7 unforgettable afternoon tea experiences in Manchester

If there’s one thing we Brits love, it’s tea – and the marriage of scones, sandwiches and our favourite beverage has turned into an art form since afternoon tea was first made famous by the royal family in 1840. So if you’re after a spot of true British culture on your next visit, enjoying this delicious tradition should be on your bucket list!

There are a few places in Manchester which offer some seriously creative, luxurious and family-friendly afternoon teas, so why not sit down and enjoy a pot of tea, dainty finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam at one of these amazing locations. Without further ado, let’s tuck in!

For afternoon teas that are… out of the ordinary

1. Sugar Junction

This quirky café is located in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter, a hub of creativity and cool, alternative style. As you enter this vintage inspired café, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. With 1940s style décor and crockery, wartime posters and a soundtrack to match, Sugar Junction offers a time-honoured British traditional of afternoon tea is an equally British setting! Serving gourmet coffee, alongside a great range of teas and homemade cakes, this is a tea experience that is worth writing home about.

Exterior view of Sugar Junction, 60 Tib St, Manchester

Exterior view of Sugar Junction, 60 Tib St, Manchester

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Sugar Junction

2. Richmond Tea Room

If you love the magic of Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatters or Cheshire cats, this eccentric tea room offers an unforgettable afternoon tea experience. The Richmond Tea Room has an extravagantly designed Alice in Wonderland theme. Perfect for a quirky afternoon tea in central Manchester, the Grade II historic building features black and red diamond-clad walls, ‘eat me’ ‘drink me’ signs and tables set up for a party under a tent – all to recreate the magic of Alice in Wonderland!

As well as its quirky décor, The Richmond Tea Room has an exciting range of teas to choose from, including vanilla chai, peppermint black – which combines black tea and peppermint – and blood orange, which blends orange peel and hibiscus flowers.

The children’s afternoon tea version comes with healthy options and a choice of milkshake, and the tea room also offers a range of mocktails and non-alcoholic ale, for those looking to celebrate in style!

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Richmond Tea Room

For afternoon teas that are… the ultimate in luxury

3. Radisson Blu Edwardian

This luxurious five-star hotel offers a dining experience fit for British royalty. Afternoon tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel is a sleek and stylish affair, enjoyed in the newly refurbished library, a cool and sophisticated parlour decorated in an elegant Parisian style. From the delicious artisan bread sandwiches to the elegant selection of pastries, the menu has opulence in every bite! Just a couple of highlights include rare roast beef with horseradish mayonnaise on a bed of brioche and a chicken and truffle mayonnaise sandwich on potato and rosemary bread, but try and save room for the scones, if you can! This afternoon tea can also be halal if requested 48-hours before hand.

A young Arabic couple at the The Radisson Blu hotel in Manchester, a luxury hotel. Taking English afternoon tea at Opus.

A young Arabic couple having English afternoon tea at Opus in The Radisson Blu hotel in Manchester.

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Radisson Blu Edwardian

4. The Midland Hotel

Voted 2019’s ‘Best Traditional Afternoon Tea in Manchester’ by Condé Nast Traveller, this elegant hotel is a great place to experience a British afternoon tea in all its glory. You will take your midday treat in the tearoom of this Grade II listed building, an icon of Manchester city since 1903. The only place in Manchester solely dedicated to afternoon tea, the tearoom offers a selection of savoury and sweet treats that are as opulent as the surroundings, and for those with a sweet-tooth there are some exciting things on the menu, including a sweet carrot opera cake and caramelised apple polenta cake. There’s also a special children’s afternoon tea, as well as gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian versions too. Alternatively, if you fancy trying something a little bit different, The Midland Hotel has just launched a new brunch menu, which offers all the brunch-time classics, presented on beautiful cake stands, just like a traditional afternoon tea.

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The Midland Hotel

5. Cloud 23

If you’re looking for an impressive afternoon tea with some of the best views over the city, Cloud 23 is the perfect spot. Set on the 23rd floor of Manchester’s iconic Beetham Tower, the floor-to-ceiling windows and opulent design make this afternoon tea extra special. Tuck into a traditional menu of savoury bites and warm scones with jam and clotted cream direct from Dorset, accompanied by unlimited tea, coffee or hot chocolate, for an indulgent feast with a spellbinding backdrop.

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Cloud 23

For afternoon teas… for the whole family

6. Hey Little Cupcake!

For a fun, family-friendly afternoon tea in Manchester, look no further than Hey Little Cupcake. Located in the elegant Spinningfields area of Manchester, this bright and welcoming café specialises in making cupcakes of all kinds, so you know you’re in for a treat. Hello Little Cupcake offer a children’s afternoon tea, which can be Beauty & the Beast themed on request! The adult menu comes with chocolate covered strawberries and moreish red velvet, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. All afternoon teas need to be booked 48-hours in advance, and halal requirements can be taken into consideration too. Top Tip: This café is also just a five minute walk from the fascinating Science and Industry Museum – a great day out for all the family, with exhibitions about the sun, video games and Manchester’s industrial history.

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Hey Little Cupcake!

7. Store Street Exchange, Double Tree by Hilton

For a laid-back but stylish afternoon tea experience, try the Store Street Exchange, located on the ground floor of Manchester’s Double Tree by Hilton hotel. Found in the heart of Manchester’s bustling city, this is a great place to sit down and relax with your family after a morning spent exploring! In addition to a traditional afternoon tea served from 2-4pm, they offer a special version just for children alongside gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options (all available when pre-ordered upon request).

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Store Street Exchange
27 Jan 2020(last updated)