I always try to pack a traditional afternoon tea into the itinerary if we are travelling to one of the Commonwealth countries. For our annual family trip to Australia, we decided to pay a visit to the Hopetoun Tea Rooms Melbourne – one of the oldest establishments of the Melbourne tea scene. The tea room has been operating within the Block Arcade since 1891 when its owners secured the space at 18 pounds. Given its popularity, we reserved and paid for the afternoon tea a few weeks in advance.

Finding Hopetoun Tea Rooms Melbourne within the mall was pretty easy. There was already a line when we got there and loads of pastry lovers were admiring the delicious window display of cakes, tarts and muffin assortments. We were so glad that we made the reservation way in advance else the queue will take up quite a while.

As requested, we were ushered to a cosy table by a quiet corner which overlooks the entire seating area. The interiors were tastefully adorned with a rather dramatic Victorian wallpaper. The interiors were well-utilised with lanes that were just right for walking. We were glad most of their patrons were considerate with their conversation volume.

Once we were seated, glasses of water with slices of strawberry, kiwi, orange and lemon were served and

we were offered a wide variety of traditional English teas, herbal infusions as well as newer blends of more exotic flavours and scents. While waiting for our tea to arrive, here’s more details on the tea room’s history. The tea rooms were first run by the Victorian Ladies Work Association and named after their founder Lady Hopetoun, wife of former Victorian Governor and Australian Governor-General Lord Hopetoun. It was a fashionable spot for ladies to take lunch or afternoon tea and the tea room has retained most of the traditions with a refined ambience, beautiful teaware, great service and an impressive array of food.

It did not take long for our afternoon tea arrived. At AUD$65 per person, the tea offered quite an extensive spread. Served on a three-tier cake stand, the bottom tier is full of savoury selections, followed by the sweet bites in the middle tier and last but least the fruits platter right at the top.

We started straight with the savouries as well as the scones with triple berry jam and double cream (we are not exactly sure why we did not capture the scones in our camera, probably too busy eating). The selection was amazing and we really loved their signature pinwheel sandwiches.

Next up was my favourite part of the afternoon tea – the exquisitely presented sweets.

We ended off the feast with the top tier of fresh fruit. This came as quite a surprise for us as fruits are not usually presented on tiered afternoon tea sets. They are often found on the side buffet.

We could not finish the entire offering but thankfully the friendly staff was able to help us pack up the remaining sweet morsels to bring back to our hotel. Overall, we really enjoyed the afternoon tea experience. If you are keen to visit, here are the full details:

Hopetoun Tea Rooms Melbourne

Address: 282 Collins Street – shop 1 and, 2 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | Opening Hours: | Tel: +61 3 9650 2777 | Website: www.hopetountearooms.com.au | Facebook: hopetountearooms | Instagram: @hopetountearooms

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