Afternoon Tea at the RSC ©

Review: Afternoon Tea at the RSC

Afternoon Tea in Stratford-upon-Avon is outranked in Englishness only by the Queen eating fish and chips in a telephone box. Afternoon Tea at the RSC therefore, with views of the Avon and its gliding swans, takes another step towards peak Englishness.

So what can you expect when you take Afternoon Tea at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon?

Afternoon Tea at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon

The Rooftop Restaurant

Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB; website


Exterior of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the RSC ©
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre ©


The RSC’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre perches on the banks of the Avon in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. Surrounded by sprawling gardens, the river and the historic buildings of Waterside, the RST is one of the most Instagrammable places in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Arrive for Afternoon Tea at the RSC at the welcome desk of the Rooftop Restaurant ©
The welcome desk at the Rooftop Restaurant ©

From the main entrance foyer of the RST, take the lift to the third floor to reach the Rooftop Restaurant and wait to be seated.


The RSC Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Take Afternoon Tea at the RSC ©
Inside the Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre ©

With floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap almost all the way around the restaurant and bar area, the space is light and, naturally, offers fantastic views across Stratford, the River Avon and well beyond.

Water bottle at the RSC Rooftop Restaurant during Afternoon Tea at the RSC ©
Even the water bottles are stylish at the Rooftop Restaurant ©

Bare brick, old posters and gleaming glass add to the stylish vibe given off by wooden tables, curvy chairs and minimal table dressing. They could have gone all white-cloth chic up here and slapped another few quid on each menu item, but I’m glad they didn’t. Instead, the Rooftop Restaurant is relaxed, comfortable and without the airs and graces that many associate with the theatre.

Food and drink

Afternoon Tea at the RSC spring 2018 menu. Stratford-upon-Avon ©
Afternoon Tea at the RSC spring 2018 menu ©

On my most recent visit, I chose the Rooftop High Tea, selecting the guest loose-leaf tea. One of my companions ordered a mocha, which came topped with a foamy swan. Who could fail to be impressed by a foamy swan?

A swan-topped coffee at the Rooftop Restaurant during Afternoon Tea at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon ©
A swan-topped coffee ©

Typical sandwich fillings – smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, cream cheese and cucumber – arrived with the only surprising option: a delicious roast chicken and tarragon mayonnaise number. Some might be disappointed with the presence of plain scones (not me, I despise dried fruit), but they came with plenty of clotted cream and jam. I’ve had way too many experiences for one lifetime of inadequate quantities of clotted cream (and sometimes, dare I say it, whipped cream – gasp!) so I thank the chefs here for saving me the embarrassment of a grovelling request for more.

Afternoon Tea at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon ©
High Tea in the Rooftop Restaurant ©

So far, so delicious.

The desserts consisted of a pistachio and polenta cake, vanilla panna cotta with poached rhubarb, rum baba, and chocolate layer cake.

Bring on the summer High Tea menu, which will have cake stands towering over the tables out on the balcony.

Booking recommended? Yes

Afternoon Tea at the RSC price

There are a few options when you go for Afternoon Tea at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon. Choose between a simple Afternoon Tea with scones, jam and cream for £6.95, the Rooftop High Tea (sandwiches, scones and cakes) for £15.95 or add a glass of Champagne for £24.95. All are served with your choice of tea or coffee. Children aged under 12 can join in too, with a Junior High Tea for £7.50. Vegan and gluten-free High Teas are also available.

Value for money? For the chic setting, far-reaching views and tasty treats, £15.95 for High Tea is great value.

The Stratfordblog verdict

If you want a Stratford-upon-Avon dining experience to make your friends jealous, or want to impress out-of-town visitors, Afternoon Tea at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon is an essential, ever-so-English, experience. Perfect for special occasions.

The Rooftop Restaurant also offers lunch, pre-theatre, dinner, children’s, and Sunday brunch and lunch menus.


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Information correct at date of publication