Afternoon Tea at Tea Trails, Sri Lanka
Lose yourself in the verdant, cloud-kissed hills of Ceylon and rediscover your love for tea. At the Tea Trails resort, you’ll stay in a colonial bungalow and be waited on by a butler. In the morning, you’ll be brought a cup of bed tea, and this is only the beginning. Want to do a short course in tea-making? Or maybe follow the tea trail on foot or mountainbike? Does a tea-inspired spa treatment sound like your idea of relaxation? Whatever you choose, don’t miss the afternoon tea—15 varieties of tea served with sultana scones, Battenberg cake, Moroccan mint tea smoked chicken sandwich, and more. Fresh herbs, vegetables and teas from surrounding estates are used in the three-course lunch and four-course dinner. The tariff includes international wines and premium spirits.
Afternoon Tea at The Orangery at the Kensington Palace, England
We know the Queen likes her cup of Darjeeling, and this is one way to experience high tea like an English royal. A part of the property is open to the public, where guests can dine on classic English recipes while enjoying the beautiful gardens and 18th-century architecture. There are breakfast and lunch menus, but the afternoon tea is the real star, considering that the ritual is so essential to English identity. You’ll be served a variety of sandwiches in combinations such as smoked salmon and cream cheese or the much-loved holiday darling of turkey, stuffing and cranberry. And, you can finally taste the things you only read about in Enid Blyton books, such as scones with Cornish clotted cream. Finish up with pastries and a selection of loose teas. The Royal Afternoon Tea comes with a glass of Champagne or Italian wine. Because the Queen’s liking of a drink is no secret either.
Afternoon Tea at Zealong, New Zealand
This company in New Zealand has developed its own oolong tea and given it a clever portmanteau name. A 40-hectare plantation outside Hamilton, in the beautiful Waikato region, is where the tea is grown and where the lovely estate restaurant does a fine high tea. You’ll begin the Signature Tiffin with some Zealong, in your choice of pure, aromatic, dark or black, followed by a tea-infused menu. Maybe a roasted capsicum and basil salad with Zealong aromatic tea and lemon oil dressing, then a New Zealand venison with Zealong dark tea, and finally, a Zealong Pure tea and white chocolate tart? Sixty-minute tea experience tours are also available, which can be combined with the Signature Tiffin. There’s also a Classic Tiffin, which offers sandwiches such as saffron poached chicken breast with basil pesto and a lemonade or date scone. Fresh, organic food and tea that can be enjoyed in a gorgeous natural setting—there are some joys that money can buy and this is one of them.
Afternoon Tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, South Africa
From a hospitality group that knows how to do luxury (the famed Orient Express in Europe, river cruises down the Irrawaddy) comes one of the world’s finest afternoon tea experiences at a landmark Cape Town property. You’ll get sandwiches made with rare roast beef and rocket, a dark chocolate cake and a light lemon meringue. Sample some melktert—a local milk tart—and some comforting, heartwarming mushroom empanadas. When you finally get around to the tea, inhale deeply before the first sip. Tea at the Mount Nelson is a signature blend that has been crafted with a combination of leaves from around the world, including the prized Darjeeling, Kenya and Ceylon. But, there are so many other teas as well to choose from—pure wild rooibos tea from the Cederberg Mountains in South Africa that tastes of honey and orange, Earl Grey Blue Flower enhanced with Bergamot oil, red teas from China, green teas from Japan, herbal and fruit infusions, and of course, coffee and hot chocolate.
Tea-tasting tour at Tranquilitea, India
Nestled in the Nilgiris, wrap your fingers around a cup of the region’s finest produce. Nilgiri teas come from some of the highest plantations, many of which go up to 8,000ft above sea level. The cool mountain air, soil and cultivation methods result in delicate teas with sweet, floral notes. Sign up for a holiday with Tranquilitea and do the hour-long ‘Cups that Cheer’ tour. After learning about how the tea is grown and processed, you’ll get to taste rare teas such as Silver Tips. Stay a night or two in a plantation bungalow with teak and rosewood interiors; you’ll really feel like you’re in a different world. The Tenerife house has two bedrooms that come with their own private gardens.
Tea ceremonies at the National Tea Museum, China
Widely believed to be the birthplace of tea, Hangzhou has a tea museum that’s about as close to the crop’s history as you can get. The place doesn’t even have walls, in the traditional sense, enclosed instead by nearly four hectares of tea plantations. The parts that need to be indoors are landscaped with hills, ponds and flower corridors that seamlessly integrate with the lush outdoors. Tea ceremonies are taken very seriously in this part of the world, and here, you can experience different kinds. Women in traditonal costume prepare and pour tea using pretty tea sets. In addition, there’s the Hall of Tea History and an entire space displaying tea sets from different Chinese dynasties. When you’ve had your fill of facts, you can head to the museum restaurant for a quick snack along with, well, tea. With tables set up under a canopy of trees and a flower-bordered pond, the ambience is as elegant as the subtle tea in your cup.
The ‘Edo Romance’ Garden Walk at Happo-En, Japan
Among the many things Japan is famous for are tea and gardens. So, when you combine the two, it makes for an unforgettable sensory experience. At Happo-En, which means ‘garden of eight views’, a stunning property in Tokyo, you’ll get an introduction to the ancient art of bonsai and a tour of the tea house, followed by a traditional tea ceremony. You’ll get to taste green powdered tea and sample sweets served with more tea. End up at Enju for a traditional Japanese meal with a gorgeous view of the garden beyond.