5 Of The Best Afternoon Teas

Edinburgh caters for all tastes and budgets and for those who wish to enjoy an afternoon tea, there is a plethora of restaurants and cafes to choose from.

Afternoon tea is as quintessentially British as talking about the weather and enjoying delicate finger sandwiches, lashings of cake and champagne on a gorgeous day in the city is hard to surpass.

Edinburgh punches above its weight on choice and variety with over 2,800 restaurants and over 700 pubs to choose from for a population of about 500,000 with all cuisine covered, so knowing where to start isn’t easy even though this is a compact city.

I have chosen the best afternoon tea locations for you to enjoy.

The Dome

Where: 14 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PF

Telephone: 0131 624 8624

When: Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 17:00

Price: £18.50 – £26 per person

No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to The Dome, which is an institution and an attraction in its own right in the heart of the city’s New Town.  The Georgian Tea Room is located on the first floor with access via their staircases and lift and the plush décor, crystal chandeliers, crisp white linen, black and gold wall panelling and cushioned ebony chairs set the scene for a memorable experience.

Tip: Advance booking is essential as this venue is popular all year round.  A visit at Christmas is a must for the spectacular decorations that has made it famous and an attraction in its own right as part of the festive celebrations.

The Ivy on The Square

Where: 6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD

Telephone: 0131 526 4777

When: 15:00 – 17:00

Price: £18.95 – £26.50 per person

The Ivy is a modern British brasserie inspired by the original restaurant in London that was a favourite of Princess Diana.  You can expect marble tables set in an art deco theme and a modern relaxed vibe with a menu that has the traditional classics served by attentive and friendly staff.

Tip: Advance booking is recommended as this is a popular venue.  Ask for a window seat on the First Floor overlooking St Andrew Square to enjoy the best views. 

Harvey Nichols

Where: 30 – 34 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD

Telephone: 0131 524 8350

When: Sunday – Thursday 15:00 – 16:00

Price: £22 – £32 per person

Forth Floor Harvey Nichols is a modern British brasserie located within the store and is easily accessible via escalators that whisk you through the various departments including the Food Hall, sushi bar, chocolate lounge and champagne bar.  A lift is located at the side of the building on Multrees Walk.

This roof-top restaurant offers unrivalled breath-taking views across the city with photo opportunities that will be the envy of your Instagram followers.

Afternoon tea here is a delight and offers you the opportunity to take a break from a spot of retail therapy and indulge in some people watching over an array of savoury and sweet delicacies.

Tip: Advance booking is essential 24 hours in advance and Sundays are very popular, so book early if this is your preference.  Ask for a window seat overlooking St Andrew Square to enjoy the best views of the city’s skyline, the Castle and views over St Andrew Square and the Forth Estuary.  It is possible to enjoy meals outside on the large terrace in the summer months, so that is an option weather-permitting. 

The Balmoral

Where: 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ

Telephone: 0131 556 2414

When: 12:00 – 17:30 every day

Price: £25 – £40 per person

The Balmoral Hotel has been one of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks for over 100 years with its clock tower dominating the city skyline on Princes Street.  An unusual fact here is that the clock is set a few minutes fast so people don’t miss their train at Waverley Station next to it!

Afternoon tea is served in the Palm Court with giant palm trees and comfy sofas and chairs in the centre and around the perimeter in a traditional dining setting.

Tip: Advance booking is recommended as this hotel is a well-known and central venue and landmark.

The Colonnades

Where: The Signet Library, Parliament Square, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1RF

Telephone: 0131 226 1064

When: Monday – Friday 13:00 – 17:00 (last seating 17:00)

Sundays 11:00 – 17:00, closed on Saturdays

Price: £35 per person

The Colonnades is set in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town on the Royal Mile with an unusual menu representing the best of Scotland’s produce created by caterers that have been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen for their catering services.

This 19th Century building has been restored in a neo-classical style and the Lower Library offers a truly gourmet experience that is ranked as one of the top venues on TripAdvisor.

You can expect savouries including haggis neeps and tattie pie and spiced parsnip cheesecake complimented with sweets and scones including pink grapefruit posset and tiramisu dome.

Tip: Advance booking is essential as this venue is situated close to the Royal Mile and is rated as one of the premier venues with afternoon tea a speciality.