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There's nothing like a traditional afternoon tea, ideally served on a tiered cake stand, with sandwiches on one level, scones, clotted cream and jam on another, and a selection of cakes on the third.
Whether it's a special occasion or you just feel like a treat, afternoon tea in Northamptonshire ticks all the boxes. Due to government restrictions on social distancing, all of the following require a reservation.
So pick one of our favourite places and get booking!
Number 50 Tea Room, Duston
Offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, this casual, cosy, family-friendly tea room has been voted one of the best places in Northamptonshire to go for breakfast, which is served all day. Don't let that stop you from ordering the generous tea, though. There's no lower age limit and, while small, they are practising social distancing inside. There are big teapots and a lovely selection of homemade cakes and scones, a children's menu and everything is budget-friendly price-wise (£6.48 for adults, £2.48 for children's afternoon tea). There's local street parking.
Rushton Hall, Rushton
The Rushton Hall afternoon tea is a sublime treat. It doesn't come cheap (£28 per person, rising to £42 if you go for the Rosé Champagne Afternoon Tea), but it includes all you would expect in such beautiful surroundings, including smoked salmon sandwiches and both raisin and plain scones with clotted cream. Rushton Hall is a Grade-l listed country house, originally built in the 15th century, and oozes tradition and history. Special diets can be catered for, but let them know when you book. There's a smart casual dress code and parking on site.
Fawsley Hall, Fawsley
Fawsley Hall is a grand country house which claims Elizabeth I as a past guest. It's set in fabulous gardens and its afternoon tea can be taken in the Tudor Lounge, the Conservatory, the Great Hall or, if the weather is good, the Courtyard. The Cedar Afternoon Tea (£20.50 per person) includes tea or coffee, homemade scones and finger sandwiches, while the Champagne Knightley version (£36.50) adds cakes and a glass of Champagne. The Young Guest's Afternoon Tea (£13.75) does everything on a mini-scale for smaller appetites. Tea is served until 5.30pm and there is parking on site.
Highgate House, Creaton
Set in 26 acres of land, this beautiful Northamptonshire hotel dates from the seventeenth century and makes a delightful setting to enjoy traditional afternoon tea. Its standard tea (£22 per person) includes finger sandwiches, homemade cakes and macarons, scones, clotted cream and jam, and a choice of leaf teas or coffee. You can add Pimms (£26 per person), Champagne or gin (£28), or just have a traditional cream tea (£6.50) if you don't want to go the whole hog. The tea is served in the Chudley Room or if the weather is playing nicely, on the lawn. Afternoon tea is available from 2 to 5pm. Parking is on site.
The Blitz Tea Rooms and Jazz Lounge, Kettering
With a totally 40's vibe, including decor that makes it appear you're looking up at a bombed-out ceiling, you might want to bring Granny with you for the nostalgia burst. There's a choice of two afternoon teas: the Vera Lynn, with cheese and ham sandwiches, scones, crisps and tea or coffee (£12.50 per person, vegetarian option available); and the Churchill: mini pork pie, mini Yorkshire pudding with pigs in a blanket, corned beef sandwiches, crisps, pickled onions, scone and tea or coffee (£12.50 per person). Parking is on local streets.
Awbery's Tea Rooms, Wollaston, Wellingborough
Almost bang next door to the Doc Martens factory shop, you'll find this small tea room in the next courtyard, which is also home to a few craft shops. If you're looking for an inexpensive afternoon tea, head to this friendly, popular local spot. The price is right – a bottomless pot of tea, a selection of sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and mini cakes costs just £20 for two – and the ambience is relaxed and casual. Closed on Sundays. Parking is on local streets.
The Dining Room, Northampton
Set within the award-winning Rene Mackintosh House, opposite Beckets Park, the Dining Room is currently serving afternoon tea on Saturdays only. All dietary requirements can be catered for, though you need to tell them when you book. It offers a choice of afternoon teas, starting with a cream tea of homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, with coffee or tea (£5.75); rising to the two-course afternoon tea, which can include a coronation chicken filo cup, a selection of sandwiches, cheese and seed scone, mini broccoli quiche, followed by scones served with jam and clotted cream, and bottomless tea or coffee (£16.95). You can add prosecco (plus £5) or Pimms (plus £4).
The Apothocoffee Shop, Earls Barton
Inside the quirky Jeyes of Earls Barton visitor attraction, which is part museum, part shop, is this cafe serving delicious afternoon tea in a variety of locations, including the conservatory and walled garden. The teas themselves can be tailored for gluten and dairy-free diets, and come with a selection of sandwiches, homemade quiche, cakes, scones with jam and cream, a glass of elderflower or bramley apple juice, tea or coffee and cost £14.95 per person. The Apothocoffee Shop is big on using local, Northamptonshire produce, so you can enjoy local flavours. There's a free, two-hour parking lot outside.
Whittlebury Park, Towcester
It might sound funny to go for tea at an award-winning conference centre, that also houses a gym, hotel, golf and leisure club, but you'll be pleasantly surprised at how nice it is. Everything is house-made and freshly prepared, and you can enjoy either a cream tea (£9.95 per person) or a traditional afternoon tea (£19.95 per person) and there's even a kid's afternoon tea (£11.95), for those aged up to 12. There's free parking on site.
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