Ten of the best afternoon teas in Lancashire and the Lake District
15:05 17 September 2015
It’s that time of year to give ourselves a treat. Perfect for Mothers Day, shaking off the last of those winter blues or just catching up with friends – afternoon tea is great for any occasion.
Lancashire and the Lake District has some of the best afternoon teas in Britain, so we sent our team of experts to travel the region and find the ones you just have to visit.
Some have been awarded with the tea version of a Michelin Star by the Tea Council and Guild; others are just highly recommended due to their specialities or venues.
Here are ten of our favourites from Lancashire and the Lake District respectively
The Garden Kitchen at Holden Clough Nursery, Holden
Enjoy a garden themed version of afternoon tea. Food is served on a miniature three-tier picnic table, which include classics such as finger sandwiches and fruit scones. In a twist from the norm, the afternoon picnic also features themed specials including a ‘Saints or Sinners’ bench with a miniature wellington filled with berry smoothie and a blueberry millefeuille.
Holden Clough Nursery, Holden, Bolton-by-Bowland, Lancashire, BB7 4PF www.holdencloughnursery.com
Hey Little Cupcake, Spinningfields, Manchester
Initially a pop-up shop, this is now the perfect venue in Spinningfields for a girlie afternoon tea. The quirky ‘Cupcake Afternoon Tea’ is the epitome of cute, with cupcake shaped finger sandwiches and chocolate-dipped strawberries. The classic clotted cream and scone is accompanied by an array of miniature cupcakes. A great venue to take little princesses to!
Hey Little Cupcake!, 2 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HF www.heylittlecupcake.co.uk
Cuthbert’s Tea Rooms, Liverpool
If you’re looking for a unique afternoon tea experience, this vintage style café is perfect. There are seven varieties of afternoon tea to choose from, including the ‘New Yorker’ and ‘Crafternoon’ – which is fabulous for celebrating a special occasion. Prior to an afternoon of crafts, you can indulge in champagne or cocktails whilst enjoying cakes served on vintage crockery.
Afternoon tea from £12.00pp to £30.00
Cuthbert’s Tea Rooms, 103 Mt Pleasant, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 5TB www.cuthbertsbakehouse.co.uk
Clifton Arms Hotel, Lytham
With spectacular views of the seafront and Lytham Green, this afternoon tea has all the expected traditional elements complete with four star service. A selection of freshly cut sandwiches and homemade cakes is served within the relaxed bar and brassiere, and you can also enjoy a glass of fizz for a small additional cost.
Clifton Arms Hotel, West Beach, Lytham, Lancashire, FY8 5QJ www.cliftonarmslytham.com
Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
Fall down the rabbit hole and enjoy afternoon tea in a whimsical setting. Based on Alice in Wonderland and there are four versions of afternoon tea to choose from. For a regal theme, why not book the ‘Queens Tea’ in the quirky indoor greenhouse. This is perfect for a special occasion or just an escape from reality.
From £6.50pp to £23.50pp
The Richmond Tea Rooms, Richmond Street, The Village, Manchester, M1 3HZ www.richmondtearooms.com
Northcote Manor, Langho
Set on the edge of the Ribble Valley, this country manor is an ideal venue for a spot of tea. Relax whilst enjoying a selection of sandwiches and delicious cakes, including a roast banana cheesecake with caramelised banana and honeycomb. If celebrating a special occasion, you could swap your pot of tea or coffee for a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne or Prosecco.
Northcote Manor, Northcote Road, Langho, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB6 8BE www.northcote.com
LAKE DISTRICT TEA ROOMS
Rothay Manor, Ambleside
Although not a traditional tea room, Rothay Manor is well worth making the extra effort for. Languish in the luxury of the beautiful surroundings where you can take the venue’s award-winning afternoon tea – it received a Award of Excellence from the Tea Council and was named in the top 50 afternoon teas by The Guardian – in the dining room of the 19th century manor where a smorgasbord of homemade delights, baked on the premises, are presented and a range of speciality teas is also available.
Rothay Manor Hotel, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0EH, 015394 33605, www.rothaymanor.co.uk
The Gillam family have been providing top food and service in Ulverston since 1982 after John Gillam opened a wholesale grocer shop in Market Street. Today, following on from generations of his family, Doug Gillam is offering as much of a warm welcome from his delightful tea room over the road
Named one of the UK’s top tea places by the Tea Council, Gillam’s bakes tea room treats, cakes and vegetarian delights using only organic ingredients as well as catering for vegan diners. They also have dozens of loose teas to accompany their delicious food. Cosy up by the cast iron range in the winter or take a seat in the tea garden in the warmer months.
Gillam’s Tearoom, 64 Market Street, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 7LT, 01229 587564, www.gillams-tearoom.co.uk
Wilf’s Café, Staveley
With picture postcard views over the River Kent as well as a lovely place to shelter when the Lake District weather is in full force, it is easy to see why Wilf’s Café, nestled away in Staveley Mill Yard, is so popular.
There are plenty of tempting treats to try from huge breakfasts and delicious salads to homemade cakes and not to be missed puddings. You can also bring in a pint of ale from the nearby Hawkshead Brewery bar if you feel you deserve a stronger reward for a challenging walk in the area.
Originally based above the Rock and Run store in Ambleside, it quickly earned a good reputation among outdoor enthusiasts. Owners Iain Williamson, also known as Wilf, and Charlotte Webb, have only improved their already good reputation for excellent food making it a must stop place. While you’re there you can also explore the other shops and businesses at Staveley Mill Yard.
Wilf’s Café, Mill Yard, Staveley, Kendal, LA8 9LR, 01539 822329, www.wilfs-cafe.co.uk
Blackwell Tea Room, Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House, Bowness
As well as a fantastic visitor attraction as a fine example of an Arts and Crafts property, Blackwell Tea room has quickly established itself a reputation for creative lunches and homemade sweet treats. Enjoy morning coffee and cake, lunch or afternoon tea as you explore the arts and crafts house. A real treat here are the views you can enjoy in the summer when you can eat on the terrace. Well worth a visit.
Blackwell. The Arts and Crafts House, Bowness, LA23 3JT, 015394 4613, www.blackwell.org
Jumping Jenny Café, Coniston
The scrumptious cakes, flans and tray bakes at this Coniston café, named after John Ruskin’s rowing boat, have earned the cafe a well deserved reputation. Choose anything from tarte au citron, pear and almond, coffee, chocolate, carrot or orange cake, or sample the shortbread, flapjacks and caramel shortcake as a tasty treat to pep you up on a busy day exploring the area. There are of course more sensible, less calorie packed meals to choose from, but you would be missing out.
The setting is also wonderful. You can sit and enjoy the views of Coniston Water and fells as well as the steam yacht gondola at the jetty below while sipping on tea served in proper china.
Jumping Jenny, Brantwood, Coniston, LA21 8AD, 015394 41715, www.jumpingjenny.net
The Hazelmere Café, Grange-over-Sands
With over forty different types of loose tea on offer, choosing what flavour to have for your afternoon tea will be the most difficult thing when visiting this Grade II listed café. Hazelmere is a regular award-winner using original recipes and great ingredients to make mouth-watering confections. It has an adjoining bakery so you can take supplies home and savour it all over again. Home-baked goods are served on traditional tiered stands, including Cumberland Rum Nicky tart baked with rum butter, stem ginger, cherries and dates in a sweet pastry case. Walk it all off with a stroll along the beautiful promenade.
1-2 Yewbarrow Terrace, Grange-Over-Sands, LA11 6ED, 015395 32972, www.hazelmerecafe.co.uk
The Bluebird Café, Coniston
Another great spot to take in views of Coniston. The Bluebird Café is situated right on the water so you can watch the ducks and swans waddle by as you dine on some fantastic food. Local produce is put in the spotlight for many of the meals which include sandwiches, hot food and the essential plethora of home-made cakes. You can also pick up merchandise connected to Donald Campbell, British speed record breaker who broke eight world records on the water here.
Bluebird Café, Lake Road, Coniston, LA21 8AN, 015394 41679, www.thebluebirdcafe.co.uk
Low Sizergh Barn Tea Room, Sizergh
This tea room, in a converted barn, is a welcome stop for many people en route to or leaving the Lake District. Close to Sizergh Castle, this busy café and visitor attraction, offers delicious food including cooked breakfasts, light lunches or a particularly tempting farmhouse tea.
Many of the home-made dishes use local produce which can also be bought from the farm shop including Cumberland sausage, lamb from just down the road and soup made from vegetables of the day. The tea and coffee also come from a Kendal merchant.
The cafe also has a view over the milking shed – Low Sizergh is a working farm – and most days you’ll find young children taking in the view with wonder.
Low Sizergh Barn, Sizergh, Kendal, LA8 8AE, 01539 560426, www.lowsizerghbarn.co.uk
Croft House Farm Café, Buttermere
The Independent named Croft House Farm Café in the top 50 tea rooms in Britain. Whether you have walked or driven to beautiful Buttermere, this is a good place to stop and take a well earned rest. The cream teas are an absolute treat, but if they are not your thing there are many other cakes to choose from or some ice cream made locally. There are also sandwiches and hot food as well as a range of basic items for walkers and campers.
Croft House Farm Cafe, Buttermere, Cockermouth, CA13 9XA, 017687 70235.
Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere
Overlooking the picturesque Lake Windermere, here afternoon tea is served in the Arts and Crafts lounge. Weather dependent, you can sit and enjoy the afternoon on the terrace or when chilly, next to a roaring fire. An array of dainty cakes and sandwiches are on offer, and if you’re feeling lavish you can upgrade to a glass of champagne.
Holbeck Ghyll, Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LU www.holbeckghyll.com