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Lifestyle, Travel

Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court (Balmoral Hotel)

When in Edinburgh, it’s highly recommended to take tea at the Palm Court of the Balmoral Hotel.

As soon as you exit Edinburgh Waverley Station, one of the first buildings you’ll notice is the Balmoral Hotel with its 190 ft high clock tower. Originally named the North British Hotel when it opened in 1902, the Balmoral Hotel was renamed in 1991. Balmoral means ‘majestic dwelling’ in Gaelic. The hotel has been part of the Rocco Forte hotels since 1997. Their award-winning afternoon tea at the Palm Court is very popular so be sure to book a table in advance!

Once you enter the Balmoral Hotel, the Palm Court is just past the lobby/foyer. If you’re wondering why it’s called the Palm Court, there are palm trees (I can’t remember if they’re real or not but I assume they’re not) inside the neoclassical room with monotone watercolour landscape scenes (there has to be a name for it but I can’t remember what it is). During afternoon tea, a harpist plucks away as guests enjoy tea.

Afternoon tea is £40 per person, which was surprisingly more than I’d expected in Edinburgh. After seeing all the food that was served, I could understand why it is as expensive as London. If it weren’t because I was accompanying family, I don’t think I would have splurged on my wages.

  • Appetiser: Amuse Bouche
  • Sandwiches and Savouries
  • Fresh scones (plain and fruit) with clotted cream and jam
  • Pastries
  • Sorbet in mini cones

Unfortunately, we took photos of the sandwiches and the savouries only as we had to have our scones and pastries packed. So note to diners: don’t take tea if you have to catch the train within an hour and a half! Another tip for diners: go on an empty stomach because there is too much food!

For tea, I chose the Royal Scottish Balmoral Blend, a rather smokey (in my opinion) blend of Assam and Ceylon. Although I usually take milk and sugar in my tea, I decided to forego both. I thought it was just the right tea to water down all the flavours.

As I mentioned earlier, we were in a rush to catch the train. Thankfully, Waverley is next to the hotel but it’s not easy rushing with luggage so we were very grateful when a staff member offered to carry our luggage to make sure we wouldn’t miss our train. Superb service!


Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ

Hours: Mon-Sun 12-5pm

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