There is something quintessentially British about afternoon tea.
A lovely cup of tea (choosing from various flavours), carefully cut and prepared sandwiches of the highest quality, and a fine selection of cakes, make for a pleasant few hours. Whether you are treating your partner, mother, or yourself, afternoon tea should be something to cherish, if you are a student living in Leicester here are some brilliant places to go for afternoon tea.
Over the last few years there has been a massive surge in popularity of afternoon tea, and in every town and city across the UK you’ll find places that are serving it up. As we’ve mentioned above, afternoon tea can be a beautiful thing and truly decadent, but when it isn’t done correctly it can be stale and horrible, with a terrible aftertaste.
Where does afternoon tea come from?
Afternoon tea dates back to Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, and the year 1840. She would often become hungry late afternoon, around 4pm, and it was from this hunger that afternoon tea was created. The evening meal in the Bedford household was not served until 8pm each night. This was the traditional time for dinner at this time, but it meant that there was an incredibly long gap between lunch and dinner, hence the hunger felt by the Duchess!
The Duchess asked for some light food and a pot of Darjeeling tea to be brought to her private living quarters, and over time it became a successful and popular ritual, where the Duchess would invite a few friends to sample afternoon tea with her. The social event became a popular attraction of the time, taking place in the lady’s parlour, withdrawing room, or the boudoir. Over time, the light food evolved to include crustless finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, pastries, cakes and sweets, as we are accustomed to eating today at an afternoon tea.
Now, back to the important stuff, advising you on where to go for afternoon tea when living in Leicester.
Here, we look at the five best places for afternoon tea in Leicester, whether you are taking your boyfriend or girlfriend, your parents or relatives, or just going with mates for a treat.
Also Read: 10 Great Places to Eat in Leicester
1. The City Rooms (Hotel Street)
In Leicester itself, right on Hotel Street, The City Rooms is a Grade I listed Georgian building that is the exquisite location for some fantastic afternoon tea on occasional Sundays. The idea behind the afternoon tea at The City Rooms is for something completely different from what you would expect from a traditional afternoon tea. So, instead of finger sandwiches and scones, expect some incredible chocolate offerings as part of the Chocolate afternoon tea menu.
This includes chocolate and cherry scones, mini chocolate doughnuts and everything else you can imagine for someone with a sweet tooth. You can ask for a selection of regular sandwiches too if you wish. They also offer up an Indian afternoon tea, so take a look at the menus, and be quick to book one of the two-hour slots, as you’ll have to book well in advance to get a table at this popular destination in the city.
Sat in such luxurious surroundings as The City Rooms whilst devouring the chocolate afternoon tea, will certainly leave you in a state of delirium, and leave you wanting more. A great place to go to with friends, or to show off your new city if you have recently moved into student accommodation in Leicester.
2. The Skylark Bakery (Clarendon Park Road)
The Skylark Bakery is well known as a much-loved café that caters for pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans, and the afternoon tea is truly delicious. It is served up on Wednesdays to Saturdays (1pm to 4pm), and on a Sunday (1pm to 3pm). Everything is baked from scratch, to order, meaning that you’ll have to book at least 24 hours ahead of your sitting.
It is well worth the booking, in the delightful surroundings of the bakery, as you tuck in to the three-tier afternoon tea, that comes with bottomless tea or filter coffee, depending on your preference. It costs £15 per person, and that includes an option for gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian, just be sure to pop in or call ahead to speak to the team about your specific requirements.
That is one of the best things about the Skylark Bakery, the friendly nature of the waiting staff, happy to help you and to deliver a charming afternoon tea for any type of event of celebration. It is these little touches that go a long way to making afternoon tea the experience it is for many people, a joyful and delicious one.
3. The White Peacock (King Street)
Another beautiful Grade I listed building, located in the heart of Leicester’s city centre, The White Peacock is worth a visit whether you are attending for afternoon tea or not (but we highly recommend it otherwise it wouldn’t be on this list!). The owners of The White Peacock are passionate about delivering a high-quality service and excellent product at all times.
That approach and commitment has led to it winning multiple awards over the years. The aesthetic includes a lot of local art and it has delivered a modern, varied food and drink menu to go alongside such a forward-thinking décor. The excellent menu and location allow it to indulge in a step up again when it comes to afternoon tea, which is served at £23.95 per person.
This includes a wide selection of dainty finger sandwiches, scones, handmade cakes, and a choice of a varied selection of tea or coffee. Add Prosecco to your choice at a price of £32.95 or Champagne for £39.95. The service to customers and the experience are both amazing, and The White Peacock caters for all types of parties and events, with the same level of expertise and service delivered consistently to every single guest. There are vegetarian and vegan options available also.
4. Prana Café (Horsefair Street)
Prana Café is located close to Town Hall Square in a lovely Grade II listed building with plenty of history and tradition. The elegant building, with high ceilings and ornate adornments throughout, has become a popular destination in Leicester due to its high-quality vegan and gluten-free options.
For too long, there was nowhere that served up delicious vegan and gluten-free food to those seeking it out, but with establishments such as Prana Café you can really see the hard work and commitment to standards of excellence. Utilising local bread and healthy salads, the idea is to promote tasty healthy eating, and this can be seen in the afternoon tea menu (and coffee from the award-winning coffee roasters, Square Mile, based in London).
Start proceedings with a glass of pink rose lemonade and move on to scrumptious scones, cracking cakes, and a selection of finger sandwiches using the local artisan bread. It is vegan and vegetarian afternoon tea like you’ve never seen it anywhere else before, a sight and taste to behold!
5. Stapleford Park
Set in the stunning countryside of Leicestershire, near Melton Mowbray, Stapleford Park might be out of the city, but it is well worth the trip if you are interested in some of the finest examples of afternoon tea around.
For just £27.50 per person, you can dine in style, taking in the beautiful surroundings. The afternoon tea itself serves up everything you would expect from such a quality affair, graceful finger sandwiches, scones with the choice of plain or fruit, a range of delicious cakes, and an extensive menu of tea, from Jasmine Blossom to Ceylon from the award-winning Newby teas.
One of the benefits of a Stapleford Park tea is that you can easily upgrade your afternoon tea to include Prosecco, Laurent Perrier Rose, and Laurent Perrier brut. It might be out of the way if you are living in Leicester student accommodation, but if your parents are visiting, this little trip out to a stunning estate in the gorgeous countryside will go a long way to impressing anyone. The perfect day out, with the addition of a beautiful afternoon tea could just be the perfect day.
These are just a few examples of fine afternoon tea in Leicester and the surrounding countryside, but there are plenty more available to you. Once you have settled into your Leicester student accommodation, afternoon tea could be the perfect excuse to take out a group of friends, a new partner, or the folks, to see different parts of the city and Leicestershire.