6 Afternoon Teas To Try Now In Oxford

By Ellie Smith

4 months ago

From the traditional to the quirky

Oxford is perhaps best-known for its impressive architecture – hence its nickname, ‘the city of dreaming spires’. But let’s not forget about its buzzing food scene, with a mix of old country pubs, sleek hotels, riverside eateries and cafes tucked away down little streets. In classic British style, many of these serve a stellar afternoon tea – from Alice In Wonderland-inspired karaoke teas to glamorous lobster and champagne affairs. Why not pop in for some tea, finger sandwiches and pastries before an afternoon exploring the historic city? Read on for the best afternoon teas Oxford has to offer.

Where To Go For Afternoon Tea In Oxford

The Alice


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This whimsical spot within The Randolph Hotel takes its inspiration from Alice In Wonderland – written by Oxford alumni Lewis Carroll. Afternoon tea here is served in the stylish Drawing Room and Lancaster Room, two adjoining spaces which overlook the Ashmolean Museum. While the venue draws on surreal, otherworldly themes, the tea menu is traditional: begin with sandwiches of coronation chicken and watercress, and smoked salmon and horseradish, ahead of scones with strawberry preserve and clotted cream. Sweet treats, meanwhile, include baked vanilla cheesecake, chocolate caramel slice, and elderflower and strawberry Victoria sponge. Pair with a glass of English sparkling or keep it PG with one of the many teas on offer.

Price: From £39pp

Availability: Served daily between 12 – 4.30pm

BOOK: thealiceoxford.com

The Ashmolean Rooftop Restaurant

There’s a lovely rooftop restaurant at The Ashmolean Museum, where you can soak up city views while tucking into a spot of afternoon tea. Expect a decadent spread of sweet and savoury treats: classic sandwiches of smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese, and pulled ham and piccalilli, ahead of tea-infused scones. Finish on a sweet note with a selection of carefully crafted pastries, which include matcha and strawberry battenberg, lemon sponge with raspberry drizzle, and raspberry eclair. Good news for vegans: there’s a plant-based alternative too. Say yes to the £5 glass of prosecco.

Price: From £28.50pp

Availability: Everyday from 3 – 5pm

BOOK: ashmolean.org

The Mad Hatter

This speakeasy bar and restaurant is also inspired by Alice In Wonderland, but offers a quirkier experience than the aforementioned. Stumble down the rabbit hole to enjoy its Songs and Scones offering, hosted in one of the karaoke rooms. Sing your heart out before sitting down to a selection of mini savoury tarts, sandwiches, scones and tea pots filled with a fruity ‘Tweedledee’ cocktail concoction (plus the option to add prosecco and mimosas). Sounds like our kind of tea party.

Price: From £19.95pp

Availability: Saturday afternoons, minimum of 4 guests required

BOOK: themadhatteroxford.com

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

It’s a little outside of the city, but it’s well worth making the trip to Blenheim Palace. Being one of Britain’s most historic and majestic palaces, it’s only right they go all out on afternoon tea – available to enjoy in the pretty Orangery Restaurant, which is about to reopen following a big refurb. The premium offering is particularly special, featuring lobster brioche buns and truffled mushroom tart ahead of exquisite pastries, including a classic Rhum Baba and a lemon meringue tartlet, served with a glass of Pol Roger.

Price: £58pp

Availability: Served daily between 12 and 4pm

BOOK: blenheimpalace.com

Parsonage Grill

Old Parsonage

One of Oxford’s most prestigious hotels, The Old Parsonage is a charming spot for afternoon tea. It’s served in the Parsonage Grill, a cosy Cotswold-esque bolthole decked out with oil paintings and log fires. Settle in for a suitably comforting feast of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and champagne – or stick with either sweet (High Tea) or savoury (Savoury Tea). Everything is top-quality and the setting is unparalleled. 

Price: From £38pp

Availability: Served daily from 2.30pm until 5pm

BOOK: parsonagegrill.co.uk

The Folly

Oxford is a hotspot for riverside restaurants, including The Folly, an idyllic eatery perched beside the Thames with its own al fresco terrace. Afternoon tea is a traditional affair of sandwiches (chicken and tarragon mayonnaise, cucumber and creme fraiche), scones with clotted cream and jam, and cakes, arranged aesthetically on an appealing tiered platter.

Price: From £22.95pp 

Availability: Everyday from 2.30 – 3.45pm

BOOK: no1-folly-bridge.co.uk

Featured image: The Alice, Oxford