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A look at what you can expect to find when having high tea in Victoria BC.

High Tea in Victoria BC: Indulge in the Elegance

High tea in Victoria BC is the ultimate way to feel like royalty, if only for an hour.

When you land in Victoria, you’re stepping into North America’s very own slice of Britain. And what’s more quintessentially British than indulging in a regal high tea experience?

Get ready to elevate your travel game as we take you through the top spots for afternoon tea in Victoria, Canada, to sip on exquisite teas and nibble on elegant snacks.

Afternoon Tea in Victoria, BC

Imagine this: delicate china, an array of finely cut sandwiches, and the irresistible allure of freshly baked scones slathered with clotted cream and jam.

Now, place that image against the picturesque backdrop of Victoria, and you’ve got yourself an afternoon to remember.

So, when you sit down for afternoon tea in Victoria, you’re not just sipping on tea; you’re immersing yourself in a ritual that’s steeped in history, elegance, and a dash of local flair.

So, if you’re here for a quick visit, high tea in Victoria should be at the top of your Victoria itinerary.

Related: Victoria’s Best Restaurants: A Culinary Journey

What is Afternoon Tea?

The quintessential British tradition of afternoon tea is more than just a midday refreshment; it’s an art form, a social event, and a delightful slice of culinary heritage all rolled into one.

The tradition was started by Anna, the Duchess of Bedfordshire, in the 1840s. Originally viewed as a way to curb the peckish feeling between lunch and dinner, it has since evolved into a cherished ritual.

What makes afternoon tea so special? It’s the perfect blend of elegance and comfort. Picture this: delicate teacups, sumptuous scones with clotted cream and jam, an assortment of finger sandwiches, and maybe even a cheeky pastry (or two).

Feeling extra indulgent? Then try tossing in a glass of bubbly! You’ll feel like a princess in no time!

Related: The Best Coffee Shops in Victoria, BC: A Caffeine Quest

Where can you find the Best High Tea in Victoria?

Experiencing afternoon tea in Victoria means experiencing all this British charm with a Canadian twist. In Victoria, afternoon tea isn’t just a nod to the city’s British roots; it’s a full-on celebration, complete with local ingredients and breathtaking settings ranging from historic hotels to lush gardens.

There are many excellent places to enjoy afternoon tea in Victoria, let’s have a look at a few of my favourites:

The best place to get high tea in Victoria BC, the Empress Hotel.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel – The Crown Jewel of Victoria High Tea Experiences

Location: 721 Government St. | Hours: 11 am – 2 pm daily | Cost: From $95

Oh, where do I even start with afternoon tea at the Empress in Victoria? The experience isn’t just a meal; it’s like stepping into a storybook. It’s the crown jewel of high tea in Victoria, and trust me, it lives up to every bit of its reputation.

First off, the setting is nothing short of majestic. With its grandiose architecture and rich history, the hotel is a landmark in itself. The large windows offer stunning views of the Inner Harbour, adding to the serene and regal ambiance. It’s like being in a living postcard of Victoria.

The selection of pastries, scones, and sandwiches is a culinary ballet, each element performing in perfect harmony. But why stop there when you can elevate the experience with a bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne? Adding that bubbly companion to your tea takes the whole affair from regal to downright royal.

Truly, afternoon tea at the Empress is not just a meal—it’s an event, one that beautifully encapsulates the essence of high tea in Victoria BC. Visit the Fairmont Empress website for more information.

Related: The Best Hotels in Victoria: Unearthing the Hidden Gems

A look at the culinary delights available for high tea in Victoria BC at Butchart Gardens.
Instagram: @thebutchartgardens

Butchart Gardens – Victoria Tea Time in Full Bloom

Location: 800 Benevento Ave. | Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm daily | Cost: From $49.50

Heading to Butchart Gardens for afternoon tea is like stepping into a living, breathing masterpiece. It’s not just about sipping tea; it’s about immersing yourself in the vibrant beauty of Victoria’s most popular tourist attraction.

Imagine sitting amidst the lush, meticulously maintained gardens, where every glance offers a new splash of colour and life. If you were asked to envision the perfect spot for afternoon tea, this is the kind of backdrop you might dream up.

Now, onto the stars of the show—the tea and treats. Butchart Gardens’ signature house scone is something of a legend. Paired with strawberry jam and mascarpone cream, it’s simply delectable.

But the culinary journey doesn’t stop there. The pastries and savoury sandwiches are crafted with a mix of tradition and innovative spirit. And the house-made desserts—they’re the cherry on top of a truly exquisite experience.

Afternoon tea at Butchart Gardens isn’t just something to do; it’s an experience to cherish. Admission to the gardens is required. For more info, visit the Butchart Gardens Dining Room website.

Related: How to Get to Butchart Gardens from Victoria: No Car, No Problem

A small child enjoys high tea in Victoria BC at the White Heather Tea Room in Oak Bay.
Instagram: @whiteheathertearoom

White Heather Tea Room – The Best High Tea in Victoria for Locals

Location: 1885 Oak Bay Ave. | Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm Wed – Fri/Sun, 8 am – 5 pm Sat | Cost: From $42.00

The White Heather Tea Room in Oak Bay is Victoria’s best-kept secret for those in the know. Unlike the grandeur of the Empress or the scenic backdrop of Butchart Gardens, this cozy nook offers a more intimate, laid-back afternoon tea experience.

It’s quieter and more personal, and its simplicity and warmth have an undeniable charm. Here, afternoon tea feels less like a formal event and more like a relaxing pause in your day, a moment to savour flavours and enjoy good company.

Menu-wise, the White Heather Tea Room shines with its variety and inclusivity. Offering several menu options at different price points. From the light nibbler who just wants a spot of tea and a few scones to the hungry visitor ready to indulge in the full array of sandwiches, scones, pastries, and desserts

They offer two seatings at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to enjoy their leisurely tea without feeling rushed. On Saturdays, they add an extra seating at 3:30 pm. Visit the White Heather Tea Room to learn more.

Related: The Best Victoria Wineries: Tours & Tastings

A serving of pastires and sanwiches at the Pendray Inn, one of the best places to grab afternoon tea in Victoria BC.
Courtesy: Pendray Inn

Pendray Inn & Tea House – Traditional High Tea in Victoria BC With a Local Twist

Location: 309 Belleville St. | Hours: 11 am – 3 pm Mon – Fri, 11 am – 4 pm Sat/Sun | Cost: From $62.00

The Pendray Inn & Tea House is a treasure nestled in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, offering an afternoon tea experience that beautifully blends the British tradition with a touch of West Coast flair.

Situated in a prime spot near Fisherman’s Wharf, the cruise port, and the Vancouver to Victoria seaplane terminal, it’s the perfect pit stop for both weary travellers fresh off their adventures and locals looking to indulge in a bit of elegance.

But the Pendray really sets itself by catering to various dietary preferences. It boasts one of the only distinct children’s menus (at just $24) among the high tea spots in Victoria, BC. Their vegan menu is a thoughtful compilation of plant-based delights. Meanwhile, the West Coast menu brings a seafood flair to the table if you’re looking for something outside the ordinary.

Whether you’re a family looking for an outing that everyone can enjoy, a visitor seeking the comfort of a British tradition with a local twist, or simply in need of a peaceful break amidst your travels, the Pendray offers a unique and memorable experience.

Related: The Top Things to Do in Victoria in Summer

A sampling of the delights available at the Tea House at Abkhazi Garden in Victoria, BC.
Instagram: @abkhaziteahouse

The Tea House at Abkhazi Garden – Victoria’s Most Relaxing Afternoon Tea Experience

Location: 1964 Fairfield Rd. | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Daily (Apr-Sep) | Cost: From $54.00

Nestled within the heart of a stunning garden that feels like a secret world away from the bustling city, the Abkhazi Gardens Tea House offers a Victoria afternoon tea experience that is as tranquil as it is enchanting.

The setting of this Victoria tea house is something straight out of a fairy tale. Tucked inside a heritage home, with views that overlook the meticulously cared-for Abkhazi Garden, this place offers a quiet refuge where you can truly relax and savour your tea time.

When it comes to the menu, the Abkhazi Gardens Tea House keeps things delightfully simple yet utterly satisfying. With a focus on quality over quantity, each item, from the delicate sandwiches to the scrumptious scones and pastries, is crafted to complement the serene atmosphere.

What truly sets this tea house apart is its ambiance. It’s a place where you can hear the soft whisper of the wind through the trees, the chirping of birds, and the quiet chatter of fellow tea enthusiasts, all adding to the peaceful experience.

Related: Victoria’s Best Parks & Gardens: A Guide to the City’s Greenspaces

Victoria Afternoon Tea Tips

Heading out for afternoon tea in Victoria BC? Here’s a quick guide to make your tea time absolutely perfect:

  1. Choose the Right Tea Room
    • Consider the vibe you’re going for (elegant, casual, family-friendly).
    • Look into the location—do you want waterfront views, garden surroundings, or an intimate heritage home feel?
    • Pick a spot that fits your budget. While most would prefer the Empress, the experience can be cost-prohibitive, especially when you factor in the bubbly!
  2. Book Ahead
    • Always book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. If you’re grabbing afternoon tea at the Empress, I recommend booking well before you arrive in Victoria.
    • Most tea rooms have two or three different seatings, which provide ample windows to enjoy the occasion. You can usually choose between 11:00 and 1:00 (ish) seatings.
    • Check if you can book online through the tea room’s website or give them a call. Some spots fill up fast!
  3. Dress for Success
    • While not all places have a strict dress code, it’s common to dress smart casual.
    • For the more upscale spots like the Fairmont Empress, aim for a notch above casual. No need for ball gowns, but maybe leave the shorts, ball caps and flip-flops at home.
    • Many women choose to wear colourful cotton or linen dresses, fascinators and fancy tea hats to add to the occasion. If you’re game, this is the time to dress like you’re in The Crown!
  4. Bring Your Appetite
    • Don’t skip the scones—they’re a teatime staple. Top them with traditional strawberry jam and clotted cream for the ultimate afternoon tea treat.
    • You’ll also have your choice of delectable pastries, desserts, fruits, and sandwiches. So, I’d recommend leaving the calorie counter at home and enjoy.
    • Be adventurous with the tea selection. Whether you’re looking for a classic Earl Grey or something more exotic, this is your chance to explore. Many rooms will have a dozen or more offerings.
    • If you have dietary restrictions, check the menu online ahead of time. Many places offer vegan, gluten-free, or vegetarian options. The Pendray is my pick for those with dietary constraints.
  5. Mind Your Manners
    • Remember, afternoon tea is an experience. Take your time and enjoy the moment.
    • Pinkies in or out? It’s actually more modern to keep your pinkie in, despite what old movies show.
    • No dunking! According to Victorian-era traditions, it’s considered improper to dunk your biscuits into your tea.
    • Don’t cause a stir! Similarly, traditions dictate that you mustn’t stir in a clockwise manner. Position your spoon at a 12 o’clock position in the cup and softly fold the liquid back and forth to 6 o’clock.
    • Local tea houses shouldn’t be confused with Buckingham Palace. Nevertheless, afternoon tea in Victoria is still somewhat formal by Canadian standards, so be on your best behaviour!
  6. Bringing Kids?
    • Look for places with a children’s menu if you’re bringing the little ones along.
    • The Pendray Inn and the Empress are known for being family-friendly. They both offer reduced rates on kid’s menus.

Remember, afternoon tea in Victoria is more than just a meal—it’s a chance to slow down, savour delicious bites, and soak in the beauty of the city’s culture and surroundings. Enjoy your tea time!

All set to enjoy high tea in Victoria BC?

As our journey through Victoria afternoon tea comes to an end, remember that the city’s tea rooms are more than just places to eat; they’re gateways to experiencing the regal elegance of British tradition right here in North America.

So, next time you’re in Victoria, don’t just pass by these charming locales; step inside and let the magic of high tea in Victoria BC, transport you to a world of sophistication and delight.

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