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This quintessential British pastime of afternoon tea is alive and well in Glasgow, with an abundance of places in the city available to enjoy delectable sandwiches, freshly baked scones, warming teas or even a glass or two of champagne. Check out our guide to some of the top spots for afternoon tea in the city.
Enjoy afternoon tea in historic settings
Mackintosh at the Willow. Image credit: Rachel Keenan
Mackintosh at the Willow
Mackintosh at the Willow is not only a lovely spot for afternoon tea but is a world class cultural and heritage attraction too. Miss Cranston’s original Willow Tea Rooms is recognised internationally for its importance as the only surviving tea room designed in its entirety by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Enjoy three-tiers of deliciousness in the main tea room, or book in advance to take in the beautiful surroundings of the exquisite Salon de Luxe. Gluten free and vegan afternoon tea options are available too.
The Corinthian Club
The Corinthian Club is a building steeped in history. Originally a bank and latterly a judiciary court, in 2010 the grade A listed building was transformed into a stylish venue with restaurants, bars and even a casino. Indulge in a delightful selection of finger sandwiches and sweet treats under the iconic Corinthian domed glass ceiling in the Teller’s Bar and Brasserie area - it truly is a sight to behold.
To step back in time to the golden age of travel, head to the Grand Central Hotel at Glasgow Central Station. Originally built in the late 19th Century as a grand British railway hotel, the hotel has welcomed many a famous guest over the years, including Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill. For indulgence visit Grand Central Hotel's Champagne Central for their indulgent afternoon tea, rounded off with tea-infused cocktails or champagne.
Elegant afternoon tea for two in the city
Image Credit: The Ivy restaurant
The iconic London brasserie has recently opened a restaurant in the heart of Glasgow city centre. Situated on Buchanan Street, The Ivy makes a perfect spot for afternoon tea after a day shopping on the Style Mile. The menu includes items such as a truffled chicken brioche roll, warm fruit scones with clotted cream and a whisky crème brûlée doughnut. What’s not to like?
Taking its name from one of the first evening newspapers in Glasgow, The Evening Citizen, which resided in this A-Listed red sandstone building in the 1800s, The Citizen offers a plush city centre location for afternoon tea. Feel like you’re in a private members lounge from a bygone era in The Citizen’s Editor Suite, with its velour armchairs and wooden wall-lined cabinets. Scones, savouries, cakes and pastries are prepared daily by the pastry chef with a large list of teas from around the world to choose from.
Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh in 1901 and finally realised in 1996, House for An Art Lover has a meticulously designed exterior and interior in the couple’s art nouveau style. Sit down in the Art Lover’s Café and enjoy viewing the art exhibitions whilst dining on an afternoon tea that includes classics such as macarons and frangipane slices.
Cup Tea Lounge
The name ‘Cup’ has become synonymous with tasty cakes and treats in Glasgow. Choose between two Cup Tea Lounge venues, the beautifully tiled interior of the B-listed venue on Renfield Street, or the quaint setting of Virginia Court. With vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and children's menus available, everyone can enjoy three tiers of yumminess including finger sandwiches, homemade scones and sweet treats. Not enough? Go all out with a glass of champagne or one of their gin cocktail teapots.
Top Glasgow hotels for afternoon tea
Image credit: Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel
Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel
Afternoon Tea is served up at the weekends in the refined cocktail bar, The Salon. Sit back in Harris Tweed chairs and delight in the historic glam surroundings of Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, set within historic Georgian townhouses. A selection of sweet and savoury treats are included, with inventive cocktails to choose from and complimentary chocolates to take home.
Sherbrooke Castle Hotel
Enjoy a day out in the South of the city, with afternoon tea in the splendid surroundings of Sherbrooke Castle Hotel. Designed by architects Robert Sandilands and John Thomson (who was the eldest son of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson) in 1896, this baronial villa is a lovely spot for afternoon tea if you’re looking for somewhere a little special. And if you’re looking for something a little lighter, try their ‘cream tea' which includes freshly baked scones and a hot drink of your choice.
Image credit: Sherbrooke Castle Hotel
Hotel Du Vin
Set in a tree-lined Victorian terrace in the fashionable West neighbourhood is Hotel du Vin, one of the city's most famous and opulent hotels. Sample some outstandingly good tea or a glass of fizz, alongside tempting towers of finger sandwiches, clotted cream-topped scones and a selection of handmade gateaux and cakes.
Carlton George Hotel
Located just off George Square, the Carlton George Hotel offers a fabulous afternoon tea which includes a selection of homemade cakes, from choux buns to tiffin squares and strawberry tarts along with a selection of freshly made sandwiches. What makes the difference? It's served on the seventh floor and offers panoramic views of the city centre and beyond.
Red Sky Bar at Radisson RED
For an elevated experience, enjoy afternoon tea with a rooftop view of the River Clyde and the stunning riverside architecture at Red Sky Bar at Radisson RED. The afternoon tea at this very trendy hotel includes a selection of finger sandwiches, crostinis, scones and desserts, with a full veggie menu available also.
The Butterfly and The Pig Tea Rooms adds a whimsical twist on the traditional teahouse through the use of mismatched crockery and a wonderfully shabby chic interior. The afternoon tea itself offers a hearty selection that will fill up even the hungriest diners, starting with canapés and sandwiches before the sweet treats.
Hidden Lane Tea Rooms
Mismatched patterned teapots and harlequin chairs create a perfect setting for afternoon tea in this easy-to-miss lane in Finnieston. Dainty sandwiches and miniature cakes are served on vintage tiered cake stands. Hidden Lane Tea Rooms is the kind of place you’ll want to shout about, but won’t, in case there are no seats next time you go!
The Cup and Saucer
Glasgow is known for having numerous cobbled little lanes, with tea rooms and trinkets awaiting visitors. One such lane, Cresswell, in the West of the city, is home to The Cup and Saucer – a tea room, offering delicious home baking, fresh ground coffee and quality loose leaf teas. All served to a rock 'n' roll soundtrack of vintage tunes and big smiles from staff.
Found in the Merchant City, Mharsanta offers traditional and modern Scottish cuisine, with a Bubbles & Bites menu at the weekends. Billed as a twist on afternoon tea, the menu offers a taste of sweet and savoury treats, along with a glass of Prosecco or two! Menu favourites include haggis bon bons with whisky cream, wild mushroom on toasted soda bread in a creamy garlic sauce and halloumi & vegetable kebabs.
Set across four floors in a traditional townhouse on Buchanan Street and designed inside with a contemporary Thai style, Chaophraya offers afternoon tea with a Thai twist. On the tiered cake stands include the likes of satay red curry chicken tart and spring rolls, with a complete vegetarian menu available also.
Red Bus Bistro
Red Bus Bistro is a truly unique dining experience. Step aboard the vintage Routemaster bus and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea, whilst looking out at the delights of Glasgow and its many attractions. The converted sightseeing bus provides a delightfully cosy atmosphere for diners. Indulge in a selection of pastries, cakes and warm home-baked scones served with traditional preserves and fresh, locally produced cream.
After a leisurely afternoon tea with friends, family or significant others, why not indulge in a spot of shopping. Check out our shopping pages for inspiration on the best places to shop in the city.
Article last updated: August, 2019