Did you know that the tradition of enjoying afternoon tea — a pot of freshly brewed tea and a snack of sandwiches and sweets — originated with Queen Victoria? The story goes that one of her ladies in waiting requested a snack in the afternoon before mealtime, and Queen Victoria loved the idea and made this tea-and-snack ritual a daily tradition. Today afternoon tea is an indulgence enjoyed by many, and Queen Victoria’s snack of small cakes, breads, pastries, and berries continues to inspire contemporary afternoon tea menus. Here are some delightful places in and around Calgary to enjoy the tradition of afternoon tea.
Heritage Park | Calgary
Heritage Park’s Tea on the Verandah is steeped in history! You’ll enjoy scenic views of the living history museum while seated outdoors on the coverd verandah of the Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women — a replica of Nellie McClung’s house. Tea is served with scones fresh from Heritage Park’s own bakery, finger sandwiches, lemon meringue tarts, raspberry chocolate macaroons, and vanilla cream puffs. Little ones can opt for pink lemonade instead of tea. This is a seasonal offering available only in the summer. $19.99 per person; $14.99 per child. Heritage Park gate admission is required, though discounted rates are available for those attending Tea on the Verandah.
Greater Goods | Calgary
This cute boutique has a tea bar stocked with an assortment of loose leaf teas and sweet treats made by Pretty Sweet. Order your freshly brewed tea hot or iced, then grab a seat in the small cafe or, better yet, take your tea to go and browse the locally-made products in the retail space.
Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse | Calgary
Enjoy “trunch” — a unique combination of brunch, lunch, and tea. Pampa’s made-in-house blend of tea is served alongside six varieties of all-you-cat eat charcoal grilled meat (including beef top sirloin and leg of lamb), five specialty brunch dishes (including French toast and Brazilian crepes), and a salad bar of over 50 hot and cold side dishes. Served on Sundays from 11 am – 3 pm. $29.95 per adult; $15.95 per child (12 and under).
Fairmont Palliser | Calgary
Enjoy tea fit for a queen in the elegant Rimrock Dining Room. Choose from a selection of twelve loose leaf teas, including the Palliser’s exclusive blend (a Darjeeling tea, just like the one that was popular with Queen Victoria and her ladies in waiting) or ask to choose from a selection of speciality and wellness teas. Start snacking on some mixed berries and scones with Devonshire cream, then indulge in savoury finger sandwiches and a selection of pastries. A menu of simple sandwiches, scones, and treats are available for young tea drinkers. The tea is open to the public, including children, though reservations are required. Served daily 12 pm – 4 pm. Reservations must be made by 10 am the day of tea service. $45 per adult; $22.50 per child.
Brasserie Kensington | Calgary
This casual approach to high tea includes a twist on the typical savoury and sweet offerings, including duck confit Vietnamese-style sandwiches, cinnamon scones, devilled eggs, and hazelnut mouse. Jazz up tea service with a tea cocktail or some sparkling wine, or even add a local craft beer if you’d like. This tea is suitable for anyone that wants to enjoy a relaxing afternoon drink and snack. Served Saturdays and Sundays 2 pm – 4:30 pm. Reservations are required. $35 per person (not including alcohol).
The Dove’s Nest | Calgary
Take some time to pick your tea — they have over 100 varieties of loose leaf. Tea can be ordered any time of day with any meal, and leaves can also be purchased to take home. High Tea is available daily and includes a selection of sandwiches and treats, and gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. A children’s menu with kid-friendly fair is available for little tea drinkers. Served Mon – Fri 2 pm – 4 pm and Sat – Sun 12 pm – 4 pm. Reservations are recommended. $31.95 per adult; $16.95 per child.
Red Bush Tea and Coffee Company | Calgary
This spacious cafe has dozens of loose leaf teas to choose from. Order a hot or iced tea (or tea latte) to sip while you cozy up for a conversation in the cafe, or buy some leaves to brew at home. There’s also a candy store in the cafe, if you’re sweet tooth needs a treat.
Ollia Macarons + Tea | Calgary
This local boutique makes and serves delicious, authentic French macarons in dozens of flavours, and they also make their own blends of loose leaf teas. Grab a cup of hot or iced tea to go, or buy some tea leaves to take home. The Summer in Paris blend is especially fragrant and flavourful, and makes a cozy cup year-round. You can even take a tea-blending class to create your own tea! They rotate their macaron flavours daily, but you might find Early Grey and Chai varieties.
The Tea Wagon | Calgary
This mobile tea truck is on the move every summer serving hot and iced versions of 20 different varieties of their own hand-blended teas. When they’re not out and about, they can be rented for special events and their online shop remains open.
The Naked Leaf | Calgary
This local shop in Kensington sells dozens of natural loose leaf teas (including unique and rare varieties such as purple tea) as well as teapots, tea accessories, and everything you need for hosting a beautiful tea party at home.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise | Banff
Enjoy a winter wonderland view of glaciers, mountains, and lakes from the window as you enjoy a formal afternoon tea indoors. Dine of loose leaf tea, scones and Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, cakes, and pastries. We’re loving the gingerbread cake pops on the spring menu, The tea is open to the public, though reservations are recommended. Served daily 12 pm – 4:30 pm; last seating available at 3 pm. $46 per person; $56 with prosecco.
Fairmont Banff Springs | Banff
Enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea fit for a queen at this castle-like Fairmont property. Dress your bess and dine on loose leaf tea, scones and Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, sweets, and pastries. The tea is open to the public, including children, though reservations are recommended. The children’s menu features a special blend of “bubblegum” tea. Served daily 12 pm – 4 pm. $42 per adult, $26 per child.
Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse | Banff
Starting from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it’s an easy (albeit long) 5.5 km (two to three hours one way) hike to this rustic tea house. Take in gorgeous views of mountains, waterfalls, and rock formations, on your hike, then sip some tea or homemade lemonade and eat your lunch on the balcony of this house built in 1924. Guided tours available with Timberline Tours. Cash only. Open June – October. No set menu, prices vary per item.
Lake Agnes Tea House | Banff
Start from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise parking lot and hike for 3.4 km (one and a half hours, one way) to reach the charming Lake Agnes Tea House. Built in 1901, the teahouse has been a cozy haven for hikers to rest and relax while sipping tea and eating a hot lunch in front of stunning mountain views. Don’t want to make the climb? Ride a horse to the teahouse on a guided trail tour with Brewster Adventures or Timberline Tours. Open daily from June – October. No set menu, prices vary per item.
Mount Engadine Lodge | Kananaskis
Tucked away in the backcountry near the town of Canmore is a rustic cabin perched on a hill with stunning views of mountains and forests. Tea and treats are served daily, and if you visit on Sundays you can enjoy freshly baked strudel among the treats. Reservations are not required, nor do you need to be a guest at the lodge, so feel free to stop in to refuel. Served daily 2 pm – 5 pm. $17.50 per person; $20.50 with strudel.
Downtown Abbey Experience | Priddis
Downtown Abbey may be over, but you can create your own Victorian-inspired tea experience at the luxurious Azuridge Estate just outside of South Calgary. The experience includes maids and butlers to wait on you, tea service, dinner, and dainties. Reservations required, pricing varies.
Do you have another favourite spot to get tea in or around Calgary? Let us know in the comments below!