Afternoon tea, or cream tea if you prefer, is as quintessentially English as you can get. Or at least that is the way the rest of the world perceives it. They picture us sitting around in evening attire moaning about neighbors while servants and butlers serve us the finest fare in tall ceilinged dining halls complete with chandeliers and an air of pretension.
But that’s not quite the truth. At least not in my house, where there is decidedly more dog hair, decidedly fewer butlers, and a chandelier that takes the form of a dusty light shade and a flickering energy saving lightbulb.
This is not really an English tradition. It is a British one. We have discussed this before in our afternoon tea in South Wales guide, where were highlighted the best places to enjoy fine fare in Wales. We did the same in some of our Irish and Northern Irish guides, including Dublin and Belfast. And we are about to do the same here in this guide to afternoon tea in Scotland.
The last thing a Scottish person wants is to be associated with English pretension, so even if you do believe that this is an English tradition contrary to everything you read here, make sure you keep that belief to yourself if you decide to drop by a local Scottish tearoom for a spot of high tea.
Afternoon Tea in Scotland
The best places to enjoy cream teas in this great country can be found in Edinburgh. We’re sure that many Glaswegians will disagree with us on that, but while the rest of Scotland doesn’t seem to be in awe of Edinburgh, the rest of Britain certainly is. This is a beautiful city packed to the rafters with class, decorum and culture. It is the jewel in Scotland’s crown and we would actually go as far as to say that we prefer it to big English cities like Manchester and Birmingham.
But all of the class and the quality isn’t just in Edinburgh. There is plenty to be found in other cities, from the oil rich Aberdeen to the misunderstood Glasgow and more. Checkout out guides below to learn more about cream teas in specific parts of the country:
- Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh: A lot of Scots claim that Edinburgh is too English and that entering the city feels like you’ve just crossed the border. We wouldn’t go that far. It has charm, it has class and it still has a lot of history and Scottishness. Sure, it has more of a touristy feel to it, but we’d say it was more European, not English.
- Afternoon Tea in Glasgow: This is a beautiful city that gets a bad rep. Sure, there are bad areas, but it’s alive, it’s rich in culture and history and the city center is a great place to be whoever you are and whatever you’re looking for. Drop by for a spot of cream tea and take it all in.
- Afternoon Tea in Aberdeen: This city has seen a huge injection of money in recent years and there are more millionaires here than in any other Scottish city. It has its seedy areas, where it feels like there are strip clubs everywhere you look, but there are also great hotels, tearooms and restaurants.