The Best Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh
Edinburgh caters for all tastes and budgets and there is a plethora of restaurants and cafes to choose from to enjoy afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea is as quintessentially British as talking about the weather. Enjoying delicate finger sandwiches, lashings of cake and champagne on a gorgeous day in Edinburgh is hard to surpass. Edinburgh punches above its weight on choice and variety. With over 2,800 restaurants and over 700 pubs to choose from for a population of about 500,000 with all cuisine represented, where do you start? We have chosen the best afternoon tea locations for you to enjoy.
Let Totally Tailored guide you to the hidden gems to sample the tastiest scones, aromatic teas, delectable sandwiches and scrummy cake in Edinburgh’s afternoon tea scene.
The Classic Afternoon Tea: The Dome
Where: 14 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PF
When: Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 17:00
Price: £18.50 – £26 per person
No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to The Dome. It is an institution and an attraction in its own right in the heart of the city’s New Town. The Georgian Tea Room with its plush décor, crystal chandeliers, crisp white linen, black and gold wall panelling and cushioned ebony chairs set the scene for a memorable experience.
Tour Guide Tip: A Christmas visit is essential for the spectacular decorations that has made it famous and an attraction in its own right.
The Most Elegant: The Ivy on The Square
The Ivy on The Square
Where: 6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD
When: 15:00 – 17:00
Price: £18.95 – £26.50 per person
The Ivy is a modern British brasserie inspired by the original restaurant in London that was a favourite of Princess Diana. You can expect marble tables set in an art deco theme and a modern relaxed vibe. The menu has the traditional classics served by attentive and friendly staff.
Ask for a window seat on the First Floor overlooking St Andrew Square to enjoy the best views.
Tour Guide Tip: The Melville Monument opposite was erected in 1823 to honour Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville for his political contributions. This private park closes at 7pm each evening.
The Instagram Choice: Harvey Nichols
Where: 30 – 34 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD
When: Sunday – Thursday 15:00 – 16:00
Price: £22 – £32 per person
Forth Floor Harvey Nichols is a modern British brasserie located within the store where the beautiful people in Edinburgh shop. It is easily accessible via escalators that whisk you through the various departments including the Food Hall, sushi bar, chocolate lounge and champagne bar.
This roof-top restaurant offers unrivalled breath-taking views across the city with photo opportunities that will be the envy of your Instagram followers.
Afternoon tea here is a delight. You can take a break from a spot of retail therapy outside on the large terrace in the summer months and indulge in some people watching over an array of savoury and sweet delicacies.
Tour Guide Tip: Ask for a window seat overlooking St Andrew Square to enjoy the best views of the city’s skyline and the Castle.
The Michelin Star Choice: The Balmoral
Where: 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
When: 12:00 – 17:30 every day
Price: £45 per person
The Balmoral Hotel has been one of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks for over 100 years with its clock tower dominating the city skyline on Princes Street.
Afternoon tea is served in the Palm Court with giant palm trees and comfy sofas and chairs in the centre and around the perimeter in a traditional dining setting.
Tour Guide Tip: An unusual fact here is that the clock is set a few minutes fast so people don’t miss their train at Waverley Station next to it!
The Unbeatable Afternoon Tea: The Colonnades
Where: The Signet Library, Parliament Square, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1RF
When: Monday – Friday 13:00 – 17:00
Sundays 11:00 – 17:00, open on selected Saturdays only
Price: £38 per person
The Colonnades is set in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town on the Royal Mile. This 19th Century building has been restored in a neo-classical style and the Lower Library offers a truly gourmet experience that is ranked as one of the top venues on TripAdvisor.
You can expect unusual savouries including haggis, neeps and tattie pie and spiced parsnip cheesecake complemented with sweets and scones including pink grapefruit posset and tiramisu dome.
The caterers have been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen for their catering services. If the best of Scotland’s produce is good enough for royalty, who are we to argue?
Tour Guide Tip: Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is actually 1 mile and 107 yards long. The Scots mile was abolished as a unit of measure by the 1824 Weights and Measures Act.
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Scott is our resident writer for Totally Tailored Scotland. He is a foodie, writer and author living happily near Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh. He has published a consumer book titled ‘How to Complain: The Consumer Guide to Resolve Complaints and Motoring Disputes’ based on his own personal experiences that has been featured by BBC Radio Scotland and the Daily Mail. He knows where the best pubs are and is a font of unusual facts and figures on all things Edinburgh.
His Amazon Author Page can be found here and see www.awriterinedinburgh.com for other examples of his writing.