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Tea is the great English pastime, and there's no better spot to enjoy a cup then historic Cambridge. With so many places to pass the time, and so little time to do it, this essential list of the top 10 cafes and tearooms in Cambridge will help you make the most of your time in England.
1. John Lewis Brasserie
With views of Cambridge from the full-length windows and a pastry chef onsite, John Lewis Brasserie provides the complete afternoon tea experience. If you're after an afternoon tea away from the crowds you can do worse than this trendy little spot off the beaten track that will both excite and delight lovers of a good cup of tea.
Overlooking the King’s College chapel, the view from Benet’s is something to behold. Watching students come and go, cyclists glide by, and the sun slowly set from a cosy window seat never gets old. And if you’re not in the mood for their excellent tea, there’s also a variety of hot chocolates to wrap your lips around, as well as a sweet treats like pancakes and crepes served fresh, hot and tasty with a variety of toppings.
3. Peacocks Tearoom
As you wander along the Ely riverside you might notice a Georgian house clad in wisteria with people coming and going. That's Peacocks Tearoom, a popular Cambridge haunt that's been voted top spot in both Tripadvisor's ratings and the Cambridge News. Lace tablecloths, vintage china, and an expansive menu of yummy tea snacks, from scones to finger sandwiches and home style cakes, are all on offer at this quaint and winsome tea spot that is most deserving of its accolades.
4. The Angel Hotel
Enjoy afternoon tea in Bury St Edmunds and the stunning Angel Hotel, just a stone's throw from the Abbey. Cosy up in the relaxed lounge space (complete with roaring fire in the winter) and enjoy some of the best tea the country, complete with yummy accompaniments. Good for couples and small groups, you'll probably want to leave the kids at home. Worth the drive out from Cambridge proper, you can make a day of it by visiting the Abbey and the markets at Bury St Edmunds.
5. Orchard Tea Gardens
Grab a bike and enjoy a picturesque trip out to Grantchester and the Orchard Tea Gardens. A favourite among the likes of Virginia Woolf and Rupert Brooke, this lovely cafe features both an indoor tea room and outdoor seating, with a delightful range of fruit filled or cheese scones and an assortment of jams to go with your tea. On a warm summer’s day, the outdoor deck chairs are particularly comfy after a nice ride out from Cambridge.
6. The Garden Cafe
Situated within the beautiful surrounds of the University Botanical Gardens, the Garden Cafe features a range of seasonal teas set among the ponds and gardens of the Cambridge, with a bubbling fountain nearby to complete the serenity. Free entry for students and a small fee for visitors and tourists, it’s well worth it to experience one of Cambridge’s best tea spots.
7. Quay Mill
Close to Cambridge, the relaxed atmosphere of Quay Mill perfectly compliments the lovely cakes and treats on offer. You’ll enjoy the traditional afternoon tea with open top sandwiches and yummy scones, which are thoughtfully stripped of ostentation. If you’re finding Cambridge a little too upmarket at times, Quay Mill offers the perfect getaway to decompress without a fuss. Quay Mill is also a hotel and spa, for those looking to make a day (or evening) of it.
8. Teacake of Shepreth
Homemade cakes, amazing coffee and a wide range of teas are what’s on offer at Teacake of Shepreth. With an ever revolving menu of specials, vintage china sets, exquisite delicacies like chocolate beetroot cake and victoria sponge, this cafe near Royston is great for couples and small groups. Though larger groups may want to look elsewhere for a bit more space.
Located in Cambridge proper, this is a popular cake shop that’s famous for it’s Chelsea buns, Sacher Tortes and Coffee Choux. Great with a cup of coffee, Fitzbillies is also offering afternoon tea to go with their world famous baked goods. A historic Cambridge spot that’s slowly evolving with the times, there’s something to enjoy for everyone at Fitzbillies.
10. Pinnies of Godmanchester
Just outside Cambridge in Huntingdon, this tiny tea shop is the perfect place to catch up with one or two friends, or even a family day out with the kids. Delightful homemade layer cakes are fluffy and scrumptious, while the scones are lashed with generous portions of cream and jam. Friendly staff, fair prices and a good selection of teas make Pinnies of Godmanchester a top tea spot near Cambridge and well worth a visit.
Tradition and style go hand in hand
Whether you prefer tea or coffee, cakes or sandwiches, Cambridge’s cafe culture is all about style and tradition. Make sure you dress up for the occasion and make the most of your time in this idyllic, serene and historic region of England. And if you like a particular tea, make sure to find out what it is. Many tearooms offer takeaway tins of their finest, which can be hard to come by outside of Cambridge.
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