Seven Places to Enjoy Afternoon Tea in Rhode Island & Beyond!

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You may have heard that this year in the U.K., Queen Elizabeth II has been celebrating 70 years on the British throne. While Americans didn’t get a national holiday like the Brits (they gave up that right in 1776), nevertheless we can all enjoy that most British of pastimes- the afternoon tea.

Half of a scone on a gold rimmed china plate is topped with jam and cream. A china tea cup with a gold rim and a pink rose design is behind the plate with a pink patterned teapot handle visible to the left of the cup.
Should the cream or the jam go on the scone first? At Shelly’s English Tearoom in Plymouth, MA you may decide for yourself.

Originating in England in the mid 19th century as a way of bridging the yawning gap between lunch and dinner, afternoon tea has become a special treat in many parts of the U.K. Once a daily occurrence, in busy modern life it is now a popular choice at garden parties, baby showers, weddings and almost any special occasion you can think of.

Traditionally afternoon tea consists of finger sandwiches (think dainty slices of bread and butter with something filling and satisfying between), scones with clotted cream and jam (there is a fierce debate that rages in the U.K. as to whether the delicious thick cream should go on before the jam or vice versa), and rounded off with cake (either in miniature form like petit fours or a good generous slice). As a British ex-pat it is perhaps one of the things I miss the most.

Luckily, you don’t have to go to England to experience this decadent delight!  Once a daily occurrence, in busy modern life it is now a popular choice at garden parties, baby showers, weddings and almost any special occasion you can think of. Whether you want to treat the kids, enjoy a romantic afternoon with your significant other, or grab your girlfriends for a tea party, there are several places here ready to host you for tea in Rhode Island! With table linens and china tea cups galore, you may just feel like the Queen!

Please note: Advanced booking is required at all places listed. Prices, which were accurate at the time of writing, are per person unless noted otherwise and do not include tax or gratuity.

Sweet Marie’s Tea Cottage, Wickford

Offering an afternoon tea menu including sweet and savory scones with clotted cream, a selection of tea sandwiches, petite sweets and of course a pot of tea, Sweet Marie’s also boasts the cozy cottage charm. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent you can even order a cocktail carefully crafted from local liqueurs to complement the menu. For just a little extra, their allergen friendly menu caters to gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan diets.

Hours: Thursday-Sunday 12pm-2pm

Cost: $28 per guest, $30 allergen friendly menu

Kellie’s Cafe, Newport

Run by Brits, Kellie’s Cafe promises the authentic afternoon tea experience. You will enjoy assorted finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with imported British jam and clotted cream, and a selection of cakes with a pot of tea. Fancy trying some other British fair? Kellie’s also offers a full English breakfast, English style meat pies, steamed puddings and various other popular Brit dishes.

Hours: Mon – Fri 7am-2pm, Saturday 9am-1pm

Cost: $69.95 for two

Blithewold, Bristol

For an afternoon tea in truly stunning surroundings, try a visit to Blithewold. Tea with a 3-tiered tray filled with sweet and savory treats is served in the drawing room of this nineteenth century country home. In good weather, tea can be taken on the breakfast porch of this 33-acre estate with breath-taking views of Narragansett bay. Admission to the house and grounds is included, making for a truly memorable day out.

Hours: Check the events page of Blithewold’s website for seasonal afternoon tea seatings.

Cost: $35 Members and $50 for Nonmembers*
*Additional processing fees apply to nonmember tickets.

Young girl with brown hair sits on a green wicker chair sipping tea from a china cup. On the table in front of her is a plate with scones on.
Tea time at the nineteenth century Blithewold mansion in Bristol has become a special family treat.

Trinity Confections, Warwick

Sure to keep you full until dinner, Trinity Confections high tea menu includes homemade soup, quiche served with fruit, tea sandwiches and canapes as well as a range of baked goods and confections. While they note that their tearoom does not have high chairs, booster seats or changing facilities, their slightly smaller (though still very generous) afternoon tea box to go is perfect for indulging in the comfort of your own home, or enjoying as a picnic in the park.

Hours: High Tea is served Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 12, 12:30, or 1pm. Gift and to-go orders are filled Tuesday through Sunday.

Cost: $28 High Tea, $21 Afternoon Tea to-go box

Hotel Viking, Newport

Join high society in the Garden Room at One Bellevue for an elegant and sophisticated tea service. Your choice of loose leaf tea is prepared table side and served with finger sandwiches, house baked scones and other sweet treats. This tea time requires smart, casual attire, and there is a champagne and cocktail cart for additional purchases.

Hours: Saturdays & Sundays 2:30-4:30pm

Cost $49 (alcohol not included)

While further away, these Massachusetts based tearooms are worth going the extra distance for. 

Shelly’s English Tea Room, Plymouth, MA

Newly opened, Shelly’s is the first authentic English tearoom in Massachusetts run by English people. It’s already proving very popular with the British ex-pats and it’s not hard to see why, with three different afternoon tea menus including a children’s tea that caters for under 10’s, an extensive list of teas, as well as a lunch and lite bites menu. Shelly’s welcomes guests of all ages, even providing spare diapers if you need them. They also offer allergy friendly options.

Hours: Open 10am-6pm, call for tea seating times.

Cost: $14.95 Cream Tea (scones and tea only), $34.95 Windsor Tea, $14.95 The Prince and Princess High Tea for under 10’s

a three tiered stand containing cakes, scones, cream and jam
The Windsor Tea at Shelly’s English Tearooms in Plymouth , MA is the ultimate afternoon treat!

The Dunbar House, Sandwich, MA

This enchanting stop on Cape Cod has it all; in addition to it’s afternoon tea options Dunbar House also has a delicious lunch menu, wine bar, takeaway tea, themed events and on Sundays, a brunch menu too. Their wee tea for kids is sure to delight your little ones with a funfetti scone with cream and jam, three different kid friendly sandwiches, and other sweets and treats besides.

Hours: Vary- please check the website.

Cost: $30 Windsor Afternoon Tea, $32 Vegetarian Afternoon Tea, $16 Wee Afternoon Tea for kids

Do you know of any other great local spots to enjoy afternoon tea like the Queen? Be sure to let us know!

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