Best Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh 2023

With its regal buildings, genteel air and stylish eateries, what better place to have afternoon tea than Edinburgh? The capital city of Scotland is exactly the kind of place you would expect to be able to put on a decadent afternoon tea – and it sure doesn’t disappoint. With endless trendy cafes and sophisticated hotels offering their own unique take on the distinctly British phenomenon that is afternoon tea. With everything from mega fancy splurges in 5-star hotels to more down-to-earth, laid-back vibes in cosy cafes, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to Edinburgh afternoon teas. So, without further ado, here is our list of the best afternoon tea in Edinburgh in 2023.

If you’re a lover of afternoon tea, be sure to take a look at our list of the best affordable afternoon tea in London.

10 Best Afternoon Teas in Edinburgh, Scotland

Prestonfield House

Enjoy a divine selection of leaf teas, home baking and traditional sandwiches served in beautiful surroundings at Prestonfield House. This is by far one of the best afternoon teas in Edinburgh, offering not only a standard afternoon tea menu, but also a vegan menu and vegetarian menu so no one has to miss out. In the summer months, you can tantalise your taste buds by enjoying this Edinburgh afternoon tea in the rose-filled gardens of the house or, in the winter, you can snuggle up by the side of a roaring log fire in the luxurious Tapestry Room.

On the standard afternoon tea menu, you will find a delicious selection of savouries, including haggis croquette, thyme and apple sausage roll and a cheese and onion tart. Next, you can enjoy some traditional afternoon tea sandwiches with fancy fillings like honey-roast gammon and Dijon mustard butter, smoked salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and dill and classic egg mayo and chive. Finally, the sweat treats that you’ve all been waiting for include carrot cake with milk chocolate ganache; caramel profiterole; flaxseed sable’ with pistachio butter cream; apple and cinnamon brioche bun; and a mojito macaron with lime and mint ganache. And, no afternoon tea in Edinburgh is complete without fruit and plain scones topped with raspberry jam and clotted cream.

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Colonnades at the Signet Library

Housed within a beautiful 19th-century building, Collonnades at the Signet Library, offers one of the best afternoon teas in Edinburgh and provides a truly memorable experience from start to finish. If attention to detail is what you’re looking for, Colonnades will not disappoint – from the neo-classic decor to the bespoke silver tiered tea stand on which your afternoon tea is served. All the sandwiches and cakes are made using the finest seasonal ingredients with both gluten free and vegetarian options available too. They have extensive list of refreshing teas to choose from, including their very own signature blend. Or, perhaps you’re after something a little more luxurious to celebrate a special occasion? If so, you can liven up your Edinburgh afternoon tea with champagne, cocktails and even their own gin, created in partnership with Edinburgh gin.

The afternoon tea menu comprises a whole selection of incredible treats, both savoury and sweet. On the savouries list, they have delights like red pepper and black olive trifle, spiced carrot mousse, artichoke, hazelnut and lemon fregola, as well as a range of delicious sandwiches, including Applewood cheese, chutney and rocket; honey-roast ham, mustard mayo and watercress; and pickled cucumber dill cream cheese and lambs lettuce. Moving onto the desserts, you can enjoy a pumpkin latte macaron; dark chocolate, cherry and pistachio opera and blackberry and earl grey panna cotta. And, not to forget the freshly made fruit and plain scones served with clotted cream and jam.

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Lively and quirky, Eteaket is a homely tearoom located on Frederick Street. Popular with both residents and visitors alike, it isn’t difficult to see what makes this afternoon tea one of the best Edinburgh. The decor consists of mismatched vintage china and elegant furniture. They serve up an incredible selection of loose teas, along with wholesome home-baked goods which have firmly put this Edinburgh afternoon tea on the map. Much less about extravagant surroundings compared to some of the other afternoon tea spots on this list, this tearoom focuses on enjoying a quality cup of tea with friends, nicely accompanied by sandwiches, scones and pastries galore.

At Eteaket, you have the choice between cream tea, high tea or afternoon tea. The cream tea simply consists of a delicious fruit or plain scone, baked fresh by their local bakers and topped with Cornish clotted cream and raspberry preserve. The high tea is the perfect option for a lighter afternoon tea, comprising your choice of half a sandwich, a locally baked scone, a mini patisserie and a pot of your choice of tea or a latte. Finally, the afternoon tea menu comprises your usual 3 tiers, with your choice of sandwich, freshly baked fruit or plain scone, a selection of mini patisseries and a pot of any of their teas or a latte. So, whatever the size of your appetite, there is the perfect afternoon tea at this cute and cosy Edinburgh tea room.

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Be seen at this trendy tearoom and try one of the best afternoon teas in Edinburgh. Tigerlily is a contemporary and very en-trend afternoon tea hotspot, fashionably located on George Street. The interior of the Tigerlily tearoom is extraordinary, with rich colours filling the room and natural light beaming in through the skylights. There is nothing super fancy about this afternoon tea but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the tastiest and certainly one of the best in Edinburgh.

They serve up a fantastic array of sandwiches and savouries to start your afternoon tea. The sandwich fillings include honey-roast ham, Arran mustard and tomato; smoked Scottish salmon, cucumber and cream cheese and egg mayonnaise and cress. The sandwiches are fairly hearty in size so you know you won’t be left hungry. Then, moving down the tiers, you have a divine selection of sweet treats, including lemon meringue tart, strawberries and cream cupcake, salted caramel eclair, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, black forest brownie gateaux and, of course, a buttermilk scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Choose from their extensive selection of teas to accompany your Edinburgh afternoon tea or, perhaps you would like to elevate you tea slightly with a glass of sparkling wine, a cocktail or a glass of champagne.

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The Dome

The Dome offers the best afternoon tea in Edinburgh for someone who can appreciate majestic surroundings. Hosted in The Dome’s Georgian Tea Room, in the heart of the city, this afternoon tea must-try certainly doesn’t skimp when it comes to glamour and sophistication. The Dome is known is Edinburgh for its rather over-the-top Christmas decor, complete with ginormous tinsel-wrapped pillars and a towering Xmas tree, beautifully decorated with fairy lights and baubles. Yet, The Dome remains a special place to have afternoon tea in Edinburgh all year round.

Choose from a selection of delicate finger sandwiches with delicious fillings, including roast beef with beetroot and horseradish chutney; smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers and mature cheddar cheese and fruit chutney. Follow this with the staple of any afternoon tea – the scone. Delve into your freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and jam. Now, time for the part you’ve all been waiting for – the cakes! The menu offers a large selection of moreish cakes and macarons, along with a range of loose leaf teas or a pot of house blend coffee. Perhaps you’re looking to up your afternoon tea game, in which case you should opt for a glass of champagne to accompany your cakes and sandwiches. So, go ahead and get your glam on and enjoy this stupendously lavish afternoon tea in Edinburgh.

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Red Bus Bistro

Step aboard the enchanting red bus to enjoy a ride like never before – one filled with one of the best afternoon teas in Edinburgh. There is no better way to see the sights of Edinburgh than on a big red bus in the company of all your favourite cakes, sandwiches and teas. Combine two of the most quintessentially British phenomenas – red double decker buses and afternoon teas – what is there not to love?

Sit back and relax while delicious afternoon tea is served to you, accompanied by unlimited refills of tea and coffee. On your cake stand, you will find traditional scones with fresh whipped cream and jam, a selection of delightful finger sandwiches, mini rolls or wraps, a range of mini quiches and, of course, to finish off, a whole host of cakes and petit fours. What makes this afternoon tea one of the best in Edinburgh, apart from its unique setting, is the unlimited tea and coffee. You can literally wash down your sandwiches, scones and cakes with as much tea and coffee as you can possibly drink.

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The Palm Court at the Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral’s Palm Court is an award-winning afternoon tea spot. Served up in sumptuous surroundings, under a sparkling glass dome and a Venetian glass chandelier, this is the best afternoon tea in Edinburgh for those who are looking to celebrate a special occasion. It is the perfect afternoon tea venue to sit back, relax and enjoy great food and drink with great friends or family.

Here, you can choose from a selection of 20 exclusive loose leaf teas accompanied by a variety of sandwiches, scones and cakes. To start your sumptuously stylish afternoon tea, select from a host of sandwiches, including coronation chicken with baby gem lettuce; heather honey and mustard glazed gammon, cucumber, Scottish crowdie and nigella seeds; Balmoral smoked salmon with nutmeg creme fraiche; and egg mayonnaise and mustard cress in a brioche roll. Other savouries on the menu include a haggis puff with red onion and neep relish and a butternut squash, smoked venison and Elrik goats cheese tart. Next, onto the sweet stuff! Homemade scones, fresh out of the oven, are served with clotted cream and homemade Balmoral jam. Finally, you can enjoy a selection of pastries to finish off your Edinburgh afternoon tea – think pear and caramel choux; chocolate financier with chocolate cream, pomegranate and pistachio; and crowdie cheesecake with heirloom plums and speculoos spices.

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Are you ready to add a whole different dimension of luxury to afternoon tea? If so, then you have to try the afternoon tea aboard the former Northern Lighthouse Board ship that is Fingal. Take a seat under a shimmering ceiling aboard Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel and dive into a delightful selection of perfectly created savoury and sweet treats. You can even make this afternoon tea in Edinburgh even more fancy with a glass or two of champagne while enjoying the setting of suave Art Deco interiors and the views of the city to match.

The afternoon tea menu at Fingal is as dainty as its venue. Start off your Edinburgh afternoon tea with a corn-fed chicken tart with truffle; a pork, cheddar and chive sausage roll; curried haddock arancini; and pickled beetroot, goats cheese mousse. Next, tuck into the delicately formed finger sandwiches, including options like honey roast ham and wholegrain mustard; hot smoked salmon; marinated cucumber and cream cheese; and free-range egg mayo and salad cress. Move down the tiers to the traditional selection of buttermilk and fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry and champagne jam. Finally, top off the afternoon tea with a range of delicious desserts, including Glenmorangie, orange and chocolate; Scottish raspberry meringue; fig, almond moelleux; and an apple, lavender macaron.

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Nor’ Loft

Served in the rooftop Champagne lounge of the award-winning Market Street Hotel, Nor’ Loft’s afternoon tea delivers a contemporary take on the traditionally British phenomena. This trendy venue uses the best Scottish produce to create an exciting afternoon tea menu that is unlike any other you’ve seen. In keeping with the tasteful style of Nor’ Loft’s afternoon tea, classic cucumber sandwiches and Victoria sponge are swapped out for a selection of modern savoury and sweet canapes, stunningly presented in a bird-cage style stand.

The afternoon tea menu at Nor’ Loft is incredibly refreshing and definitely the best in Edinburgh for someone who isn’t a fan of the traditional. Start with a fillet steak, topped with salsa verde, then a fillet of bream with roasted tomatoes. Next, move onto a jalepeno and pineapple marinated pulled pork shoulder tostada, served with carrot and red cabbage slaw. Finish off your savoury tiers with roasted Midvale potatoes, with pickled beetroot and a sesame spring green salad, comprising broad beans, asparagus, green beans and spinach. Finally, move onto the sweet treats – a chocolate orange brownie, apple and almond slice, cranachan, and fruit mille feuille. Accompany your delicious afternoon tea with their extensive selection of teas, including Rosebuds, Berry and Hibiscus and Triple Mint.

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The Register Club

This new addition to Edinburgh’s afternoon tea scene is a must-visit when in the city. Set within a super-chic cocktail bar on the fourth floor of Cheval The Edinburgh Grand that used to be the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, the menu features of perfect blend of both classic and contemporary sandwiches, savouries, scones and seasonal pastries. The plush setting of this Edinburgh afternoon tea spot feels timeless and elegant, like you’ve just stepped back in time to the roaring 1920s.

The stars of this afternoon tea show really are the savouries – think a coronation chicken focaccia, served with pickled grapes and a poppadum; smoked salmon gougères with crowdie mousse and chive and a BLT served of a brioche bun. Next, you can move onto the essential scone selection – two buttermilk and two chocolate and orange, both served with clotted cream and Scottish jam. Make sure you leave enough room for the last tier, with dark chocolate salted caramel eclairs, raspberry macarons, and coconut and rum chocolate truffles. So, make sure you don’t miss out on one of the best afternoon teas in Edinburgh at The Register Club.

Find out more here.

For more tasty bites to eat in the UK, check out our other lists of the best:


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