11 Places to Try Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh: Hotels, Cafes & Castles

Best Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh trays of cakes, sandwiches and scones

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Looking for a delightful afternoon tea in Edinburgh? This unique foodie experience is loved by locals, visitors, and royalty alike, who often replace lunch with trays of cakes, scones, and sandwiches! Many of Edinburgh’s hotels offer afternoon tea packages in opulent settings, and there are a handful of Instagram-worthy cafes that serve afternoon tea platters too.

On a budget? We’ll show you where to find the cheapest afternoon teas in Edinburgh, which don’t skimp on service or quality.

Hotels With Afternoon Tea In Edinburgh

Palm Court At The Balmoral in the City Centre

No stranger to the top hotel lists in Edinburgh, an afternoon tea at The Balmoral’s Palm Court is a big foodie bucket list.

Palm Court is the room across from the main entrance of The Balmoral, next to the reception desk.

This airy room has its huge glass dome to thank for its ambiance and palm trees for its name.

A chandler hangs from the roof, and champagne afternoon tea packages are on offer.

The Balmoral Hotel Palm Court restaurant

There is a harp which sits on the balcony.

The menu consists of a variety of teas, including loose-leaf and infusions, and the meal kicks off with a fresh, cold soup.

Starter soup Balmoral Hotel afternoon tea

Fresh scones, cakes, and classic and contemporary sandwiches are also included.

Can’t finish it all? Guests can take food home via a gift plate.

This is an award-winning Edinburgh afternoon tea experience.

Prices start at £60 per person.

Why not make it an overnight stay in a suite with Edinburgh Castle views and a swim at The Balmoral Spa?

The Balmoral features in many of our accommodation guides, including the best hotels with indoor pools, parking, and dog-friendly accommodation.

Read our Balmoral Hotel review. We stayed in room 314, A Deluxe Castle View Room.

The Dome, George Street

Afternoon tea at The Dome is a sought-after location, so if you are planning to impress someone special, do not hesitate to book this delicious experience.

One of the best-decorated places in Edinburgh at Christmas, The Dome never lets punters down come November when they deck their exterior in lights and interior in dazzling decorations.

At the Georgian Tea Room, expect splendour and grandeur.

The classic menu includes sandwiches, savouries, scones, and cakes, and you can “add a little sparkle” with a glass or bottle of champagne.

The Dome also offers a vegan afternoon tea menu.

Prices start at £29.50 per person.

The Dome Christmas Afternoon Tea Edinburgh

Afternoon Tea At Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh

Did you know that The Waldorf Caledonian is located on what used to be the old Caledonian Railway?

The luxury afternoon tea here is on the right track for an eventful day out.

Served at Peacock Alley, which is located within the lobby lounge, the indulgent afternoon tea session is served daily and includes pastries such as orange and blackberry domes and rose jelly Elderflower and rhubarb tarts!

Afternoon teas at The Waldorf start at £50 per person.

Why not create a staycation at The Waldorf and enjoy Castle views and Guerlain spa treatment?

The Waldorf is in the West End of Edinburgh, where there are plenty of bars and restaurants to dine at.

The historic Dean Village is very close by.

Cafes and Restaurants With Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh

Mimi’s Bakehouse

Mimi’s Bakehouse is a popular cafe located throughout Edinburgh, and two of its locations, Leith and Corstorphine, offer afternoon tea menus.

Mimi’s afternoon tea stands include freshly made sandwiches, sausage rolls, plain and fruit scones served with homemade jam, and Cornish clotted cream.

Plus, a selection of fresh cakes such as carrot cake, meringue, and tray bakes.

The drinks menu features Edinburgh’s Eteaket Tea.

Staff can accommodate vegan, vegetarian, GF, and picky eaters – it is worth calling to speak to the Leith branch directly to put in requests.

Prices start from £25 per person, making Mimi’s one of the more affordable afternoon teas in Edinburgh.

Dare you to try to leave without buying more tray bakes!

Afternoon Tea At Harvey Nichols, St Andrew’s Square

A classic afternoon tea can be enjoyed at the upmarket shopping mall, Harvey Nichols.

Served with Edinburgh’s skyline in view, the session includes sandwiches, quiche, cakes, and scones.

Prices start at £25 per person.

The Forth Floor and Window Room both feature in our guide to Edinburgh’s best rooftops.

The Colonnades at the Signet Library, Old Town

Edinburgh’s finest afternoon tea can be devoured at the Signet Library.

Located in the shadows of St Giles’ Cathedral on  Parliament Square in the Royal Mile, the Signet afternoon tea is one of the most luxurious in Edinburgh.

The popular wedding venue opens its doors Thursday through to Sunday for delectable afternoon teas created by the resident head chef, Craig and sous chef, Aung.

The drinks menu includes a range of soft drinks, alcoholic options, and, of course, tea, such as the Signet variation.

The first round of food is a small soup served in a cup.

The next is the savoury trays, where dainty pastries, sandwiches, and soufflé are presented on three silver trays.

The next is the dessert tray, which is packed with warm scones, chocolate puddings, fruit cakes, and colourful macaroons.

Finally, a cold fruit sorbet is served to cleanse the palate.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and fussy eater adaptations are available upon request.

Notify the booking team at least 48 hours before.

A unique thing to do in Edinburgh’s Old Town!

Prices start at £60 per person, and while this is one of the more expensive afternoon teas in Edinburgh, it is worth every penny as each mouthful is a burst of flavour and the team is very accommodating.

Fun trivia: The Signet library was used as an Outlander filming location and features the inside of the Governor’s mansion in Jamaica. 

Romanes & Paterson, Princes Street

Romanes & Paterson is a traditional 19th-century shop on Princes Street and a secret afternoon tea spot discovered by Ev Ed writer Nicole.

You’d easily walk past this hidden gem above a Scotland shop. Head to the third floor for the tea rooms with views over Princes Street Gardens.

Expect tartan carpets, tourists, and whisky tea.

Afternoon teas start from £18 per person.

Afternoon Tea At Edinburgh Castle

If you plan to visit Edinburgh Castle during your trip, you can also book an afternoon tea at the Queen Anne Tea Room.

Prices start from £42 per person.

You can also enjoy afternoon tea at The Café at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (9) and the Royal Deck Tea Room at the Royal Yacht Britannia (10). Read our HMY Britannia review.

You may also like our weekend guide to Edinburgh.

Holy Cow Lounge

Holy Cow Lounge (1 Dundee St) is located in the West End of Edinburgh, 5 5-minute walk from Lothian Road and 10 minutes from Haymarket Train Station.

The bright and airy cafe is located on the first floor of the striking Edinburgh Printmakers; the space is delightful.

There are domes outside in the garden for private dining.

Holy Cow Lounge’s platter is vegan and gluten-free while retaining taste and texture.

Portions are huge and feature scones with jam and yoghurt, ‘normal’ sized sandwiches, wraps, and cakes.

All of these are cooked from scratch using dairy-free and gluten-free ingredients.

You don’t have to be vegan or gluten-free to enjoy this Edinburgh afternoon tea.

However, you do need lots of space in your belly to finish it, or you can take a doggy bag home!

Tea is included in the package, but you can branch out and add a different beverage, like the photogenic blue latte, if you wish.

Holy Cow Lounge is not to be confused with Holy Cow (34 Elder St), which is located at the other end of Edinburgh’s City Centre.

They are the same brand at different locations, and the Lounge is the only venue that serves afternoon teas.

Prices start at £35.

Prestonfield House

Dine on the patio or in the gothic drapes of Prestonfiend House’s Rhubarb Restaurant, which features in the UK’s Married At First Sight.

Three trays of cakes, rock scones, and sandwiches are presented with an extensive tea menu.

Prestonfield House in Afternoon Tea in Rhubarb Restaurant Hotel Food

The menu also includes melt-in-your-mouth haggis bonbons and tasty sausage rolls.

There is also a vegetarian menu if you don’t eat meat.

Prices start at £45 per person.

Definitely check out the grand loos, painted in pink with an animal print seat if you need to sleep off your food coma.

Prestonfield House

Prestonfield House is surrounded by green space and is home to two peacocks that roam free and highland cows in a field.

A taxi from Waverley Train Station costs around £8, and the walk is approx 40 minutes.

Prestonfield House features in our most romantic hotels in Edinburgh guide.

Cheap Afternoon Teas in Edinburgh

If you are looking for a budget-friendly afternoon tea there are a couple of ways to do this.

Check out discount websites such as Itison, Groupon, or 5pm for decent afternoon tea deals.

For example, you can book afternoon tea at the Mercure Hotel for £14 for two people instead of £15 per person.

Another option is to sign up for hotel and restaurant newsletters and follow them on social media so you don’t miss an offer.

Scottish National Gallery Cafe Menu Food Scones Tea Edinburgh Museum Princes Street

About Afternoon Teas

So, who started afternoon teas?

Legend has it that Anna Maria Stanhope, 7th Duchess of Bedford, felt a pang of hanger come over between lunch and dinner, which she described as “having that sinking feeling.”

The solution? Tucking into tea and cakes in her dressing room around 4pm.

She invited friends to join her, which caught the attention of Queen Victoria, who adopted the afternoon tea experience quicker than you can say that cake’s scone…

Ronan at Tower Restaurant National Museum Chamber Street Food

What’s the Difference Between Afternoon Tea and High Tea?

High tea is an afternoon tea with the addition of a main meal such as steak pie.

Less popular in restaurants now, high teas were one of the highlights of my childhood!

Other Foodie Guides on Ev Ed

Colourful cakes perched on afternoon tea stand by window at Prestonfield House
Afternoon tea platter and text - afternoon tea in Edinburgh hotels, cafes and castles

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