Ksenia enjoying afternoon tea at the Gilpin Lake House in the Lake District

Afternoon Tea in the Lake District: 7 Best Spots in 2024 

Are you searching for the best afternoon tea in the Lake District? You’ve come to the right place. 

England’s largest national park is famous not only for its breathtaking natural beauty but also for its world-class gastronomic offerings. It boasts an abundance of restaurants, cafés, breweries, and markets that are sure to delight discerning foodies. 

Many hotels and tea rooms in the area offer the quintessential British experience of afternoon tea. While some perfect the classic offerings, others add a unique twist to this beloved tradition. 

Having tried many afternoon teas while visiting the Lake District, I’ve compiled a list of my personal favourites. 

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The 7 Best Afternoon Tea Spots in the Lake District

No matter which part of the Lake District you’re visiting, you’ll find at least one spot serving afternoon tea nearby. Narrowing down the list of the very best is no easy task, but I’ve tried to cover different areas of the park, as well as a variety of styles and settings. 

Hillthwaite Hotel

Afternoon tea at Hillthwaite Hotel in Windermere

Hillthwaite Hotel boasts an elevated position on top of a hill overlooking Lake Windermere, offering excellent views over the surrounding area. Guests can enjoy the scenery by taking their afternoon tea on the open-air terrace.  

However, when my husband and I visited, the weather wasn’t great, so we ended up having ours in the restaurant. Be sure to secure a table by the bay windows in this case, so you can still enjoy the views. 

Hillthwaite offers a traditional afternoon tea with dainty, but generously filled, finger sandwiches, fruit scones with clotted cream and jam, as well as a selection of sumptuous mini cakes. 

A classic range of teas including Darjeeling, Earl Grey, and Assam completes the experience. You can also elevate your afternoon tea with a glass of prosecco. This is also one of the more affordable afternoon teas on this list. 

Hillthwaite itself is located in a heritage building with plenty of charm and traditional features. It’s a great place to stay near Windermere if you would like to extend your trip. 

Price: from £51.90 (US $65.90) for 2 people  

Address: Thornbarrow Rd, Windermere LA23 2DF 

The Wild Boar

Afternoon tea at the Wild Boar Inn near Windermere

Located just a short drive from Windermere, The Wild Boar offers a unique take on the British tradition of afternoon tea, perfect for those who prefer savoury delights. 

As you enter The Wild Boar, you are welcomed by a crackling fire that sets the tone for the experience. The interiors boast a charming blend of tradition and warmth, characterised by exposed timber beams, antique furnishings, and snug fabrics. 

The alternative afternoon tea features a hearty assortment of savoury finger foods, including smoked pigs in blankets, buttermilk crispy chicken, smoked salmon crostini, and beef sliders. Fear not, guests are also treated to scones and sweet treats such as chocolate brownies and lemon meringue tarts. 

The tea selection features classic favourites like Earl Grey, Camomile, and Peppermint. Additionally, the afternoon tea experience includes a choice of Proseccos, Bellinis, or a beer bat. Personally, I opted for a peach Bellini, and it was excellent.  

A vegetarian version of the afternoon tea is also available. Furthermore, guests have the option to enjoy theirs as a picnic. During our visit, the weather wasn’t great, so we were happy to enjoy ours in the cosy indoor setting. 

Price: £35 (US $44.50) per person 

Address: Crook Road, Windermere LA23 3NF 

The Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

The Gilpin Hotel and Lake house is home to one of the best afternoon tea in the Lake District

The Gilpin is the quintessential Lake District luxury hotel, and its afternoon tea experience is an exquisite treat. It is served at the Gilpin Lake House, located on the shores of Knipe Tarn, a short drive from Bowness-on-Windermere. 

We initially made the mistake of going to the main hotel on Crook Road. Thankfully, the course correction was swift and the drive to the Lake House short and easy.  

There we’ve discovered a sense of seclusion and remoteness that felt almost surreal considering how close we were to some of the busiest towns in the Lake District. The lake setting was truly spectacular also, even on a rainy day when we visited. 

There are only six rooms at the Lake House, but you don’t have to stay there to book an afternoon tea.  The cosy dining area where guests can take their afternoon tea is beautifully decorated and boasts idyllic lake views. 

Enjoy sumptuous finger sandwiches with classic fillings with a twist and the perfectly fluffy scones. We also loved the unique touches such as a shot of warming soup and coronation chicken pani puri. The experience is completed with a beautiful selection of sweet treats that changes regularly. 

The accompanying loose-leaf selection is not huge but includes all classics and a couple of creative varieties thrown in for good measures. I opted for the blood orange infusion that was perfectly balanced and refreshing. 

You can elevate your experience with a glass of prosecco and champagne at an extra cost. Be sure to take a walk around the hotel’s beautiful grounds before or after your afternoon tea. 

Price: from £30 (US $38.00) per person 

Address: Crook Rd, Windermere LA23 3NE 

Rothay Manor

Ambleside is one of the most popular destinations in the Lake District—and for good reason. This quaint town is packed with exciting indie shops, superb eateries, and serves as a great base for tackling some of the most scenic hiking trails in the national park. 

Just a stone’s throw from Ambleside Town Centre, you will find Rothay Manor Hotel, one of the town’s most luxurious spots. Housed in a Grade II listed country house, Rothay Manor boasts an award-winning restaurant offering an all-day dining menu suitable for all occasions. 

Here, you can also indulge in a traditional afternoon tea complete with an extensive selection of Jing loose leaf teas. Alternatively, you can opt for the excellent, locally roasted Farrer’s coffee. 

The afternoon tea menu changes seasonally and features the best local produce. You can always expect to enjoy delightful finger sandwiches, scones, and sumptuous sweet treats though. 

When the weather is good, you can also have your afternoon tea outside on the sun terrace. 

Price: £29 (US $37.00) per person 

Address: Borrans Rd, Ambleside LA22 0EH 

Daffodil Hotel

The charming village of Grasmere punches well above its weight in culture, stunning scenery, and culinary delights. Whether you’re visiting places associated with poet William Wordsworth or enjoying lake walks, adding an afternoon tea to your itinerary is the perfect treat. 

Located right on the shore of Lake Grasmere, the classy Daffodil Hotel and Spa offers a luxurious afternoon tea experience that perfects the traditional elements. 

Start with a warming shot of carrot, honey, and ginger soup, then tuck into delicate finger sandwiches and fluffy scones. A delightful selection of sweets is also available, including clementine drizzle cake, cream doughnut, and passion fruit and vanilla shortbread. 

You can choose either artisan Teapigs teas or Farrer’s coffee as your drink of choice. If you’d like to jazz it up a little, consider upgrading your experience with a glass of prosecco or a signature cocktail. 

Price: £28.50 (US $36.40) per person 

Address: By The Lake, Keswick Road, Grasmere LA22 9PR 

The Inn on the Lake

Afternoon tea with a view at the Inn on the Lake in Ullswater

Ullswater is arguably one of Lake District’s most stunning spots and is my personal favourite. What could be better than a sumptuous afternoon tea as a reward for tackling the many hiking trails in the area? 

The Inn on the Lake, nestled on the southern shore of Ullswater in the charming village of Glenridding, offers an unparalleled setting. This luxurious hotel seamlessly blends modern comforts with elegant heritage, boasting immaculate grounds with scenic lakeside views. 

The afternoon tea is served in the Orangery, a striking space with floor-to-ceiling windows, an impressive fireplace and a glamorous crystal globe pendant. We got a table with lake views which made our experience even more special. 

The afternoon tea features all the classic elements you would expect including finger sandwiches crafted with the fluffiest bread, excellent scones and a selection of dainty cakes and sweet treats.  

The Inn on the Lake also includes some delicious savoury options including a sausage roll, brie and apple quiche and a caramelised onion muffin, which added a nice twist to the experience. My personal highlights include the unusual blackcurrant cheesecake and the mouthwatering dark chocolate and apricot slice. 

The hot drink selection features premium Twinings tea and coffees. For an extra treat, you can add a glass of prosecco, champagne or even a cocktail to your experience. 

Price: £32 (US $40.70) per person 

Address: Ullswater, Glenridding CA11 0PE 

Bassenthwaite Lake Station Tea Room

Bassenthwaite Lake Station Tea Room arguably offers one of the most unique settings for an afternoon tea in the Lake District. 

This elegant café is situated at a restored railway station that was once part of the Cockermouth to Keswick line. It features a full-size replica steam train, which was used in Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 film, ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ 

Afternoon tea is served in the art deco Salon carriage, transporting you back to the glamorous 1930s. The menu changes seasonally, but always includes an extensive selection of both savoury and sweet treats. 

Finger sandwiches and scones are permanent features of this afternoon tea. For an additional cost, you can enhance your experience with a glass of prosecco. 

You can request a table for an afternoon tea here.

Price: from £30 (US $38.00) per person; £32 per person from 1 September 2024 

Address: Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth CA13 9YL 

Final Thoughts

Here you have it—the rundown of my personal favourite spots for afternoon tea in the Lake District. I hope it helps you decide which experience is right for you. 

Wondering what else there is to do in this beautiful part of the UK? The Lake District is a haven for hikers, offering trails suitable for all fitness levels. 

My favourite is the Coffin Route between Ambleside and Grasmere. It’s incredibly scenic yet relatively leisurely. 

FAQs: Afternoon Tea in the Lake District

What to eat in Lake District?

The Lake District is a foodie destination, boasting a wealth of excellent restaurants, gastro pubs, breweries and tea rooms on offer. Traditional food specialties in this part of the UK include Cumberland sausage, Kendal mint cake, and Grasmere gingerbread.

What not to miss in the Lake District? 

The Lake District offers something for every traveller, from hiking trails and adventure activities to historic sites and superb food and drink experiences. However, nature is truly the star of this national park. It is easily one of the most beautiful regions of England, boasting stunning lakes, fells, and forests. 

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