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

High tea, a quintessentially British tradition with roots stretching back to the 1840s, finds a vibrant echo across the pond in Victoria, B.C., famously dubbed the “most British city outside of England.” As International Tea Day approaches on May 21, Victoria offers an enchanting backdrop for a tea experience like no other. Immerse yourself in the charm of this picturesque waterfront city through a unique journey along the self-guided High Tea Trail. Here, you can savor six distinct high tea experiences, each offering its own blend of tradition, local flavors, and exquisite settings. From elegant tearooms to scenic views that frame your sips, Victoria’s High Tea Trail promises an unforgettable adventure in the art of tea.

Start with the Historic

  • 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 Room—White 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

  • The Butchart Gardens—Located 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 – Located 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—Canada’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 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.
  • 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.