Scones, dainty sandwiches, pastries and a steaming teapot - there’s nothing quite like an afternoon spent enjoying a lovely high tea!
High tea (also called afternoon tea) is a British tradition. It’s the perfect occasion to indulge in some sweet and savoury treats with a few friends - and feel slightly posh while doing so!
Photo courtesy of La Residence
A brief history about High Tea:
This is a ritual that is steeped in British history! Today, the terms ‘afternoon tea’ and ‘high tea’ are often used interchangeably. Back in the day, there was a noticeable difference. High tea was an afterwork meal that started in newly industrialised Britain; workers enjoyed some food and a cup of good strong tea to revive energy levels once they were finished their shifts and it was referred to as “high” because it was served at a high table or counter. Sometimes it was even eaten standing!
In contrast, afternoon tea became a popular social event. Afternoon tea began as the posher version. Introduced in England in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Afternoon tea broke up the long wait between lunch and dinner which was eaten “fashionably late.” Served in opulent dining or drawing rooms, you’d find delicate sandwiches, pastries, scones and cakes served along with tea, of course!
Now that you know a bit more about the history of high tea, take a look at our 7 favourite high teas to enjoy around Cape Town:
1. Mount Nelson - Cape Town City Centre
Enjoy a mix of afternoon tea classics and South African flavours at the Mount Nelson afternoon tea! Take tea in the lounge and admire the views of the gardens in the iconic Cape Town hotel. Enjoy sumptuous cakes, pastries and finger sandwiches. Try “melktert” and choose from the 40 tea varieties available.
Afternoon tea takes place from Friday - Sunday and R395 per adult and R215 per child. A plant based option is also available on request.
2. Twelve Apostles - Camps Bay
Sip on tea by the sea at the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay! Enjoy an array of sweet and savory treats (plus scones of course!) at The Conservatory. Enjoy the bottomless selection of teas and add on a cocktail from the hotel’s Leopard Bar for a little something extra! You can also choose the Moët & Chandon High Tea to take your experience to the next level!
The Twelve Apostles High Tea is available on Monday to Friday at R325 per person and from Saturday - Sunday at R275 per person. High Tea sessions take place at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm. Vegan options are available on request.
3. La Residence - Franschhoek
Photos courtesy of La Residence
Transport yourself into a world filled with luxury and incredible scenery with an afternoon tea at La Residence in Franschhoek! Enjoy an indulgent selection of sweet and savory treats during afternoon tea at the Loggia which overlooks the pond and offers exquisite views of the surrounding gardens and vineyards. During the colder weather, settle in next to a crackling fireplace in the Great Hall!
Experience daily afternoon tea from 3pm - 5pm at R325 per person. Bookings are essential.
4. Silo Hotel - Cape Town Waterfront
Take in amazing views and treat yourself to a mouthwatering selection of goodies at The Silo Hotel’s Royal Tea. The talented pastry chefs select each of the sweet and savory tea time treats. The experience is described as “afternoon tea at its finest” and takes place on the sixth floor of the hotel. A visit to The Silo Hotel is an experience in itself and the building has been masterfully converted from an old grain silo and now houses the hotel and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.
Royal Tea takes place Thursday - Sunday from 2.30pm - 5pm and is R325 per person.
5. One&Only - Cape Town Waterfront
You’ll definitely be back more than once for the One&Only afternoon tea! Indulge in an array of scones, sandwiches, cakes, macarons and gold leaf eclairs as well as a selection of teas from around the world. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Vista Bar either inside or outside on the verandah overlooking the waterways.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 2pm - 5pm and costs R425 per person. Elevate your afternoon with some bubbly when you book a Cap Classique Afternoon Tea at R495 per person).
6. Cellars-Hohenort - Constantia
Embrace the decadent side of life with a Classic High Tea at Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia. Enjoy high tea daily in the sun lounge, Palm Arch or The Conservatory. Tuck into a menu created by the hotel’s pastry chefs; there is an offering of tarts, skewers and sweet treats like Madagascan chocolate cake, cupcakes and pavlova. Enjoy tea and coffee with the opportunity to add a glass of bubbly!
Cellars-Hohenort Classic High Tea for R295 per person from 11am - 12pm and from 3pm - 5pm.
7. Hazendal Russian Tea Ceremony - Stellenbosch
Looking for an afternoon tea with a twist? Make your way to Hazendal in Stellenbosch to enjoy a Russian High Tea! This is your chance to embrace Russian opulence and experience a taste of Russia in a setting of “hand-painted murals and crystal chandeliers (that) evoke the grandeur of Russian nobility.” Tea has played a central role in Russian society since 1638 and this ceremony celebrates its importance! Enjoy a black tea brew that is specially sourced and served in a steaming samovar (a traditional Russian tea urn) accompanied by sweet and savoury Russian treats.
Experience a Russian High Tea at Hazendal from Tuesday - Sunday between 10am - 5pm at
R395 per adult and R255 for children. There is a mid-week special offered from Tuesday - Thursday for R335 per adult and R216 per child. Gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options are available on request.
Treat yourself to an afternoon of indulgence with a few friends! Pick one of the incredible spots above and you’re guaranteed to experience a fantastic afternoon. Please book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.