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best afternoon tea in st ives

Discover the best places to enjoy afternoon tea and cream tea in St Ives.

It has to be said, afternoon tea and cream tea are both cornerstones of British society.

Although we don’t enjoy either dining experience as often as non-Britain’s think we do, they’re still beloved traditions!

Choose to have your afternoon tea in St Ives against a scenic ocean view backdrop. Or take your pick of the lovely cafés for a St Ives cream tea amidst the charm and character of this seaside town.

Read on to find out where the best cream tea and afternoon tea in St Ives can be found…

Use these links to jump to a different café or restaurant:

  1. Olive’s Café
  2. The Yellow Canary Café
  3. Porthmeor Beach Café
  4. The Market Place
  5. Scoff Troff Café
  6. Café Art
  7. Moomaid of Zennor
  8. Carbis Bay Hotel
  9. Harbour Hotel St Ives

First things first…

What is the difference between afternoon tea and cream tea?

A group of four women friends enjoying afternoon tea in a restaurant.
Afternoon tea and cream tea are often mixed up, and some use the terms interchangeably, but there is a difference.

Afternoon tea consists of a pot of tea, sandwiches cut into fingers, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of cakes and pastries.

This is the more traditional and “posh” option.

A scone with jam and cream on, traditionally Cornish cream tea.

Cream tea however, is simply scones, clotted cream and jam, and a pot of tea.

The key detail to make it a Cornish cream tea is to put the jam on first, then the clotted cream on top.

If you were to go about it the other way around, that would be a Devon cream tea, so don’t make that mistake around the locals!

Olive’s Café

Tripadvisor : 4.5/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✔
The exterior of Olive's Café in St Ives, Cornwall.

We’re kicking off with Olive’s Café. This cute hidden gem embodies the character of St Ives.

With scones baked daily, you can expect a delicious cream or afternoon tea. Expect giant, misshapen, and fluffy scones.

Their cream teas are served with a large dish of cream and jam, (the more the better!), along with strawberries. The scones are usually available in a variety of flavours too.

Olive’s Café is a lovely, out-of-the-way spot settled in Island Square. You can also enjoy lots of other baked and sweet treats.

Where? Island Square, St Ives

Vegan ✔ | Gluten free ✔ | Dog-friendly ✘

The Yellow Canary Café

Tripadvisor : 4.5/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✔
The exterior of The Yellow Canary Café in St Ives, Cornwall.

The Yellow Canary Café has been part of St Ives for almost 50 years. This independent, family-run café serves up delicious food made with Cornish ingredients.

Serving up some of the best cream tea in St Ives, The Yellow Canary Café also offers a lovely gluten free cream tea, as well as a selection of vegan cakes, pasties and sandwiches too.

Why not sit down for an afternoon tea at The Yellow Canary Café? Being in the heart of St Ives, you can head to this lovely establishment following a walk around St Ives’ galleries or a stroll on the beach.

Where? 12 Fore Street, St Ives, TR26 1AB

Vegan ✔ | Gluten free ✔ | Dog-friendly ✔

Porthmeor Beach Café

Tripadvisor : 4.5/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✘
Porthmeor Beach Café in front of Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, Cornwall.

Porthmeor Beach Café is one of St Ives’ hospitality gems. Located just below the famous Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach Café is the perfect place to stop for a scenic bite to eat.

Their menu offers a range of creative yet classic dishes, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. And cream tea and cake of course!

Reviews on Tripadvisor rave about the “fresh and light scones” to be had here. One customer stated they were the “lightest scones I’ve ever had”.

Porthmeor Beach Café is also supplied by the local company, Original Coffee Ltd, so you can be sure to find a tasty caffeine fix here.

Pair this with the outstanding views of Porthmeor Beach and the glittering ocean, it’s not far off perfect!

Where? Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, TR26 1JZ

Vegan ✔ | Gluten free ✔ | Dog-friendly ✔

The Market Place

Facebook : 4.7/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✘

Sitting partway up Lifeboat Hill, The Market Place Tea Rooms is a dog-friendly café serving afternoon tea in St Ives.

Their scones are baked daily, and they even offer vegan scones too, so no one has to miss out on cream tea!

Whether you’re sitting down for a full afternoon tea or just enjoying a cream tea pitstop, you won’t be disappointed.

As mentioned, The Market Place is dog-friendly. Why not book a dog-friendly cottage in St Ives and plan a trip to this delightful café?

Where? Lifeboat Hill, St Ives, TR26 1AE

Vegan ✔ | Gluten free ✘ | Dog-friendly ✔

Scoff Troff Café

Tripadvisor : 4.5/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✘
Scoff Troff Café in St Ives in Cornwall.

Another hotspot on Lifeboat Hill; Scoff Troff Café is a great shout for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Their menu offers everything from a full English, sandwiches, salads and soups to pizza and classic comfort food. And of course cream tea!

Tuck into their handmade scones served with Cornish clotted cream and Boddington’s strawberry jam.


Where? Market Place, St Ives, TR26 1RZ

Vegan ✔ | Gluten free ✔ | Dog-friendly ✔

Café Art

Tripadvisor : 4.5/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✘

The outside of Café Art in St Ives, Cornwall.

Just out of the crowds, Café Art is located on Chapel Street. They offer a selection of cakes, sandwiches and cream teas.

As the name suggests, Café Art displays local art and prints which you can buy. They also host craft and art workshops, as well as live events.

Where? 3 Chapel Street, St Ives

Vegan ✔ | Gluten free ✔ | Dog-friendly ✘

Moomaid of Zennor

Tripadvisor : 5/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✘

The beloved Moomaid of Zennor on St Andrew’s Street has now reopened. Head here for an outstanding selection of Cornish ice cream, as well as cream teas, coffees, and sundaes.

All are made with local ingredients and they offer gluten-free options.

Where? Street-an-Pol, St Ives, TR26 2DS

Vegan ✘ | Gluten free ✔ | Dog-friendly ✘

Carbis Bay Hotel

Tripadvisor : 4/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✔

Enjoy a luxury afternoon tea at the Carbis Bay Hotel. Served in the beautiful Main House Orangery, you can enjoy views across St Ives Bay as you tuck into a delicious array of food.

Perfect for special occasions or just a treat, devour finger sandwiches, cakes, freshly baked scones and Cornish clotted cream.

You can even opt for a glass of Moet instead of tea or coffee to add an extra sparkle to your experience!

Choose between afternoon tea for two, or a simple Cornish cream tea.

Where? Carbis Bay Estate, St Ives, TR26 2NP

Vegan ✘ | Gluten free ✘ | Dog-friendly ✘

Harbour Hotel St Ives

Tripadvisor : 4/5 | Cream tea ✔ | Afternoon tea ✔

Delight in the stunning backdrop of Porthminster Beach at the Harbour Hotel in St Ives.

Choose from cream tea or afternoon tea, amongst a host of other menu options too.

Gaze at the lapping waves and watch the fishing boats between delicious bites of smoked salmon sandwiches, and sips of champagne.

Afternoon tea in St Ives was never so scenic!

Where? St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, The Terrace, St Ives, TR26 2BN

Vegan ✘ | Gluten free ✘ | Dog-friendly ✘

If you’re looking for more restaurant recommendations, read our extensive post on 40 St Ives Restaurants.

Try another classic Cornish delicacy; fish and chips! Read 10 Fish and Chips in St Ives: The Complete Local Food Guide!

Get to know St Ives even better through these delicious dishes; book your next break to St Ives with Carbis Bay Holidays.

Ratings sourced from Tripadvisor.