13 of the best afternoon teas and cream teas in Dorset
PUBLISHED: 12:34 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 18 June 2020
This week (12-18 August) marks National Afternoon Tea Week! From farmhouse to country house, tea room to hotel, Sue Quinn leaves no crumb untested as she seeks out some of the finest cakes, bakes and brews in the county
A traditional Dorset tearoom with bed & breakfast rooms in the picturesque village of Cerne Abbas. Watch the world go by as you treat yourself to a traditional Dorset Cream tea with homemade scones and wonderful Duchy Originals Strawberry Jam. All of the sweet treats on offer here are homemade, and there are also a range of light lunches to take your pick from too.
This hidden gem is tucked away on a little Bournemouth street and offers high quality food from breakfast right through to tea time. As well as a fantastic menu filled with healthy ingredients, a cosy and vintage atmosphere welcomes you upon arrival. Frieda's is well-known for their indulgent afternoon tea - you'll be treated to a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade cakes and scones complete with the all important strawberry jam and clotted cream. You can also opt to accompany it with a glass of Prosecco, which is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion.
Head to The Willows for the quintessential afternoon tea experience: a fantastic selection of sandwiches, cake and home-made scones awaits, or you could go for a classic Dorset cream tea which can be enjoyed whilst taking in the glorious views of Hambledon Hill. It's the perfect stop-off point when walking or cycling along the North Dorset Trailway.
There's something special about taking tea in a country house hotel and Summer Lodge has all the boxes ticked when it comes to luxe vibes and location. This Grade II listed 5-star hotel sits in glorious Thomas Hardy countryside near Dorchester and serves its sumptuous cream tea wherever Sir or Madam cares to take it: in the conservatory, whiskey lounge or drawing room, or if the weather's fine in the beautiful gardens. They also serve up a decadent full afternoon tea, which comes with a huge array of cakes, tartlets and finger sandwiches - treat yourself with a glass of bubbly or a Pimm's cocktail on the side.
Enjoy a fabulous afternoon tea with a clear conscience at this award-winning and self-styled "greenest hotel in the UK" situated in a beautifully restored Grade II Victorian villa in the heart of Bournemouth. A member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and praised for its eco-friendly approach to energy, water management and suppliers, the hotel's Arbor restaurant lays on a sumptuous afternoon tea served on its three-tiered signature wooden 'tree' stand. Their talented pastry chef makes all the pastries to order, and their teas are supplied by Joe's Tea Co. who mirror their ethos and eco-friendly values - as a result, you can be sure to find a proper brew here.
If you prefer a cup of Java with your scone then beat a path to this little gem of an independent coffee house in Bridge Street, Lyme Regis which sources its beans from a local artisan roastery. It's not a problem if you prefer tea, as they also offer a fine range of brews. Enjoy a simple and delicious cream tea of homemade fruit scones, local clotted cream and homemade jams that might include strawberry, cherry, or apple and blackberry. Aroma Café were crowned the winners of the Family Dining Award at the Dorset Food and Drink Awards in 2017, too, so if that's anything to go by you're sure to be in for a treat.
Visitors rave about the food - cream teas are so popular that some customers enjoy them for breakfast - and the stunning location of this friendly farmhouse café situated on a working organic farm. A wide selection of cakes, scones (plain and fruit), jam and lemon curd are all made in-house while the delicious clotted cream is sourced from Hangers Dairy in nearby Bridport. Downhouse Farm is off the beaten track down a bumpy lane; Keep your eyes open for a small sign!
Taking tea in this beguiling vintage teashop is like entering a time warp. Pretty bunting, vintage linen, cut glass sugar bowls and mismatched china have helped make it a busy local favourite in Westbourne. Enjoy plain or fruit scones with clotted cream and jam, or add finger sandwiches with classic fillings like smoked salmon and cream cheese, cheese and pickle and ham and mustard.
A winner in our Food, Drink and Farming Awards,this quirky tearoom is the perfect reward after a long walk in the glorious surrounding countryside. Mismatched crockery and other vintage bits and bobs create a lovely cosy tearoom atmosphere, or you can enjoy your feast in the dreamy secluded garden. There's plenty of cream tea choice here and the Glorious Afternoon Tea stands out: muffins with smoked salmon and vodka cream, a homemade scone with local jam and clotted cream, homemade petit fours, biscotti and brownie to finish.
A worthy winner of Best Dorset Cream Tea in the Dorset Magazine Food, Drink and Farming Awards, Moretons is everything a fabulous tearoom should be. Located in an old school house in a tranquil village synonymous with T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia (he rented Clouds Hill cottage nearby and is buried in the church yard), it offers a range of homemade sweet and savoury scones, including a magnificent ginger and treacle version. Homemade jams like rhubarb and gooseberry are served alongside.
This is a wonderful destination for tea lovers, as knowledgeable staff will help you choose from 23 different single estate loose-leaf teas so that you can match your food with the perfect brew. Their generous cream tea includes a choice of savoury tartines (open sandwiches), a board of mini cakes (some flavoured with tea, like the matcha madeleines), and finishes with blueberry scones, clotted cream and homemade jam.
Enjoy a cream tea inside this delightful hut - named Abigail's Kitchen after the owner's daughter - situated in the middle of a working Dorset farm. Converted from a field shelter for horses, the hut has been transformed into a lovely cosy space where traditional vintage cream teas are served. Sample simple homemade scones with Blackmore Vale clotted cream and locally made jam, or go the full Vintage Tea and add finger sandwiches and cakes such as coffee and walnut, Victoria sponge, carrot, chocolate or fruitcake.
If you fancy a chocolate twist to your cream tea, head to the Swanage branch of this award-winning luxury chocolate maker. Their decadent cream tea includes scones packed with chocolate chips, served with dulce de leche caramel and clotted cream. True chocoholics can pair their food with a mug of hot chocolate (there's range of different flavours to choose from) or a cup of fine leaf tea.