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An Afternoon Tea fit for Royalty

With so much of Scotland’s history perched atop castle rock, visiting the castle is a must for any local or tourist. But beyond its historical significance and architectural marvel, the castle offers something a little extra special – a culinary experience of an afternoon tea. Imagine sinking your teeth into a warm buttery scone, savouring delicate sandwiches, and indulging in sweet pastries, all while basking in the grandeur of the castle’s surroundings.

Step into the Tea Room, a contemporary space that blends seamlessly with the castle’s rugged charm. The modern décor creates a light and airy ambiance, while large windows bathe the room in natural light, offering breathtaking views of the city. As you settle into your comfortable chair, anticipation builds for the culinary treats that await you.

Interior of the Queen Anne Tearoom. Red fabric chairs and round tables with white tablecloths.

As you sip a beverage and savour the delectable treats, take a moment to soak in the castle’s rich history. Imagine the kings and queens who once walked these halls, the battles fought, and the stories whispered within these ancient walls. The afternoon tea becomes a portal to a bygone era.

Just think that back in 1440 feasts at the castle were somewhat different than today. A dark event unfolded at the castle, 10-year-old King James II was having a feast in David’s Tower with his guest William Douglas, the 16-year-old Earl of Douglas, and his brother. The merriment of the feast changed somewhat. A platter was brought out, but instead of a delectable dish, it had a gruesome sight – the severed head of a black bull.  This was no ordinary meal of course. It was a chilling symbol, a prophecy of doom placed right before the young Earl. Look at how food was used as a source of punishment and reward thought history.

A caricature of a man holding a cut off bull's head and shocked dinner guests staring at the head.

Food for thought

The castles food influence stretched far beyond its walls. In the 15th century, the very food on your plate might have been impacted by royal decisions made within these very stone walls. The castle court held sway over the city’s food trade through royal laws. In 1477, King James III granted permission for fifteen different markets to operate in Edinburgh. This shaped the landscape of where people obtained their daily provisions, like salt from Niddry Street or meat from the Tron and corn in the cowgate. Edinburgh was a royal burgh and you could find produce from different parts of Scotland. Just like our afternoon teas today.

Though a little easier to come by our afternoon tea ingredients are meticulously crafted using fresh Scottish ingredients. Items such like Ayrshire ham, Tay Vally beetroot, Orkney cheeses for our delicate sandwiches and delicious ice cream from the isle of Arran.

Close up of a hand holding a white teacup. In the background you can see an afternoon tea etagere.

No afternoon tea is complete without an indulgence in sweet treats. The castle’s pastry chefs create a delicious selection of cakes and pastries. Each a beautiful work of art. Imagine savouring a slice of rich chocolate cake, a tart bursting with seasonal fruits, or a melt-in-your-mouth meringue. While you savour each bite, the textures dance on your tongue. A true symphony of flavours a delightful journey for your taste buds.

A Perfect Escape

An etagere of afternoon tea with sandwiches and cakes and scones. Beside it are scoops of jams and clotted cream and two glasses of fizzThe afternoon tea is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in a luxurious setting. The best part? Castle admission is included in the price of your afternoon tea, making it fantastic value. It’s the ideal opportunity to catch up with friends, enjoy a solo treat day, or create a special memory with a loved one.

For those seeking an extra touch of indulgence, why not add a glass of prosecco or gin to your afternoon tea experience. A refreshing glass of prosecco perfectly complements the sweet and savoury flavours, while a gin adds a touch of sophistication.

Whether you’re an Edinburgh local or a tourist visiting from afar, the afternoon tea offers a unique opportunity to combine a delicious culinary and historical experience. Imagine exploring the castle’s ramparts, marvelling at the Crown Jewels, and then retreating to the Tea Rooms for a delightful afternoon tea. It’s a seamless blend of history, indulgence, and relaxation.

Booking your royal appointment

The afternoon teas at the castle are a popular experience, so reservations are required at least 48 hours in advance.  Visit our website today to browse the menu, learn more about the experience, and book your table.


Historic Scotland member -Adult £35.00 or £40.50 with Edinburgh Castle Gin or Prosecco. / Child £17.50

Adult (non-member) £54 or £60 with and Edinburgh Castle Gin or Prosecco. / Child £24.50

Don’t forget to share your photos and experiences on social media and tag us @EdinburghCastle. So, gather your loved ones and prepare to be transported to a world of culinary delights and historical charm.

A group of people enjoying afternoon tea at Edinburgh Castle.

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