Where to participate in a traditional English tea ceremony in the Isle of Wight?

11 June 2024

The Isle of Wight, a charming island located off the southern coast of England, is steeped in a rich history and is renowned for its quintessential English traditions. One such tradition is the English tea ceremony, a unique cultural experience that embodies the comforting and communal spirit of English society. If you're considering a trip to this picturesque locale, you may be wondering where the best spots are to engage in a traditional English tea ceremony. We've gathered all the necessary information to provide you with an in-depth guide on the best locations on the Isle of Wight to experience this age-old tradition.

The Royal Hotel

Let's start with the prestigious Royal Hotel. This Victorian-style establishment, located in the seaside town of Ventnor, is celebrated for its sophisticated afternoon tea service. Within the elegant confines of its conservatory or veranda, depending on the weather, you will be treated to an exquisite spread of delicate finger sandwiches, homemade scones served with clotted cream and jam, as well as an assortment of pastries.

The Royal Hotel prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring the freshness of their offerings. Complementing the savoury and sweet treats is their selection of tea that ranges from traditional English breakfast to more exotic blends, giving you the opportunity to personalize your tea ceremony experience.

The Pearl Café

For those of you seeking a more casual, yet no less authentic, tea experience, you might want to visit The Pearl Café in Freshwater. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the area with a scenic view of the English Channel, this café is well-known for its excellent tea service. Here, you can indulge in a classic cream tea, a simpler yet equally satisfying version of an afternoon tea.

The Pearl Café's cream tea features fresh scones, locally made clotted cream, and their own strawberry jam. A pot of steaming, high-quality tea rounds off the experience. This is a delightful spot to enjoy a laid-back afternoon, savoring the delicacy of the fare while soaking up the breathtaking views around you.

Quarr Abbey Tea Shop

With its tranquil, historic setting, the Quarr Abbey Tea Shop provides a unique location for an English tea ceremony. This tea shop is part of an active monastery in Ryde, set amidst serene gardens and ancient architecture.

At Quarr Abbey, you can relish an afternoon tea while enjoying the serene surroundings. Their menu features a selection of handmade cakes, pastries, and sandwiches. Of course, a variety of teas are available to accompany your food. As you sip your tea and enjoy your meal, you'll feel a world away from the rush and chaos of modern life.

The Tea House

If you're looking to combine your traditional English tea ceremony with a bit of retail therapy, The Tea House in the charming town of Shanklin should be on your list. This delightful establishment combines a tea house with a boutique, affording you the opportunity to browse through an assortment of gifts, homewares, and even specialty teas after your meal.

The Tea House's afternoon tea is a sumptuous affair. They offer a choice of sandwiches, homemade scones served warm, and a variety of pastries and cakes. There's also a wide range of teas to choose from. A visit to this charming establishment offers a lovely way to spend an afternoon on the Isle of Wight.

Chessell Pottery Barns Café

Finally, for a truly unique tea ceremony experience, head to the Chessell Pottery Barns Café, situated in the rural heart of the Isle of Wight. Besides offering a delightful afternoon tea experience, this café also provides you with the option to paint your own pottery, adding a creative twist to your visit.

Their traditional afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches, homemade scones with jam and cream, and a selection of cakes. You can wash it all down with your choice of tea from their extensive menu. Whether you opt to participate in the pottery painting or simply sit back and enjoy your afternoon tea, a visit to the Chessell Pottery Barns Café promises to be a memorable experience.

While there's no shortage of places to experience a traditional English tea ceremony on the Isle of Wight, these establishments stand out for their unique locations, quality of food and tea, and the overall experience they offer. So, when you find yourself on this idyllic island, be sure to carve out time in your itinerary to visit at least one of these venues and immerse yourself in this deeply ingrained English tradition.

Osborne House's Terrace Restaurant

The historic Osborne House, often referred to as the summer palace of Queen Victoria, holds another gem - the Terrace Restaurant. As the name suggests, the restaurant is situated on a stunning terrace, offering panoramic views of the Solent. Given its royal connection, it is hardly surprising that the Terrace Restaurant offers one of the most refined afternoon tea experiences on the Isle of Wight.

The Terrace Restaurant specializes in a traditional afternoon tea service, in the grandest British tradition. The tea service here is elegant and refined, consisting of a selection of finger sandwiches, a variety of homemade scones served with clotted cream and fresh, local strawberry jam, and a selection of cakes and pastries. You also have the option of selecting from a variety of teas, ranging from the standard English Breakfast to more exotic blends.

What sets the Terrace Restaurant apart is its commitment to local produce. All the ingredients used in the preparation of the afternoon tea are locally sourced, ensuring the freshness and quality of the food. As you enjoy the opulent surroundings, savoring your tea and nibbling on the delicious fare, you can enjoy watching boats sail by on the Solent. A visit to the Terrace Restaurant is not just about enjoying a traditional English tea ceremony, but also about drinking in the extraordinary views and the regal history that surrounds you.

The Little Gloster Restaurant and Bar

For a more contemporary take on the traditional English tea ceremony, head to The Little Gloster Restaurant and Bar. Located in Gurnard, overlooking the Solent, this family-run establishment is known for its relaxed Scandinavian-inspired atmosphere and its modern approach to the afternoon tea.

At The Little Gloster, the afternoon tea retains the formal structure of a traditional English tea ceremony but introduces some innovative elements. You can expect the usual selection of finger sandwiches, but with a variety of fillings that reflect the restaurant's commitment to modern British cuisine. The scones are freshly baked on the premises and served with clotted cream and homemade fruit preserves.

The Little Gloster's tea selection is impressive, with traditional English blends sitting side by side with more exotic options. You can further elevate your afternoon tea experience with a glass of Prosecco or champagne, which the restaurant offers as part of its premium afternoon tea service. The Little Gloster’s contemporary take on the traditional English tea ceremony, combined with its stunning waterfront location, makes it a must-visit destination on the Isle of Wight.


Whether you're a tea connoisseur or a casual tea lover, the Isle of Wight offers a delightful range of options for experiencing a traditional English tea ceremony. Ranging from the royal elegance of The Terrace Restaurant at the Osborne House to the relaxed, contemporary vibe of The Little Gloster Restaurant and Bar, there is something to cater to every taste and whim.

Remember that the English tea ceremony isn't just about drinking tea and eating food. It's a ritual that embodies the spirit of English culture and history. So when you sit down to enjoy your afternoon tea on the Isle of Wight, remember to take the time to soak in the atmosphere, enjoy the views, and savour every bite of the delicious fare. After all, it's not just about the tea, it's about the experience.

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