What could be more quintessentially Cambridge than taking time out of your afternoon to indulge in a delicate feast of finger sandwiches, scones and tea? We round up the top spots for enjoying this most English of traditions...
1. TRADITIONAL TEAROOM EXPERIENCE
Pleasantly situated down a cobbled Cambridge Street, Harriet’s Cafe Tearooms on Green Street offers the typical tearoom experience. This quaint and classy café is a great place to bring visitors as well as being a handy stop-off at which to relax and refuel after a day’s shopping. Traditional afternoon tea at Harriet’s consists of egg mayonnaise and ham sandwich quarters, freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and Harriet’s strawberry jam, assorted mini sponge cakes and a pot of tea. £14.75 per person. Or upgrade to chicken and salmon with cream cheese for £16.95.
2. AFTERNOON TEASE
Lovely little cafe Afternoon Tease are experts when it comes to cake. Find them on King's Street, serving homemade goodies (try the chocolate & Guinness cake...) with proper coffee and a selection of teas, in a chic setting. Open every day but Mondays.
3. GENTLEMEN PREFER SCONES
If, though manly, you can’t resist a fluffy scone or a cucumber sandwich, direct your feet immediately to the Bedford Lodge Hotel, where afternoon tea is no longer a delicate, ladies a air. The home of afternoon tea (the Duchess of Bedford is said to have come up with the concept in the 1840s), Bedford Lodge has launched its Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, putting a masculine twist on the British classic.
It includes a sandwich selection, lemon loaf slice, hearty Newmarket sausage roll, freshly-baked mini pasty and prawn and rosti potato shell, washed down with a beer, bitter or cider. With the bar’s relaxed yet sophisticated setting, the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea is the perfect location for the man about town to entertain guests or simply while away the hours with a newspaper, game of poker or backgammon. From £19 per person.
4. TEA ON THE TERRACE AT HOTEL FELIX
Away from the bustle of the city centre, Hotel Felix is an elegant Victorian villa in beautiful grounds – the perfect setting for afternoon tea. Take your place in the light and airy orangery, the restaurant or out on the spacious terrace overlooking the lawns. Once comfortably seated, you will be served a pot of Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Lapsang, fruit tea or coffee, together with a selection of sandwiches from sea trout with dill to cream cheese and picked cucumber. Sweet or savoury scone? Have both: plus a chocolate and coffee éclair, lemon curd meringue and coconut cake. £17.50 per person.
5. DECKCHAIR DINING IN GRANTCHESTER
‘Is there honey still for tea?’ So concludes the poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester by Rupert Brooke, and after a visit to The Orchard Tea Garden it’s easy to see why the poet daydreamed of these sun dappled orchards and rolling meadows while fighting in the fields of France. Today, the village remains much the same as it was 100 years ago, and you can recline beneath the same knobbly apple trees while enjoying a scone in the shade.
Cakes and scones are made fresh every morning and there are gluten free options too. Sandwiches include brie and cranberry, roast vegetable and cream cheese, smoked salmon and coronation chicken. Sandwiches are priced from £4.95 to £6.95; scones at £2.50 and cakes from £2.75.