Hungry for scones and sarnies? You've come to the right place! We've rounded-up all the best afternoon teas in Cornwall to help you do just that.
When one thinks of Cornwall, the images that come to mind are typically of stunning coastlines, peaceful woodlands and sandy toes. Needless to say, not far behind is the classic Cornish gastronomy; flaky pasties, mouth-watering fudge and of course iconic cream teas. Home of Roddas clotted cream, Cornwall offers an abundance of excellent afternoon teas and we've rounded them up into one handy guide.
The tradition of pairing scones with jam and cream dates all the way back to the 1840s, when the Duchess of Bedford asked to be tied over to dinner with tea and snacks served in the mid-afternoon. Throughout the rest of the 1800s this genius idea quickly caught on, and by the early 1900s it became a quintessential feature of the west country, particularly popular with holidaymakers wanting to sample local treats. The nature of afternoon tea has evolved over time to what we now recognise as a delicious combination of sweet and savoury with petit fours and scones paired with delectable finger sandwiches.
Aside from the culinary delicacies on offer, the unbeatable setting of Cornish afternoon tea can’t be forgotten, with 12 areas of outstanding beauty spanning the county from the westernmost town of Penzance to the eastern boundary on the river Tamar. So, relax and take in these stunning views whatever the weather, as this is also a great rainy-day activity for those infamously drizzly Cornish days. Whether you’re a local looking for inspiration, or on a weekend away with the family, this list of Cornwall's best afternoon teas is all you need. All that’s left to do is book your spot and answer the age-old question: cream or jam first?
Best afternoon tea in north Cornwall
Fancy treating yourself to a lavish afternoon tea? Go ahead and peruse our selection of the best afternoon teas north Cornwall has to offer, from the rustic to the refined, you'll find all the information you need here.
What: Nestled on the cliff line with an unbeatable sea view, this eco spa hotel is adults only, making it the perfect location for a luxurious (and peaceful) afternoon tea. Retreat from the chaos and enjoy the sublime scenery while tucking into finger sandwiches, scones and impeccable patisseries. Choose to add a glass of Champagne for an extra special touch, and simply ask the team for its vegan and gluten-free menus if you prefer.
Where: Tredragon Road, TR8 4DQ
Book now: Scarlet Hotel
Rectory Farm Tea Rooms
What: This family-run tearoom set in a charming country cottage is consistently listed as one of the best tea rooms in the country. It's afternoon tea is served on vintage china, and includes two rounds of savoury quiche, sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, plus a selection of cakes, homemade biscuits, meringues and cream, chocolate brownie, fresh fruit and a pot of tea for two. Phew! Just a ten minute walk from the coastal path, this is an ideal pit stop to refuel.
Where: Morwenstow, Bude, EX23 9SR
Book now: Rectory Farm Tearooms
The Headland Hotel
What: Set just above the iconic Fistral beach, this luxurious hotel is renowned for its exquisite seasonal afternoon tea. The monthly-changing menu also has a vegetarian and vegan counterpart, so this is a great option to treat a veggie loved one. Pair it with a pot of loose-leaf tea or treat yourself to a tipple from its extensive cocktail list.
Where: Headland Road, Newquay, TR7 1EW
Book now: The Headland Hotel
Best afternoon tea in south Cornwall
South Cornwall has some spectacular afternoon teas on offer, so why not enjoy one of these whilst you're there?
What: Get the whole family involved with Fowey Hall’s Matilda-themed afternoon tea. The Roald Dahl-inspired menu includes indulgent delights such as honey and truffle butter sandwiches and lavender macarons, while the kids' menu features the likes of newt juice and ham sandwiches. Make sure you save room for the star of the show: Bruce Bogtrotter's infamous chocolate cake.
Where: Hanson Drive, Fowey, PL23 1ET
Book now: Fowey Hall hotel
The Royal Duchy
What: Afternoon tea at The Royal Duchy is served on the terrace, making it the perfect destination for a sunny summer's day. Enjoy breath-taking sea views while you feast on homemade cakes and smoked salmon sandwiches. Alongside its traditional offering, there is the opportunity to upgrade to a Champagne afternoon tea for that little bit of extra indulgence.
Where: Cliff Road, Falmouth, TR11 4NX
Book now: The Royal Duchy Hotel
What: Located in the award-winning The Water’s Edge restaurant, this afternoon tea is not to be missed. You're sure to find something for everyone here, with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan menus available, including an option with bottomless drinks! Served seven days a week, look out for delights such as smoked salmon and lemon dill cream cheese sandwiches, followed by dark chocolate mousse with candied hazelnuts and hazelnut tuile.
Where: Harbourside, Falmouth, TR11 2SR
Book now: The Greenbank Hotel
Talland Bay Hotel
What: Tucked away in the Looe countryside, Talland Bay hotel offers a beautiful afternoon tea complete with delicate delights such as petit fours, scrumptious finger sandwiches and scones with lashings of clotted cream. Accompany this veritable feast with a pot of tea, or opt for a Tarquin’s gin and tonic to make for a decadent afternoon. This is a truly Cornish experience.
Where: Porthallow Lodge, Porthallow, Looe, PL13 2JB
Book now: Talland Bay Hotel
Duchy of Cornwall Nursery
What: Set in the heart of the Duchy estate, prepare for stunning views of Restormel Castle and the gorgeous greenery of the surrounding plant nursery as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. This tranquil space pairs modern treats with familiar classics, from open focaccia sandwiches to quail scotch eggs. In terms of sweet items, look out for the likes of rose and raspberry macarons, and a pistachio and lime meringue cake.
Where: Cott Road, Lostwithiel, PL22 0HW
Book now: Duchy of Cornwall Nursery
What: This adult-only vintage themed afternoon tea is set to make your taste buds tingle. Beautifully set in a grade II-listed manor house, get ready to be served up creative petit fours and sweet and savoury treats, finished off with scones, cream and homemade jam. The inventive presentation of all these elements along with the gorgeous setting certainly makes Boscundle Manor worth a visit.
Where: Boscundle, St Austell, PL25 3RL
Book now: Boscundle Manor
Best afternoon tea in west Cornwall
Travelling all the way down to west Cornwall? Reward the long journey with one of these mouthwatering afternoon teas.
Polurrian on the Lizard
What: If you are voyaging all the way to the west of Cornwall, you must make time for the award-winning afternoon tea at Polurrian on the Lizard. Alongside its traditional offering, you can also opt for savoury and vegan versions of the British pastime. Finally, its prime location offers unbeatable views across Mount’s Bay and the Atlantic ocean, so be sure to visit.
Where: Polurrian Road, Mullion, Helston, TR12 7EN
Book now: Polurrian on the Lizard
The Alverton Hotel
What: Whatever time of year you are visiting, the afternoon tea at the Alverton will not disappoint. In summer, expect tantalising fruity flavours whilst you catch some rays on the terrace, and for those wintry days cosy up by the fire for festive treats. Additionally, there are impressive gluten free and vegan options available such as beetroot gravadlax with feta and cherry coconut bakewell with candied almonds.
Where: Tregolls Road, Truro, TR1 1ZQ
Book now: The Alverton Hotel
Best afternoon tea in east Cornwall
Popping over the Devon border for the weekend? Check out these scrumptious afternoon teas available in east Cornwall.
What: Whilst this tearoom is technically in Devon as it falls just over the Tamar river, we simply had to include it. Uniquely served on mini picnic benches, expect seasonal homemade goods such as pygmy pasties. There is also a farm shop attached so be sure to allow yourself time for a browse of their outstanding fruit and veg, baked goods and dairy.
Where: Lifton, Launceston, PL16 0DE
Book now: Strawberry Fields Farm Shop and Restaurant
China Fleet Country Club
What: Set amongst 180 acres of tranquil Cornish countryside, treat yourself to a satisfyingly classic afternoon tea at the China Fleet Country Club in Saltash. Prepare for delicious finger sandwiches with traditional fillings such as ham and piccalilli and cheddar cheese with chutney. The homemade cakes are the star of the show, with a lemon crunch eclair and homemade angel cake. Prosecco and gin upgrades are also available.
Where: North Pill, Saltash, PL12 6LJ
Book now: China Fleet Country Club
On the hunt for more places to scoff scones and sandwiches? Check out our guide to the best afternoon tea in London.