High tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

High tea tiers

One of my only regrets about our 2011 trip to the UK was my inability to enjoy afternoon tea in the countryside. The signage, the sweets, the beverages at the tea rooms — oh, how they taunted me. Because we were with a tour (and on a schedule), I couldn’t pause to sip Earl Grey or nibble a scone. No how, no way.

The most painful place I had to leave — under complete duress — was in Kilkenny, Ireland, where they were serving a fantastic-looking spread at 4 p.m. I remember watching the minutes tick down as we drove away on our big bus, knowing I’d never be there again.

I’m a wee bit dramatic, I know. But there’s plenty of truth there.

The Jane Austen lover in me is just so enamored with the idea of high tea — and knowing how much I love beverages (and, you know, eating), I recently jumped at the chance to join my mother-in-law for the experience at the lovely Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The Victorian Drawing Room proved the perfect spot for our lunch and pinkies-out sipping.

Prince of Wales


Table and chair

Close tea

The days I have something decidedly fancy to do are, of course, when my hair simply will not cooperate . . . and my tender strands? Not a fan of Niagara water, friends. Not at all. I tried to gussy myself up for our reservation and act like the sophisticated traveler I desperately longed to be, but the reality is . . . well, I’m just a photo-snapping, frizzy-haired American tourist who likes sweets.

Lots of sweets.

The spread did not disappoint: sandwiches with cucumber, salmon, turkey and cranberry; savory scones studded with fruit; individual lemon meringue pies; tiny cupcakes; raspberry bars; shortbread so tender it actually melted in our mouths. We both went light at breakfast knowing this 12 p.m. date awaited us, and I was still stuffed — like really, really full — for the rest of the day.

We wound up requesting a box to take at least half of these treasures back to our hotel. I would pay a million dollars for one of those cookies right now.

Tea spread


Lemon meringue pie

Isn’t that the way with vacation? You dine out constantly, have all these awesome meals, and then you just . . . get tired of it. Take it for granted. After a week away, I long for a simple, light and home-cooked meal — especially these days. But a week or two later, visions of scones start dancing in my head . . .

And they are so dancing right now.


The food was delicious, the service impeccable, the location stunning . . . but the company was the best! Because my parents-in-law live two states away, we don’t see each other as often as we would like — and this weekend away was wonderful for catching up with them and getting some time to chat with my mother-in-law, especially. An avid tea drinker, Alex loved the experience, too — and we both adored having our own pots brewing while we enjoyed our time there.

Should you find yourself in Niagara-on-the-Lake, tea in the Victorian Drawing Room is served daily from noon to 6 p.m. with a variety of options to suit your tastes.

It was really fun to feel sophisticated . . . if only for an afternoon. πŸ˜‰

27 thoughts on “High tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

  1. Beautiful! This reminds me of a happy time having high tea in London. That’s it, I’ve decided if you visit NYC we must find one another and have high tea. I assuming some fancy hotel must do it.


  2. I have always wanted to have high tea at the Prince of Wales, but have never splurged on the treat. It’s amazing how many great experiences you pass by when you live in an area simply because they seem too expensive. I will definitely have to make a point to rally my sister to come with me this summer! (I did see Clive Owen come out of the Prince of Wales Hotel once!)


    • That’s too cool about Clive Owen, and yes: the Prince of Wales experience was definitely worth it! Thank you so much for all your local recommendations, by the way — we tried many of them, including Balzac’s and the Little Red Rooster! Both great. πŸ™‚ I appreciate it!


  3. I have been to Niagara on the Lake for the Shaw Film Festival. I remember walking by this hotel and marveling at its beauty. Our timing was off for the tea, but we peeked inside and it was absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing your experience!


  4. Reading this made me realise how much I take for granted the numerous tearooms that surround where I live! I live in England so tea is, of course, in abundance! I’m a massive, massive lover of tea and you’re right- you really cannot beat some scones and cakes alongside a pot! One thing I would love to know, though, is whether high tea in America is actually the same as it is in England! It sounds like you had a lovely, delicious experience though!


  5. Sounds like a wonderful tea! They’re such perfect excuses to catch up with friends too – hours of chatting over delicious treats! You still need to go for afternoon tea when you next visit the UK though – I couldn’t see any clotted cream in those photos and it’s a definite must with scones and jam!


    • Clotted cream. You’re absolutely right: there was none, and that is easily my favorite part! A local tea room here in Maryland serves an afternoon tea with the best scones ever, and there is certainly clotted cream happening over there. I would like to bathe in it.


  6. Oh, that looks fantastic! I’ve done tea once, on my wedding day, but I long to go to London and have proper high tea at one of the uber-fancy hotels. I drank a lot of tea in Ireland, but that was only at pubs and during breakfast at the hotels – it never even occurred to me to try and find high tea somewhere over there!


  7. It all looks amazing!!! My dream is to open a Tea Room someday soon (sigh). I would also look like a tourist. No matter how fancy I try to be, the real me always shines thru!


    • I would so come to your tea room. I’ve pretty much decided I must “take tea” wherever I travel these days, and I’m not stopping until I’ve scoffed scones from here to Europe!


  8. What a lovely description of high tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel! You should plan your next tea adventure at the Farimont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. It’s a delicious experience complete with live classical music, stunning views of the Inner Harbour, and of course clotted cream to smear over those tender scones. Mmmm–my mouth is watering just thinking about it. (Try to come in the summer. It rains a lot in the winter–not so good for us frizzie haired girls!)


Comments are closed.