High Tea in Historical Niagara on the Lake

You can’t visit historical Niagara-on-the-Lake without experiencing the long-time British tradition of High Tea at the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel. You won’t be able to resist the warm, freshly bakes scones, slathered in churned butter and sweet homemade jam.

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High Tea is an experience that I never thought that I would encounter without leaving Canada and visiting Britain. I was wrong. I found an authentic setting for experiencing my first High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, in the historic Ontario town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

History Behind High Tea

High Tea is the quintessential tradition of Great Britain. The concept was introduced by Anna the Seventh Duchess of Bedford. Historically, the
British ate their dinner meal later in the evening, leaving a longer period between lunch and dinner. High Tea was introduced to fill in the time between meals.

High tea quickly became a social event among elite and wealthy women. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, the upper-class and society women would change into ballgowns, adorn fancy hats and gloves and retire to the drawing room for afternoon tea.

High Tea in Historic Niagara on the Lake is the perfect alternative for non-wine lovers.  The Prince of Wales Hotel offers this quintessential British tradition.

5 Etiquette Tips When Experiencing High Tea

While the etiquette for High Tea is not quite as proper as it was historically, however, there are still five simple courtesies that tea-goers are still expected to be followed:

  1. A proper dress code is still expected. While the hats and gloves are no longer required, it is expected that guests dress smart casual
  2. High Tea is still all about the freshly baked scones, which should be broken apart with fingers, never a knife or fork. This is considered to be highly insulting.
  3. Eating Manners. While it is completely acceptable that the dainty cucumber sandwiches be eaten with your hands, it is expected that the sweets be eaten with the silver cutlery provided.
  4. Stir the Tea Properly. Insert the spoon at 6:00 and gently swirl it towards the 12:00 position without touching the edge of the china. Once stirred, the spoon is to be placed on the china plate provided.
  5. Proper Placement of Pinkie. Despite popular belief, the proper way to hold a china tea cup is with pinkie placed down.

High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Upon entering the Prince of Wales, I knew immediately that we had picked the perfect spot to enjoy High Tea for our very first time. Immediately upon entering the Hotel, the decor was a rich chocolate brown, oozing with old-world charm and warmth, while the Drawing Room room where High Tea was being served was pleasantly light and airy. The atrium was encased by windows which allowed an abundance of sun to shine through.

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Crisp white linens, silver utensils and fine bone chine adorned the tables, creating the ultimate setting for a High Tea experience
Dainty sugar cubes provide an extra sweetness to the tea and the smell of roses create a romantic atmosphere for High Tea in Niagara on the Lake

The crisp white linens, delicately cut sugar cubes and baby pink roses on every table quickly set the mood for the perfect High Tea in one of Niagara-on-the Lakes most historic properties.

High Tea Experience in the Drawing Room at the Prince of Wales Hotel

As reservation are required, we were quickly escorted to our table upon our arrival and were given and extensive menu of over 15 of tea selections. Thankfully the server made recommendations or we would still be trying to decide which tea to try (I highly recommend the peaches and cream tea). In addition to each person choosing the pot of tea that she would like, there were different levels of tea service to choose from:

  • Traditional Afternoon Tea
  • Prince of Wales Tea
  • The Royal TeaVin
  • The Monarch Tea
  • Little Prince/Princess Tea

We chose the Traditional Afternoon Tea, with a side cheese tray. We thought we would receive a cheese tray to share, but we each had our own tray.

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When experiencing High Tea in historic NOTL, you will have an option of choosing from over 15 flavours of tea
In keeping with the British tradition of High Tea, the Prince of Wales serves up dainty cucumber sandwiches and freshly bake mouth watering scones
When attending High Tea at the Prince of Wales in NOTL, you can expect the traditional 3 tier tray filled with dainty sandwiches and freshly baked pastries

Food Included at High Tea at the Prince ofWales Hotel

We weren’t surprised to receive a 3 tiered tray of delicate cucumber sandwiches, freshly baked scones, creamy butter and sweet jams, as well as other freshly baked sweets. However, we were surprised by the amount of food served along with the amount of tea.

There is so much food served, but don’t be disappointed if you can’t eat it all. Your server is more than happy to pack up the leftovers for you to take home.

All of the dainty food and tea was served with the best delicate bone china and silver cutlery, which added to the feeling of authenticity to our British experience in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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Experiencing High Tea at the Prince of Wales in historic Niagara on the Lake is an adventure you have to do when visiting Niagara's wine region

High Tea in Historic NOTL – Conclusion

In conclusion, experiencing High Tea at The Prince of Wales Hotel in historial Niagara-on-the-Lake, offers a once of a life time experience of this quintessential British tradition. Moreover, attending High Tea will have you feeling like you’re upscale socialite sipping tea with high society in a drawing room. High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel should be added to your list of things to do when visiting historical Niagara-on-the-Lake.

I hope you enjoy as much as I did 🙂

Kelly xo

Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.


Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. Kelly’s passion lies in exploring Canada and other parts of the world and sharing her experiences with others.

As a senior traveller, Kelly aims to inspire others to live their best life and not be afraid to venture out into the world on their own. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.

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High Tea in Historial Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Traditional High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel – A British Tradition in Niagara-on-the-Lake

21 thoughts on “High Tea in Historical Niagara on the Lake

  1. Pingback: 24 Hours in Historic Niagara-on-the-Lake – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  2. Renee

    I adore doing high tea, and have experienced it at the Prince of Wales in NOTL, albeit it was so very long ago. Having returned from London where I did Afternoon Tea every day it resurged my desire to do it again at home. I’ll have to add this to my list of things to do this winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BlondeAroundTheWorld

    To begin with, a curiosity that most people don’t know: tea was brought to England by a Portuguese queen, who introduced the tradition of drinking tea there. 🙂
    Anyway, what a delicious experience, literally!
    Everything looks so good that I was drooling just looking at it. I’d love to try it!


  4. thedctraveler9b7e4f7d4d

    What a fun experience! I did not know that scones should be broken apart with fingers instead of a knife or fork! I knew the tea etiquette but I definitely don’t follow it with my own cups of tea so I’d probably mess that up out of habit. Sounds like a great experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Barry

    Despite being British I have to confess that I’ve never partaken of our national custom. Those piles of cakes and sandwiches in your photos look delicious – hope no-one is reading this on an empty stomach. Great info about where to go for this tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Melanie

    With all that food, I’m not sure I’d be able to eat dinner afterwards! Thanks for sharing the etiquette, as I probably would have had my pinkie in the incorrect position… What’s the difference between all the levels of tea service? Little Prince/Princess I can assume is for kids, but what about the others? Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JoJo’s Cup of Mocha

    I have been meaning to do a high tea experience for many years but haven’t had the chance to do so yet. However, if I’m in this area, I will definitely check this out so I can experience this for myself. It sounds like such a cool and authentic experience, only in Canada, and it would be sad to not visit the hotel and try it at least once.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Emma

    Afternoon tea is my favorite – can you tell I’m British?! I just love that they’re all slightly different but I feel so fancy eating them. Everything really is better in miniature. This one looks amazing. I saw the Prince of Wales hotel when I was there in the summer and now I know I need to go back.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. awakenedvoyages

    Your post took me back to a lovely era when people took the time to enjoy the simple things and did it with elegance and class. What a feast you had at at the Prince of Wales Hotel, it looks like a wonderful experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: +10 Ontario Tea Rooms to Visit for Afternoon Tea

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