Manchester’s Best Afternoon Teas

These are the best the city has to offer... prepare the scones

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 28 February 2024

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The afternoon tea is as British an institution as you could hope to encounter, outside of the Trooping of the Colour, and you’ll just be tackled to the ground – at best – if you try and join in with that.

But good news, you can have afternoon tea whenever you want. As long as it’s in the afternoon. There are also innumerable variations, from the pleasingly traditional to the swanky and modern to the wildly theatrical to get stuck into in Manchester.

These are the best that the city has to offer… prepare the scones.

The Lowry Hotel

Highly commended by The British Tea Council (which is a thing apparently) the afternoon tea at The Lowry Hotel is perfect for any occasion. They have a traditional tea which includes finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, pastries and dainty fancies washed down with an extensive menu of teas and infusions. They’ve got over 80 teas available for you to choose from, or you can go for a glass of fizz, a G&T or a cocktail instead.

Richmond Tea Rooms

This beautifully kitsch, purpose-built tea house is Alice in Wonderland themed, and before you run away in horror, let me tell you it is fabulous. And I mean it. They combine a weird and wonderful array of exotic and rare teas from around the world with traditional favourites ensuring that every taste is catered for. Richmond Tea Rooms is a hot-spot for special occasions from hen-dos to birthdays, and you can choose from a wide selection of offerings, from Alice’s Tea to the Hatter’s Tea, to the Queen’s Tea (which all vary in size) or go all out with the wonderfully indulgent ‘Richmond Tea’ with a glass of fizz.

Cocoa Cabana

This one is indeed one for those of us that are so over jam and cream and want to pursue the more experimental things in life. This boutique chocolaterie in Ancoats & West Didsbury has an afternoon tea menu which is full of twists and surprises such as scones with cream and salted caramel, chocolate tart, brownies, mini chocolate ganache pots and choux pastries. This is what heaven looks, smells and tastes like for any chocoholic, and if you’ll probably be dragging yourself out of there before you buy up the entire shop.

The Library Champagne Bar at The Edwardian Manchester

Experience pure luxury with Afternoon Tea at the beautiful Library Champagne Bar in the iconic Free Trade Hall. Enjoy freshly prepared sandwiches, scones and patisseries accompanied by a wide variety of Champagne, if you’re feeling extra indulgent.

Harvey Nichols

As a nice little change, this Afternoon Tea doesn’t come served on twee china or brass layered stand, but instead on a purpose built block thing. I guess it is a bit like those things for Ikea that everyone in the world has at least one of in their home, but instead of hosting books you’ve never read and general knick-knacks, it is full of delicious treats. We’re talking freshly made savoury sandwiches, followed by homemade scones, served with locally sourced jam and cream, then end on a sweet note with a selection of perfectly proportioned miniature cakes. Compliment your afternoon experience with unlimited tea and coffee, or add a luxurious touch with glass of Champagne.

The Midland

The Midland Hotel is one of Manchester’s oldest intuitions and has been serving a silver service tea since 1903. This afternoon is utterly opulent, and the team here are masters in their craft, from the stunning food to the fantastic service which will make you feel like royalty. It’s the kind of place that you feel like you should be wearing long white gloves and tiara, which I’m sure they would let you do-just no trainers you barbarian.

Sunset by Australasia

It doesn’t get more ‘alternative’ than this when it comes to Afternoon Tea; Australasia’s exotic Asian-fusion offering. It comes in two parts, sweet and savoury, with salmon and tuna sashimi, California rolls and dim sum, followed by mini chocolate caramel domes, ginger cheesecake, macarons and coconut friandes. It makes sense to go for the Afternoon Tea with cocktails and/or fizz too – they’re truly excellent here.

Sugar Junction

Vintage inspired and just utterly adorable with mismatched crockery in various floral designs, The Sugar Junction on Tib Street in the Northern Quarter is what all your traditional tea-dreams are made of. Their tea comes with a range of delicious butties, a tangy lemon posset, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of freshly baked cakes. I had this tea a few years back, and it is safe to say that I think of the chocolate Guinness cake to this day.

King Street Townhouse

Just so you get a vibe for this place, you should note that they have a quote from Henry James’ ‘Portrait of a Lady’ and a brief history of afternoon tea on their website. It is that kind of place. With that in mind, I think the best word to describe this afternoon tea would be distinguished, or perhaps elegant. Carefully curated by Group Head Pastry Chef, Danny Lockwood, the menu showcases the very best in seasonal produce, producing a selection of sweet and savoury items that are balanced, bold and inventive. It begins with delicate finger sandwiches 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 and served with as much tea and coffee as you need to fuel the gossip.


The Alan

The Alan’s afternoon tea, just like the city centre hotel itself, is a stylish affair. Available Friday to Sunday, its offering is a three-tiered modern take on the classic – with savoury snacks, indulgent desserts and, of course, the very best tea. You can get the pot of loose-leaf Bohea Tea refilled as much as you like, or upgrade to Champagne for an extra £10 per person.

Cloud 23

If you’d like a side of panoramic views with your tea, this is the one for you. One of the most popular in the city, Cloud 23 at the Hilton (or Beetham Tower, if you’re old school) offers a handful of different options. Guests can choose the traditional afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones and limitless hot drinks, as well as alternative drinks options like free-flowing Champagne or a cocktail. For the little ones, there’s the kids afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea Cake Coffee