top of page

Afternoon Tea at the Balmoral Hotel


My daughter and I deeply cherish afternoon tea and love to experience it whenever we travel. This summer we visited Scotland, and one of our highlights was booking afternoon tea at the award-winning Palm Court in the Balmoral Hotel. We crossed off another locale on our list of “must experience” places to have tea around the world!

The Balmoral is located in Edinburgh, Scotland’s enchanting capital, that takes you back to a captivating medieval era full of charm. The Balmoral Hotel is a luxury hotel and a distinct landmark in Edinburgh, located in the heart of the city and grabs your attention with its clock tower and Victorian architecture. For Harry Potter fans, it is interesting to note that in 2007, author J. K. Rowling finished writing the series at the Balmoral Hotel, and a room has since been renamed the "J.K. Rowling Suite.”

But we were not thinking about Harry Potter when we walked in and saw the display of treats awaiting us! We were immediately drawn in by the kindness of the staff and the luxuriousness of the lobby. The tall glass doors opened to reveal a breathtaking scene with a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling and surrounded by beautiful, tall palm trees – hence the name, the Palm Court. My daughter and I chose to sit under the shade of the palm trees that arose in the middle of the grand room and which were covered in lights that cascaded down from the glass dome and the Venetian chandelier.

We began our experience with something new to me in afternoon tea, an “Amuse Bouche.” This is a French term that means “a mouth amuser.” It is a small savory course of food served as an appetizer before a meal to lure in the pallet. You may have experienced this at a dinner, but perhaps not in an afternoon tea service. I love discovering these terms and adding these ideas to my own afternoon teas at home. Our amuse bouche was a watermelon gazpacho. It was light and refreshing and a perfect starter to cleanse the palette and kick off our summer afternoon tea.

Next we enjoyed a refreshing summer drink while we waited for our tea and savories. I opted for a Rose Iced Tea. It was a black tea with rose syrup and light whipped cream—a cup of summer heaven in a glass! The menu featured a selection of loose-leaf teas that were hand poured at tableside. It was quite a sight to watch our server pour from a teapot in each hand over her head and with such precision and elegance! We chose an Earl Grey which was delicately scented with bergamot oil to pair with our dainty sandwiches and scones. My favorite sandwich was the applewood smoked cheddar with Isle of Arran tomato relish, while my daughter enjoyed the cucumber sandwich with dill cream cheese.

We enjoyed listening to sounds of the harp playing from the balcony. The music added a touch of elegance and created a peaceful ambiance to enjoy our tea. The harpist even played Happy Birthday upon learning that my daughter’s birthday was approaching! As I looked around the room, I admired the hand-painted wallpaper and beautiful exclusive white china with green palm trees…simple elegance. It’s difficult to imagine a more indulgent experience.

Our scones were served with clotted cream and homemade Balmoral jam by Heather Hills Farm. We were told how special and sweet the Scottish strawberries were and were anxious to try the jam. I found that the jam had a most wonderful berry flavor that was not too sweet nor too tart. We selected a Malawi Lemon Verbena herbal infusion to pair with our scones.

Finally, we enjoyed the pastries. The Balmoral didn’t disappoint since there was a plethora of eye-catching desserts including their famed Balmoral fruit cake with marzapan layers, raspberry, rose, and lychee macarons, Strawberry and Madagascar vanilla choux, and Maracaibo and pistachio financiers. Of course, I started with the macarons!

We had plenty of treats and decided to take some home. The server kindly packaged them for us to enjoy at a later time. Not only do you enjoy some of the finest foods served at afternoon tea, but you’re also treated like royalty by their gracious staff who go above and beyond to provide you with the best experience possible.

As a parting gift, we received a complimentary tea caddy with their own Balmoral blend of loose leaf tea. We were thrilled to have a take-home gift to remember our amazing experience.

If you do find yourself in Edinburgh, make sure you book a table at the Palm Court – it will be an experience you will cherish for years to come.

To find out more about the Palm Court at the Balmoral Hotel, then click here. If you are also interested to learn more about my Herbs and Infusions Masterclass with the UK Tea Academy, then click here. There are still a few spots left! #elizabellateaco #balmoralhotel #palmcourtbalmoral #afternoontea #teablog #teatravel #edinburgh

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page