Scotland: Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court, Edinburgh

When the winds are blowing and the rain is pouring, there’s only one place to take shelter: the Palm Court at the Balmoral.

Waking up on one such dreich day, my friend immediately agreed to scratch our previous plans and book a table. As we entered in from the storm outside, we were immediately greeted into a calm oasis.

Time seems to stop as you take your seat, engulfed in lush velvet pillows and soft lighting. The air floats with hushed conversations and soft notes from the harpist on the balcony. It’s truly heaven on earth.

We ordered one afternoon tea tray to split between us, as trying to finish one off on our own usually leaves us waddling out afterwards.

The Palm Court has expanded their tea list since the last time I was there, including a lot more regional blends. We ordered the Balmoral Blend to start and switched halfway through to the smoked white tea, which had a wonderful peaty finish to it that I’ve never experienced in a tea before. If you go, be sure to try it!

Every season the menu changes, and this time we were greeted with an amuse bouche of butternut squash soup topped with roasted pumpkin seeds.


It was wonderfully creamy, perfectly spiced as to let the natural flavour of the squash shine through.

As soon as we finished licking the bowls, our main tray arrived.

The savoury tray at the Palm Court skews rather traditional. First up was a quiche lorraine and haggis bon bon, which were so delicious I had to order two more of!

Below were perfectly crisp cucumber and egg sandwiches, the latter in a fluffy brioche bun.

Lastly there was a trio of Scottish smoked salmon, chicken tikka, and bacon sandwiches. The tikka was a particular hit, gently spiced and not overly creamy.

Then, of course the scones. I opted for a fruit scone while my friend got the plain. Both were still warm from the oven, and served with homemade raspberry preserves and clotted cream.

…can you tell she liked it?

Finally, we were greeted with a trio of desserts.

The first was a dark chocolate and caramel tarte, topped with a fleck of edible gold leaf. It tasted like the best millionaire shortbread I’ve ever had. The second was a simple vanilla cake topped with raspberries and creme. And last, a pistachio cake filled with raspberry jam, which we agreed was hands down our favorite.

Those who have indulged in the afternoon tea at the Balmoral’s Palm Court are also given a special gift upon departure – a beautiful little tin of their Balmoral Blend and a pack of caramels.

If you’re ever in Edinburgh, this is the one place you truly cannot miss. While the sticker price is a bit of a shock, you can always share a tray between two people and leave feeling totally full. Every time I go here, I’m always amazed at how perfect everything is, from the service to the food and decor.

We sat for a while longer finishing our tea and catching up before heading back out into the windy streets, but left feeling totally rejuvenated, as cheesy as that may sound. For us, it was totally worth a little splurge for this every day luxury.






  1. 09/03/2017 / 14:18

    Thanks for that! It’s just the information I nedede. I booked the table.

    • 19/07/2017 / 20:04

      Glad to hear it! I hope you enjoyed your time at the Palm Court as much as I did 🙂

    • 17/07/2017 / 00:20

      Thanks Marisa – not going to lie, we totally got seconds (and thirds) of the quiche!

  2. 22/07/2017 / 14:41

    I read and literally cry that I’m sooo far away and there’s nobody to prepare a fluffy and crispy cucumber sandwich for me!

  3. 22/07/2017 / 16:33

    Oh my gosh, this looks delightful! I need all of those sweet treats 🙂

    • 08/08/2017 / 19:54

      I know, right? The Balmoral always makes the best treats!

  4. 22/07/2017 / 18:35

    I only tried their afternoon tea for the first time a few months ago which as an Edinburgh local is a total disgrace! It was amazing! Will definitely be returning 🙂

    • 22/07/2017 / 19:38

      It never fails to surprise me how few locals actually venture in, despite it being in the middle of everything! Watch out for their tea-tox in January, it’s sooooooo good.

  5. 23/07/2017 / 00:21

    Oh my goodness, those desserts though <3 This looks like a great way to spend an afternoon, I hope to make it to Scotland someday! Thanks for sharing!

    • 23/07/2017 / 16:21

      The desserts were soooooo delicious. I hope you make it to Scotland too, Miranda 🙂

  6. Chloe
    23/07/2017 / 10:06

    Ahh this is making me hungry! Looks like an amazing place, love the stag hedge. That butternut squash soup looks so delicious. How much did you spend altogether?

    • 23/07/2017 / 16:24

      Great question Chloe! The two of us split one tray and ordered an extra pot of tea – and left feeling beyond full. So altogether we spent £35 between the two of us. Not too bad if you ask me!

  7. Pascale
    24/07/2017 / 05:16

    Afternoon tea is an art and this seems like the perfect place to taste it!

    • 08/08/2017 / 19:55

      The Balmoral certainly takes afternoon tea to a new level! Although if you haven’t experienced it before, this might spoil you for life 😉

  8. 24/07/2017 / 06:25

    This looks amazing. It would be the perfect afternoon treat after travelling.

    • 08/08/2017 / 19:56

      It’s THE BEST for recovering from jetlag! (Or a hangover, I don’t judge)

  9. 25/07/2017 / 03:29

    Afternoon tea is definitely something I need more of in my life. Those scones look amazing!

  10. 05/08/2017 / 09:40

    Wow. Looks so delicious. If I ever make to to Scotland I will definitely have to try. Especially the dessert in the middle with the raspberries looks so tasty. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • 08/08/2017 / 19:57

      If you go to Scotland you need to go to The Balmoral at least once! The menu here changes seasonally, but it’s always delicious 🙂

  11. 05/08/2017 / 12:25

    It looks like the perfect way to spend an afternoon chatting with a good friend! And that haggis Bon Bon! It all looked delicious!

    • 08/08/2017 / 19:51

      It’s soooooo good Nicky!!

  12. 12/08/2017 / 16:41

    Omg this looks like such a nice place!!! Makes me want to book a flight to Scotland just to go here haha! Awesome post and hope you enjoyed it!

  13. 23/08/2017 / 17:47

    What a beautiful place to go to! I would love to come here just to be in awe of the decor!! The food does look delicious tho… I’m gonna have to add this to my bucket list!!

  14. 23/08/2017 / 20:13

    How fun! Everything looks so fancy and lovely. Scotland is at the top of my travel list, hope I get to do this for myself sooner rather than later!

    • 23/08/2017 / 22:03

      It’s the most beautiful place, you’re going to LOVE it. Make sure you stop by The Balmoral for a cuppa for me when you do 🙂

  15. 24/08/2017 / 02:01

    What a beautiful place for tea! I would love to check this out someday! Afternoon tea in Europe is definitely on my bucket list!

  16. 24/08/2017 / 15:14

    I have been many times to Scotland, seems like you found the right spot to be. Will for sure mark it for my next trip, thanks

  17. 24/08/2017 / 16:03

    My mom once told me I drink more tea than the British. That is how much I love tea. But this is different: the ambiance and the snacks are luscious. Wish I could visit. Is it possible to get some of the tea they serve in regular stores? Can’t wait to get my hands on them

  18. Rochelle Valle
    24/08/2017 / 16:38

    This looks like it would be great to participate in. I would love to do a trip to this part of the world.

  19. 24/08/2017 / 17:31

    Wow! I haven’t been to an afternoon tea in years and this looks dreamy!

  20. 24/08/2017 / 21:50

    I read about this one before I went to Scotland last year, I can’t believe I missed all this yummy goodness! You look like you had pure ecstasy on the tongue with all those delectable delights.

  21. 01/12/2017 / 18:19

    It’s good to know that sharing one plate between two people is totally fine. I’m going to visit Edinburgh in few weeks and looking for the place where to have the afternoon tea. Your experience sounded really good!

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