One of the most underrated holiday hotspots in the United Kingdom, South Wales is home to beautiful open countrysides, historic castles and bustling towns. This is where you will find cities like Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, some of which we have covered before in our afternoon tea guides. For this one we’re going to pick the very best and the most unique locations in the entire region.
Afternoon Tea at Celtic Manor, Newport
Located in the Usk Valley in Newport, South Wales, Celtic Manor is one of the most popular afternoon tea venues in the regions, a multi-award winning establishment that once hosted the world famous Ryder Cup and also welcomed leaders from around the world for the NATO Summit several years ago.
Cream teas at Celtic Manor are seasonal, which means you get a little something different depending on what time of year you go.
The price of high tea at Celtic Manor begins at £21.50 per person and goes up to around £30 per person. You will pay more on Saturday and Sunday, when rates increase by nearly 50% to account for the increase in bookings. You will also pay considerably more for some of their specialised afternoon teas, including a huge £46 per person for their Hedley’s Tea, which comes complete with some sparkling wine and a box of chocolates, and around the same for their Mother’s Day offering, both of which occur for one day only in March.
There is a lot of beautiful scenery to take in, a wealth of activities to enjoy if you have longer than an afternoon to spend, and there are also some luxurious rooms in which to spend the night.
Grand Hotel, Swansea
This venue has been open for about 80 years and has become a mainstay in the city of Swansea. It sits opposite the main train station, which means it’s one of the first things that visitors to the city see and if they stop by for some afternoon tea it’ll be as good of a first impression as it’s possible to get.
This afternoon tea is cheaper than most of the others on this list at just under £16 per person. It’s probably one of the cheapest upmarket afternoon tea locations in South Wales, but it’s also one of the most colourful and vibrant. It’s as fun and as laid-back as you can get with cream tea. There is none of the pomp, none of the formal attire, but plenty of dainty and delicious cakes and sandwiches.
It’s the Candy Floss Afternoon Tea that you want to be booking yourself in for. It seems to be the only one they have at this time, but just incase they add some more to the list, make sure you single this one out. The cakes are super sweet and colourful and you also get a serving of candy floss with your tarts, mini-cakes, cupcakes, macaroons and more.
Afternoon Tea at Caffi Sïo, Cardiff
This Cardiff cafe prides itself on being independently owned and operated in an industry that is rife with chain restaurants. It uses seasonal, organic ingredients that are locally sourced and as well as its high tea menu it also offers an eclectic dining menu with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
Afternoon tea is served for a couple hours only, but if you stop by on the weekend you can get a glass of sparkling wine with your food. This food includes a selection of finger sandwiches and cakes, all of which are made with seasonal ingredients, which means you get something different several times a year.
If the sparkling wine isn’t to your taste then there are plenty of loose leaf teas to choose from instead. This venue only opened its doors in 2017, but it was popular and professional from the outset, with no teething problems holding it back and with a style and a professionalism that makes you think they have been around for decades.
Park Plaza, Cardiff
Park Plaza is a beautiful modern hotel in one of the busiest streets in Cardiff, but as modern and bright as the venue is, the high tea is as traditional as they come. And there is nothing wrong with that because these are some of the best treats you can sample in the whole of South Wales.
As with the Celtic Manor, you will pay more for a weekend high tea booking, roughly £3 more than the £17.95 you will pay when you book through the week. You can book online or through the phone, just make sure you get in early, especially if you want to book over the weekend as this is one of the most popular venues for afternoon tea in South Wales.
On the menu at the Park Plaza is a choice of loose leaf teas, scones made with buttermilk and topped with clotted cream and jam, a number of freshly made finger sandwiches, and a selection of Welsh cakes for that regional touch.
For a real treat you can upgrade to the G&T afternoon tea, which is made with Hendricks gin and includes a fresh, cucumber infused gin cocktail. Or if you prefer something a little less dainty but just as tasty, opt for the Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea, which does away with the finger sandwiches and cakes and replaces them with mini venison sliders, Scotch eggs made with chorizo sausages and Yorkshire puddings stuffed with sirloin steak. The tea is still there and there is also a gin upgrade if you want it.
St David’s Hotel and Spa, Cardiff
Looking over the waters of Cardiff Bay, this stunning and distinctive building will draw you in with its charm and win you over with its food. There are seasonal cakes and sandwiches on the menu that change to match the local produce, with freshly made scones and clotted cream always served alongside.
This is one of the best options for lovers of flavoured tea as there is a huge selection here, including tea made with essence of pomegranate and a spiced tea not unlike the super-sweet and super-spicy marsala teas you can enjoy in India.
As with the Park Plaza, there is also a Gentleman’s Tea option and the price of the normal tea and the Gentleman’s Tea begin at £22.95, with Champagne Afternoon Tea costing you £7 more.