Is there anything more delicious or more quintessentially Cornish than a delicious cream tea? A freshly baked still- warm scone loaded with sweet strawberry jam and topped with a generous dollop of thick clotted cream. The most decadent and delightful taste of summer to enjoy all year round!
The little history of cream teas
The Cream Tea Society believes that this traditional afternoon treat has been part of our nation’s diet since at least 1662, but it really began to flourish in the West Country with the increase of tourism in the region in the mid-19th century.
From around 1850 onwards, with the advent of the railways, visitors flocked to the countryside for fresh air and relaxation, just as they do today, and to indulge in the local fine foods. But the Cornish cream tea was slightly different in those days, traditionally it was served on a warm ‘Cornish Split’, a sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. One thing however has always remained that same – in Cornwall it is always jam first!
Discover the best of Cornwall’s cream teas
From canal boats and 16th century mills, to clifftop hotels and cosy cottages, we’ve put together a guide to discovering some of the finest cream teas in Cornwall, so that wherever you are staying or visiting you are never far away from a sweet (or savoury) treat!
Tucked away in a stunning location just off the coastal path between Padstow and Stepper Point, this little café is a family favourite. Whether you make it your end destination or a pit-stop on a longer walk, their cream tea is the perfect way to reward yourself.
There is a pretty flower-filled garden and the views across the water are beautiful. Traditional cream teas with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam are the order of the day and there are also some gluten free and vegan choices amongst their homemade cakes, as well as fresh sandwiches and ice creams.
Open 7 days, 10.30am to 4.30pm.
Bude is a lovely seaside town with gorgeous beaches, a large 1930s sea-pool and pedalos for hire. For a unique dining experience, watch the world drift by from this beautifully restored canal barge situated on the historic Bude canal. There is a warm, relaxed atmosphere and comfy seating inside and out.
The traditional half or full cream teas (one or two scones) are served with Rodda's cream, strawberry jam and a Cornish Smugglers tea or coffee. There is also a ‘cakey tea’ which includes a delicious saffron scone. The Barge offers full breakfast and lunch menus with hot homemade meals and a selection of cakes and sandwiches too.
Open Mon – Sat 9-5pm Sunday 10-5pm.
The historic Headland Hotel takes the traditional cream tea to the next level. Really spoil yourself with this decadent afternoon tea in an iconic oceanfront setting. Alongside the fresh scones, Boddingtons jam and Rodda's cream, the chefs rustle up delightful bitesize cakes and whimsical sweet treats to accompany delicate finger sandwiches. And why not make the whole experience even more special by adding a flute of champagne?
Cream teas can be enjoyed ‘al fresco’ on the terrace where there are deckchairs overlooking the beach, or inside in the cosy lounge.
Traditional cream teas and afternoon teas are available 2pm – 4.30pm everyday but be sure to book ahead.
This award-winning tearoom is tucked away in the picturesque hamlet of Morwenstow, just a short walk from one of the most dramatic stretches of Cornwall’s north coast. The 13th century rectory is bursting with character, with slate floors, oak beams, open fires and antique furniture in every room.
The traditional cream tea comes with homemade scones, locally produced jam, Cornish clotted cream and Tregothnan loose leaf tea, all served on vintage china. Savoury snacks, cakes and sandwiches are also available and there are wheat/gluten and dairy-free options.
Open daily 11-4.30pm.
Built in 1865, this elegant hotel’s façade faces the wide sweep of Falmouth Bay and is a short hop from the safe swimming and soft sands of Castle Beach. With its spacious interiors and manicured lawns The Falmouth Hotel is known as the ‘Grande Dame’ of Falmouth and has played host to numerous famous guests, from Beatrix Potter to the Duke of Edinburgh.
An exciting range of afternoon teas are available here. There is, of course, the Traditional Cornish Cream Tea with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, but you will also find a Gin Afternoon Tea, with the addition of a refreshing glass of Cornish gin alongside finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes and desserts, or maybe indulge in a Champagne Afternoon Tea served with a flute of Moet. There is even a smaller Kid’s Afternoon Tea with a hot chocolate, perfect for little ones.
Served daily noon to 5pm.
This old fashioned tearoom nestles in the heart of the harbour town of Fowey. Once the home of a wealthy merchant, it still retains much of the elegant Georgian décor and has a wonderfully quaint period feel, like taking tea in someone’s front room. There is also a walled courtyard garden to relax in if the weather is fine.
Choose from more than twenty-five varieties of tea or a freshly made coffee to accompany what are said to be the best cakes in Fowey. Discover the Traditional Cornish Cream Tea but also a delightful savoury version served with local Davidstow cheddar cheese and apple chutney. All the cakes are baked in the original Rayburn in the Dwelling House kitchen, so if you are lucky the scones will still be warm from the oven.
Open Thursday to Monday 1pm to 10pm.
Teacup Tearoom is an award-winning husband and wife-run cafe, providing a homely and warm welcome. It’s dog-friendly and a perfect place for a pause while walking along the stunning coast around Mevagissey or exploring the historic fishing harbour.
Their homemade scones are huge and served with Tregothnan tea, lashings of Rodda’s Clotted Cream and jam. Choose from plain or sultana scones, or there are also gluten free and vegan scones available on request. David and Lis source as much of their produce as possible locally, making tasty savoury bagels and sandwiches as well as dairy-free and vegan cakes using the freshest ingredients, even the coffee is roasted nearby by Mevagissey Coffee.
Best of all, Teacup Tearoom also provides Cream Teas by post so that you can spoil yourself with a taste of Cornwall wherever you are.
Open daily (except Thursday) 11am – 6pm.
Hidden away down classically Cornish winding backroads, this Melinsey Mill is a delightful find. In a deep shady valley is a 16th century watermill, lovingly restored and run by the Hancock family - a perfect escape for those who want to explore a little off the beaten track.
Visitors will discover a charming, if a little eccentric, tearoom where you can sit outside beside a large pond and watch the birdlife and dragonflies dance on the surface. The menu includes homemade soup, doorstep sandwiches, cakes, pastries and your traditional cream tea – two warm scones with clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea.
This little café has a real community feel, as well as the scrumptious delights on the menu you can also visit their arts centre which showcases crafts produced by local artists including pottery, jewellery, willow baskets, prints and textiles.
Open April to October daily 10am – 5.30pm.
St Ives is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful towns, a draw to artists and writers for hundreds of years and a real hive of activity during the summer months. Olive’s Café provides a laidback escape from all the hustle and bustle. Situated in a quieter part of town surrounded by galleries, there is seating inside but the tables at the front provide perfect people-watching spots while you relax with a tasty snack.
The cream teas at Olive’s Cafe come with two freshly made scones, clotted cream, jam and local tea. It also serves a selection of sandwiches and tapas, salads and fish dishes.
Open Monday – Friday 11am – 5pm.
This café must be in one of the most beautiful locations in Cornwall, if not the whole of the UK. The Lizard Point is the most southerly point in mainland Britain and there are spectacular views along the coast from Polper Café, which perches on the clifftop above the waves. This area is any nature lover’s idea of heaven and amazingly there is a real chance of spotting seals and choughs while you relax on the café’s terrace.
The friendly, hardworking team serves a range of hot and cold dishes and drinks, there are freshly baked cakes and, as well as a traditional Cornish Cream tea, you can also enjoy a slice of rich Cornish Heavy Cake. Clotted cream features across the menu, and you are reminded that you can add a dollop to every slice of cake or dessert to make it extra special.
Open daily during summer months 9am – 6.30pm.
This farmhouse tearoom is a popular spot with walkers, climbers and cyclists enjoying the breath-taking scenery in this beautiful part of west Cornwall between St Ives and St Just. There are amazing sea views from the secluded garden where you can find shade or shelter under the vine-covered pergola. Fresh cakes and scones are baked in the farmhouse Aga throughout the day, and this family-run business is also dog-friendly. You really couldn’t ask for a more quintessentially Cornish location.
Rosemergy Cornish cream teas can be eaten in or taken away to enjoy on your walk. Each comes with two homemade scones, clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea.
Open daily 1pm – 5pm.
Porthleven is fast becoming a foodie’s paradise and the Twisted Currant, which opened in 2014, prides itself on friendly service and creating delicious dishes from local produce. There is seating inside and out, and the café is just a short walk from the picturesque harbour side. Their cream teas are really something special too!
At the Twisted Currant you are spoilt for choice. The Twisted Traditional Cream Tea comes with fruit or plain scones, clotted cream, jam and a cup of tea or coffee, just as you would expect, but the Twisted Chocolate Cream tea is a real chocoholic’s delight. It has chocolate chip scones served with chocolate spread and topped with clotted cream! There is even a savoury option called the Gentlemen’s Cream Tea which features a cheese scone with cream cheese and homemade red onion jam.
Gluten free and dairy free choices are available.
Open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm.
Cream tea by post
If you are not able to get to Cornwall, or to get out and about, why not enjoy the luxury of a cream tea sent right to your door! The perfect gift for anyone missing Cornwall.
As well as the Teacup Tearoom in Mevagissey, mentioned above, there are a number of local businesses that provide cream teas by post.
Includes: 4 freshly baked plain scones, Rodda’s Clotted Cream, Boddinton’s Berries Strawberry Conserve, Cornish Smugglers Tea, Furnish Cornish Fairing Biscuits and All Butter Shortbread.
Includes: 4 freshly baked plain scones, Rodda Clotted Cream, Boddinton’s Strawberry or Blackberry jam, Cornish Smugglers Tea. Gluten free and cheese hampers are also available.
This company provides several different hampers suiting all budgets. The Cornish Luncheon Clotted Cream Tea Hamper is a real feast and includes: 8 homemade scones, Rodda’s Clotted Cream, Trewithen Clotted Cream, Boddington’s Strawberry conserve and Blackberry Conserve, Cornish Smugglers Tea, a saffron cake, 2 Cornish pasties, Furniss Fairings, Simply Cornish Shortbread and Roddas Clotted Cream fudge.