Afternoon Tea Picnic in the Cotswolds

picnic basket with tea and cakes on a picnic blanket in front of a river with a stone bridge crossing it
by Anisa // 0 Comments

We wanted to have afternoon tea during our trip to the Cotswolds.  I looked at several fancy restaurants and hotels which all had nice offerings but was having a hard time choosing one until I heard about the Little Picnic Shop in Castle Combe.

They offered an afternoon tea picnic that sounded right up our alley.  We thought it would be a lovely way to spend some time in Castle Combe.  Let me share more about the afternoon tea picnic from the Little Picnic Shop so you can decide if it is something you want to do.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

picnic basket on the bridge with stream in the background
Castle Combe makes an ideal setting for an afternoon tea picnic

About the Little Picnic Shop

The Little Picnic Shop is a small business run by Anna in Castle Combe that offers takeaway afternoon teas.  The afternoon teas are served in a box that includes a picnic sandwich, pork pie, Spanish tortilla, scone (with clotted cream and jam), cake of the day, shortbread, brownie, and tea, coffee, or crushed mint and lime cordial.

You can upgrade the experience to the hamper option if you are ordering for two or more.  Hampers include vintage china crockery sets and stainless steel cutlery sets, books, mini games, history of Castle Combe information sheet, picnic blanket, and your tea, coffee or cordial drinks in a flask.  You can also request Champagne flutes and bring along your own bubbly. 

Note: The hamper, everything in it, the picnic blanket, and flask all need to be returned at the end of your picnic.

They can cater to all dietary requirements.  There are separate menus for vegetarian or vegan, gluten free, dairy and gluten free, and dairy free.

Read their Tripadvisor reviews here.

building that houses the little picnic shop, it has ivy growing on it
This adorable building is home to The Little Picnic Shop.

About Castle Combe

Located in the southernmost edge of the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is often referred to as one of the prettiest villages in England.  You couldn’t ask for a nicer setting for an afternoon tea picnic.

It gets its name from a castle that was located close to the site of the current day village.  Originally it was a hill fort which became occupied by the Romans due to its proximity to The Fosse Way.  Centuries later the Normans built the fort up into a castle.  Now only small earthworks remain.

By the Middle Ages, Castle Combe had become an important focal point for the wool industry. The mill was powered by the river, still known as By Brook. 

view across the bridge and stream to see the cute stone cottages of castle combe
Castle Combe is one of the prettiest villages in England.

Castle Combe is well-preserved thanks to strict rules to protect its character.  Many of the cottages are hundreds of years old and are listed as ancient monuments.  They are built with thick walls made with the local stone and split natural stone tile roofs.  Some have names that honor the village’s past like Weaver’s House.

It’s not surprising that the village is used as a filming location.  The most well-known movie filmed in and around Castle Combe is Doctor Doolittle from 1966.  The village has also featured in ‘War Horse’, ‘Stardust’,’The Wolf Man’ and an ad for the watch company, Solvil et Titus.

Booking Your Afternoon Tea Picnic

While you might be able to get an afternoon picnic the same day, it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.  Since the Little Picnic Shop does not have a website, you can book either by email or phone (see the Facebook page here for details).

You will need to provide a contact number, the number of picnics required, and the date you want to have the picnic.  Confirm whether you just want the box or if you want to upgrade to the hamper (i.e. picnic basket).

pork pies, spanish tortilla, cake, clotted cream, sandwich in the afternoon tea picnic box
This is the box for one person, so don’t worry you get plenty of food.
It is also important to specify if you have any food allergies or special dietary requirements (i.e. Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Gluten & Dairy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free etc.).  If you have a special dietary requirement, you should chooses your sandwich filling from the appropriate menu, otherwise choose your sandwich filling from the standard menu.
Note: We ordered one chicken and one tuna and each had half of each sandwich.  Both were delicious but I think I preferred the chicken.
Once they have confirmed all the details, you will need to pay in advance.  It’s easy to do this by bank transfer  especially if you have a Wise account.  This allows you to make the payment in GBP even if your account is in a different currency.

Our Afternoon Tea Picnic Experience

We emailed The Little Picnic Shop to reserve our picnics about two weeks in advance.  We decided to upgrade and get the hamper and each get different sandwiches (a chicken and a tuna) so we could try both.  I got a quick response to confirm everything and then sent our payment through.  We were all set.

The morning before our afternoon tea we decided to explore the town of Tetbury. We took a lot of photos, had a snack, and even did a bit of shopping, before driving to Castle Combe about 30 minutes away. 

Picking up Our Afternoon Tea Picnic

After parking at the Castle Combe Public Car Park (which is free), we made our way down the hill to the village.  We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for our afternoon tea picnic.  It was sunny and just the right temperature to spend some time outdoors.

It’s about a 10 minute walk to the village past some charming cottages.  The wild garlic was in bloom when we visited in May.  You could try to park along The Street to make the walk a little shorter, but it was full when we walked by.  Don’t be tempted to park illegally, you will be ticketed.

The Little Picnic Shop is located on the left side of the main street.  We arrived a few minutes after our scheduled pick up time, but that was fine.  All our stuff was ready and waiting for us.

Anna had mentioned that there was a lot of stuff to carry with the hampers and she was right.    We had one hamper, one picnic blanket, two boxes full of food, and two thermoses (flasks in British English) to carry.  The hamper was a bit heavy since it had china and books.

our afternoon tea picnic with the basket, books, games, food, tea on a picnic blanket
When you go for the hamper option, you also get some books and games to make your afternoon tea picnic special.

Finding our Picnic Spot

She suggested that we have our picnic in a field just behind the building that house the Little Picnic Shop so we wouldn’t have to carry things too far.  We followed her directions, but when we got to the field there were children running around and it wasn’t quite the atmosphere that I wanted.

We decided that even though we had a lot to carry, it would be worth moving to a spot further away so we could be by the river.  It was definitely worth the extra effort.

bridge with the stream in Castle Combe England
We found a quiet spot by the stream, it didn’t bother us that it wasn’t grassy.

Our spot was right by one of the bridges.  It wasn’t a grassy area but it wasn’t muddy and we had the picnic blanket.  While we had the occasional people walk by, for the most part it was nice and quiet.

Enjoying Our Afternoon Tea Picnic

Now it was time to enjoy our picnic.  We opened up the hamper and got out our tea cups.  I poured the tea and was impressed with how hot it was even after we had been walking around a bit. (It actually stayed warm for the several hours we were enjoying our picnic.)

picnic basket with thermoses and tea cups on the picnic blanket with bridge and stream in the background
I was impressed with how long our tea stayed hot.

We got out our plates and started on the sandwiches.  Both were quite tasty and I liked that they used ciabatta bread instead of the plain bread that is used in many afternoon teas.  Even though you only get one sandwich per box, they are a generous size, equal to several finger sandwiches.

sandwich on a ciabatta roll on the plate on the picnic blanket
While you may not get the variety of sandwiches as with other afternoon teas, you probably get more and better quality with this afternoon tea picnic.

The sandwich is not the only savory food included in the afternoon tea box.  It also has a Spanish tortilla and pork pie.  While I have seen afternoon teas with pork pies, this was the first one with a Spanish tortilla.  With the amount of food that was included, we decided to save the pork pies for later.

spanish tortilla slice on a plate on the picnic basket
A tasty Spanish tortilla was also included with the afternoon tea.

My favorite part of afternoon tea was next – scones with clotted cream and jam.  Sometimes places are a bit stingy with their clotted cream but it wasn’t the case this time.  I had plenty of clotted cream and jam for my scone.

plate with scone, jam, and cream
You can’t have an afternoon tea with scones!

We barely had room for any of the desserts.  It came with a large piece of Victoria Sponge cake, a brownie, and shortbread.   The Victoria Sponge cake was moist and delicious, and the shortbread was nice and buttery.  The brownie was quite rich, one of the best I have had in England

brownie and piece of shortbread on plate on the green and white striped picnic blanket
Just some of the dessert that came in our afternoon tea picnic box.

It’s nice that we could easily pack away what we didn’t finish in one of the boxes to save for later.  I had the rest of mine for breakfast the next morning.  Maybe not the most nutritious choice, but it was a fun way to start the day.

Once we finished eating, we could just relax.  It was nice to have this quiet time together.  We admired the scenery and chatted with the friendly robin that kept coming over to say hi.  Then we played a little bit of knots and crosses or tic tac toe as we Americans call it and looked through the books that were included in the hamper.

robin eyeing our food
The Robin seemed friendly but he probably just wanted our food!

I didn’t want to leave.  I wish we would have had more time for our picnic, but there was just so much we wanted to see in the Cotswolds that it was time to pack up.  We put everything back in the hamper and returned it to the Little Picnic Shop.

*You might also enjoy reading my post about the Best British foods.

robin standing on the root of a tree with the stream in the background
Another shot of our cute new friend.

How much are the afternoon tea picnics from the Little Picnic Shop?

If you just get the afternoon tea box it is £18 per person.  If you want the hamper and all the extras that come with that it is £22 per person. (Note: The hamper option is only available when ordering for 2 or more.)

Is the hamper option at the Little Picnic Shop worth it?

For only £4 per person more, you do get the hamper, picnic blanket, larger beverage, games to play, and books to read during your picnic.  I think that’s a good value.  Plus, it will also make for better pictures.

That being said, it is a lot to carry so take that into consideration.  It may limit your options on where to have your picnic.

picnic basket with tea cups on the picnic blanket with bridge and stream in the background
We were pleased with everything that came with the hamper option, but it was a lot to carry.

Are there bathrooms to use during your picnic in Castle Combe?

Yes.  There are public toilets too far from the first bridge.  In case you are wondering, they were cleaner than I expected.

Things to Do in Castle Combe Before or After Your Afternoon Tea Picnic

Castle Combe is one of the places on everyone’s list of best villages to visit in the Cotswolds.  It’s not a big place but it’s one that you will want to spend some time in.  You can go for a scenic walk, visit a historic church, take photos, have a pint, and more.

Get more information in our post about the best things to do in Castle Combe.

Where is the best place to stay in Castle Combe?

If you want to treat yourself and spend the night in Castle Combe check out the Manor House.  It’s a 14th century luxury hotel and golf club perfect for a romantic night away in the Cotswolds.  They also have a Michelin starred restaurant, the ByBrook.

Read Tripadvisor reviews here.

Check price and availability here.

More Places to Have Afternoon Tea in England

If you enjoy afternoon tea as much as we do, you might also enjoy these posts:

Afternoon Tea at Bletchley Park

Afternoon Tea at the British Museum 

National Trust book of afternoon tea with the bridge and stream in the background
I enjoyed flipping through this book during our afternoon tea picnic.

Overall Review of the Afternoon Picnic from the Little Picnic Shop 

Our afternoon tea picnic was one of the highlights of our trip to the Cotswolds.  I would do it again next time we are in the area.  You get a lot of delicious food so it’s a great value and the village provides a lovely atmosphere.

Have you ever had an afternoon tea picnic?


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picnic blanket with picnic basket and picnic set out with text overlay "Afternoon Tea Picnic in the Cotswolds, England Travel"

Expert Tips for an Afternoon Tea Picnic in Castle Combe

  • Be sure to book your afternoon tea picnic in advance.
  • Allow plenty of time for your afternoon tea picnic, it is not an experience to be rushed.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2023

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.