The Best Afternoon Tea in North Norfolk

The best places for afternoon tea in North Norfolk

I tend to navigate my way around North Norfolk by the places I eat. I certainly remember a good meal or a great pub, and to that list I would definitively add great tearooms.

This is strange really, as I don’t really think of myself as a foodie, but I suppose I must be. Thank goodness I still manage to avoid photographing most plates of food, a strange, 21st century social media habit which once acquired is hard to break, but quite amusing to watch in most restaurants and cafe’s these days.

Afternoon tea is a growth market in the UK

The humble afternoon tea has been elevated to an pre-bookable event by some establishments. I must admit this baffles me and as a businessman frustrates me. Why open a tea shop, staff it, brand it, pay to advertise it, fill it with sandwich’s and cakes, but then expect customers to organise themselves to book with 24 hours notice while turning away walk in’s? It’s a sample platter of what you’re kitchen was set up to produce, arranged on a two or three tier cake plate. Can somebody explain to me why that’s so hard to produce on request?


Enough of a rant, I am supposed to be recommending some great places where they do it really well. So lets forget the pre-booked triple layer formal affair and look at some great drop in tea shops where you can be assured of a friendly welcome, a good pot of tea and some great cake selections.

This is not an exhaustive list, and if we’ve skipped your favourite, forgive me, I’ve only got 700 words and more acres of fertile food rich territory, than they could ever cover.

Holt is a shopping and food destination that’s hard to ignore.

Three options come to mind and I would be guided by the prevailing weather in part:

Byfords still has the winning formula when it comes to serving fruit scones, namely three pots of jam on your table with every serving, with ample clotted cream and a very generous and well fruited scone. Tea choices are excellent as are the massive cake selection on offer. Try the ginger fridge cake if you are a ginger fan. They also do a full afternoon tea if you so wish it. No dogs inside is a limiting factor and its busy in holiday season, but they still set the standard and are well worth a visit.

The Owl Tearoom

Done Byfords and want to try somewhere new? Try the Owl Tearoom located towards Gresham’s prep school, close to the war memorial on White Lion Street. This is a lovely traditional tearoom and restaurant which a lot of visitors miss, as it’s a little tucked away. The Owl was established in 1929 and has a hidden gem of a courtyard garden in summer where you can take dogs and the service was among the best. Great cakes, great tea selection, well served and room to relax. We keep going back, you will too! 

Folly Tearoom

My final recommendation in Holt is the Folly Tearoom. For a sprinkling of vintage romance (not compulsory) try the Folly Tearoom and gardens off Bull Street at Hoppers Yard. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in the garden. There’s great service and a good tea selection. Tea tasting parties are on offer (pre-bookable) and open all day from breakfast to early evening in season. The inside space is limited, so one for the summer to fully appreciate the beautiful setting.

Wiveton Hall Fruit Farm Cafe when the sun is shining and the blue sky is as wide and far as you want to turn, this is still a very special location for afternoon tea and has to merit a recommendation. OK so it’s awash with tourists these days, and as a local you may want to avoid peak silly season on the coast, but do go, the view is still one of the best in the world and it’s on your doorstep!

Read Mike’s guide to the best antique stores in the Norfolk or visit his website:



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