Luxury UK breaks : best hotels with afternoon tea

14 min. read
Published 28 Aug. 2020

Treat yourself and a loved one this year and indulge in a delicious afternoon tea and a night away at a luxurious hotel.

A totally British classic, afternoon tea is a tradition that has been enjoyed in England for over 100 years. Really, who doesn’t enjoy finger sandwiches, warm scones, delicious cakes and, of course, a nice hot cup of tea.  Maybe you’re celebrating a special occasion, or perhaps you just want to treat someone in your life to an afternoon of little luxuries. If so, why not make a night of it, and combine a wonderful afternoon tea with a stay at a stunning hotel. A whole host of luxurious hotels across the country have restaurants that offer incredible afternoon teas, so to help you out, we’ve selected a handful of these locations across the UK that offer both a fabulous afternoon tea and room for the night. And with Mail UK Breaks, booking these breaks couldn’t be easier. So dive right into it, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect place for you.


Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Just shy of two hours from London is the wonderful county of Suffolk. The perfect place to relax and unwind for a night, the sleepy county of Suffolk is home to a whole host of natural beauty, 50 miles of stunning coastline, and loads of charming towns and villages to discover. Head south to the border of Suffolk and Essex and admire the countryside that inspired Constable’s paintings in the picturesque town of Dedham, take a trip to the home of horseracing in Newmarket or enjoy the beaches, fabulous food, world famous breweries and acclaimed art festivals in the seaside towns of Southwold, Aldeburgh and Snape. The Salthouse Harbour hotel in Suffolk’s county town of Ipswich is just a short stroll to all of the shops and restaurants in the centre, and within very easy reach of the beautiful coast and popular spots like the medieval town of Bury St Edmunds and the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Milsoms Kesgrave Hall is also well located just on the outskirts of Ipswich, tucked away in 38 acres of woodland. 

The four-star Salthouse Harbour hotel in Ipswich is situated in the heart of the Docks, a popular area of the town with a promenade of trendy  bars and restaurants. This modern boutique hotel is home to an award-winning, uber-trendy restaurant and lounge bar with views across the harbour that serve as the perfect backdrop for a luxurious afternoon tea. The Salthouse’s afternoon tea starts from just £19.50 per person, and if you’re feeling particularly extravagant, you can upgrade your traditional afternoon tea to include a glass of champagne. The contemporary guest bedrooms at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel have been individually designed, with a particular eye for detail, to make your stay as perfect as possible, including delicious teas and coffees, balconies, walk-in rain showers and fluffy bathrobes. If you’re looking to go full out on the luxury, then check out the Marina rooms and Penthouse Suite that boast large floor to ceiling windows with far reaching views across the harbour, with some even featuring freestanding copper baths. 

Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich

Another four-star hotel and restaurant in the heart of Suffolk, Milsoms Kesgrave Hall is a great spot for afternoon tea. Take a stroll around the beautiful 38 acres of grounds that surrounded this luxurious boutique hotel before enjoying a proper afternoon tea,  which also happens to offer an upgrade to a glass of champagne with your meal - perfect for celebrating a special occasion, or even just as a little extra treat. In the winter you can enjoy your afternoon tea in the cool and contemporary restaurant, or the cosy lounge bar, whereas in the summer you can sit outside on the covered terrace or patio and enjoy the stunning views of Milsoms’ sweeping lawns. Treat yourself to a night away in one of Milsom Kesgrave Hall’s  23 fabulous en-suite guest bedrooms, all of which have been beautifully decorated and feature king sized beds, freestanding baths or spacious walk-in showers, and added extras such as a mini bar with complimentary soft drinks and biscuits. If you want to complete your luxury weekend away in style,, Milsoms Kesgrave Hall is the place, as the hotel recently opened a brand new spa, featuring double treatment rooms and a warming sauna with unobstructed forest views.  

Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich

The Lake District

Head up to Cumbria, and to the UK’s largest National Park and designated UNESCO World Heritage site, The Lake District. This popular holiday destination is famous for its stunning mountains, forests, lakes and waterfalls, as well as the popular Lake Poets, including William Wordsworth. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere in England more beautiful than the Lake District. There’s so many ways to experience the Lake District, from seeing the sights on foot by taking a hike up a mountain, or enjoying a gentle stroll using a guided footpath, to taking to the water, with everything from steamers and river cruises, to row boats, kayaks and canoes, and of course, a good old fashioned swim. For the more adventurous, there’s also the chance to cycle (both on mountains and on paths), and, if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear night, you can even take a stroll after dinner and watch the stars, as the Lake District is lucky enough to have very little light pollution.

Rothay Manor, Ambleside

If you want to be well located for all the action, and also enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in a fabulous hotel, check out Rothay Manor in the popular town of Ambleside. Bustling with shops, cafes and restaurants, the town is the starting point for many classic lakeland walks. This beautiful, Grade II listed country house hotel with stunning Regency features is the perfect countryside escape, and just a short stroll from the north edge of the stunning Lake Windermere. Boasting a 3 AA Rosette restaurant, Rothay Manor’s afternoon tea is the ultimate indulgence. After a day walking the lakes, relax with an afternoon tea in Rothay Manor’s delightful lounge overlooking the beautiful gardens, where you may even be able to spot one of the hotel’s resident deers. Rothay Manor is home to 19 unique, stylish and luxurious guest bedrooms that have everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay, including huge beds, fluffy bathrobes and Nespresso coffee machines. But that’s not all - rooms at Rothay Manor take it up a notch, with some rooms that have balconies overlooking the gardens, some with private terraces, and some that even feature hot tubs. It doesn’t get more luxurious than this. 

The Yorkshire Dales

To the south east of the Lake District you’ll find the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Although perhaps not quite as established as a holiday destination as the Lakes, the Yorkshire Dales is beautiful nonetheless and is a great pick for a night or two away. At 841 square miles large, there’s certainly no lack of fabulous walks, views, lakes and mountains to be discovered. What makes the Yorkshire Dales particularly special, however, has to be its collection of stunning waterfalls set in magical woodlands, or at the end of a wonderful walk, as well as being home to the UK’s longest cave system, with over 2500 known caves that can be explored with a guide. There’s also the Dales’ wealth of historical sites to be discovered, including the 14th-century Bolton Castle, Fountains Abbey, a stunning National Trust property and World Heritage Site, and the wonderful ruins of Pendragon Castle. One of the most popular historical sites of the Yorkshire Dales, however, has to be Bolton Abbey, the ruins of a 12th-century monastery set in 30,000 fabulous acres of land, known as the Bolton Abbey Estate. On this stunning estate, tucked away on the south edge of the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll find the Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, a charming, four star country house hotel.

Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, Skipton

The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, with its picturesque surroundings, is the ideal place to relax and unwind on a short break to Yorkshire. The hotel’s 40 guest bedrooms have been designed with comfort and classic luxury in mind, blending period features with all the modern touches you’d expect from an upscale hotel, and boasting wonderful views of the gardens and countryside. Then, of course, there’s the Devonshire Arms’ afternoon tea. With a restaurant that holds an impressive 3 AA Rosettes, you can look forward to a truly luxurious treat. Aiming to provide a traditional and memorable experience, enjoy a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, buttermilk scones, and showstopping cakes made by the hotel’s award winning pastry chef served in the decadent and elegant surroundings of the hotel’s conservatory. And if that still isn’t enough, there’s also the exclusive spa set in the adjoining barn that makes the Devonshire Arms perfect for a restful retreat. Warm up in the sauna and steam room following a dip in the pool and the jacuzzi, before spoiling yourself and your partner with a wonderful, relaxing spa treatment.

The New Forest

The New Forest

Right on the south coast of England, tucked in between the towns of Bournemouth and Southampton is the stunning New Forest, one of the countries most recent National Parks, that offers a wonderful combination of woodland, wildlife and coast. Once a hunting ground for William the Conqueror, the New Forest now offers 566 square kilometres of untouched natural beauty. Deer, ponies and cattle roam free throughout this car free haven, perfect for walking, cycling and horse riding. The New Forest is also ideal for those who love the water, with plenty of places to fish, a handful of boat tours (including one on Britain's largest working steam ship, the Steamship Shieldhall), and opportunities to canoe, kayak and paddleboard. 

Tucked away in the town Lyndhurst, the ‘capital’ of the New Forest, you’ll find The Crown Manor House Hotel, a Grade I listed, 15th-century and ‘quintessential English’ hotel with a contemporary twist. An ideal base for a trip to the New Forest, you’re just a short stroll away from all the charming cafes, shops and restaurants of Lyndhurst, and no more than a 30 minute drive from any of the New Forest’s most popular spots. With a well stocked bar that boasts a specially selected gin menu, you can relax with a drink by the real log fires or in the hotel’s tranquil gardens after a long day of exploring. All of the rooms at this fabulous boutique hotel have been individually designed to offer modern amenities whilst also remaining in keeping with the hotel’s rich history. You can look forward to a delicious afternoon tea at the Crown Manor House Hotel, as the hotel is home to a 2 AA Rosette restaurant. Enjoy your finger sandwiches, hand crafted cakes and freshly baked scones in the surroundings of the classic yet contemporary restaurant, or, on a sunny day, in the fabulous garden.

The Crown Manor House Hotel, Lyndhurst

An afternoon tea and a night away in a luxurious hotel is a great gift for anyone; parents, partners, children or friends. Whether it's celebrating a special occasion or just a short break to rest and rejuvenate, fabulous afternoon tea weekends away can be found across the UK. If these aren’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t worry, the whole Mail UK Breaks collection can be found right here.