Victoria B.C.’s Guide to An Iconic High Tea

High tea has a rich history dating back to the 1840s when the British first introduced the practice. Renowned for being the most British city outside of England, there’s no better place for a truly authentic and memorable tea time than the beautiful waterfront city of Victoria, B.C. Ahead of International Tea Day on May 21, taste your way through six different high tea experiences along Victoria’s self-guided High Tea Trail:

Start with the Historic

Pendray Tea House

Pendray Tea HouseThe traditional tea house located in the historic Pendray Inn offers breathtaking views of Victoria’s Inner Harbour and serves a traditional afternoon tea with savory dishes, including smoked salmon and capers and Maple Leaf chicken with spinach on a ricotta roll. Sweets include fresh baked white chocolate and lavender scones, and more.

White Heather Tea RoomWhite Heather Tea Room is located in the historic and charming town of Oak Bay and offers multiple sizes of afternoon tea sets. Their signature set – the Big Muckle –  is four courses with 13 morsels (amuse-bouche, fresh scones, finger hor d’oeuvres, tea sandwiches, and more). There’s also the Not-So-Wee Tea, three courses and 11 bites, and the Wee Tea, three courses and eight bites.

Make Your Way Through the Blooms

Butchart Gardens photo credit: Matt Shannon Photography

The Butchart GardensLocated in the world-famous Butchart Gardens, which are celebrating their 120th anniversary this year, afternoon tea in the tea room offers nine different loose tea choices and delicious bites, including English trifle, house scones, a signature sausage roll, and much more. Guests can also indulge in house-made sweets like raspberry pistachio truffle and carrot cake. 

The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden

The Teahouse at Abkhazi GardenLocated in the beautiful Abkhazi Garden, the Teahouse offers seasonal menus showcasing the region and garden-grown produce. The spring high tea menu features a choice of Silk Road loose tea paired with four courses, including a petite latke with creme fraiche and spring onion, organic tarragon egg salad on marbled rye, fresh scones and more, topped off with a final sweet course.

End With A Twist

Fairmont Empress photo credit: Fairmont Empress

Fairmont EmpressCanada’s Castle on the Coast attracts nearly 100,000 people annually for its iconic tea service. Located in the Lobby Lounge, the service is complete with live classical piano music and has been a favorite among celebrities and royalty for more than a century. The property serves “The Empress blend,” a selection of seasonal, quality teas created exclusively for Fairmont Empress by the Metropolitan Tea Company. In 2023, the hotel launched Sunset Sips, a new evening cocktail and culinary experience offering an intoxicating new twist on traditional tea service.

Silk Road Tea Situated at the gateway of Victoria’s historic Chinatown, Silk Road Tea provides a portal into the vast world of tea. Stop by the tea-tasting bar and sip your way through a few tea varieties. Be sure not to miss the shop’s mouth-watering tea and chocolate pairings. Brush up on tea education with one of Silk Road’s fabulous workshops and learn how to create everything from tea cocktails to tea slushies.

Piggy and Paisley – Located close to downtown in James Bay. Dive into our menu with the classic Afternoon Cream Tea or the show-stopping 3 Tiered Festive Afternoon Tea. The Cream Tea stars freshly baked scones, rich clotted cream, and the sweetest preserves, accompanied by fresh fruit and a pot of tea of your choice. For those seeking more drama, our Festive Tea is a three-act delight: savoury sandwiches, moreish scones, and a dessert finale that deserves a standing ovation, all paired with your favourite tea and a side of sparkling conversation.

Aura at the Inn at Laurel PointLocated inside the beautiful Inn at Laurel Point, the hotel’s restaurant, Aura, combines regional, farm-direct ingredients with international cuisines and skillful techniques for a delicious exploration of food and drink. The afternoon tea menu blends traditional high tea elements with Japanese flare, offering blueberry and black currant scone with sakura almond jam, clotted cream, and a Japanese Sour Cherry Green Tea for an inventive twist on the classic.

Media release and images provided by Erin Sinclair, Destination Greater Victoria. Feature image photo credit: Pendrey Inn and Tea House Piggy and Paisley info and image courtesy of their website.

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