Afternoon Tea Week – 7 Places to Discover in St Albans

Afternoon Tea Week is 07 – 14 August. Believed to date back to the mid-19th century, the quintessential practice was first adopted by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who found lunch and dinner to be spaced too far apart… Discover seven amazing places to enjoy afternoon tea in the historic and cultural city of St Albans

England is certainly known for its afternoon tea and the country has a long-standing history with the custom. American-British author Henry James said that ‘there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea’. Believed to date back to the mid-19th century, the quintessential practice was first adopted by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who found lunch and dinner to be spaced too far apart: a solution to her mid-afternoon hunger was needed. This happened to be a tray of bread, butter and cake, accompanied of course by a cup of tea. Nearly 200 years later, this has become one of the most beloved British traditions. National Afternoon Tea Week is celebrated this year between August 7th to 14th. Here are seven places to enjoy an afternoon tea in St Albans.

St Michael’s Manor Hotel

St Michael’s Manor Hotel is an elegant country-style retreat just off St Alban’s Verulamium Park. Close to the centre of the city but surrounded by greenery, this is a fantastic spot for a traditional afternoon tea with the feeling of having escaped to the great British countryside. Guests can enjoy an unlimited afternoon tea to truly get the best of the dining experience. The cream tea package includes tea or coffee with the classic elements of scones, cream and jam. Coconut and lime macarons, salted caramel operas, fig and almond tarts and raspberry and yoghurt profiteroles offer a contemporary twist. The full afternoon tea experience also includes a generous selection of sumptuous sandwiches. Visitors can choose to enhance their meal with a glass of Champagne or a cup of award-winning loose-leaf tea.

Sopwell House

Afternoon tea at Sopwell House should be high on your list. The luxury Georgian country house hotel is set within the showstopping landscape of Hertfordshire and is steeped in history and charm. Here, guests can indulge in a glamorous afternoon tea complete with delicate finger sandwiches on tiered stands, memorable cakes and pastries, and homemade scones layered with cream and jam (whichever you choose to spread first!). In celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week, Sopwell House will host guest speaker Gillian Perry to offer his insights into the quintessential British custom. The event will take place on 9th August (1300-1600) at £48pp. This includes a full afternoon tea and entry to the talk.

The Hub on Verulam

The Hub on Verulam is a welcome new addition to the St Albans culinary scene. Here, visitors can find tasty bites, creative cocktails and an array of coffees and teas. However, afternoon tea is the word on Friday and Saturday afternoons from 3pm. Pair The Hub on Verulam’s delicious cakes, tarts and scones or, for something more savoury, sandwiches are served with a contemporary twist. Highlights include the New York mini bagel with pastrami, Dijon mustard and mini gherkins; and smoked ham, cheddar and sticky onion marmalade on white. Sweets change daily and a server will advise of today’s selection. Classic additions include Prosecco and Champagne while more unique drinks range from dirty chai lattés to Moroccan mint tea.

Centurion Club

Centurion Club is a golf-oriented members club that also offers a fantastic dining experience. Steak nights and Sunday lunches are balanced by the elegance of a traditional afternoon tea. The Garden Room offers stunning views across the club’s lake which meets banks of the 18th green. Head chef Calvin Hill is the mastermind behind Centurion Club’s afternoon tea experience. He and his team prepare sandwiches, cakes and pastries which can be complemented either by loose-leaf tea or a glass of Champagne. Vegetarian and vegan teas are available, and each menu is made up of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Highlights include roast beef, honey-baked ham and coronation chicken sandwiches.

Abigails Tea Rooms

Enjoy delicious tea and cake in Abigails Tea Rooms. Choose from sandwiches, freshly cooked scones, and creamy cakes in all flavours. Situated in an idyllic location in the Village Arcade and with stunning views of St Albans Cathedral, this charming traditional tearoom with both indoor and outdoor seating is the perfect place to rest and refresh with your favourite blend and best-loved slice.

The Ivy

The Ivy in St Albans certainly lives up to the brand’s reputation for fine dining. With bright décor and tasteful design, the interior of the restaurant is an equally special experience. However, the real treasure here is the afternoon tea, of course. The Ivy’s cream tea package comes with all the bells and whistles one would expect. Freshly baked fruit scones are paired with clotted cream and strawberry preserve to be enjoyed with a selection of coffees and teas. The Champagne cream tea comes with a glass of bubbly to truly celebrate the occasion.

Time for Tea at St Albans Museum + Gallery

Perhaps not the first location that springs to mind when you think afternoon tea in St Albans, St Albans Museum + Gallery is certainly worthy of a spot on this list. Instead of a traditional afternoon tea experience, visitors will instead be treated to a free and immersive exhibition celebrating the social history of tea. Time for Tea discusses the origins of tea, how it first came to the UK, how it’s packaged, stored and made; and what it’s drunk from. The exhibition also explores tea from a social perspective and dives deeper into the ways in which different cultures enjoy it. What better time to visit Time for Tea than during National Afternoon Tea Week!

Find your St Albans at where you will also discover the new Visitor Guide for 23/24

Photo credits:

©Katie O Neil Photography … (shots 1, 4 & 5 from the top down)

©Stephanie Belton … (2nd shot down)

Riya Sander

Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. As a freelancer she understands the importance of productivity at work. She never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Follow her on Twitter @sanderriya