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Cream Tea: Our ultimate guide and best recipe from Devon And Cornwall

cream tea

Cream tea is often enjoyed as a mid-afternoon treat or as part of a leisurely outing with friends or family, somewhere in the countryside. It is commonly served in tearooms, cafes, hotels, campsites, pubs and more, particularly in regions known for their tea culture such as in Devon and Cornwall. While the method of serving cream teas may vary slightly depending on local and regional preferences, the combination of freshly brewed tea, warm scones, indulgent clotted cream, and fruity jams is a luxury indulgence and a cherished tradition that celebrates the simple pleasures of British cuisine.

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Cream Tea: An Ultimate Guide

Is it jam-on first for you, or cream first? We know what we like but we’re keeping it under our hat as we don’t want to start a friendly fight! Many people are very passionate about the best way to enjoy cream tea, but we know how we like it best… and I’m sure you do too!

There is no doubt that cream tea is a delightful way to indulge in a quintessentially British culinary tradition. Similar to eating fish and chips on the beach or a Ploughman’s Lunch in a local pub, it is a great way of hosting a gathering with friends and family or simply treating yourself to a special afternoon treat, here’s the ultimate guide to preparing a cream tea:

1. Gather Your Ingredients:

– Scones: Start with freshly baked scones, either homemade or store-bought. Often pronounced, ‘scoones’, ‘scons’ or ‘skeens’, traditional flavours include plain, fruit (with raisins or currants), or cheese. When it comes to cream tea, we like the jam and cream to take centre stage so we always use a plain scone.

– Clotted Cream: We always use high-quality clotted cream, and when possible we choose Cornish Cream from Cornwall. It is a rich and indulgent dairy product with a thick, creamy texture and pairs perfectly with the jam and scone.

– Jam: Choose your favourite fruit jam or preserve to complement the scones. Our favourite is strawberry jam but raspberry, or blackberry jam are equally popular.

– Tea: Brew a pot of your preferred English tea, such as black tea or Earl Grey. You can choose to have a herbal tea if you prefer but we think black tea pairs best with a scone, jam and cream. Loose-leaf tea has the best flavour, but good-quality tea bags work well too.

2. Prepare the Scones:

– It’s easy to make scones yourself but if you decide to buy them be sure to warm them in the oven before eating. They need to be slightly crispy outside and warm and fluffy in the middle. Homemade scones, have the best flavour as you can avoid adding so much baking soda, which the store-bought ones seem to have in abundance, as it can leave a strange aftertaste for some. If you choose to do your own then bake them fresh on the day of serving for the best taste and texture.

– Allow the scones to cool slightly before serving to prevent them from being too hot to handle and make the cream melt. You don’t want this to happen! Instead, you want the cream to sit comfortably in a large dollop on top of your warm scone without being impacted by too much heat.

3. Set the Table:

– The best way to enjoy your cream tea is with a traditional china tea set. Arrange your set on a table or serving tray and include a teapot, cups, saucers, teaspoons, and a jug of milk if you enjoy white tea.

– Place the scones on a separate plate or if you want to create a bit of impact you can use a tiered cake stand, along with small bowls of clotted cream and jam. Don’t forget the knives and teaspoons to handle the preparation of the scones.

4. Brew the Tea:

If you are British you can skip this part as this is a process you will know intuitively from birth. For everyone else, this is what you need to do:

– Boil fresh water and pour it over the tea leaves or tea bags in a teapot

– Allow the tea to steep for the recommended time, typically 3 to 5 minutes depending on the type of tea and desired strength

– Strain the tea into cups and serve hot with sugar and milk if you desire

5. Build the elements ready to eat:

– Slice the scones in half horizontally using a sharp knife taking care not to let it crumble

– Spread a generous dollop of clotted cream onto each half of the scone, followed by a spoonful of jam


– Spread a generous spread of jam followed by a dollop of clotted cream

– Prepare each half separately – do not put them back together like a sandwich or you will lose all the jam and cream out of the sides

6. Serve and Enjoy:

– Arrange the assembled cream teas on individual serving plates

– Invite your guests to help themselves to tea and scones, and encourage them to enjoy the delicious combination by biting into each one and savouring every moment. Then follow up with a slurp of tea

– Then follow up with a slurp… a-hem, I mean, sip of tea and savour the flavours knowing that you are indulging in the delightful experience of a classic cream tea

7. Optional Extras:

– For an extra special touch, consider serving additional treats alongside the cream tea, such as cakes, pastries, or finger sandwiches. A couple of English favourites are cucumber sandwiches, egg and cress or Coronation chicken.

– To make it into an extra special event, consider adding a decorative touch to the table with fresh flowers, vintage teacups, or a traditional tea cosy to keep the teapot warm while you devour your scones.

With this ultimate guide to preparing a cream tea, you’ll be able to create a delightful and indulgent afternoon treat that captures the essence of British hospitality and tradition.

It is so easy to prepare for and make into an amazing treat you can do it anywhere you like. Whether you are at the campsite, in a caravan, at the beach or on a road trip for an entire camping summer, it is possible to enjoy a cream tea anywhere and make it a really special moment.

Our Perfect Devonian And Cornish Cream Tea Recipe For The Best Scones Ever!

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Half tsp baking powder
  • 85g butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 175ml room temperature milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • beaten egg, to glaze
  • jam and clotted cream, to serve

Step 1: Add the butter, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar to the bowl and rub with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.

Step 2: Add the milk, vanilla extract and squeeze of lemon juice and mix lightly with a knife. The key is to not to work it too much or it will be hard and flat when it cooks

Step 3: Shape it by hand on a floured surface, keeping it quite thick and cut with round pastry cutters

Step 4: Brush with beaten egg to glaze

Step 5: Cook at 200c, 392f or gas 7 for 10 minutes until risen and golden

There it is – so easy you can do it in your caravan! A Devon cream tea… Yum!

Have Cream Tea In Cornwall or Devon

By the way, if you decide to visit us in Devon or drive on down to the furthest most southern point of the UK to enjoy a cream tea somewhere truly magnificent you can expect this:

Buying Cream-Teas and Caravans in Devon and Cornwall

Both Devon and Cornwall boast a unique blend of stunning natural beauty, rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine, including the classic cream tea.


Devon and Cornwall are next to each other and are the only counties in the UK to have two separate coastlines which means double the fun for beaches. All of them are worth visiting at any time of year because the region benefits from the mildest winters and warmest summers anywhere in the country. Both Devon and Cornwall benefit from the influence of the Gulf Stream, which brings mild temperatures and ample sunshine throughout the year.

If you visit the north coast you can expect award-winning beaches that attract surfers from around the world. The Atlantic swell hits the northern shores, which makes it an exciting place to visit if you love getting your feet wet and want to burn off those extra calories consumed with all those cream teas! In the south, it has a much calmer vibe and sandier shores, but as a result, it’s a bit more crowded so you might have to queue for longer to get your cream tea!


Because the region is so popular with visitors, there are a variety of events and festivals laid on throughout the year, including some specifically dedicated to live music, arts, crafts and foods, and others devoted to more quirky interests such as re-enacting Agatha Christie novels, competing in the Go-Kart Wacky Races and worm charming. This means that if you choose to stay at a campsite on a larger site, there is a whole set of entertainment and experiences to enjoy, as well as your cream tea.

Cornwall and Devon offer a wide range of entertainment options for visitors, from exploring historic landmarks and cultural attractions to enjoying outdoor activities and vibrant festivals. Visitors can explore picturesque fishing villages, historic castles and gardens, enjoy multiple water sports such as water skiing and kayaking, and attend music festivals and local events throughout the year.


The coastline of Devon has contributed to its curious history. There are a number of castles to explore including Drogo – the last to ever be built in Britain, caves to get lost in including those at Kents Cavern, which is home to the oldest human fossil ever found in Britain, and mazes of tunnels to wander through which were carved out by smugglers at Ilfracombe and Beer Quarry in East Devon.

With a history dating back thousands of years, Cornwall is home to numerous historic sites and landmarks that offer a peek through a keyhole into its rich cultural heritage. From ancient stone circles and Iron Age hillforts to medieval castles and mining heritage, Cornwall’s history is woven into its landscapes and landmarks, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past, which we can all enjoy.


Whether you prefer your wildlife to be local or exotic you can find it in Devon and Cornwall. There are National Parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor which protect the plants, birds and animals that inhabit them and are perfect not only for getting back to nature but for escaping it all and enjoying a walk, hike, horse ride or picnic. Alternatively, there are animal parks including zoos at Paignton and Exmoor, a Butterfly and Otter Sanctuary in Buckfastleigh and a Wildlife and Dinosaur Park at Combe Martin. Particularly in Cornwall, visitors can spot seabirds, seals, dolphins, and even basking sharks along the coastline, while inland areas are home to rare birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. It also boasts several nature reserves and wildlife parks where visitors can observe and learn about local wildlife.

Tasty Treats

As we’ve already highlighted, you cannot spend time in Cornwall or Devon without indulging in a lip-smackingly good cream tea. Tea rooms all over the South West serve up this traditional, delicious treat. So whether you cook your own at home, at the campsite, or choose to visit one of the many cafes or restaurants that sell them, you will enjoy one of the lightest, crumbliest, warmest and freshest scones, generously topped with sweet, jam and rich clotted cream. They are unbelievably good and reason enough to try the recipe above if you can’t get any in your area.

Overall, Devon and Cornwall offer a diverse and vibrant destination for visitors seeking natural beauty, cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, soaking up the sun on the beach, or indulging in local delicacies, they both have something to offer everyone. What’s not to like?

Let us know if you prefer cream on first or jam on first.

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