Today marks the start of a remarkable week. A week that competes in complete mad genius with the likes of Shark Week and International Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19 in case you’re on board!) It is the calorific, Instagrammable and there is nothing more quintessentially English than the ritual of Afternoon Tea. Manchester, like everything else, is not short on the tradition that had Queen Victoria looking forward to a mid-afternoon.
In the 1840s it was custom to eat only two meals a day, but it is said that the Duchess complained of ‘having that sinking feeling’ as the afternoon wore on.
We’re rolling in the jam, cream, miniature cakes and scones (however the hell you pronounce it.) Thankfully, you’re a smart individual and come to I Love MCR for advice, so here we are: the top ten afternoon teas in the city…
1Richmond Tea Rooms
Take a trip down the rabbit hole into this saccharine, elegantly decorated tearoom in which chandeliers reign over quaint tables of pastel spread. Teas range from the simple ‘Alice’ consisting of scones and tea to the decadent ‘Richmond’ which includes a fresh selection of cakes and pastries as well as finger sandwiches and a mini quiche. Plus that glass of bubbly!
Where? Richmond Street, The Village.
How much? £18 for the standard ‘Queens’ Tea.
With Champagne? £23.50 – The Richmond.
Tea Selection? Kwazulu, Imperial Gunpowder, Pure Ceylon, English Breakfast, Keemun China, Decaffeinated, Green Jasmine, Green Tea, Scottish Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Afternoon Darjeeling, Pure Assam, China Rose Petal.
2Opus One (Radisson Blu Edwardian)
Opus is everything you might imagine a traditional afternoon tea to be – but reimagined. They’re a welcome break from the same-old that you’ll get in most places. Their special ‘Gentleman’s tea’ is a great alternative to a traditional spread – the tea of choice, scones and sandwiches are joined by a pork pie, miniature fish and chips and a miniature, hot Yorkshire pudding! We can also exclusively reveal that the latest selection of cakes to grace the Opus One tier will be mixed fruit pavlova, blueberry frangipane, chocolate fudge cake and Aperol Spritz jelly. Rah!
Where? Radisson Blue Edwardian, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street.
How much? £18.95
With Champagne? £27.95
Tea Selection? English Breakfast Leaf Tea, Assam Leaf, Earl Grey Leaf, Lapsang Soughing, Ceylon
3Australasia (Grand Pacific Bar)
This decadent and extremely unique take on the English luxury that is high tea is here titled Asian High Tea and comes in two ‘waves’. The first showcases a series of decadent treats inspired by the flavours of the Pacific Rim while the second gives desserts their own chance to shine on a glass tiered pyramid of their own.
Where? 1 The Avenue, Spinningfields.
How much? £25 (min. two guests)
With Champagne? ‘Australian Spee’Wah Champagne’ included!
Tea Selection? Blackcurrant, Hibiscus, Peppermint leaf, Flowering Osmanthus Tea.
4Epernay Champagne Bar
Épernay Manchester serves irresistible Champagne High Tea in a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. It will leave you with the most flavoursome memories. A constantly varied selection of home-made cakes, scones, macarons, loose leaf teas and finger sandwiches, ensuring you will leave neither hungry nor thirsty.
Where? Great Northern Tower, Watson Street
How much? £22 per person with Champagne
5Great John Street Hotel
Just a stone’s throw from Manchester’s most exclusive shopping areas, restaurants and theatres, this original Victorian school house has been transformed into a beautiful boutique hotel. With trendy rooms and a rooftop terrace and bar, Great John Street become one of Manchester’s most sort after reservations.
Their ladies afternoon tea begins with delicate finger sandwiches filled with smoked salmon, egg, chicken, cream cheese and cucumber, served with the pièce de resistance three tier stand with light, crusty scones and rich clotted cream accompanied by a variety of homemade cakes and pastries.
Served with as much tea and coffee as you ladies need to fuel the gossip, however why not add a glass of Perrier Jouet champagne; After all it is a ladies prerogative to enjoy only the finer things in life.
Where? Great John Street, Manchester M3 4FD
How much? From £21.50 per person
With Champagne? £27.50 per person
6DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels
It’s certain that this is the best option if you have your kids in tow. Double Tree offer the usual fare, but stand out with their fantastic kid’s afternoon tea which replaces tea with milkshake and miniature cakes with chocolate chip cookies, jelly & ice cream and a gingerbread man with decoration kit! Now we do love afternoon tea, but boy, does this infantile version sound appealing.
Where? One Piccadilly Place, 1 Auburn Street.
How much? £16.50
With Prosecco? £19.95
Tea Selection? Ceylon Bop, Darjeeling Leaf, Green Gunpowder, Peppermint, Camomile, Jasmine Flower, English breakfast, Earl Grey Extra.
High tea that is truly high. So high, that by enjoying afternoon tea here, you’ll not only be able to see out across Manchester, but you will be dining at the city’s highest point.
Where? High in the clouds at the Hilton, Beetham Tower.
How much? £20
With Champagne? £30
Tea Selection? Signature Earl Grey, Traditional English, Long Jin Green Tea, Silver Tips White Tea, Russian Caravan, 2nd Flush Assam, Peppermint, Lemongrass and Peppermint, Blackcurrant and Lavendar, Orange and Cinnamon, Jasmine Pearls.
The necessary Northern Quarter addition which is the place to go if you’re more about the pastries than the finger sandwiches. The collection of pastries are fresh as fresh comes and there’s an enormous selection.
Where? 11 Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter.
How much? £18.95
With Champagne? £25.25 – also comes with chocolate covered strawberries!!!
Tea Selection? English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey, Assam Tippy Orthodox, Vanilla Chai, Jasmine Green, Peppermint Green, Berry and Rose Petal, Lemon and Ginger, Camomile, Rooibos, Nettle, Chai Spice, Cinnamon.
9The Midland Hotel
This place is over a hundred years old, and though we wouldn’t trust a centenarian with a social media account, we sure will trust them with creating a great afternoon tea.
Where? Peter Street, Manchester
How much? £19.95
With Champagne? £25.95
The most old-fashioned and therefore most niche lot of the bunch. The Annie’s afternoon tea is all served on beautiful willow china and features finger sandwiches that are far from subtle. The ham and mustard and beef and horseradish sandwiches are up-your-nose strong, while the cakes feature oldie-worldy treats such as fruit tartlets.
Where? 5 Old Bank Street (Off St Ann’s Square)
How much? £19.95
With Champagne? £24.95
Tea Selection? English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Camomile, Mint, Red Berries, Jasmine, Vanilla.
Don’t be afraid to share your opinions and/or experiences below…