Cambridgeshire is a picturesque county filled with historic estates, charming villages, and bustling market towns. Nestled in this verdant landscape is the renowned city of Cambridge, internationally celebrated for its historic university and rich cultural heritage. Yet Cambridge offers more than just intellectual allure – it is home to an age-old British tradition, the much-adored afternoon tea.
Picture this: the soft tinkling of fine china, the rich aroma of steeped tea, the mouthwatering display of dainty sandwiches and pastries, all set against the backdrop of Cambridge’s rich historic beauty. What could be more delightful? Join me as we explore the best venues to enjoy afternoon tea in Cambridge.
Our first stop takes us to Grantchester, a picturesque village located just a short drive from Cambridge’s city center. Here, we find The Orchard Tea Garden, an idyllic spot which has been serving tea since 1897. In the dappled shade of heritage apple trees, enjoy an authentic afternoon tea featuring classic finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of cakes. To truly appreciate the Orchard’s charm, opt for a pot of their special blend, sit back in a traditional deck chair, and enjoy the serene ambiance.
For a more modern twist on the traditional afternoon tea, we visit The Varsity Hotel & Spa, situated in the heart of Cambridge. Its spectacular rooftop garden offers panoramic views of the city’s skyline, including famous Cambridge University colleges. While soaking in the sights, treat yourself to their afternoon tea, an exquisite array of delicate finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes. For a special touch, pair your meal with a glass of champagne or a creative cocktail from their extensive menu.
Located on Green Street, Harriets Cafe Tearooms transports you back in time with its nostalgic, 1920s-inspired decor. As the piano plays softly in the background, indulge in their afternoon tea which is served on tiered cake stands filled with delectable treats – cucumber sandwiches, homemade scones, and a variety of miniature cakes and patisseries. Their extensive tea menu, featuring specialty blends and traditional favourites, perfectly complements the culinary experience.
A visit to Cambridge is not complete without a trip to Fitzbillies, an institution in the city since 1921. Famous for its sticky Chelsea buns, Fitzbillies also serves an excellent afternoon tea. Alongside their renowned bun, enjoy other sweet and savoury treats, all homemade. The charming, old-school ambience of Fitzbillies, combined with the delicious offerings, makes it a beloved spot among locals and visitors alike.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Hotel du Vin & Bistro, located near the famous Fitzwilliam Museum. In the comfortable and stylish bistro, you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, or opt for their “G&Tea” – a unique combination of afternoon tea and a gin cocktail. Their tea menu is a gourmet delight, featuring smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, egg and cress sandwiches, warm scones, and a selection of delectable cakes and pastries.
In conclusion, whether you’re a lifelong Cambridgeshire resident or a first-time visitor, the tradition of afternoon tea in Cambridge offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and indulgence. It’s not just about the tea or the food – it’s about slowing down, savouring the moment, and enjoying the quintessentially British experience. The only question is: which place will you try first?