16 of the best places for afternoon tea in Hampshire
One of my most asked questions is for my favourite place for afternoon tea in Hampshire. Sitting down for a tiered selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones has become one of the country’s most-loved pastimes. Whether it’s for a birthday outing, Mother’s Day present, or hen do, you don’t want to be disappointed with stale bread or stingy portions of clotted cream. Fortunately Hampshire has a wealth of gorgeous venues serving delicious food, from luxury country mansions to cosy tearooms.
Here is a round up of my suggestions for afternoon tea in Hampshire; many of which I have tried personally. What can I say? Any excuse for cake!
If you’re searching for the perfect venue for afternoon tea in Hampshire then it has to be Highclere Castle; better known perhaps as Downton Abbey. I shared a wonderful afternoon tea here with a glass of champagne, trying to imagine myself as Lady Mary. The castle and grounds are simply stunning and if you are a Downton fan then you will love the tour of the house where you can spot many of the rooms and props which form part of the series. During the summer months you can also enjoy a drink at the outdoor bar and sip the resident Highclere Castle gin.
Priced at £65 for a house tour and tea it is on the upper end of my budget however it’s worth it for a special occasion. You will need to book many months in advance.
The Palm Brasserie, Deane
Inbetween Basingstoke and Overton lies The Palm Brasserie; a beautiful art-deco style restaurant with fantastic customer service. There is a Signature afternoon tea, a champagne option and a luxury cocktail option. The cocktails are an interesting blend of tea and alcohol, for example the Earl Grey and gin combination.
Rather than sandwiches, there’s a savoury selection of canapés which include a delicious onion bhaji and samosa. There’s plenty of clotted cream served with large scones fresh out of the oven, and a dainty selection of cakes. The little lemon tart in a chocolate pastry case was my favourite.
Prices start from £18.95 for the Signature afternoon tea.
The Parlour Tearooms, Basingstoke
The most popular place for afternoon tea in Basingstoke is the Parlour Tearooms, with it’s special occasions like Mother’s Day selling out in mere hours. Fortunately they do gift vouchers if you do miss out on the special events themselves. Situated in Viables craft centre, it is a small and cosy tearooms with quaint floral tablecloths and an antique dresser filled with wonderful cakes. The cake menu changes daily and can feature anything from a blueberry and white chocolate sponge, to deeply indulgent chocolate and caramel cakes or sharp and citrus drizzles.
Afternoon tea options start from just £11.75 making it great value for money. One of my favourite things is that you choose your sandwich and cake flavours. I recommend the brie and cranberry for the very generous filling and really any of the cakes are delicious. Look out for fun events too such as Psychic evenings and cocktail making.
Oakley Hall Hotel, Basingstoke
At Oakley Hall you can choose to either dine in the 2 AA Rosette Glasshouse restaurant or on the sunny garden terrace. You’ll receive a truly beautiful display of food; the cakes and patisserie are incredible looking. There are dainty macarons and miniature flowerpots with chocolate soil. This is one of my favourite afternoon teas in the county, purely because the cakes are perfection. The afternoon tea starts at £40 and children are welcome for their own one at £16. Be sure to take a walk around the gorgeous gardens after tea.
The Garden Society, near Southampton
The Garden Society is not only an upmarket garden centre full of stunning plants and decorations, it’s also a great place to dine. The themed areas of the Secret Garden make the perfect location for larger group bookings. The Potting Shed has a real English garden vibe and a delicious tea and cocktail menu to match. Though the main restaurant isn’t currently open for afternoon tea bookings, do keep an eye on their website and social media because they do run special events such as their Mother’s Day High Tea.
Kimbridge Barn, Romsey
Nestled in among the winding River Test near Romsey is Kimbridge Barn; a wedding venue as well as tearooms. Afternoon tea here is £24.95 and is served with loose leaf tea or local Mozzo coffee. The treats might include delights such as a praline mousse chocolate cone, or mini mango meringue tart. Many of the ingredients are locally sourced like the Chalkstream trout in the sandwiches.
Lainston House, Sparsholt
Recently this has been the afternoon tea of choice when purchasing gift vouchers for family members. There’s a lovely warm atmosphere at this 17th Century country house. On the cake stand you’ll find rolls and savoury tartlets alongside sweet treats like choux buns, macarons and opera cake. Prices start at £45 so this is more of a special occasion venue although it’s very family friendly. There is a children’s afternoon tea for under 12s which is £22.50.
Grand Café, Southampton
At weekends you can partake in afternoon tea at the Grand Café in Southampton for £28, with options to upgrade to a glass of bubbles. What makes them more unique is that they run regular themed afternoon teas for children. The most recent was a wizarding special which looked fantastic! Sign up to their newsletter to be kept in the loop on upcoming events.
Bell Inn, New Forest
Near Lyndhurst in the New Forest, you’ll find this lovely coaching inn with an afternoon tea menu for £29.95. You could incorporate a stay here in one of the 26 guest rooms and take some time to explore the wonderful New Forest itself. Tea here is a standard selection of sandwiches and scones and the petit fours might include cheesecake, lemon drizzle and chocolate eclairs.
Audleys Wood, Basingstoke
This country hotel was our venue of choice for the night of our wedding, and afternoon tea is served in the conservatory overlooking the pretty gardens. Prices start from £37.50 and they also run special events throughout the year like the Mothering Sunday tea, and a Pimms option in the summer. Aside from the traditional menu there’s also a savoury afternoon tea (which sounds divine) with cheese scones, local Tunworth cheese and Hampshire sausage rolls. Again, there is a children’s afternoon tea served with hot chocolate which is £17.25.
Southampton Harbour Hotel
There are gorgeous views over the Solent when you dine here, with floor to ceiling windows. The afternoon tea is very aesthetically pleasing with picture perfect patisserie. Prices start from £30 for a traditional tea, and £40 for a ‘tipsy’ version. I know which I would pick! They often decorate the restaurant with intricate floral displays which make for a beautiful photo background.
New Park Manor, Brockenhurst
The chef team here regularly revitalise the afternoon tea menu with a different theme, which in the past has seen Wind in the Willows and a Winter’s tea. Prices start from £27 per adult and £15 for children. This is a really family-friendly spa hotel, in the New Forest making it perfect for a staycation. There’s a creche for under 8s, baby food can be whipped up by the chefs and there are lots of activities for children in the Den.
Lime Wood Hotel near Lyndhurst
An afternoon tea at Lime Wood includes sandwiches, scones and eclairs and you can also choose a slice of one of the homemade cakes. If you’re a gin fan then you might choose to upgrade to the G&Tea which includes a gin paired to your taste and is available for £43.50. You’ll be able to choose a local gin such as Winchester’s Twisted Nose with it’s signature watercress botanical.
The setting itself is beautiful, particularly in wisteria season. It’s in the heart of the New Forest, surrounded by peaceful woodland and is also the location of Smoked and Uncut festival in the summer.
Chewton Glen Hotel
Possibly the most luxurious destination in Hampshire is Chewton Glen, a sumptuous spa hotel attracting celebrity guests. If I win the lottery someday then I’m off to stay in one of their Treehouses, but in the meantime I’d make do with an afternoon tea priced from £45pp. The sample menu has me dreaming about apple and calvados macarons, and praline with bitter orange eclairs. I’ve included my review in the handy links section.
For afternoon tea with a view, look no further than the iconic Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth where you’ll sit 105m off the ground. Your meal also includes entry to the Tower so you can enjoy the rest of the attraction too. Tea for two is £80 and there is also a fully vegan option. If you fancy something different then there’s the Brunch High Tea at 10am which includes pastries, breakfast savouries and mini smoothies. You could always abseil down the tower after!
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu
The Montagu Arms is full of character and the customer service is excellent. Afternoon tea can be taken on the terrace, conservatory or in the lounge by the striking fireplace. I recommend the champagne option with a chilled glass of Taittinger. The selection of patisserie was good; carrot cake, lemon tart and chocolate financier meant there should be something for everyone’s taste. The highlight was the lemon tart. Mary Berry would be proud of the thin pastry case, filled generously with sharp lemon curd and topped with fluffy meringue. Writing about it makes me want to eat it all over again!