Best Afternoon Tea In Essex

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If you are in the mood for a spot of afternoon tea, Essex is the perfect place to be. From picturesque country estates to chic city cafes, there is no shortage of places to enjoy afternoon tea with some delicious cakes and sandwiches. Moreover, you can enjoy multiple fruit scones with a strawberry preserve or cornish clotted cream.

To help you choose a quaint tea room for quality time, we have rounded up some of the best places to enjoy this quintessentially British tradition in Essex. Whether you are looking for an intimate setting for a romantic afternoon or a fun outing with friends, one of these afternoon tea spots is sure to hit the spot.

Best Afternoon Tea In Essex

1. The County Hotel

The County Hotel is the perfect place to enjoy a classic afternoon tea. The elegant setting is ideal for a special occasion, and the attentive staff ensures that every detail is taken care of. The tea selection is impressive, and the delicate sandwiches and scones are delicious. This hotel is a wonderful spot that also serves award-winning dishes to complement your traditional afternoon tea.

You can enjoy your afternoon tea with your family or friends from 12 pm to 5 pm. You can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea from Monday till Sunday. Moreover, one of the best features of the County Hotel is that it is a three-minute walk from the nearest railway station.

The menu at the County Hotel has four sections. You can choose from the classic afternoon, vegan, children, and festive afternoon tea menus. The kid’s menu is full of freshly baked scones that your children will adore. You can enjoy champagne, afternoon tea, and prosecco by paying a little more. However, there is no Halal food option.


  • Vegan option available 
  • Walking distance from the railway station 
  • Starting from £24
  • Children menu
  • Service open for the whole week 
  • Outdoor sitting
  • Finest food options 
  • Allows guide dogs 

2. Roslin Beach Hotel, Southend

Roslin Beach Hotel in Southend is the perfect afternoon tea spot. The hotel overlooks the picturesque seafront. Though it doesn’t provide much outdoor seating, the terrace is ideal for enjoying a special evening with your friends or family, along with some sweet treats. You can enjoy a classic English afternoon tea while scenic sea views surround you.

The tea selection is impressive. You will find a range of different tea options to choose from and a vast range of sandwiches. The scones are also delicious. You can also ask the staff for a better choice of cake or pastry with your tea or coffee. Moreover, you will enjoy clotted cream in the fruit scones option.

Roslin Beach Hotel can accommodate its menu according to your desires and preferences. Moreover, you can enjoy unlimited tea and coffee until your full afternoon tea ends.


  • A luxurious selection of sandwiches
  • Multiple sweet and floral-themed afternoon teas
  • Taste and view in one place
  • Unlimited tea and coffee
  • Mention your preferences at the time of booking
  • Variety of seasonal pastries and delicacies
  • Modern and classic floral decorations
  • Allows pre-booking 
leigh on sea

3. The Parlour Tea Room at Mad Dogs and Englishmen

If you are in the mood for afternoon tea, there is no better place to go than the Parlour Tea Room at Mad Dogs and Englishmen. The tea selection is excellent, and the scones are some of the best you will ever have. However, what sets The Parlour apart is the service. The staff is always attentive, and things always run smoothly. However, some customers have said that the service feels rushed, but that’s because they have developed a working system.

They pay attention to every detail, from the decor to the food. You can also buy gift cards and surprise your friends with a lovely traditional English afternoon tea experience in Essex.

Whether you enjoy a leisurely afternoon with friends or celebrate a special occasion, Mad Dogs and Englishmen are sure to make your day even more special.


  • Enjoy scones with strawberry Tiptree jam and cornish clotted cream
  • Huge variety of freshly baked cakes
  • Attentive staff
  • Attention to taste and decor
  • Delicious sandwiches options
  • Gift cards for your favourite afternoon teas

4. Merrymeade Tea Room

Merrymeade Tea Room guarantees a leisurely afternoon tea. The tea room has views of the gardens, and you can also enjoy your evening while sitting outdoors on a terrace. The afternoon tea includes a variety of side orders you can enjoy along with your tea.

The tea selection is impeccable, and the pastries are always fresh and delicious. You can enjoy afternoon tea with plenty of items, from clotted cream and chocolate-dipped strawberries to thinly sliced finger sandwiches. Moreover, what sets Merrymeade apart is the atmosphere. The decor is elegant and inviting, and the staff is warm and attentive. While the cost is higher than the rest of the options, it’s an experience worth having.


  • Vegan and gluten-free sweet treats
  • Enjoy tea in the garden room or indoor tea room
  • Plenty of food options
  • Offer daily specials
  • Quite and peaceful environment
  • Perfect for baby showers or birthdays
discover brentwood

5. Wivenhoe House

If you want a truly memorable afternoon tea experience, then check out Wivenhoe House. This stunning country estate is the perfect setting for an elegant afternoon tea. The extensive landscaped gardens are beautifully manicured, and the House is a work of art. 

They have an array of delectable treats on the menu; delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, mini cakes, sausage rolls and more. You can enjoy scones with delicious clotted cream and Tiptree preserve. 

The atmosphere is elegant but relaxed, and the service is always impeccable. Moreover, Tea at The George is best known for the quality of its tea. Whether you celebrate a special occasion or simply want to relax and recharge, Wivenhoe House is sure to exceed your expectations.


  • Allows pre-booking
  • Choose between classic, prosecco, and champagne afternoon tea
  • Vegan and vegetarian options are available
  • Children menu
  • Traditional homemade scones and sweet treats
  • Menus include sandwiches, savouries, scones, and pastries

6. Greenwoods Hotel and Spa

The Greenwoods Hotels want you to enjoy your experience fully, so they only serve the finest teas. The traditional English Afternoon Tea comes with fresh cakes and scones that you can enjoy with clotted cream and jam. Furthermore, you can enjoy Wiltshire ham, smoked salmon, and cream cheese finger sandwiches. 

The vegan afternoon tea offers an array of finger sandwiches, scones with jam, vegan cakes, and sweet treats. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, you can inform the reservations team in advance to accommodate your needs.

As Greenwoods Hotel and Spa is in the countryside just outside of London, it is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Thus, you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon with friends.


  • Enjoy a 360-degree view at the official website
  • 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Choose from the multiple themed afternoon teas
  • Both vegan and non-vegan options
  • Excellent staff and service
  • Mention priorities in booking
  • Perfect for a baby shower and bridal afternoon teas in Essex

7. The Gilt Rooms

If you are looking for a cosy spot to enjoy a pot of tea and some light snacks, The Gilt Rooms is the perfect place. This charming cafe is in the heart of the city, and its warm and inviting atmosphere is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The delicious afternoon tea includes a variety of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes that vary depending on the season. You can enjoy this light meal with either tea or coffee.

The themed afternoon teas offer a real treat for your friends, family, or loved ones. The themed selection includes mini sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes based on your choice.

Furthermore, you can enjoy cocktails or mock-tails as well as tea and coffee to highlight your experience. So if you are looking for an oasis of peace in the middle of the city, be sure to check out this hidden gem.


  • Vegetarian-friendly food with standard afternoon tea
  • Vegan and non-vegan options
  • Gluten-free menu available
  • Freshly made sandwiches
  • Both economic and elite options

What to Consider for the Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Below are some of the features you should look out for when considering an afternoon tea spot in Essex.

  • Quality and Variety of Tea

The tea is, of course, the most important part of afternoon tea. When selecting a spot for afternoon tea in Essex, ask about the quality of the tea leaves. The best afternoon teas will use fresh, high-quality tea leaves.

Moreover, you should also look for the variety of British afternoon tea the hotels offer. For example, if you love cream tea, you should look for a hotel that offers it.

  • Fresh Food

The freshness of the food is also essential. Most hotels have afternoon tea served with finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and mini desserts. Many of them claim that the quality of their products matches the homemade fruit scones or home-baked cakes. You can read comments to see if the claims are true or not. Moreover, there is a huge difference between eating fresh and stale food. Thus, you should always trust the hotels offering freshly baked scones and your afternoon teas in Essex. Furthermore, if you have any restrictions such as vegan-only food, you should do your research before you go.

  • The Atmosphere of Tea Rooms

The atmosphere of the tea spot is also important. Choose a relaxed and comfortable place to enjoy your afternoon tea experience fully. You can look for places outside the city’s hustle to enjoy a peaceful experience. Also, find out if the tea rooms can accommodate toddlers, children or pets if you are thinking of taking them. You can find most of this information on the websites or by reading customer reviews.

  • Customer Reviews

It is always wise to read authentic reviews about places and menus of an afternoon tea spot before you go for afternoon tea in Essex. If most people admire the ambience and service of the afternoon teas in Essex, you can trust the hotel. However, if you see that major comments are against the traditional afternoon tea services, you should move to the next option. You can also dig deeper and see what the people say about cream tea or other afternoon teas from a particular hotel.

  • Pricing

Afternoon tea can be a bit of an expensive experience, so finding a spot that fits your budget is vital. Afternoon tea can offer a luxurious experience, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Research the pricing before you book an afternoon tea in Essex. Moreover, you can look for tea spots that offer affordable options without sacrificing quality or service.

  • Look Out for Allergies

If you have any allergies, you must inform the staff when you book an afternoon tea. The best afternoon tea spots will be able to accommodate your needs and make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. For instance, if you have a lactose intolerant condition, you can mention it in the reservation note. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my food or drink to an afternoon tea service venue?

Most afternoon tea service venues will provide a selection of refreshments, including both savoury and sweet items. However, you might want to bring your food or drink to an event. For example, you may have dietary restrictions that do not abide by the themed afternoon tea service of the area.

Or, you may prefer your snacks to those the hotel offers with your afternoon tea. As long as you are not disruptive, most venues will allow you to bring your refreshments. Just be sure to check with the venue in advance to avoid any surprises on the day of the event.

Are there any etiquette rules I need to follow when attending a luxury afternoon tea service?

A traditional afternoon tea service is a delightful ritual steeped in history and etiquette. The rules may seem daunting initially, but following simple guidelines will ensure you enjoy a pleasant and memorable experience.

First, timely arrivals speak volumes. Afternoon tea is typically served around 4 pm, so plan accordingly. Once you have arrived, sit and wait till a waiter approaches you. When selecting your food, be sure to use the utensils correctly. It is better that you eat freshly prepared finger sandwiches with your hand while you can eat other mini desserts with forks and knives.

When sipping your tea, avoid making noise or slurping. Instead, take small sips and hold the cup with your pinky extended. Moreover, remember to thank your hostess before taking your leave.

What is the difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

Afternoon and high tea are meals that typically contain tea and light snacks. However, there are some important differences between the two. Afternoon tea is a more formal affair, often involving finger sandwiches and pastries. On the other hand, high tea is a more substantial meal that you can expect in the late afternoon or early evening. It usually consists of hot dishes such as meat pies or stew, or you can also expect to enjoy scones or biscuits.

Regarding timing, afternoon tea is typically served between 3 pm and 5 pm, while high tea is served later in the day, between 5 pm and 7 pm. So next time you plan an afternoon get-together with friends, choose the right type of tea.

What is afternoon tea, and what are its origins?

Afternoon tea is a light meal typically consisting of sandwiches, scones, and cakes. People usually enjoy it in the late afternoon, between lunch and dinner. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced afternoon tea to England in 1840.

Duchess of Bedford found herself feeling uncomfortably hungry during the late afternoon. She started ordering light snacks to her room around 4 pm. This practice soon converted into inviting friends to join her. News of the Duchess’s new ritual quickly spread. Later on, afternoon tea became a social event. While it was originally intended as a small snack, afternoon tea evolved into a more substantial meal. These days, people all over the world enjoy afternoon tea. 


Afternoon tea is a British tradition that you can enjoy at many places in Essex. Furthermore, you can enjoy various side dishes, including lemon drizzle cake, classic finger sandwiches, and traditional tea.

We hope our list has inspired you for your next afternoon tea outing.The tea rooms here are suitable for whether you are looking for a traditional experience or something a little more unusual. Moreover, if you want to do your research and come up with a place offering rose champagne afternoon tea, take help from our guide.

About The Author

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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.