14 of the best places for afternoon tea across Sussex

PUBLISHED: 15:37 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:41 27 February 2020

Photo by HDV Gallery, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo by HDV Gallery, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Andrew Rae

Treat yourself, family and friends to lunch and afternoon tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Sussex tea rooms

Metro Deco, Brighton

This quirky, 1930s Parisian-style tea salon in Kemptown serves seductive sweet treats on vintage crockery, to guests sitting on vintage furniture. There's even a rail of vintage clothing so you can choose a dress to wear while you're there. 

As well as the classic option (£23.50) you can enjoy your afternoon tea with prosecco, Sussex sparkling, G and T or a tea cocktail.

metro-deco.com 01273 677243

Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

Afternoon tea at The Grand is a bit of a local institution. There's a choice of settings for afternoon tea, from the gracious Great Hall to more intimate lounges. On the last Sunday of the month, Shelley van Loen and the Palm Court Strings Orchestra provide a glorious accompaniment to the tinkle of tea being poured into china.

Junior and Champagne afternoon teas are available as well as the regular offering, which starts from £26, and there are different themes throughout the year including tennis in June. 

www.grandeastbourne.com 01323 412345

Julien Plumart, Brighton

This master patissier's macarons are the stuff of Brighton legend and it's one of the city's great pleasures to pore over their brightly coloured ranks before tripping out with a prettily tied box. 

Julien has a small café and shop on Queens Road but the Duke Street Salon de The offers a delicious afternoon tea menu (£27 for two), complete with a decadent brownie, ice cream and, of course, macarons. Ooh la la!

www.julienplumart.com 01273 329697

Badgers Tea House, Alfriston

A quaint, traditional little tea room in the delightful village of Alfriston. This is a lovely place for a day out encompassing a visit to the National Trust's first acquisition, the Alfriston Clergy House, and a meander around the interesting shops and art galleries. 

Afternoon tea at £15.95 is served in silver teapots and bone china, lending an air of old world charm.

www.badgersteahouse.com 01323 871 336

Little Cottage Tea Rooms, Glynde

Occupying a prime position in the delightful downland village of Glynde, this traditional tea room is next to the village shop and shares the same owner. 

Afternoon teas (£14.95) must be booked at least 24 hours in advance - although a cream tea is available at any time for £5.95. All the produce on offer is baked in the village and served on dainty china, while there's a lovely garden to enjoy in the summer months.

littlecottagetearooms.co.uk 01273 858215

Beanstalk Tea Garden, near Firle (reopens May 2020)

A real oasis from the hurly burly of modern life, this quirky little enclave is in a rural setting near Firle. Teas are served in the tranquil cottage gardens with further seating in an Indian tea tent. 

Enjoy a walk up nearby Firle Beacon or on the surrounding South Downs before indulging in homemade goodies as the resident peacocks meander on by.

www.facebook.com/BeanstalkTeaGarden

Leonardslee Gardens, Lower Beeding

Overseen by Michelin-starred executive chef Jean Delport, afternoon tea is served in the drawing room of the Italianate mansion. It's a wonderful vantage point to enjoy the gardens - look out for beautiful camellias early in the season. 

Various menu options include a children's version for £21.

www.leonardsleegardens.co.uk  0871 8733 389

Amberley Village Tea Room 

The ladies behind this traditional tea room make everything by hand, from nourishing soups to indulgent cakes cut into generous slabs. 

There's a pretty courtyard for good weather and the location makes it a great place to rest weary feet after a tramp over the Wild Brooks or South Downs.

The Square, Amberley 01798 839196

Amberley Castle

Step into a tranquil, fairy tale world inhabited by beautiful albino peacocks who are rather partial to cake crumbs. Afternoon tea (£34) is served in the hotel's lounges or in fine weather on the terrace, which enjoys exquisite views towards Bury Hill. The comestibles on offer include finger sandwiches, fruit and plain scones with clotted cream and seasonal preserve, and a selection of delicious cakes, quiche and sausage rolls. 

There is also an optional Champagne flight (£24), offering taster sizes of three different types of bubbly.

www.amberleycastle.co.uk  01798 831 992

Tea in the Square, Angmering

Winner of the Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year category at the 2019 Celebration of Sussex Life Awards, the two owners spent years working in banking before realising their mutual dream of opening a nostalgic tea parlour. With an array of mouth-watering treats on offer it might be rather difficult to settle on sweet or savoury - if you decide to go for the afternoon tea it will set you back a very reasonable £15.

For your al fresco dining needs, Tea in the Square makes up hampers, with delicious treats tied up with brown paper and string.

2 The Square, Angmering www.facebook.com/teainthesquare

Café Elvira, Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath

Glorying in the delightful setting of Borde Hill Gardens, Café Elvira is adjacent to the highly regarded Jeremy's Restaurant and run by the eponymous Jeremy's wife, Vera. Afternoon tea (£19.50) must be booked at least 24 hours in advance and includes tantalising treats such as elderflower drizzle cake and peach melba cheesecake. 

Borde Hill Gardens are beautiful in the spring so why not work up an appetite there beforehand?

www.jeremysrestaurant.co.uk/cafe-elvira  01444 458845

Joanna's Boutique Tearoom, Storrington

Another previous winner in its category at the Celebration of Sussex Life Awards, this pastel-hued parlour is a popular destination for afternoon tea. 

The menu (£25 per person) includes cheese straws and Welsh rarebit alongside the usual sandwiches, while the seasonal sweets are truly sumptuous. There's also the option to add half a bottle of local sparkling wine Nyetimber for £22.50.

www.joannasboutiquetearoom.com  01903 742226

Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly near East Grinstead

Enjoy afternoon tea (£30) at a quintessential British country house while taking in the glorious surroundings of the William Robinson-designed gardens. There's a good choice of loose leaf teas, locally ground coffee or the option to have an accompanying glass of local Ridgeview Estate sparkling wine.

Tours of the fascinating gardens can be booked alongside a lunch, afternoon tea or dinner in one of the hotel's private rooms, making for a truly memorable day - see the website for more details.

www.gravetyemanor.co.uk  01342 810567

Alexander House, Turners Hill near East Grinstead

This grand hotel serves an interesting selection of teas from Brighton-based company Hoogly and treats made in-house by the hotel's pastry chef. Sandwiches include truffle egg mayonnaise brioche and the fruit tart comes highly recommended.

The hotel's Utopia Spa is also well worth a visit, with the best pool we've come across in Sussex and a relaxing spa garden. Combine the two experiences for a truly decadent day. 

www.alexanderhotels.co.uk 01342 714914

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