Few things are more deliciously indulgent than an idyllic afternoon tea. Here are 20 of the best places in Essex for tea and cake.

1. The County Hotel, Chelmsford

Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the elegant and classic County Hotel in Chelmsford, either in the lounge bar or hotel restaurant.

Guests can enjoy a glass of prosecco, champagne and fantastic teas from around the world, or a freshly-brewed ground coffee.

The chefs at The County Hotel also make beautiful finger sandwiches, house-made delicate cakes and sweet treats, plus savouries and freshly-baked house-made scones. From £20 pp.

Address: 29 Rainsford Road, Chelmsford CM1 2PZ

Website: countyhotelchelmsford.co.uk

2. Little Channels Bistro, Little Waltham

Little Channels Bistro lays on delectable afternoon teas throughout every season.

As well as themed teas in May, July and October, the Bistro's traditional afternoon tea features quintessentially British staples including a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade mini quiches, fruit scones and milkshakes.

For those looking for extra sparkle, there's a glass of prosecco and a bite-sized dessert too. From £16.55p, and children's teas are available too.

The Bistro is no ordinary restaurant. This attractive destination eatery, set in a Tudor barn with a charming courtyard, is ideal for relaxing with friends and family on sunny afternoons.

Address: Little Channels, Pratts Farm Lane West, Little Waltham, Chelmsford, CM3 3PR

Website: littlechannelswaltham.co.uk

3. Lathcoats Farm, Chelmsford

The Bee Shed Coffee House at Lathcoats Farm offers relaxing surroundings for excellent coffee and tea, plus delicious homemade cake, English breakfasts, light lunches and afternoon tea (booking required) - and there is even a tempting children's platter for the younger guests. Take away afternoon teas are also currently available.

Enjoy the cosy wood burning stove in winter or a sunny terrace for the summer, plus a natural play area for younger children, all within a working fruit farm. This is the perfect spot for friends and family to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

Address: Lathcoats Farm, Beehive Lane, Galleywood, CM2 8LX

Website: eapples.co.uk

4. Blackmore Tea Rooms, Ingatestone

The Blackmore Tea Rooms are set in the middle of the village of Blackmore, located by the small village green. These 15th century tea rooms exude charm, with their exposed beams and sumptuous furnishings.

There is a wide choice of teas and other beverages on offer, as well as a delicious menu, including gluten free bread and cakes, plus free wi-fi.

As you would expect in these charming surroundings, the kitchen offers traditional, home-baked cakes and uses traditional tea.

Address: On the green, next to the Leather Bottle Public house, Blackmore, CM4 0RL

Website: blackmoretearooms.co.uk

5. The Laughing Pear, Rayleigh

Formerly the Lower Barn Cafe, The Laughing Pear's afternoon tea offering is substantial.

You've got a traditional tea, with the likes of cheese and pickle sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls, scones and homemade cakes, as well as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan teas too. You can also order afternoon teas for take away too.

Bookings with as minimum of 24 hours notice and a £5 deposit required.

Address: Lower Barn Farm, Rayleigh, SS6 9ET

Website: thelaughingpear.co.uk

6. Orsett Hall Hotel, Orsett

Orsett Hall is the ideal venue for an afternoon tea, offering a traditional, savoury or gluten-free tea for you to try.

Enjoy the treat in the hotel's calm and contemporary surroundings, overlooking the hotel's picturesque gardens with a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.

The hotel's traditional tea comes with a selection of finger sandwiches with classic fillings, traditionally British, thinly sliced finger sandwiches, warm scones with strawberry preserve and clotted cream, coconut macaroon and a range of mini desserts.

As not everyone has a sweet tooth, the savoury option gives you the full afternoon tea experience, without the sugar hit, and features the likes of spinach scones, sausage rolls, sandwiches, mini burgers and soup.

Address: Prince Charles Avenue, Orsett, RM16 3HS

Website: orsetthall.co.uk

7. Down Hall Country House Hotel, Hatfield Heath

Visit Down Hall Country House Hotel to experience the much-loved treat of traditional English afternoon tea at its finest.

Served in the historic splendour of the hotel's lounge or Ibbetsons Tea Lounge, with a choice of delicious menus combined with a selection of the finest teas, you are set for an unforgettable afternoon.

At Down Hall, afternoon tea is served daily between 2pm and 5pm and, as all the meals are freshly made to order, reservations are required.

Address: Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, CM22 7AS

Website: downhall.co.uk

8. The Old Moot House, Castle Hedingham

The Old Moot House welcomes you to this charming, 15th century building, that has parts dating back to the 13th century.

While retaining its traditional features, this classic restaurant has recently been refurbished to a high standard to offer you a stylish and comfortable setting for a perfect afternoon tea.

Situated in the medieval village of Castle Hedingham, close to the village's impressive castle and historic buildings, this is the ideal location to enjoy a high class afternoon tea, with prosecco or champagne on offer to complement your experience. From £14.95 pp

Address: 1 St. James Street, The Old Moot House, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, CO9 3EJ

Website: moothouserestaurant.co.uk

9. Prested Hall, Feering

Step back for a moment and relax with a delicious afternoon tea at Prested Hall in Feering.

Delight in this traditional experience, with your afternoon tea served on crisp white linen tablecloths decorated with fresh cut flowers.

Enjoy beautiful vintage bone china and select from more than a dozen different types of loose leaf tea including organic Darjeeling and Egyptian mint.

The menu of freshly prepared finger sandwiches, scones, and gorgeous miniature cakes changes according to the season. There's is also a gentleman's tea, which is savoury.

Afternoon tea is served in The Hall in one of the charming reception rooms, while in warmer weather, it can be served on the decking overlooking the moat.

Booking is essential with 24 hours notice required and a £5 deposit. From £22.50pp and children's menus are available.

Address: Prested Hall, Feering, Colchester, CO5 9EE

Website: prested.co.uk

10. Roslin Beach Hotel, Thorpe Bay

With panoramic views of the Thames Estuary, the Roslin has become synonymous with this finest of British traditions.

Take time out with mouth-watering finger sandwiches, beautifully presented on aptly-named Duchess fine bone china.

Freshly-baked scones are served with Devonshire clotted cream and Tiptree preserves, accompanied by sumptuous seasonal teacakes and exquisitely presented pastries.

You can choose from a selection of teas, or opt for a glass of champagne instead.

And if there is too much for one sitting, take some home in one of the elegantly designed cake boxes. Don't miss the special themed afternoon teas too.

Address: Prested Hall, Feering, Colchester, CO5 9EE

Website: prested.co.uk

11. Tiptree Jam Shop & Tea Rooms, Tiptree, Debham, Heybridge Basin

As well as making Tiptree preserves, Wilkin & Sons also has a flourishing collection of traditional tea rooms across Essex, each with a unique character of its own. There is a common thread that runs through all of them - good old-fashioned service, with care and respect.

Expect good quality service, food and drink, and the desire to visit again soon.

Alongside the tea room at the main home of Tiptree preserves, you will also find a Museum of Jam-Making, a Gift Shop and the chance to enjoy countryside walks around the fruit farm.

Address: Tiptree, CO5 0RF; High Street, Dedham, CO7 6DE;

Basin Road, Heybridge, CM9 4R

Website: tiptree.com

12. Meadow Hill Coffee Shop, Great Dunmow

Meadow Hill Coffee Shop offers a warm, welcoming setting with a friendly, helpful team serving freshly-ground Rain Forest Alliance coffee, great hot chocolate, a wide range of traditional and flavoured teas as well as milkshakes and cold drinks.

For a real treat, the afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches freshly made with granary and white bread, scones with jam and clotted cream and slices of cake.

Allergens are catered for and gluten free options are available when booked in advance, and you can add a glass of fizz to your meal if you fancy. From £14.25 pp.

Address: 9 High St, Great Dunmow, Dunmow CM6 1AB

Website: meadowhillcoffeeshop.com

13. The Pier at Harwich

Expect a full afternoon tea of delicious sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a mouth-watering choice of cakes as well as a range of teas from English breakfast through to Persian pomegranate. And of course you can add a cheeky glass of fizz if you want to. From £21.50 pp.

Afternoon tea is available every day from 2pm in the restaurant overlooking the harbour and the Stour and Orwell estuaries.

Alternatively, in the summer, sit back and soak up the view on the balcony or on the terrace adjacent to the harbour.

Address: The Quay, Harwich CO12 3HH

Website: milsomhotels.com

14. GreyFriars Hotel, Colchester

Tea at GreyFriars Hotel is taken in the Rose Room - two beautiful rooms with marvellous natural light.

Feast on wafer thin sandwiches, fluffy scones with dollops of rich strawberry preserve and a selection of sweet treats made by the team of specialist chefs and accompanied by five-star service.

There's also a savoury gentleman's menu too, and prices start from £25.95 pp. Reservations are essential.

Address: High Street, Colchester, C01 1U

Website: greyfriarscolchester.co.uk

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