Feature & Christmas Idea: Afternoon Tea at Colonnades, Signet Library, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1RF

Hidden amongst the bustle of the Royal Mile on a Saturday, The Signet Library was an oasis of calm.  Greeted by a lovely young lady, we were shown to a table tucked away at the side surrounded by books, it was busy yet somehow perfect for afternoon chatter.

colonnades the signet library edinburgh afternoon tea
Gorgeous interior

The décor is impressive, corinthian columns reach up to the ornate cornice with golden balustrades along the mezzanine floor. The room is bright with lots of gold and there must also be a wealth of knowledge contained in the books here too.

colonnades the signet library edinburgh afternoon teaWe were here for a 4 course afternoon tea. A proper relaxed one with an amuse bouche to start followed by a glass of Pommery champagne, sandwiches and other savouries then a palate cleanser and a selection of cakes to finish.


Unlike some other places which only give you an option of tea or coffee there is a selection of teas to choose from suiting a range of individual tastes.


Our tea was good quality loose-leaf, quite mellow, earthy and pleasantly drinkable without milk. We finished the pot!


Our first tray of food contained dainty sandwiches, savoury tarts, prawn cocktail and vol-e-vents. Everything was delicious!


But our favourite items were on the cake stand. Jam and cream scones, eclairs, a chocolate tart, strawberry mille-feuille.


And these lovely little meringues which looked a bit like ships with sails.

We spent a pleasant relaxed afternoon in grand surroundings with refreshing tea and lovely morsels of food. Service was perfect and the toilets were sparkling and well-maintained (toilets are downstairs so we are not sure about if there is a disabled toilet on the floor). Could this be the finest afternoon tea in Edinburgh?  It’s certainly a contender, we might just need to come back to confirm. 😉

During December the afternoon tea is more wintery with savoury items such as mini game pies, Christmas stuffing balls, hot smoked salmon éclairs and turkey club sandwich bites. Desserts include salted caramel and banoffee tarts, chocolate orange sacher tortes, coconut snowballs and mini cherry trifles. For drinks cocktails and ‘hottails’ (mulled wines and warming drinks) will be on offer. For kids there is a ‘build your own hot chocolate’ for children (adults can add a shot Baileys instead!). Find out more, book online and buy gift vouchers here.


Note that during the Christmas period that the Signet is closed on Saturdays.


Signet Library, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1RF





I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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