Afternoon Tea in the New Forest

Afternoon Tea is an English tradition dating back to the 19th Century when the custom was to serve tea with sandwiches along with scones and usually cakes and pastries.

The tradition of afternoon tea was started because Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, would get hungry between her lunch and her fashionably late dinner, which was served at 8pm. Upon being served thinly cut sandwiches and cake in her boudoir in the late afternoon, the Duchess soon began to invite her friends to join in and eat afternoon tea in the formal rooms of Woburn Abbey. This then became a fashionable thing for ladies to do and so the tradition began.

This British pastime has over the years made a fashionable comeback, and it has now transformed itself into a popular day experience and gift choice for various occasions. Today, you can still enjoy this fashionable tradition in one of the many hotels and tea rooms found across the New Forest.

What makes up an afternoon tea?

A typical afternoon tea in the New Forest will consist of a tiered stand that is embellished with delicate, thinly cut sandwiches. It can also include freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and preserve, a small selection of tempting cakes and desserts and of course, tea! Traditionally, the tea should come loose from India or China and be served in dainty fine bone china cups from a silver teapot but over the years many places have altered their selection to include other types of tea, or even coffee.

An afternoon tea experience

Some of the hotels in the New Forest have taken afternoon tea to new lavish heights by creating luxury afternoon tea, served with a flute of Champagne or Prosecco for a spot of added indulgence.

Afternoon tea is the perfect way to treat someone special for a birthday, a romantic treat or perhaps for a family get-together. Look out for places in the New Forest that offer afternoon tea gift vouchers making a lovely day out for a loved one. It is also possible to have hen party afternoon teas or baby shower afternoon teas at some of our locations.

Where to enjoy an afternoon tea in the New Forest

Why not enjoy your afternoon tea from one of the garden terraces, or overlooking open Forest where you may even get to spot one of our resident New Forest ponies grazing?

An afternoon tea is also an excellent way to relax and unwind after a day exploring the New Forest’s various footpaths and activities.

Book in advance for the traditional full afternoon tea at Montagu Arms in Beaulieu, who won the Top Country House Hotel Tea Award in 2013/14. Upgrade your afternoon tea to a champagne one with a glass of Taittinger or try one of the hotel’s savoury afternoon teas with cheese scones and warm sage and homegrown apple sausage roll and other savoury delights. 

Try Lime Wood’s special blend of tea when experiencing afternoon tea at this luxury hotel. Or why not upgrade your afternoon tea to having a ‘G&Tea’ - afternoon tea with a gin and tonic! Gluten free afternoon teas are also on offer at this hotel.

Chewton Glen is another top location to enjoy a relaxed afternoon consisting of sipping tea and grazing through a delightful afternoon tea. Soak up the sun with an added glass of champagne in the garden, or catch up with close friends in The Dining Room restaurant. 

Indulge in the ‘Old Station Afternoon Tea’ at The Old Station Tearooms in Holmsley, near Burley. As its name suggests, this tearoom was in fact an old railway station. Take a walk or a cycle along the old railway line before stopping here for a tasty treat! The tearoom can also be hired out for private functions and bike hire is available from nearby Burley.

Indulge in a traditional afternoon tea at Careys Manor’s chic restaurant, Cambium, or in the comfort of the cosy lounge in front of a roaring log fire. Gluten free afternoon teas and vegan afternoon teas are also available when booked in advance.

The Bell Inn, in Bramshaw, serves a delicious afternoon tea! With a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, yummy pastries, cakes and desserts and ponies, donkeys, cows and sheep walking past the window... What more could you want from a New Forest afternoon tea experience?

Book an afternoon tea with an exciting twist at New Park Manor Hotel, with their fun themed tea experiences that are ideal for both adults and kids! Their current afternoon tea theme is Matilda, with Brucie’s chocolate cake, Lavender’s macarons and break-time bread and butter!

Enjoy this quintessentially British delight in the lovely Tea Room at Thatched Cottage Hotel, or you can enjoy in their Tea Garden. At Thatched Cottage Hotel, you can even choose to have your Afternoon Tea with a Gin Flight, which includes 3 small gin and tonics, from their popular Gin Bar. 

From a traditional afternoon tea to a champagne afternoon tea, Balmer Lawn offers the perfect place to indulge whatever the occasion. Make your way through homemade savoury and sweet treats while gathering with family and friends. Whether you choose Beresfords Restaurant or The Lodge, Balmer Lawn’s dining settings are wonderful.

Make a visit to one of the New Forest’s attractions and you can often include an afternoon tea as part of your day out. Cream teas are served at Eddy’s Café at Exbury Gardens, don’t miss the tiered afternoon tea at Furzey Gardens Tea Rooms or try the Towey Tea at The Captain's Cabin Tearoom at Buckler’s Hard. Make a trip to Lymington, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Beaulieu for other cafes and tea rooms where you can enjoy an afternoon or a cream tea.

With so many places offering superb luxury afternoon tea it may be difficult to know where to start. Discover many of the hotels offering afternoon tea or check out the local New Forest tea rooms in the listings below and book your afternoon tea treat today.

Save money on a New Forest afternoon tea

Remember if you are going to come and enjoy the fabulous afternoon tea that the New Forest has to offer - then bring your Go New Forest Card for our great afternoon tea offers. For just £10 you can save money off a range of places to eat, stay and shop here in the New Forest.

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