Highclere Castle is best known as the site of Downton Abbey. While traveling through the Cotswolds, we thought this would be the perfect pitstop.
Highclere Castle is only open to the public a few times a year, so getting a spot into the castle and afternoon tea is pretty difficult. (The house and grounds are fantastic, especially in good weather.)
The afternoon tea isn’t actually served within Highclere Castle, it’s in one of the coach houses near the back of the building (on the second floor). Within the room, there are a number of photos from the filming of the show.
After being seated, we were served a glass of the inhouse sparkling wine. There are only a few different types of tea available, but they are brewed in the back and served without the tea leaves still in the pot.
*FYI they do not cater to any dietary concerns.
The sandwiches were pretty tasty, especially the coronation chicken. The bread wasn’t stale, and the ingredients were fresh. (It’s amazing how you need to lower expectations in the UK for afternoon tea.)
The scones were a little overbaked, but not too dry.
For the sweets, there was a lemon tart, Victoria sponge, and banana cake. The Victoria sponge was especially good. Not being a huge fan of it usually, this one was really light and fluffy with delicate flavors. The lemon tart wasn’t anything particularly special, but still good. The banana cake was my least favorite, as it was a little heavy and dry.
If you don’t finish everything, they will pack it up for you to go.
After the recent rash of really bad teas, I was pleasantly surprised by this afternoon tea. Decently priced, especially if you book with access to the castle, the food was fresh and tasty. If you’re planning on going to the Cotswolds and are able to go when the castle is open, this was a nice casual tea to go to.
Tea 3/5, one choice, limited variety
Check the website for limited openings throughout the year
1:15pm, 2:30pm, 3:45pm seatings