You can’t say you’ve been to Cornwall if you haven’t had afternoon tea in Cornwall itself – with afternoon tea being a quintessentially-English tradition.
Afternoon tea may have begun in the 1800s, but it is still very much a fixture in most English homes and lifestyles, albeit in different forms.
So much so that different counties within England vie for the best cream tea – a combination of tea, scones, clotted cream, and butter.
While you can enjoy afternoon tea in most of England, cream tea is more commonly found in Southwest England, and in the counties of Cornwall and Devon.
So if Cornwall’s where you’re headed then you’ll definitely want to read on for my selection of 21 places that serve the best afternoon tea in Cornwall – most, if not all, of which include the famous Cornwall cream tea. Who knows you may even find the best cream tea in Cornwall!
1. Berryfields Farm, Porthcothan
2. Charlotte’s Tea House, Truro
3. Charlie’s, Tintagel
4. Dolly’s Gin Palace, Falmouth
5. Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, Lostwithiel
6. Fowey Hall Hotel, Fowey
7. Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth
8. Miss Molly’s Tea Room, Camborne
9. Padstow Harbor Hotel, Padstow
10. Polpeor Cafe, The Lizard, Helston
11. Talland Bay Hotel, Looe
12. The Garden Bar & Restaurant, Penzance
13. The Carlyon Bay Hotel, St Austell
14. The Headland Hotel, Newquay
15. The Royal Duchy, Falmouth
16. The Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth
17. The Market Place Tea Rooms, St Ives
18. The Weir Bistro, Bude
19. Rectory Tea Rooms, Bude
20. Woods Cafe, Cardinham Woods
21. Your House!
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21 Best Places For Afternoon Tea In Cornwall
Best known for its heart-shaped scones, Berryfields is a Cornwall Cream Tea gem of a location located in Porthcothan. Run by a hospitable family who serves produce grown on-site, visitors to the restaurants swear by their fresh and plump strawberries served alongside their scones.
Remember they are closed on Wednesdays so take note of the day before you make the drive down all the way to Porthcothan!
Address: Berryfields Holiday Park, Porthcothan Bay, Padstow PL28 8PW (Google Maps)
12.00pm to 5.30pm daily
Closed on Wednesdays
Charlotte’s Tea Hall is located on the top floor of the Victorian Coinage Hall in Truro and is arguably the place to go for afternoon tea in Truro, given the rich heritage of the building it is housed in and the tea house’s quaint interior.
Service quality can be a bit of a toss-up but if you’re looking for a uniquely Cornish, Charlotte’s Tea House is a must-visit.
For those who may require wheelchairs, unfortunately, due to the historic nature of the building, there isn’t wheelchair access to the tea rooms.
Address: 1 Boscawen St, Truro TR1 2QU, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Monday – Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm
Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm
Charlie’s is a family-owned restaurant located in the heart of Tintagel, North Cornwall that prides itself in serving Cornish fresh, local, and seasonal Cornish produce and ingredients.
It serves Cornish cream tea comprising of two scones, strawberry jam, and clotted cream at a very affordable £5.50 ($7.30) – a classic and affordable way to enjoy afternoon tea in Cornwall.
Address: 14th Century Cottage, Fore St, Tintagel PL34 0DA, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.00pm
Closed on Wednesdays and Sundays
Located in a Georgian-styled building, Dolly’s Gin Place is a tea room by day and a wine and gin bar by night. In a nod to its daytime form, the nighttime cocktails are served in teapots and poured into vintage cups.
If you want to try some afternoon tea in Falmouth but want somewhere out of the ordinary then Dolly’s Gin Palace might be your cup of tea. Who knows, you might enjoy the place so much, you’ll stay till it’s cocktail time!
Address: 21 Church St, Falmouth TR11 3EG, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11.00am to 9.00pm
Fridays and Saturdays, 10.00am to 11.00pm
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
If you’re searching for afternoon tea in St Austell, drive a little further out to Lostwithiel and you’ll arrive at Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, which houses a nursery, shop, and cafe – perfect for a whole day out.
We love the aesthetic of Duchy’s Afternoon Tea, served on a single hard-wood board slice and includes indulgences like a quail’s Scotch egg and a toasted hazelnut chocolate truffle bar for £25 ($33). If you want some Prosecco to go with your afternoon tea it’s just £5 ($6.60) more!
Check out the list of items on their afternoon tea menu here.
Address: Cott Rd, Lostwithiel PL22 0HW, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
9.00am to 5.00pm daily (Closes earlier at 4.30pm on Sundays)
Fowey Hall Hotel serves a seasons-inspired Afternoon Tea throughout the respective season. At the time of writing the hotel is serving a Winter Afternoon Tea in a dining igloo – talk about festive! The food items are also Christmas-inspired and include chicken and cranberry mayonnaise sandwiches and gingerbread men.
The hotel also serves an adorable children’s take on the afternoon tea – so if you have little ones tagging along on your trip, Fowey Hall Hotel’s definitely a place you should check out for afternoon tea in Cornwall.
Think sandwiches, cupcakes, and veggie sticks made in bite-size friendly portions for children, a definite crowd-pleaser for sure!
Address: Fowey Hall Hotel, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1ET, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Afternoon Tea is served between 2.30pm to 4.30pm everyday.
Having Cream Tea in Falmouth’s Greenbank Hotel is the quintessential Cornish experience that cannot be missed.
For just £8.50 per person ($11.30) you can get the classic cream tea set comprising of a homemade plain scone, Cornish clotted cream and Tiptree strawberry jam.
Greenbank Hotel’s restaurant is located waterside so you’ll get an amazing view of the Falmouth Harbour as you tuck into your sweets and savories.
If you want a little more and want the full afternoon tea experience, it goes for £17.50 ($23.15). You can also choose to make your tea a bottomless one, with a prosecco top-up option.
Address: Harbourside, Falmouth TR11 2SR, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Afternoon Tea is served from Monday to Saturday, 12.30pm to 5.00pm
Sunday, 3.00pm to 5.00pm
Miss Molly’s Tea Room is a traditional tea room located inside the historical Old Dolcoath Mine Counting House and looks like a mishmash between an antique shop and a tea shop.
When we say traditional, think tea served in China cups and teapots with tea cozies. (And yes you can actually browse and purchase the antiques and vintage items on display!)
My favorite part about Miss Molly’s is probably the fact that it is extremely dog-friendly and even has a Dog Al a Bark menu of Cornish treats for your furry friends – even if you don’t have a pooch to bring, you’ll be sure to spot one or two when you’re there!
Address: The Old College, Dolcoath Rd, Camborne TR14 8RR, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Monday to Saturday, 9.00am to 5.30pm
Sunday, 10.00am to 4.30pm
Recently refurnished, the Padstow Harbour Hotel is a former Victorian landmark overlooking the harbor.
Sit back and enjoy their aesthetically pleasing afternoon tea setup as you take in the surrounding views – have your phone camera ready because this cream tea in Padstow will be one for the Gram for sure!
Address: Padstow Harbour Hotel, Station Rd, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8DB, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
2.00pm to 5.00pm daily
Sitting on top of a cliff, Polpoer Cafe, known as the southernmost cafe in the UK, is as popular for its afternoon tea and cream tea as it is for its stunning views.
Do you have the impression that most popular tourist spots don’t serve great food? Well, you won’t find that at Polpeor Cafe! Their afternoon tea is delectable – definitely try their thick sandwiches filled with fresh crab filling!
Little tip – come here for afternoon tea but stay till sunset if you have the time and catch beautiful views of the cove as the sun sets as you tuck into their hearty nosh.
Address: Lizard Point, Lizard, Helston TR12 7NU, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
9.30am to 4.30pm daily
Talland Bay Hotel is a stylish hotel near the heart of Looe and sits on top of a hill overlooking Talland Bay in its own little nook. We love the afternoon taa at Talland Bay Hotel because of how laid back the hotel its surroundings are.
My absolute favorite bit is that the hotel also gives you the option to have afternoon tea spread out on the Talland Bay Hotel lawn – just ask for the picnic bags when you reach.
With the Talland Bay Hotel behind you, the waves crashing below you, and the smell of pines surrounding you, I’m sure it’ll be an afternoon tea to remember.
Address: Porthallow, Looe PL13 2JB, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
12.00pm to 3.30pm daily
If you’re looking for cream tea in Penzance, look no further than The Garden Bar & Restaurant located within Hotel Penzance. (This place was formerly known as The Bay Restaurant.)
The restaurant is known for its award-winning menu and serves amazing dishes whipped up with mainly Cornish produce, but it is also well-known for its afternoon tea.
It is situated high above Penzance buildings and has an unparalleled view of the Penzance harbor and bay. You can have your afternoon tea on the veranda overlooking Mount’s Bay – just watch out for the wind!
Address: Britons Hill | Hotel Penzance, Penzance TR18 3AE, England (Google Maps)
Call the hotel at +44 1736 363117 to confirm their afternoon tea opening hours before you head down.
The Carlyon Bay Hotel is known for having one of Cornwall’s leading sea view restaurants so you’ll be sure to have stunning views of the sea and the bay of St Austell, as you have your afternoon tea.
Even with luxurious surroundings, you can enjoy a traditional Cornish cream tea on the terrace at just £11 ($14.50) per person and includes two fresh homemade scones, strawberry jam, and Cornish clotted cream.
Of course, if you want to go big before you go home, they also have a more comprehensive afternoon tea menu.
Address: Sea Rd, Carlyon Bay, Saint Austell PL25 3RD, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Call the hotel at +44 01726 812304 to confirm their afternoon tea hours before you head down.
For afternoon tea in Newquay, The Headland Hotel’s your spot for some cream tea by the Atlantic sea, with the hotel perched atop a cliff on the north Cornwall coast.
What sets The Headland Hotel apart from other hotels, restaurants, and cafes is that it has a Headland “Free From” afternoon tea which has vegan, gluten-free scones and cream substitutes, which is perfect for those on a plant-based diet or those who have allergies but still want to experience the classic cream tea in Newquay.
Do note that this special “Free From” menu has to be booked twenty-four hours prior to your arrival, so make a special note to do so if you intend to head down!
Address: Fistral Beach, Headland Rd, Newquay TR7 1EW, United Kingdom
2.00pm to 4.00pm daily (Booking is essential so call them at +44 1637 872211 before heading down.)
The Royal Duchy is the best spot in Falmouth for those looking for a sumptuous afternoon tea with a view. You’ll be served your afternoon tea on the terrace overlooking Falmouth Bay.
Good food aside, we hear the service is amazing too, so get booking quickly as it’s a popular afternoon tea spot!
Address: Cliff Rd, Falmouth TR11 4NX, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
2.30pm to 5.00pm daily
Yes, it’s another hotel on the cliff, but The Scarlet Hotel feels a bit more of a chic and luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Perhaps it’s the interior of the restaurant or the fact that the surroundings are absolutely tranquil – it’s definitely an afternoon tea spot for the books if you’re in the vicinity.
Popular Newquay spots like Fistral Beach are in the vicinity and it is also just a short drive from the town of Padstow.
Address: The Scarlet Hotel, Tredragon Rd, Mawgan Porth, Newquay TR8 4DQ, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
2.00pm to 4.00pm daily
If you’re looking for a spot in St Ives for afternoon tea, The Market Place Tea Room is a must-visit. It’s a quaint, charming spot easily accessible from the holiday cottages in St Ives.
Address: Lifeboat Hill, St Ives, Saint Ives TR26 1AE, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
10.00am to 6.00pm daily
Located out in Whalebourough Farm, this afternoon tea makes for a good rest stop not just for the adults but the kids too, as it has a good-sized play area and wildlife.
Their take on the traditional Cornish cream tea comprises a pot of tea, Tiptree preserves or honey, and clotted cream. You also get to pick from four different types of scone flavors – ginger, plain, fruit, or cheese. I’m not going to lie, the ginger scone already sounds like it’ll be my pick!
Address: Whalesborough, Bude EX23 0JD, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Monday to Thursday & Sunday, 9.00am to 4.30pm
Friday and Saturday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
Step into Rectory Tea Rooms and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another time period as you’ll be surrounded by antique furnishings, slate floors, and oak beams salvaged from local shipwrecks. An added bonus is the coastal walk you’ll get to take along the Cornish coastline after your afternoon tea.
Address: Morwenstow, Bude EX23 9SR, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Closed for winter (at time of writing) but call them at +44 01288 331251 to check on their opening hours if you’re visiting outside of winter.
Situated in the middle of Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, the Woods Cafe (literally!) seems like it came right out of a fairytale storybook. It is a great spot for those with kids and pets with its vast outside seating space.
The place is family-run and they prepare everything freshly – yes that also means they freshly bake their scones every morning!
All scones for afternoon tea are served with clotted cream and Boddingtons strawberry jam. Do take note warm scones are only served from 10.30am till 3.45pm!
Address: Woods, Woods Cafe Callywith Cottage, Cardinham Woods, Bodmin PL30 4AL, United Kingdom (Google Maps)
Monday to Thursday, 10.30am to 4.00pm
Friday to Sunday, 9.00am to 4.00pm
21. Your House!
If you’re nowhere near your next trip to Cornwall and I’ve got you craving for some afternoon tea or cream tea, did you know you can get cream tea by post from Cornwall?
Yes, you read me right! You can get freshly-baked scones delivered to you, complete with Cornish clotted cream, fresh strawberry jam, and tea bags! You really just need to boil the water to have the full Cornish cream tea experience.
Some of the sites you can get it from include:
About Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea started in Britain in the 1840s as a small meal to stem one’s hunger before dinnertime.
It was said to be initially a private social event for ladies trying to move their way up the societal rungs but was popularised after Queen Victoria began holding afternoon teas on a bigger scale, calling them tea receptions.
While it may have first started as something for those in the upper classes, afternoon tea as a concept has become more mainstream and is being offered in cafes, restaurants, and hotels.
Afternoon tea is usually taken during the mid-afternoon, between lunch and dinner so be sure to save some space during lunch if you want to cram more of those sweets and savories in at afternoon tea!
Typical Afternoon Tea Menu
Think of afternoon tea and tiered cake stands probably come to mind. The layers on the tiered cake stand are representative of a classic afternoon tea menu – sandwiches, cakes, and scones.
For sandwiches, you’d typically find flavors such as smoked salmon with cream cheese, cucumber, and egg mayonnaise with cress.
And being finger food suitable for afternoon tea, these sandwiches are cut till no more than two fingers thick. For cakes, you can go with sponge cake, or fancy with eclairs, tarts, and millefeuilles even!
Everyone knows you got to have scones at an afternoon tea, and it is not complete without clotted cream and strawberry jam though spreads like lemon curd, marmalade and honey may also make an appearance.
And of course, none of this is complete without tea – usually English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea, or just black tea.
Etiquette For Afternoon Tea
You know that etiquette for afternoon tea is a big thing when Britain’s tourism welcome site has an entire page dedicated to this! And quite a few things to follow I might add.
But if you prefer not to be overwhelmed by all that information, these are my top five tips when it comes to afternoon tea:
- Eat the sandwiches with your fingers
- Spread the cream and jam in whatever manner you prefer but if you want to do as the Cornish do then it’s jam first, cream second.
- Stir your tea back and forth and not around. And on this note, I would put my milk first (not the tea!) though this is still a bit of a debate some places do pour your tea first for you.
- Scones must be eaten warm while…
- …the cakes must be eaten last!
What Is The Difference Between High Tea And Afternoon Tea?
The difference between high tea and afternoon tea is afternoon tea comprises scones, sandwiches, and cakes and occurs in the early afternoon, while high tea which may include heavier dishes such as meat, is had in the early evening.
When you think of the classic English teatime setting with freshly-brewed tea, scones, and jam, that usually refers to afternoon tea.
Think light bites between lunch and dinner and you won’t go wrong with this one.
High tea is heavier and could include meats like cold cuts, cheeses, and pies.
High tea appears to have gotten its name as it is consumed while sitting on higher chairs, like a dining table, rather than on low armchairs. It is said to have been started by the lower class which didn’t have lunch breaks and might be peckish before dinner.
So there you have it, that’s my take on the 21 best places to have afternoon tea in Cornwall! Whether you have the full-fledged afternoon tea experience or just intend to have a quick cream tea, having afternoon tea is a must-do when in Cornwall or anywhere in the UK for that matter.
When having your afternoon tea, don’t worry too much about the etiquette, but there’s one thing I gotta say, I definitely agree with the Cornish on how they have their scones – jam first, cream second!
Let me know how you like your scones once you’ve had a chance to try them!
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