Afternoon tea - there's nothing like it! A true British institution, where else do you get to enjoy a spread of tasty treats, bottomless pots of tea, and a chance to stick your pinky out and pretend you're all lah-di-dah?!
Take a break from all the touring and sightseeing in Edinburgh and savour an afternoon tea in one of the grand dining spaces of the city. Many of the hotels offer afternoon teas in their formal dining rooms, but here are some of the other destinations to check out for a true taste of luxury...
COLONNADES AT THE SIGNET LIBRARY
Set amongst the high stacks of the former advocate's library in the collection buildings which housed the original Scottish parliament and the current Court of Session (the Supreme Court in Scotland) on the Royal Mile, why not combine great flavours and sumptuous elegance with an afternoon tea to remember?
Beginning with an amuse bouche, staff will present you with a dazzling collection of sweet and savoury dishes, each of them styled to wow and bursting with flavour.
With gluten free and vegetarian options available on request, and the option to add a glass of wine or bubbly, there's more than a hint of 19th century decadence at the Colonnades. The food is intriguing and original, combining flavours and textures that go beyond simple 'sandwiches and scones', all presented in delicate portions and served on silver stands to enjoy at your leisure.
Staff are friendly and chatty, always on hand to provide fresh tea. It's almost a shame to have to return to the hustle and bustle of the adjacent Royal Mile!
THE SCOTTISH CAFE AND RESTAURANT
Nestled beneath William Playfair's classically-styled National Gallery of Scotland buildings on the Mound in the New Town is the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant, the perfect place to soak up some sunshine on their outdoor terrace after browsing the art.
Their afternoon tea offering combines sandwiches with scones and petit fours, giving you plenty to enjoy while you relax.
AFTERNOON TEA AT EDINBURGH CASTLE
On Crown Square at the top of Edinburgh Castle are their tea rooms, where afternoon tea is served daily (advance booking essential). Each afternoon tea booking includes standard castle admission, making this a convenient combination ticket to explore this iconic site from Scottish history before relaxing with an array of handmade cakes and savouries.
A local hidden gem, just that bit further from the city centre. Prestonfield House is a former estate property which is now a boutique hotel with a restaurant, where afternoon tea is unlike anything else you've ever experienced.
Upstairs in the tapestry-clad rooms you can relax next to a crackling log fire in the winter, or sit out on their balcony with views of Arthur's Seat, while enjoying an array of blended teas and a a stack of savoury nibbles, homemade scones, and sweet treats.
Service is attentive but respectful, and for the most part you're left to enjoy Prestonfield's unique atmosphere at your leisure. It's a sister restaurant to the iconic Witchery on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, but with an added dose of Downton Abbey!
THE GEORGIAN TEA ROOM AT THE DOME
Inside what was formerly a bank building on George Street in the New Town, relax with their afternoon tea offering.
Located upstairs, the Georgian Tea Room offers a hint of the elegance and sophistication of the Regency period, and is the perfect place to collect your thoughts after a morning browsing the shops or exploring the history of the New Town.
All aboard the floating hotel Fingal, moored on the waterfront at Leith, Edinburgh's former industrial port town.
Their elegant art deco styled dining room is the perfect place for a classic afternoon tea experience, while you gaze out at the water and watch the world going about its business. Who knew that opulence could be so buoyant?!
Get more tips for eating and drinking in Edinburgh when you book one of my private city walking tours!
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