charming setting for cream tea, afternoon tea, sparkling afternoon tea or even G and Tea (think gin and tonic in china cups). In the main afternoon tea selection, you’ll find prawn cocktails, orange madeleine cakes and more. Then choose your poison: tea, Champagne or gin?
Where: 3 Church Road, Birmingham, B15 3SH
Book now: Three Church Road at St George’s Place
Whether you’re staying the night in one of the Mal’s plush rooms or not, you can swing by for lovely afternoon tea. The main selection offers hearty options like the Chez Mal slider, a crunchy Thai beef and sesame wrap and a mini Cumberland sausage roll, while sweeter options include a scone with clotted cream and jam and an intriguing calamansi citrus meringue tart. As one might expect, you can add cocktails, Prosecco or Champagne if you so wish.
How much: £27pp
Where: 1 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RD
Book now: Malmaison
For an elegant afternoon tea in an equally elegant setting, look no further than Aria. Sit amongst indoor trees, ornate pillars and sculptures while tucking into sandwiches, sweets, scones and the like. The food comes on a tiered tea stand, with plenty of vegetarian options, while the scones arrive fresh out of the oven and deliciously warm.
How much: £27pp
Where: 2 Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JZ
Book now: Aria Restaurant
Few entries on this list can claim to have award-winning teas, but The Belfry certainly can. Options include the ‘garden of Eden’, a floral mix of green and black teas decorated with sugar butterflies and flowers, or the cleanse, which blends cinnamon, ginger, dates, cacao and cardamom. While you sip, enjoy the delicious homemade pastries, scones and finger sandwiches, along with a glass of bubbly or rosé.
How much: From £25pp
Where: Wishaw, West Midlands, B76 9PR
Book now: The Belfry
Housed in a Grade-II listed Georgian building, Praza has quite a unique afternoon tea. Sip on Indian masala chai or English breakfast while snacking on Dahi puri, chicken tikka finger sandwiches, vegetable samosas, masala chips and more. Then, sample the selection of Indian desserts including crumbly Punjabi cookies and mango barfi ganache. Add a lassi with gin for a tipsy addition.
How much: £29.95pp
Where: 94-96 Hagley Road, Birmingham, B16 8LU
Book now: Praza
The Lost & Found
We couldn’t let hotels have all the fun. The Lost & Found is an avant-garde cocktail bar with an excellent afternoon tea. Indulge in sweet treats like brownies, lemon posset, Victoria sponge and scones, balanced by savouries like a beetroot and goats’ cheese tart or a pulled chicken roll. Add one of Lost & Found’s excellent cocktails for just £5 - you won’t regret it!
How much: £18.95
Where: 8 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS
Book now: The Lost & Found
As lovely as afternoon tea is, sometimes it's nice for a meal to be a little more intimate. In those cases, we have just the thing: our guide to the best private dining rooms in Birmingham.