Afternoon tea is one of my favourite rituals to partake in. There’s just something about the concept of dressing up and spending a leisurely afternoon in a beautiful setting, sipping on tea and snacking on bite-sized sandwiches and dainty desserts, that feels decidedly indulgent and luxurious. The Waterdown Tea House in Waterdown (a community of Hamilton) has been on my must-visit list for a while, and now that we live in Burlington, it’s not too far from home, so we decided to try it out!
The tea house is located in a beautiful historic building that dates back to the 1880s. While the owners have renovated the building’s interior, they took care to preserve its historic features wherever they could. The indoor dining area is charming and decorated with thoughtful vintage touches, including a framed horseshoe from its past life as a saddle shop.
While the interior of the tea house is lovely, what really sold it for me was the back patio, which is absolutely dreamy. Painted all white and adorned with white linen curtains and floral wreaths, it’s exactly what I would want my dream patio to look like.
We started, naturally, with tea! I chose the Cream of Earl Grey, which the menu describes as “a Traditional Earl Grey with a creamy taste of vanilla and lavender notes”. Tania went with the Versailles Lavender Earl Grey, which was more a floral tea, with strong lavender and bergamot notes. I tried a sip of hers and you could really taste the lavender! While both teas were delicious, I’m glad I went with the Cream of Earl Grey, as the vanilla notes balanced out the lavender so it didn’t taste too flowery.
Of course, everyone knows afternoon tea isn’t really just about the tea – it’s about the food! We both ordered the traditional Waterdown High Tea, which includes sandwiches, desserts and scones. If you’re not as hungry or don’t want the full afternoon tea experience, there are other options such as the Duchess Traditional Tea (sandwiches and scones only) or Garden Patio Tea (scones and desserts only). The Waterdown Tea House also offers a half-price tea experience for children under 10, which is such a cute idea. We were seated near a mother having tea with her young daughter, and it was adorable to watch – you could tell the daughter felt like a princess!
Our tea was served on a traditional three-tiered tray and included ten finger sandwiches (an assortment of turkey-cranberry, cucumber-cream cheese and egg salad), four scones with jam and clotted cream, and eight mini desserts. Afternoon tea is one of those things that’s deceptively filling. The portions don’t look like much, but we came here around lunch time, and by the end we were absolutely stuffed!
You can also watch my Instagram reel of our afternoon here! If you’re interested in having tea at the Waterdown Tea House, I recommend advance reservations, as weekends tend to be busy. If you’re not particularly into tea, they also serve a lunch menu Wednesdays through Fridays.
Until our recent visit to the Waterdown Tea House, I hadn’t had afternoon tea in so long, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is! I recently came across a website, Ontario Tea Rooms, that provides a comprehensive directory of tearooms across the province: some that I’ve already been to – the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Old Curiosity Tea Shop in Markham – and others I can’t wait to try: the Blue Willow Tea Shop in Gravenhurst, the Boat House Tea Room in Guelph, and The Wild Tart in Elora, to name a few.
Do you have a favourite tearoom in Ontario you think I should visit? Please leave a comment or email me with your recommendations! Pinkies up!
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