Be Inspired Perthshire: Afternoon Tea

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” - Henry James

Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.

A woman after our own hearts, the Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit and she began inviting friends to join her, turning it into a fashionable social event in its own right.

Nowadays, you can enjoy afternoon tea across Perthshire. Indulge a little in sumptuous surroundings with stunning views, tuck in while cooried up in the comfort of a local cafe or kick back and enjoy it al fresco while the sun shines. We've chosen a selection from across the area for you to start your new addiction! 

What is in an Afternoon Tea?

An afternoon tea will be slightly different wherever you go but there are some tried-and-tested favourites you can expect to see regardless of who's serving you! It is typically made up of tea, finger sandwiches, various sweets, perhaps a savoury and certainly a scone or two. Many of our featured venues use local, seasonal produce and will tweak their menu through the seasons to reflect what's on offer. Everyone we've included has been tried and tested - it's a tough job!

  • Tea will always be the standard here but coffee lovers are deemed acceptable and modern menus usually offer a Prosecco, cocktail or Champagne option. Wonderful!
  • Finger sandwiches, delicate baps and brioche rolls with tasty fillings such as salmon, egg and cress, roast beef, ham or cheese.
  • Savories are varied and might include quiches, sausage rolls and tartlets.
  • Cakes and sweets range from rustic homebaking to exquisite patisserie depending on venue and price point, and may include a simple traybake, lemon posset or mini eclair.  
  • Scones are a necessity as is jam and cream - will it be jam first or cream first? That's up to you!

Afternoon tea is usually served on a three-tiered tray, adding to the indulgence of the experience. Typically, the bottom tier will hold sandwiches and savouries while the treats and scones are reserved for the higher tiers. It is generally accepted that you begin at the bottom tier and work your way up - but we would never judge if your scone happens to go first!


Atholl Palace Hotel

Pitlochry

In the words of Henry James: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as Afternoon Tea” and for an afternoon tea steeped in history, look no further than the Atholl Palace Hotel.  

Established in 1878 as a health spa, The Athole Hydropathic was subsequently transformed into a stylish, modern hotel with original features.  Located in the bustling town of Pitlochry, on the river Tummel, the hotel boasts superb gardens and glorious views.  With great road and rail links, it is easily accessible for a day trip from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Inverness.

Afternoon Tea is served in the Verandah Restaurant, a light and elegant space overlooking the verdant Tummel Valley.  High-quality cuisine makes the most of the finest local and regional suppliers and, as far as possible, the tea, coffee and sugar are fairtrade, organic and ethical.

The Atholl Palace Hotel traditional afternoon tea comprises a selection of finger sandwiches including smoked salmon and sour cream, and mature Scottish cheddar and vine tomato; light and fluffy homemade sultana scones with jam and Chantilly cream; all-butter shortbread; and cakes and fancies on a tiered stand.  You can choose from a selection of blended teas and herbal infusions including Ceylon, Jasmine, and Rosehip & Hibiscus.

After your tea, bask in the comfort of a roaring open fire in winter or, in warmer months, enjoy a tranquil moment in the hotel’s Japanese Garden or Herb Garden.  You might even glimpse the russet and gold of a curious squirrel or timid roe deer tucked among the trees.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 12.30pm and 4.30pm every day
  • £22 per person (add a glass of Prosecco £7, or half-bottle of Champagne £23.50)

 www.athollpalace.com


Fonab Castle Hotel

Pitlochry


Fonab Castle is a five-star, luxury hotel and spa situated on the banks of Loch Faskally.  Close to Ben Vrackie in the heart of Tummel Valley, Fonab commands stunning views just a stone’s throw from Pitlochry. 

Fonab prides itself on its attentive service and mouthwatering menus.  Friendly and helpful staff are always on hand, and seasonal, local produce informs the choice of food and drink on offer.  Dietary requirements are catered for. 

You can enjoy afternoon tea with a difference here, as Fonab serves you exquisite tasting plates in a modern take on this age-old tradition.  Relax in the Brasserie, where floor-to-ceiling windows let in the light and the beauty of your surroundings, or make the most of the summer sunshine seated on the terrace outside.

Sate your appetite with leek and potato velouté, quiche of the day, and brioche buns with Atlantic prawns.  Sandwich fillings include smoked Scottish salmon, Ayrshire ham, and egg mayonnaise from Fonab’s own hens.  Warm fruit or plain scones follow, with homemade jam and Cornish clotted cream and, of course, sumptuous cakes and a wide range of teas from Camellia’s Tea House.  

For added indulgence, you might add some bubbly or a premium gin from the Fonab Gin Palace.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 2pm and 4pm
  • The Fonab Cream Tea £16.50 per person
  • The Fonab Afternoon Tea £32.50 per person
  • Gin Afternoon Tea £42.50 per person
  • Champagne Afternoon Tea £52.45 with a glass of Ruinart NV Champagne
  • Champagne Afternoon Tea £57 with a glass of Ruinart Rosé Champagne
  • Ruinart Rosé Afternoon Tea £175 based on two people sharing

www.fonabcastlehotel.com


Dunkeld House Hotel

Dunkeld

Nestled into the beautiful Perthshire landscape, Dunkeld House Hotel boasts an unrivalled experience of Scottish country living. This four-star luxury country house hotel sits on 280 acres of well-maintained and natural woodland and overlooks the wide and fast-flowing River Tay, renowned for its famous salmon fishing.

The hotel has recently gone under a refurbishment and would like to invite you to the newly refurbished Orangery. With beautiful tiled floors and vines hanging around you, it really will feel like you have stepped into the tropics of the Highlands. Enjoy your Afternoon tea with views of perfectly manicured lawns, a variety of ancient trees, and the majestic River Tay.

Today, at Dunkeld House Hotel, we serve our Afternoon Tea in the traditional manner of dainty sandwiches, sweet treats, a range of freshly baked scones, and patisseries. Enjoy our new variety of loose leafed teas carefully selected to match our Afternoon Tea. 

Of course, the Duchess missed one key ingredient to the ultimate enjoyment, a glass of Perrier-Jouet champagne, which we offer as an option to guests enjoying this most British of traditions.

•  Afternoon tea is served between 12 and 4pm

• From £24 per person (with a glass of Prosecco from £32.50 per person)

www.dunkeldhousehotel.co.uk


Ballathie Country House Hotel

Stanley

Ballathie House, on a secluded spot by the River Tay, is a four-star contemporary hotel with a colourful history.  Built in 1880, this country house has been the venue for many a social gathering over the years and, exactly 100 years ago, played host to the Queen Mother, who attended a house party here.

Ballathie is now a privately owned hotel and after extensive refurbishment retains the grandeur and distinction befitting its Royal guest.  Boasting a two AA Rosette Award for its fine dining restaurant, Ballathie makes full use of fresh seasonal produce.  Just a few miles from Perth, you approach the hotel via its glorious tree-lined drive to find an explosion of colour in the summer and gorgeous autumnal tones in the colder months. 

Full Afternoon Tea arrives on a tiered stand stacked full of dainty sandwiches, hot and cold savouries, scones with jam and cream, and homemade cakes and sweet treats prepared by the in-house pastry chef, along with tea or coffee.  You can add a glass of chilled champagne, or if you would prefer something simpler, opt for tea and scones alone.  Gluten-free and nut-free alternatives are available upon request.

Afternoon Tea vouchers can be purchased and make a thoughtful gift for a special occasion.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 3pm and 4.30pm daily
  • Full Afternoon Tea £25 per person, Champagne Afternoon Tea £33.50 per person

www.ballathiehousehotel.com


Murrayshall Country House Hotel & Golf Club

Perth City Centre

Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club is a twenty-first century establishment with roots all the way back to 1664.  Taking its name from its original owner, Sir Andrew Murray, the house has changed hands and been modernised over many years to create the luxury hotel and golf parkland you can see today.  

The Murrayshall 365-acre countryside estate is conveniently located just outside Perth and within easy driving distance from Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Recently awarded Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award, which recognises businesses that consistently earn great customer reviews, it is a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

Afternoon Tea is served in the Lynedoch Cocktail Lounge – a comfortable, relaxed space perfect for a light bite.  Tempting goodies are tastefully presented, including a freshly prepared selection of sandwiches, savoury pork and herb sausage rolls, homemade tea cakes and scones with clotted cream.  

Sit back and enjoy the wide range of loose leaf teas and speciality coffees, or treat yourself to a glass of Prosecco or Champagne.

For something to look forward to, spoil your loved ones with a Murrayshall Afternoon Tea gift voucher, personalised with your own message.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 1pm and 4pm daily
  • Classic Afternoon Tea £27.50, Prosecco Afternoon Tea £34, Champagne Afternoon Tea £37, all prices per person

www.murrayshall.co.uk


Willows

Perth City Centre

Willows Coffee Shop and Restaurant is a longstanding and ever-popular eatery situated right in the hub of Perth’s Café Quarter.  It couldn’t be handier for those wishing to take a break to relax and revive after browsing the city centre shops and other attractions.  

Willows holds a special place in the hearts of many of the city’s residents, its tables always full for breakfast, lunch, coffee and everything in between.

Willows Afternoon Tea aims to pamper you with some precious down time while you savour all sorts of homemade treats including traditional Scottish delicacies.  Start with appetisers of haggis bon bons, prawn cocktail and mini Forfar bridies.  Vegetarians are not overlooked with alternatives of mini mac ‘n’ cheese, marinated olives and mini falafel (remember to order in advance).  Filled rolls are to follow, and then fruit scones with jam and clotted cream, raspberry cranachan, carrot cake, lemon tart, and more.  

Everything on the menu is freshly made on the premises, and served with your choice of loose leaf tea, or add a glass of Prosecco.  

Take some me-time inside the spacious café, or sit at an outside table on a sunny day.  Willows Afternoon Tea can also be delivered, or collected, to enjoy at home.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 2.30pm and 4pm daily 
  • Scottish Afternoon Tea £12.95 per person, add Prosecco for £5

www.willowsperth.co.uk


Crieff Hydro Hotel

Crieff

Set in a whopping 900-acre estate, Crieff Hydro is an award-winning family-friendly resort which has been delighting its guests for more than 150 years.  Originally a hydropathic spa, you can now choose from more than 40 on-site leisure activities, seven restaurants and five bars.  Its spectacular Perthshire location featuring epic views is only an hour’s drive from Glasgow or Edinburgh, and it’s the perfect place to experience a truly Victorian afternoon tea.

The enormous windows of the sunlit Winter Garden tea room draw your gaze over the Strathearn Valley, while you settle in for a lazy afternoon.  The Classic Afternoon tea offers: sandwiches with a variety of fillings including free range egg and chive mayonnaise, cream cheese and cucumber, and Ayrshire ham with Cheddar cheese and onion chutney; the Pastry Chef’s selection of cakes, and scones with clotted cream and jam; and Brodies speciality tea or freshly brewed coffee.  

Allergen information is provided, and there is also a Kids Afternoon Tea – children’s tastes are specially catered for with hummus and veggie sticks, sandwiches, fruit kebabs, mini scones, cupcakes and strawberry milk.  

Established as a centre for health and hydrotherapy, Crieff Hydro was a dry (alcohol-free) hotel until 1994 – but not to worry, nowadays you are welcome to add a glass of gin or fizz to your order.  Gift vouchers are available and valid for 18 months.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 2pm and 5.15pm daily (book in advance)
  • Classic Afternoon Tea £17.95 per person
  • Add 1881 Gin £21.75, Prosecco £21.50, Champagne £23
  • Kids Afternoon Tea £8.95 per child

www.crieffhydro.com


The Angus Hotel

Blairgowrie

The Angus Hotel is a family owned and managed hotel in the centre of Blairgowrie, complete with a newly refurbished spa and indoor pool.  Looking out over the Wellmeadow next to the River Ericht, it provides a perfect base for exploring the town’s speciality shops and independent boutiques or, further afield, the Cairngorms National Park and The Cateran Trail.

For some light refreshment, The Angus Hotel offers a classic afternoon tea for a very reasonable price.  Its sample menu lists: crispy haggis bon bons; a selection of finger sandwiches such as roast ham with smoked Applewood cheddar and baby rocket on white bread, and egg mayonnaise with watercress on brown bread; scones served with whipped cream and berry jam; and delicious cakes such as a chocolate éclair, mini cranachan tartlet and chocolate delice.

You can choose between a pot of tea or coffee or hot chocolate and either sit inside or make the most of the Scottish summer on the outdoor terrace.  Afternoon tea must be booked in advance and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available on request.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 12 and 5pm
  • Afternoon Tea £12 per person, add a 175ml glass of wine for £3, add a 20cl bottle of Prosecco for £6 

www.theangushotel.com


Gleneagles Hotel 

Auchterarder

Gleneagles – the luxury five-star hotel, spa and golf resort – first threw open its doors almost a century ago.  Nestled in the beautiful Perthshire hills, this iconic 850-acre country estate buzzes with guests enjoying outdoor pursuits, the swimming pools, gym and spa and, of course, exceptional fine dining in some of the top restaurants in Scotland.

Afternoon tea is served in the stunning Glendevon room, overlooking the pristine hotel grounds and the Ochil Hills.  The menu changes across the year, reflecting seasonal ingredients and thus ensuring that Gleneagles’ returning patrons are as surprised by exciting new flavours as first-time visitors.

The extensive afternoon tea menu is currently celebrating the life and stories of Beatrix Potter, and makes a mouthwatering read.  Begin with an amuse-bouche of greenhouse gazpacho, followed by pea and potato croquettes, ‘the one that got away’ pâté, vol-au-vents, crumpets and crab, lamb sausage rolls, and finger sandwiches.  

For those with a sweet tooth, the Gleneagles team of pastry chefs will not leave you disappointed.  Who could resist Earl Grey tea tart with gooseberry jam, an almond financier and blackberry mousse, buttermilk scones, currant buns, Peter Rabbit’s camomile and lemon cake, and Squirrel Nutkin’s fruit and nut slice?

The list of teas on offer is something special including black, white, green, rooibos, herbal and tisanes. Or live your best life with a glass – or bottle – of Champagne.

Gleneagles also makes catching up with friends truly memorable with their afternoon tea and beauty experience, individually tailored to suit the size and wishes of your group.  Take a load off at the nail bar, hair salon, treatment rooms and cosy lounge of the Beauty Lodge.  

  • Afternoon tea is served between 12.30pm and 3.30pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
  • Afternoon Tea £50 per person; with a glass of Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Brut N/V £67; with a glass of Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Brut, Rosé £68

gleneagles.com


Cairn Lodge Hotel

Auchterarder

The Cairn Lodge Hotel, halfway between Perth and Stirling, is just minutes from the golfing greens of Gleneagles and a perfect base for exploring the local countryside.  This luxury small hotel’s elegant façade and turrets are a vivid reminder of its history as a baronial hunting lodge.  More recently, its high quality of food and fantastic customer service were recognised by the 2020 Scottish Bar and Pub Awards – the hotel’s Garden Room scooped the prize for ‘Wee Guide Restaurant of the Year’.

A classic afternoon tea is served under the high ceilings of the Garden Room, the tasteful décor enhanced by the light pouring in through tall windows all around.  Seasonal and locally sourced ingredients are used wherever possible, to produce a unique menu that stands out from the crowd.  

Savouries are comté cheese and truffle gougéres, monkfish cheek scampi and spiced butternut squash velouté.  Sandwich fillings include turmeric hummus and pimento pepper, and Hebridean smoked salmon and pickled cucumber.  

Continue with some heavenly patisserie: a 70% dark chocolate cremeux, a passionfruit and white chocolate choux bun, a strawberry and whipped yoghurt verrine, and a Sicilian lemon and raspberry tart.  Save some space for the whisky-soaked or plain scones (and don’t forget the yuzu and lime drizzle!)

Alongside all of this, choose a loose leaf Strathearn tea, or cafetière coffee.  Alternatively, there is Champagne or Prosecco, a selection of cocktails, and refreshing non-alcoholic cold drinks such as mango iced tea and a raspberry spritz.

Gift vouchers are available online for an Afternoon Tea for Two or a Champagne Afternoon Tea for Two.

  • Afternoon Tea £28 per person

www.cairnlodge.co.uk


Heaven Scent Coffee Shop

Milnathort

This cool artisan coffee shop, tucked away in the Perthshire village of Milnathort, is much-loved by locals and a revelation to visitors.   With its fun and funky décor, secret garden, and hidden portal (through a fridge door…) this is a treasure trove full of surprises.

Afternoon tea is no after-thought at Heaven Scent, with time and attention spent on both the menu and the comfort of guests.  Three local ladies do all the baking, and as Heaven Scent is committed to catering for those with dietary restrictions, everything on the afternoon tea menu is either naturally gluten free or can be made so.  In additions, dishes can be adapted as vegan, dairy free or vegetarian.

For afternoon tea, the kitchen will prepare a selection of sandwiches for you along with a slice of gâteau, little bites of lemon and coconut cake and chocolate tiffin, a macaron, a scone with Perthshire Heather Hills jam and clotted cream, and a pot of tea or cafetière of coffee.  If you wish, Heaven Scent allows you to design your own afternoon tea, specifying exactly which of their savouries and cakes you would prefer.

Children will feel as if they have found a golden ticket with their very own ‘Willy Wonka’ afternoon tea.  A sandwich, s’mores cone, chocolate chip cookie or crispie cake, fruit kebab and popcorn, all washed down with milkshakes served in mini milk bottles, will leave kids happy and parents with a bit of peace.  A box of books, colouring in things, and small toys also help keep the wee ones entertained in the café, or you can order your meal to take away, ideal for heading out on a family day trip.

Heaven Scent has private rooms if you would like your own space for an afternoon tea party or, if you’d rather a duvet day at home, you can order a boxed afternoon tea straight to your door.  Paradise.

  • Afternoon tea is served between 12 and 4pm daily (book at least 24 hrs in advance)
  • Afternoon Tea £13.50 per person

www.heavenscentcoffeeshop.co.uk


Loch Leven’s Larder

Kinross

This family-run farm, restaurant, deli and retail shop is situated right next to the placid waters of Loch Leven, just three miles from Kinross.  Famous for its wildfowl and walking trails, this area draws outdoor enthusiasts from far afield, and Loch Leven’s Larder makes the perfect pit stop to rest and recharge.

The spacious café is always filled with visitors admiring the open views through picture windows. Alternatively, you can sit in their covered and heated Canopy Café with 360 degree views with a stunning outlook (kids will love the adjacent playpark). 

The Loch Leven’s Larder afternoon tea for two offers you an array of finger sandwiches including Shetland smoked salmon and horseradish, cucumber and chive cream cheese, and ham loin, tomato and rocket; mini sausage rolls; savoury pastries; a mini fruit scone with double cream and jam; and a selection of tasty treats from the superb in-house bakery.  

Keeping the Larder shelves stocked with fresh produce is the family farms, Channel and Pittendreich.  You can see their land from your seat in the restaurant, meaning the distance from field to fork is minimised.  The use of other local suppliers and artisan makers cements this commitment to traceability, provenance and seasonality.

Loch Leven’s Larder is happy to accommodate those following a gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diet – let staff know in advance and the chef will create a special alternative for you.  

  • Afternoon Tea for two £24.95 for two (please provide 24 hours’ notice)

www.lochlevenslarder.com