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.
A traditional cafe serving retro favouties has opened on the third floor of Affleck’s
A brand-new cafe has opened on the third floor of the iconic Afflecks building, offering an all-day menu of British classics, from breakfast through to closing time.
Serving cafe classics, Third Floor Rising will dish up quality breakfasts with specialities including meat, vegetarian and vegan fry-ups and breakfast rolls, BLT, teas, coffees – basically everything required to kick start the day.
There’s also a solid list of homemade favourites – such as Tommy’s homemade pies, paninis, toasties and filled rolls, alongside Sarah’s tray bakes and cakes.
Third Floor Rising has been brought to Afflecks by husband and wife team Tommy Heaton and Sarah Abell – long-time Afflecks fans who felt that it was the perfect space for their new venture.
With a wealth of experience in hospitality spanning over 20 years, the pair decided now was the time to open their first space and atop one of the city’s most iconic buildings was too good an opportunity to miss.
As one of Manchester’s most famous café spots rises again, the inspiration for the name comes from the book of the same title written by author Hilary Mantel when she worked at Affleck and Brown.
The cafe will be serving breakfast from 10.30am when Afflecks opens, as well as lunch and drinks all day long, designed to refuel hungry shoppers, visitors and traders alike.
The drinks menu includes coffees, smoothies, milkshakes and coolers. All of this will be brought to customers in a relaxed, homespun atmosphere with carefully considered vintage inspired interiors.
From handwritten, daily-changing menus, to original 70s printed wallpaper, owners Tommy and Sarah wanted to emulate their own home and love of all things retro in the surroundings for the city’s new community cafe.
The welcoming space also reflects the amazing light and history within the building with its panoramic windows looking out onto the Northern Quarter. Plants and artwork from fellow Afflecks traders City and Bloom and Egoiste Gallery adorn the space.
Commenting on the launch, Tommy said: “Since we’ve joined we have loved getting to know everyone, from the cleaners to the management to the stall holders and the techs!
“It feels like a family – a family we are proud to be part of. We are excited about the next few years as we plan to serve up hearty, homemade food in one of our favourite places in the world and we hope other people will love it too.”
AJ Martyn, General Manager at Afflecks, added: “We are thrilled to welcome another amazing independent business to the Afflecks community.
“Third Floor Rising is the perfect fit for the cafe space and we think the classic menu will really appeal to our customers. Tommy and Sarah have poured so much into the concept and we’re excited to be supporting them on their journey.”
Feature image – Supplied
Brooklyn vibes and brilliant locals – why Manchester is attracting people from across the globe
Manchester is one of the greatest cities in the world – and that’s not just our local bias talking.
Our hometown is consistently named as one of the coolest cities on the planet, as well as a must-see destination for global tourism.
Whether you were born here or drawn here, there are plenty of reasons that Manchester has become home to so many thousands of people.
Many now-locals have chosen to make Manchester their home, moving from across the globe to put down roots in our fair city.
And attracting swathes of people is Capital & Centric’s community-focused developments in the city centre, notably the historic Crusader and new build neighbour Phoenix.
The social impact property developers have restored the 180-year-old building into a block of one and two-bed apartments with exposed brickwork, original cast iron columns and wooden beams, and huge windows.
Those who live here include Yasu Jordan Sato, 34, along with his wife Mai and young son – Yasu was born in Japan and has since lived in LA and Paris working as an exterior designer in the motor industry, but it was Manchester that beat out those other international cities for the young family.
Yasu says that the comparisons often made between Brooklyn and Manchester are completely correct.
He said: “My brother lives in Brooklyn in New York and I always make the comparison between Manchester and Brooklyn. Certain parts look exactly like Brooklyn, it’s cool and the people are so warm and friendly.
“People complain about the weather, but honestly I found Paris more gloomy in comparison!”
On their decision to move to Manchester, and Crusader, Yasu said: “It was a bit crazy. We’d never been to Manchester and knew very little about the UK. We’d been to London once. So we really didn’t know what to expect at all.
“We were really surprised with just how liveable the city is… it deserves the focus. I really feel people don’t know how great Manchester is, that includes some people who live here who probably take it for granted.
“We only really spoke basic French, so it’s been a dream to get here and meet new people. We love the food too! We love Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, we’re spoilt for choice in Manchester and it’s all so accessible. All the good bits of a massive city without having to get the subway everywhere.
“We knew Crusader was for us. My wife loved the bricks and the history of the building. We’re settling into life as a family here too.
“People often find it strange we’re raising a child in the city, but that’s a very UK view. People do it all the time in America. With canals, green spaces nearby and the city on our doorsteps, it’s perfect for us.”
Another international resident is Dino, who lives in the industrial-style Phoenix. He moved to Plymouth from Athens aged 17 to study – and then headed to Manchester ‘at random’, choosing it over Birmingham or London.
It’s all worked out for him, with Dino saying that the salary ceiling in the north no longer seems to apply to Manchester.
Dino said: “I moved to Manchester from Greece as a student around 15 years ago and since then have lived all over the world but, when it came to buying a home and settling down, it was always going to be here.
“It really is a home away from home. I love the people, the positive vibe and the amazing social scene.
“A lot of big companies moved up from London after Covid so it’s got the job opportunities too. If they’d have been around I would never have left all those years ago for work. There’s no salary ceiling anymore in Manchester so you’re keeping talented people in the city.
“Living in Piccadilly East I’ve got everything on my doorstep and it’s a really friendly and safe community. I’ve got to know loads of my neighbours and it’s a nice feeling to know they’re around if I need anything or just want to hang out. Athens is where I was born, but Manchester is my home. It truly is a piece of heaven.”
Donovan Hervig, 50, has lived in some pretty big cities in his life, including Tennessee, Northern Virginia, New York City, and in South America, but when his young son settled in North Wales with his mother he turned to Manchester.
Then he found himself spoilt by cultural and artistic diversity, friendly people and mild summers.
Donovan set up the US-based online travel agency Ideal South America, which he is able to manage from Manchester despite concerns around time zones.
He said: “I’ve been in the UK over seven years now and finally have dual citizenship. It’s been a long road, but well worth it! Manchester is not far by car or train from my son in North Wales and it’s got the best of everything you want from a city but it’s compact, walkable and the people are easy to talk to. It’s diverse too; with people from all over Europe, and the world.
“It’s easy to meet family, friends or even potential customers, without having to travel far. I’ve lived in New York City – which is amazing – so much to see and do. But like London, it’s much more expensive and takes an hour to get anywhere!
“These days I prefer somewhere smaller, a bit more laid back, less expensive and easier to get around … to me that’s Manchester. And the entertainment scene is still brilliant too! Football, arts, music – you name it. And the airport is well connected for international travel as well – second only to London.”
Donovan moved into his two-bedroom apartment in Crusader in May 2022, where he’s perfectly-placed to make the most of the surrounding food, drink and live music scene.
Donovan has made the most of the surrounding communities – live music and drinks in the Northern Quarter, the square at Ancoats, food at Mackie Mayor and even Oxford Rd.
He continued: “After viewing houses in south Manchester where I was living, my teenage son and I started warming to the idea of living in the city centre instead. More convenient and modern – a different experience.
“If we found the right place – we thought it’d be brilliant for me and us both – a good change. But we didn’t want to sacrifice too much space either. We viewed some small, cramped apartments in the Northern Quarter… no thanks!
“Then we saw the flats in Crusader and… wow! So much more spacious, and in an interesting historical building, with a sense of community (owner occupied) and cool vibe.
“We’re really enjoying it here. I can pick up my son at Piccadilly just around the corner and we can walk to restaurants, the cinema and Man City matches – no public transport! I can easily walk to the office, meet friends for nights out and receive out of town visitors.”
Residents from both Phoenix and Crusader can relax in the mill’s stunning hidden courtyard, once a dirty, concrete car park and now a green oasis kitted out with BBQs and fire pits.
It was a major attraction for residents, Donovan said: “I just thought I could get all the things you struggle for in places like London and NYC, where it’s crazy expensive to live. And you don’t get outside space and can at times be a bit unfriendly. Not Manchester!”
You can find out more about life at Capital & Centric’s Crusader here.