Afternoon tea at Fairmont Palliser
Food,  Lifestyle

Partake in Fairmont Palliser’s Downton Abbey afternoon tea

Tray of afternoon tea food at Hawthorn Dining Room

Fairmont Palliser and afternoon tea go hand-in-hand as Calgarians have come to know the pairing. With the two being so synonymous, how could afternoon tea become even more charming? By adding a dash of Downton Abbey to the high tea experience!

This new afternoon tea series is held in the newly renovated Hawthorn Dining Room inside the Fairmont Palliser. With the newly released Downton Abbey movie in theatres, Hawthorn is bringing the Downton experience to fans through a customized menu to honor the show.

Afternoon tea at Fairmont Palliser, Downton Abbey-style

Afternoon tea at Fairmont Palliser
Enjoying tea in front of a cozy fire.
Tea and food at Hawthorn Dining Room
Pouring myself some tea. It’s a myth to drink with your pinkies out! But I still like to do it lol.

If you’ve never been to afternoon tea, make sure to come mildly hungry! All those little fingers foods do add up and you will leave comfortably full. The food tray will come in three sections starting with oven-fresh Abbey scones on the bottom – I could devour these all day with clotted cream! The next level up includes a variety of dainty finger sandwiches and canapés, followed by the third tray of decadent desserts and pastries.

Fairmont loose leaf tea options

You’ll have a choice from a number of loose leaf tea options from the Fairmont LOT 35 collection. They all smell divine so it can be hard to choose. With two of us at the meal, we chose to pick two different tea offerings to share: the classic Creamy Earl Grey and the Something Sweet (a subtle chocolate and coffee blend of tea). If you finish off a pot, more hot water can be added to enjoy the delicious tea. If you have any allergies, Hawthorn staff are great at making sure accommodations can be in place such as alternative milks and food substitutions.

Characters from Downton Abbey

What can Downton Abbey fans expect at the Palliser? A fun nod to all your favourite characters of the show! My beloved Carson and Countess Violet sat nice and close by as we nibbled our way through the high tea menu. I could just imagine what they made of my tea etiquette, but I tried my best.

Scones and savoury treats at Fairmont Afternoon Tea

Start off with the traditional Abbey scones. Eat your scones in small bites with different toppings like the:

  • housemade strawberry preserve
  • housemade mixed berry preserve
  • clotted cream (yum!)

Sandwiches at afternoon tea

There are so many little sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres to enjoy at afternoon tea. The Downton Abbey menu includes:

  • Sliced cucumber with Boursin cheese
  • Avocado and egg salad on dark rye bread
  • Smoked salmon cream cheese with lemon caper
  • Roast turkey with cranberry chutney
  • Deviled bacon eggs

I really enjoyed the avocado and egg salad as it combined two of my favourite flavours into one tasty bite.

Desserts at Hawthorn afternoon tea

Desserts at afternoon tea

If you’re a sweets lover, you will love everything on this dessert tray. I couldn’t get enough of the lemon curd meringue tart, but perhaps one of these other pastries will catch your eye.

  • Earl grey chocolate truffles
  • Mini fruit tarts
  • Classic éclair with chocolate filling
  • Rhubarb custard cake slice
  • Mini lemon curd meringue tarts

Hawthorn Dining Room, reimagined and relaxing

Tea with cast of Downton Abbey
Just enjoying tea with a few of my Downton Abbey friends.

One of the nice things about afternoon tea at the Palliser is sitting in the new Hawthorn Dining Room. Inside the updated restaurant, you can find touches of the Palliser’s rich history included in the new modern space. Cozy couches, wingback chairs and rounded booths make for a comfortable dining experience. We enjoyed tea while lounging on a luscious leather couch  in front of the fireplace, but there are also place settings at small and large tables for whatever your party size.

Palliser afternoon tea is $65/person and is available from Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. I found Hawthorn to be steadily busy throughout as many folks enjoyed the new tea menu. Make your reservations soon as the Downton Abbey afternoon tea theme is only available until October 27.


Irene Seto is a Calgary lifestyle influencer supporting local from all angles.

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