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Jan 4, 2008 07:42 PM

Best English High Tea in NoVa

I say "high tea" knowing that's not really accurate, but hoping to avoid suggestions for where to buy some tea.

My wife and her mum want to go out for an afternoon tea and feel well-treated, generously-provided (within reason) and happy to have had the experience.

Anyone have experiences to share?

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  1. The British Pantry in Aldie, Va. does a proper afternoon tea with tea sandwiches, scone, clotted cream and jam...Having tea at the British Pantry followed by a stroll in Middleburg just up the road (route 50) makes for a lovely afternoon.

    1. I used to own a tea shoppe in Northern Va. I went to every hotel tea in town. As of now, the BEST one hands down-is the Ritz Carlton tysons Corner. And please DO call if what it really is....afternoon tea.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChowPup

        I second the Ritz Carlton recommendation. The British Pantry is kind of country quaint and the offerings include commercial cookies instead of fresh made pastries. I have been there and didn't think it was a treat at all. But the Ritz Carlton, now that's a treat.

        1. re: bachinskin

          I also vote for Ritz Carlton but I must say that I like the Pentagon City one a lot. (Menus are the same) I like the one in Tyson's but I like the room at Pentagon city - with its dark decor and fireplace - better than the many windowed room in Tysons. But both are nice - just depends on what setting you are looking for.

        2. re: ChowPup

          Have you been to the RC in Pentagon City and DC, if so, how would you rate them?

        3. Here is an off the wall suggestion, which I know about because I am a gardener. Green Springs Garden in Annandale offers tea in an historic house on the property. It may even be pretty close to what you're calling high tea. I can't vouch for the chowishness or foodieness of it, but the setting, both inside the house and the surrounding garden, is lovely. Sometimes that goes a long way toward the total experience, particularly for something like tea. Note that for ethnic food, I would never recommend a place based on it's ambience, but this is different.

          Not sure what the winter hours are for this, or whether reservations would be required in the winter, as they tend to be in summer. I'm sure a call to Green Springs would clarify.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bacchante

            I hosted a formal tea there last June and it was delightful. They featured lovely scones with clotted cream, fruit tarts, finger sandwiches and pastries that were more than expected in the historic house as described above. The pots of tea were served by educated and dedicated volunteers which allowed for special flavor selections, and the gardens are a delight. It's a 16 acre historic gem deeded to the Fairfax County Park Authority, located 2 miles west of 395 just off 236, 15 minutes south of DC

          2. I enjoy the British Pantry as well, but would also recommend the Madison Tea Room in Warrenton. Warrenton's Main Street is also a nice place for a stroll. I couldn't find a web site for the tea room, but here's one with some info:

            (And if you go back up a level on that site, there's information on other tea rooms in Virginia.


            Another option might be Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville (, which offers tea Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. I've only had dinner there, and it's very British pub-like. I'd expect tea to be good but can't vouch for it. I'd call ahead if you want to consider it.

            1. You have to go a long way to beat the Ritz in Tysons Corner. If you are really lucky when you go they will have scones and clotted cream on the menu for dessert. It's death on a plate, but what a way to go!