When I was in college, I spent a year studying in Norwich, England, where I fell in love with its tea culture, especially during the holidays. There is nothing more satisfying than disconnecting from the craziness of life by enjoying a hot cuppa tea, paired with a buttery cucumber sandwich and sweet cranberry scone topped with smooth, rich Devonshire cream.
Since then, I make a point of treating myself to afternoon tea at least once per year. The holidays are a perfect time to partake in this lovely British tradition. As Henry James once said, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Editor’s note: We have updated this with options for tea takeout so you can celebrate a holiday tea in the comfort and safety of your home.
Fortunately, Lake County is home to several establishments where you can celebrate the holidays just as our neighbors across the pond would want us to do. And if you feel like venturing out a little further, check out our recommendations for afternoon tea in Chicago. Don’t forget to make reservations ahead of time!
Holiday Tea in Lake County
High Tea with Gerri
Gerri’s Tea Room, 44 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove | (847) 948-1724
Open Monday – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. by reservation
The owner, Gerri, draws on her culinary training in London to prepare a fresh, authentic tea daily. Choose from eight varieties of sandwiches, followed by scones, apple-rhubarb pie with fresh mint and cream, and other pastries. Gerri and her staff dress in authentic Victorian attire and serve tea in antique china teacups. Options include a traditional four-course tea featuring sandwiches such as Scottish Smoked Sandwich Pinwheels and Open-Faced Asparagus Rounds, to the Emperors Six Course High Tea, which consists of a soup, aperitif, and variety of petit pastries. Gerri is now offering Tea Takeout boxes to go. Call the shop to order, with curbside pick-up.
Deer Path Inn
255 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest
Currently not available – no takeout option.
Teas at the Deer Path Inn have been carefully selected with the help of Malcolm Ferris-Lay, Master of Tea, whose family has been connected with the tea trade since 1842. The Deerpath Inn features a range of teas, including traditional English and Chinese teas, which are paired with sweet and savory treats, such as shrimp and lobster salad croissants and assorted petit flours. Make sure you try the ham and swiss quiche and scones with fresh lemon curd and cream. Their seasonal teas are lovely – try the enchanted forest tea, which has aromas of black forest cherry cakes, and the chocolate cream truffles tea, which is as good as it sounds – it’s like liquid chocolate topped with sweet coconut shreds and can easily pass as dessert.
St. Lawrence Episcopal Church, 125 W. Church Street, Libertyville
Canceled for 2020
Tickets are $30 through November 24 and $35 after.
Come to St. Lawrence Episcopal Church and have a classic Victorian-style tea right in Libertyville. There will be English teas, scones, finger sandwiches, and bite-sized desserts for indulging. Space is limited, so please make your reservations as soon as possible.
Worth the Trip
140 East Walton Place, Chicago
Not offered at this time.
$52 per person for adults; $25 for children ages 4 – 12 years old.
Enjoying afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel is a holiday tradition for many Chicagoans and suburbanites. The elegant atmosphere will make you feel like a king or queen for a day (Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana dined here), and kids will love the elaborate decorations, carolers, and a harpist (select dates). Enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, English scones, and festive petit fours.
2108 N. Clark Street, Chicago (Lincoln Park)
Holiday Tea is available to go for $38
Enjoy gourmet tea, signature pastries and an assortment of special holiday-themed pastries such as gingerbread macaron, pecan tart, and pumpkin curd in addition to other homemade jams and curds, finger sandwiches, and lemon pepper quiche. Delight in Vanille’s signature hot chocolate with a house-made marshmallow and peppermint macaroon.
Where will you enjoy a cuppa this holiday season?
Find more Christmas events and activities at Christmas in Lake County.