Afternoon tea is a real indulgence and one of the most quintessentially British pastimes we can think of.
From the steaming pots of tea to the dainty sandwiches and cakes – everyone has their favourite bit. Personally, ours has to be fruity scones slathered in clotted cream and strawberry jam. There’s just nothing better.
Add in a cocktail or a glass of fizz and you’re all set for a brilliant afternoon. Now, all you need is the venue.
Of course, not all afternoon teas are created equal – which is why we’ve put together this list to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. Keep reading to discover the best places for afternoon tea in Manchester.
The Refuge at Kimpton Clocktower
Taken in The Refuge’s beautiful glasshouse winter garden courtyard, the afternoon tea here comes out in two waves: First, you’re presented with savoury treats and scones before moving on to a birdcage full of sweet treats.
Start with gorgeously soft pork and kimchi sausage rolls, oak-smoked salmon with beetroot chutney and labneh on pumpernickel, and a mild and creamy cheddar cheese custard with carrots and flatbread crisps for dipping before diving into date and sour cherry scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Then, finish with sweet treats like fig Battenberg, sesame snap-topped tahini choux buns, passion fruit and white chocolate opera cake, the cutest little black forest gateaux (served in an edible chocolate cup) and delicately spiced slices of carrot cake.
Price: £29.50 per person with a pot of tea or coffee from Mancunian suppliers. Cocktails, such as a peach bellini made with sparkling green tea and a negroni sbagliato made with sparkling rooibos, start from £9 on top.
Richmond Tea Rooms
One of the boujiest spots in Manchester for an afternoon tea, if you’re looking for a raucous all-out affair you can’t do better than Richmond Tea Rooms.
Before the pandemic, it moved to a brand new home opposite Sackville Gardens in the Gay Village – which is absolutely stunning. Decked out in hot pink, the mad hatter’s theme continues throughout – right down to hosting their very own bespoke Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea parties.
Alternatively, opt for the house Hatter’s Tea – served all day, it’s perfect for those who just can’t get enough tea and cake at any hour.
Price: £30 per person for the Mad Hatter’s Tea parties, or £11.95 for the Hatter’s tea which is served all day.
This vintage tearoom can be found in the Northern Quarter on Tib street, serving up a range of delicious cakes and teas throughout the day.
Everything comes decorated authentically in a vintage style – from the tea pots to the china.
The classic afternoon tea here features homemade cupcakes, finger sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and cream and a selection of freshly baked cakes – plus two organic loose tea infused tea bags.
Cocktails are available separately – and well worth it (in our opinion).
Price: £22.95 per person with cocktails available to purchase separately.
The Midland Hotel has been serving afternoon tea in Manchester for over 100 years. The venue has recently reopened its original dedicated tea rooms, where you’ll find a range of delectable afternoon tea menus to suit all dietary requirements.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, there’s all sorts to choose from – including fun sandwiches choices like coronation tempeh, heritage carrot tartar and roasted pepper, rocket and feta.
Cakes, meanwhile, include favourites like lemon drizzle, chocolate and apple macaroons, olive oil and pistachio polenta cake and apple and caramel ‘crumble’. In such gorgeous settings, you can’t go wrong.
Price: £28.00 per person for the traditional, vegetarian and vegan afternoon teas, all of which include a choice of premium loose leaf tea. Gluten-free and royal options start at £38 each.
King Street Townhouse
At King Street Townhouse, there’s not one but two afternoon teas to choose from.
Opt for their traditional afternoon tea with all the classics – like cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and apricot scones with jam and clotted cream – or go for their gentleman’s afternoon tea for a more meaty affair.
A twist on the classic, the gentleman’s tea features options like steak and ale pie, lamb kofta pittas, mini fish and chips and sea salt fries – offering something a little bit different for those who want to push the boat out.
Price: £28 per person for both, or upgrade with a seasonal cocktail or champagne for £38.
At this drinking and dining palace in the sky, you’ll be treated to one of the most indulgent afternoon teas in the city.
Available Monday to Thursday 2pm – 4.30pm, the new and improved afternoon tea features a tempting selection of sandwiches, classic sweet treats, homemade scones and pairing tea options – with the extra option to upgrade to a Moet Chandon afternoon tea.
Price: £20 per person for the 20 Stories Afternoon tea, or £32 for a champagne upgrade.
Set in the stunning surroundings of King Street’s old Reform Club, Grand Pacific’s afternoon tea menu is just as gorgeous as the venue’s stunning interiors.
Available to book between 2pm -5 pm Wednesday to Saturday and 12-3.30 pm on Sundays, teas come served on the restaurant’s signature golden pineapple stand for that extra touch of glamour.
Tuck into a plethora of bite-sized sweet delights and sandwiches, accompanied by some aromatic beverages from faraway places.
Price: £23 per person, or upgrade with a cocktail for £29, with house champagne for £28, or Moet Chandon for £30.
The Ivy has two afternoon teas on offer: a cream tea and a special summer garden afternoon tea, which is currently being served in the brasserie and on the roof garden daily between 3pm and 5pm.
For the summer garden option, you’ll be treated to such delicacies as marinated cucumber and dill finger sandwich on basil bread, lemon & raspberry donuts with pink lemonade, chocolate caramel flower pots and pistachio nasturtium crème brûlée.
Yes, The Ivy has really gone all-out on the flower theme and we’re here for it.
Price: £7.95 for the cream tea or £24.95 for the summer garden afternoon tea.
Located next door to Manchester Victoria station, Mamucium’s afternoon tea features such delights as grilled cajun goosnargh chicken wrap, creamy Lancashire bomb, and sweet pickle finger sandwiches and home-baked scones with clotted cream and preserves.
The big treat here, though, is that you can also upgrade your afternoon tea to make it bottomless – meaning you’ll get 90 minutes of bottomless prosecco to tuck into alongside your three-tiered feast.
Price: £14.95 per person, or £24.95 to upgrade with 90 minutes of bottomless prosecco.
Feature image – Mamucium.