- The Grand Café:
Apparently the first coffee house in England, The Grand Café on the High Street serves an afternoon tea full of history. Options range from simple scones and cream to ‘The Grand High Tea’, consisting of nothing less than free-range egg mayonnaise and smoked salmon and cream cheese finger sandwiches, scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, petit fours, tea, coffee and champagne. It’s fairly expensive, with the priciest tea costing £23.45.
2. The Rose:
Also on the High Street, The Rose is a less well-known but just as impressive an institution. The menu is simpler but quality is high. The selection includes ‘The Rose High Tea’ (finger sandwiches, scones, freshly baked cake, champagne, tea and coffee), ‘The Rose Fruit Cream Tea’ (two fresh fruit scones with cream, jam, tea and coffee) and also the option to have any part of the tea on its own. Prices vary from £18.60 to £6.70.
3. Vaults and Garden Café:
Featured in our 3rd week edition for its splendid lunch, Vaults and Garden also serves a modest cream tea. This is definitely the best place to go if you’re on a budget; you build up
your own tea, with scones costing £2.80 each, leaf tea £2.25 and cakes either £2.80 or £3.25. There’s something for everyone, as gluten-free and vegan options abound.
4. Macdonald Randolph Hotel:
Back in business after the fire last year, the Randolph is a classic location for a cream tea in Oxford. The menu offers three choices; ‘Celebration Afternoon Tea’ (champagne, scones with jam and cream, sandwiches on farmhouse bread, afternoon pastries, fruit cake and leaf tea), ‘Full Afternoon Tea’ (dropping the champagne) and “Cream Tea” (scones with cream, jam and tea). Unsurprisingly the Randolph isn’t cheap, with prices from £17.50 to£36.50, but it certainly is a great place for a celebration.
5. Old Parsonage Hotel:
Slightly out of the centre of Oxford, the Old Parsonage on Banbury Road has created the most upmarket cream tea in town. The menu is more adventurous than others, offering for instance a ‘Very Savoury Tea’ for £25. The ‘Celebration Tea for Two’ is the tea to top all teas; for £90, a bottle of Three Choirs Classic Cuvee, cheese scones, gentleman’s relish, a selection of savouries, toasted sourdough soldiers, finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, sweet scones with jam and cream and tea and/or coffee could be yours.