When it comes to afternoon tea, Nottingham is brimming with hotels, cafes, restaurants and teahouses that offer a superior experience. Whether you’re all about the setting or on a mission to uncover the city’s best scone, we’re sure you’ll love the places we’ve gathered for you below.
Perhaps you’re local and looking for a fancy spot to celebrate a birthday, engagement or some other special occasion; or maybe you’re visiting the historic city for a weekend and need somewhere to rest your weary feet after following in the footsteps of Nottingham’s most notorious outlaw, Robin Hood. Either way, if you’ve a penchant for afternoon tea, you’ll want to check out our top picks for afternoon tea in Nottingham below.
We’ve tried to include a range of afternoon tea experiences in our list below in order to suit all tastes and budgets. Some take place in grand hotels, complete with all the opulence that Anna Russell, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford would have enjoyed when she first introduced the concept of afternoon tea back in 1840. Others take place in more contemporary settings, including cafes and teahouses, so whatever ambience you’re seeking, you’re sure to find one that takes your fancy.
Most of the afternoon teas we’ve included follow the traditional model: finger sandwiches followed by scones with jam and clotted cream (spread in whichever order you prefer) and dainty petit fours, served with a pot of loose leaf tea; but there are a couple of wild cards thrown in for the renegades among you. We’d always recommend kicking things off with a glass of bubbly or a cocktail, where offered, but the prices quoted below reflect basic afternoon tea packages.
We’ve also endeavoured to mention when establishments offer a vegetarian or vegan afternoon tea alongside their main menu, and those that cater to gluten-free guests too.
Colwick Hall Hotel
What: Once home to the famous poet, Lord Byron, Colwick Hall Hotel is the perfect setting for a celebratory afternoon tea experience. The stately surroundings of Byron’s Brasserie should get you suitably in the mood for a treat-laden tower of dainty sandwiches, cakes and scones, served with a superior brew worthy of lords and ladies.
There are several menus to choose from, including a traditional afternoon tea offering, a themed menu (which changes throughout the year), a signature menu, and a grand afternoon tea menu where decadent desserts take centre stage. With or without bubbly, Colwick Hall’s afternoon tea experience is a luxurious treat.
Where: Colwick Hall Hotel, Racecourse Road
How much: From £15 per person
What: Owned by Tim Hart – the man behind the magnificent Hambleton Hall in Rutland – Hart’s Nottingham is a contemporary hotel with an outstanding restaurant within. The a la carte menu is worth a separate visit once you’ve been suitably impressed by its fantastic afternoon tea offering.
Finger sandwiches made with Hambleton Bakery bread are followed by light and fluffy scones served with jam and clotted cream, and an array of tempting home-made cakes. Guests can enjoy unlimited loose leaf tea from Jing Tea throughout, and have the option to add a glass of prosecco or Champagne. Those looking for an alfresco afternoon tea experience should visit during the summer months when afternoon tea is available in the sunny courtyard.
Where: Hart’s Nottingham, Standard Hill, Park Row
How much: From £21.95 per person
The Pudding Pantry
What: Afternoon tea enthusiasts rave about this cute establishment in central Nottingham whose name acts like a beacon for the sweet-toothed among us. The Pudding Pantry lives up to its name when serving afternoon tea, which comprises vanilla scones, expertly-crafted petit fours, savoury treats and a selection of fine loose leaf teas.
Separate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus means those on special diets can still indulge in the likes of avocado and tomato crostini, and scones made with dairy-free butter. Large tables can be made up on request for celebratory afternoon tea experiences, such as hen parties.
Where: 27-29 Trinity Square, Burton Street
How much: From £16.95 per person
White Rabbit Teahouse
What: Light and bright as a white baby bunny, this chic teahouse on Bridlesmith Walk welcomes all-comers, from tots to grandmothers. Perfectly polished cakes line the marble-topped counter, making it the sort of place you pop in for a cuppa and stay for afternoon tea.
Dainty cake stands come weighed down with sandwiches, freshly-baked scones, miniature cakes and plenty of fresh fruit, which should satisfy even the sweetest tooth. Sadly, a white rabbit is not included, but your afternoon tea will be accompanied by a pot of fresh, loose-leaf tea. It’s worth noting that White Rabbit Teahouse only accepts cash.
Where: 5 Bridlesmith Walk
How much: £16 per person
What: If you prefer to take afternoon tea in chic surrounds, you ought to check out the Nottingham branch of Browns. Park yourself on one of the teal chesterfield banquettes and tuck into three tiers of treats, including savouries such as a prawn cocktail brioche roll, and smoked salmon and cream cheese on a whisky and thyme oat cake.
The mini cake selection is suitably fancy too, with unusual additions such as whisky marmalade bread and butter pudding, and salted caramel profiteroles appearing alongside classic Victoria sponge and lemon tart.
Where: 20 Park Row
How much: £16.95 per person
Josephine’s Tea Lounge & Bistro
What: Fancy frills aren’t this independent tea room’s style, so if you’re looking for ornate cake stands and uniformly-cut sandwiches it’s probably not the spot for you. If, on the other hand, you like a cheerful selection of whatever sandwiches and cakes the kitchen fancy rustling up on the day, this is where you should hang your hat.
Josephine’s doesn’t yet cater to vegan diets, but it does offer a savoury alternative for anyone who would choose to trade a cupcake for a quiche (we can’t think why you would, but to each their own). Bottomless tea is, of course, all part of the deal.
Where: 49 Upper Parliament Street
How much: £23 per person
Lace Market Hotel
What: The Saint Bar within the chic Lace Market Hotel is an elegant space in which to take afternoon tea. Parquet flooring, velvet seats and a statement stone bar give it a cool vibe that sets the tone for afternoon tea, which is distinctly upmarket.
Savouries range from traditional brie and plum chutney finger sandwiches to a pimento pepper and hummus ciabatta, while sweets include almond-crusted choux buns with elderflower cream and cherry and bergamot mousse served on a sable biscuit. Guests can choose from tea or coffee (controversial) and are treated to a glass of fizz as part of the package.
Where: 29-31 High Pavement
How much: £24 per person
What: Housed in a beautiful Georgian townhouse in Nottingham’s historic Lace Market, Debbie Bryan is a shop, tea room and creative space all rolled into one. There’s plenty to catch your eye in this arty haven, but once your afternoon tea arrives we guarantee you’ll only have eyes for the array of treats that await you.
There are plenty of different options to choose from, including traditional afternoon tea, gentleman’s afternoon tea, a gin cocktail afternoon tea and a bespoke children’s afternoon tea, all of which arrive on pretty vintage china. As Debbie Bryan also offers creative classes and experiences, all bookings are taken via a voucher system – handy for gifting!
Where: 18 St. Mary's Gate, Lace Market
How much: From £21 per person
What: Calling all cat lovers: Kitty Café has actual kitties you can pet while drinking tea and eating cake. We know what you’re thinking – life doesn’t get much better for a cat lover – but when you consider the fact that you could actually rehome one, it turns out it does.
Kitty Café serves up a full-blown afternoon tea, which includes freshly-prepared, soft sandwiches, Devonshire scones, miniature cakes and desserts, and your choice of loose leaf tea, barista-style ground coffee or hot chocolate. What are a few stray hairs among friends, right?
Where: 31-37 Friar Lane
How much: £19.95 for two
St James Hotel
What: The slightly eccentric décor might not be to everyone’s taste, but the afternoon tea menu at No/6 Bar & Lounge should be. It comprises all the usual elements – finger sandwiches, scones with strawberry preserve and clotted cream, and a selection of delicate patisserie – and comes with your choice of tea or coffee.
Vegetarian and vegan alternatives are available, and there’s also the option to add a glass or bottle of bubbly to proceedings, or a cocktail specially designed to complement your afternoon tea.
Where: 1 Rutland Street
How much: £20 per person
Anyone on a UK afternoon tea tour (is that a thing? If not, it should be) ought to check out our round-up of the best afternoon teas in London.