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Festive Afternoon Tea's Not To Be Missed In Scotland's Central Belt

Afternoon tea has been around since 1840 when introduced in England by Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Though British tea drinking has been around a few hundred years more! Today afternoon tea is an experience to enjoy at many of the 5* hotels, attractions including Edinburgh Castle or onboard a vintage routemaster bus. Did you know there is an art to tea? The tea house's in Japan still to this day, show you the art of making tea. You can also enjoy the art of tea pouring at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. Here are some festive afternoon teas not to be missed!


Edinburgh Castle Christmas Afternoon Tea © Historic Environment Scotland

Festive Afternoon Tea's Not To Be Missed in Scotland's Central Belt


Edinburgh Castle


Enjoy Christmas lunch or a festive afternoon tea in the opulent Queen Anne Room at Edinburgh Castle one of the most besieged places in Europe. Edinburgh Castle has been home to kings and queens for centuries and has been inhabited since the Iron Age, built on top of an extinct volcano dating back 350 million years. The festive teas are fit for royalty. These can be enjoyed with a glass of prosecco or the new Edinburgh Castle gin. As well as indulgent treats and festive sandwiches, the cost includes entrance to the castle. Anyone for Rudolph cake? Yum!


Festive Afternoon Tea at Edinburgh Castle © Historic Environment Scotland

Callendar House


Callendar House a 14th-century resembling French chateau, located in the town of Falkirk, is well worth a visit. Filled with informative exhibits including the Roman era to its refurbished Georgian kitchen, where many of the delicious delights are made, then served in the tearoom.


Between now and the end of December you can enjoy a festive afternoon tea at Callendar House, which includes the traditional scone, Christmas cake and much more! Book in advance to avoid disappointment.


Festive Afternoon Tea at Callendar House © Falkirk Community Trust

The Dome


One of Edinburgh's most famous landmarks, The Dome was once the site of the old Physicians Hall. The building you see today was built and designed in 1775 by James Craig, the celebrated planner of Edinburgh's New Town. Head office for the Commerical Bank of Scotland, today the A listed building is still widely recognised by its distinguished Roman column facade. Home to a bar, restaurant and nightclub.


I can highly recommend the Festive Morning Tea served in the opulent Club Room, though during busy times service can be a bit slow. The food and ambiance totally make up for it! A must visit when in Edinburgh, especially during the festive month when decorated. It is a-maz-ing.



One of the must see's when visiting Edinburgh during the festive season. This year over 1 million lights are on display!


Celebrating 120 years

The Waldorf Astoria - The Caledonian


The Waldorf Astoria - The Caledonian welcomes guests to experience the timeless heritage of a traditional holiday season. Guests can expect speciality afternoon teas, cocktails and dining menus along with events for celebration, including the annual Hogmanay Ball. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance to Edinburgh's fantastic f experiences, including the beautiful Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens and the mesmerising Castle of Light at Edinburgh Castle, Waldorf Astoria Edinburh – The Caledonian is the ultimate destination for the perfect winter break. 


Guests can enjoy a selection of festive favourites for afternoon tea at Peacock Alley. The menu offers an assortment of savoury sandwiches including turkey, stuffing and cranberry, hot smoked salmon with treacle & spiced orange mayonnaise and pig in blanket sausage roll with bacon jam. For dessert, a number of pastry selections are available including the “Jingle Bell” which includes dark chocolate, coffee and Baileys panna cotta or guests might like to try a traditional “Christmas Tree” which includes milk chocolate cremoso and pistachio praline profiterole.

https://www.waedinburgh.co.uk/festive-season. Festive afternoon tea for adults starts from £65 per person. 


Delicate festive cakes and nibbles on individual white serving plates.
Festive Afternoon Tea at the The Waldorf Astoria - The Caledonian ©The Waldorf Astoria - The Caledonian

Festive Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral


Palm Court at The Balmoral is renowned for its indulgent afternoon tea menu which changes with the seasons. The afternoon tea features a sumptuous selection of loose-leaf teas (pleasingly poured tableside), fresh pastries, dainty sandwiches and expertly crafted savouries, as well as a charming selection of Champagnes.


Palm Court's Festive afternoon tea is beautifully created with indulgent Christmas flavours. With Roast pumpkin and Madagascan vanilla velouté, roast turkey and cranberry sandwiches, pastries such as roasted pear and ginger cake macarons, Vanilla chouquettes and White chocolate & pumpkin gâteau opéra. The delicious flavours of nutmeg and clementine are used in a lot of the creams for the pastries.


Take a seat under the green leaves of palm trees and listen to the sounds of the harp, gently playing from the elegant gallery. It’s difficult to imagine a more serene place to enjoy an afternoon tea.


Signet Library


Enjoy festive afternoon tea in the elegant surroundings at the Colonades, Signet LIbrary. Set inside one of Edinburgh's finest 19th century Georgian buildings located at Parliament Square, by Edinburgh's historical Royal Mile. Colonnades is set within the beautiful surroundings of the Lower Library which has been meticulously restored to its former glory. Tall fluted Corinthian columns line the salon surrounded by the gallery’s ornate balustrades in neo-classical style.

The truly memorable festive afternoon tea includes Roasted squash, chestnut & truffle Christmas tree, a Gingerbread Macaron, Colonnades mince pie and more!



I hope you have enjoyed reading and are inspired to dive into one or more of the above festive afternoon teas. Would you like to discover more afternoon teas? If you missed it, read about the magical Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea at Terrace at the Dilly.


Until next time..


Happy Holidays,

Michelle x

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