commonliner’s Cream Tea Chronicles

Date January 10, 2010 | Map

Cream Tea, be it Devonshire, Cornish or other, is a fantastic British tradition to enjoy: a nice tea, hopefully home-baked scones, delicious clotted cream, and some jam – the perfect recipe for a relaxed Sunday afternoon. I savoured my first cream tea at the age of sixteen and was instantly hooked on this sweet delight, so I was a bit disappointed when I realised that the cream tea tradition did not seem to be overly popular in London. Oh, it is easy to find places for a sumptuous afternoon tea, a full meal of delicacies, which the average person cannot possibly finish. But I was more after a snack, and I did not want to slash out two-digit figures for a moment of indulgence. So where are those affordable cream tea places in London?

CCTeaCThey exist. Not widely advertised, rarely mentioned in travel guides, an intrinsic part of local knowledge. Over the years, I stumbled upon the occasional tea house or café that served something similar to what you would get in a rural tea house somewhere in the middle of Devon. Thus, at some point last year I decided to pursue this soft spot of mine a bit more systematically, with the aim to become an affordable cream tea expert. It is now time to start reporting on my findings:

Welcome to CCTeaC, commonliner’s cream tea chronicles, a non-regular series of articles on where to find affordable cream teas in London.

I am not after any cream tea. No, I only include affordable cream teas in my reports that meet the following criteria:

Mandatory components:

  • Tea (any)
  • Scones (one or two, with or without sultanas, any special creation allowed)
  • Clotted Cream (pure butter or whipped cream will turn the cream tea into scones with tea)
  • Jam (any)

Optional additional components:

  • Butter (in addition to clotted cream)
  • Tea supplements such as milk or sugar (eek!)
  • Cake (in very rare cases, outstanding cake can replace scones)

Other criteria:

  • Price:
    The total of the mandatory components must be in the price range of up to £7. This range can be adjusted in exceptional circumstances, such as an outstanding view.
  • Location:
    Usually restricted to Greater London. Clearly labelled if beyond.
  • Venue types:
    Independent cafés, cafés attached to museums, etc. Chains are permitted, but not prioritised.

At the time of writing, I had about 35 genuine affordable cream tea places on my list (not counting branches of chains), twelve of which I had already visited. From now on, I will report on these little gems every now and then under the heading of

commonliner’s cream tea chronicles

Devonshire Tea, by Liyster via commons.wikimedia.org

Devonshire Tea, by Liyster via commons.wikimedia.org



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