What is more comforting than a good old cup of tea? Synonymous with a feeling of ‘home’, the British are famed for their love affair with this most delectable of beverages.

It’s easy to see why when the figures speak for themselves… On average we each drink 3½ cups of tea a day, or 130,000 tonnes in a year, 96 per cent of which are from teabags. As a nation we drink 165 million cups per day (62 billion cups per year) and over 25 per cent of all the milk consumed in the UK goes in your cups of tea. That’s truly quite amazing.

Here at Unique Home Stays we love nothing more than a celebration (especially if it involves tea and cake!) and think that the genteel English tradition of taking high tea in the afternoon is perhaps the most fabulous (yet shamefully underrated) celebration of them all. Being advocates of all that is unique, we set ourselves the task of finding you the most unusual and downright spectacular places to enjoy unique afternoon tea in the UK and are delighted to present our findings below. Make ours a Darjeeling…

Cutter & Squidge, Soho, London

Afternoon tea will soon be on the menu at London’s most modern patisserie, the Soho-based bakery Cutter & Squidge. As befits a brand famous for its unique and quirky creations (spearheaded of course by the Biskie, the one-of-a-kind fusion of biscuit/cookie/cake filled with lightened buttercream, jams and award-winning caramels) - this is going to be no ordinary offering.The Mad Hatter himself would be impressed with a spread that is less about china teacups and more about bamboo steamers. Served alongside the finest all-natural confections and mini smoked cheese scones is Cutter & Squidge’s very own leaf premium range of teas, Blood Orange and Lychee Peach among them , together with a glass of signature Oomph-ade, a refreshing non-alcoholic tipple featuring fruit and botanicals and an infusion of white tea, sparkling or coconut water. Our mouths are watering…

GP76

Aunt Martha’s, Wye Valley

The year is 1897 and Her Majesty is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. As Aunt Martha herself states,  “If you are seeking quick food as provided by the 'chop houses' one finds in the larger towns and cities or those establishments run by businessmen from the United States of America, then you will need to go elsewhere. If however you wish to savour your food in a congenial atmosphere then such a welcome awaits you at Aunt Martha's”.
A delightful escape from modernity, Aunt Martha’s in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is rather like an eccentric much-loved aunt who withholds the starched values (and décor) from days of yore. Visitors step back in time at this tea room to sample authentic recipes made from local ingredients by ‘Aunt Martha’ herself and served by staff in period costume. Within the grounds are a total of 15 different garden ’rooms’ which are a delightful place to stroll to walk off all that delicious cake…

Peacocks, Ely, Cambridgeshire

Peacocks is exactly what a tearoom should be; this quintessentially English tearoom on the waterfront at Ely is housed in a beautiful old building with a little garden to the front and dripping with wisteria. It’s quite simply dreamy. Greeted and served with a smile, staff serve wonderfully mismatched quaint tea cups and saucers filled with your choice of tea. And this tea is GOOD- Peacocks has won awards from the Tea Guild as the best place for tea in the UK and also claims to be the only place in the UK to stock tea from every single continent in the world (except Antarctica). *Cue stampede of tea aficionados*

GP77

The Pump Rooms in Bath

A list of places to take afternoon tea isn’t complete without the Pump Rooms in Bath. Although not top of their menu (!) you can actually try the hot spa water at the fountain in the pump room. Spa water has been used for curative purposes for two thousand years, contains no less than 43 minerals and has a rather unusual taste. Perhaps more alluring is the selection of high teas on offer. Little ones are not forgotten in this albeit rather grownup atmosphere, with an Alice-themed ‘Little Mad Hatters Tea Party’ complete with ‘Drink Me’ strawberry or banana milkshake, Queen of Hearts jam tart and ‘Eat Me’ cupcake. Delicious! Grown-ups might prefer the Perrier-Jouet Champagne afternoon tea which comes decorated with flowers inspired by the Perrier-Jouet style. Yes please.

The Jetty Devon

Love seafood? The Jetty at Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa offers an indulgent twist on the traditional British afternoon tea with the mouth-watering Seafood Afternoon Tea. Paying homage to the beautiful coastal surroundings, guests can sample freshly sourced, decadent Salcombe shellfish treats overlooking the spectacular waterfront surroundings. The first stand features two oysters on crushed ice with lemon, Tabasco and mignonette, a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, smoked prawns with mayonnaise, a crab sandwich and a lobster avocado wrap. The dessert stand comes with salted caramel ice cream dipped in white chocolate, traditional scones with organic Devon clotted cream and homemade jam, Devon strawberry meringue and lemon cake. We need to try this!!