Our guide to holiday high tea is sponsored by Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel. Berkeley's historic Claremont offers both Holiday Tea and Brunch with Santa Claus. Read on for lots of options.
In case you’ve never taken your little girl — or boy — to tea, now might be the perfect opportunity. One of the best times to take children for a high tea experience is during the holidays, when everybody’s feeling festive and willing to put on a fancy outfit. You just might start a yearly tradition.
Here are some lovely places in the East Bay and San Francisco that have arranged a special Christmas-season event for young tea-lovers. Pinkies up!
Holiday Tea in the (510)
Claremont Club & Spa, Berkeley
Celebrate the holiday season with this grand Claremont tradition. Enjoy breathtaking views, an unmatched tea selection, sparkling wine, and sweet and savory bites from the Claremont pastry kitchen. Meet characters from Oakland Ballet Company's The Nutcracker on occasional days.
When: Holiday Tea is Saturdays (Nov. 24-Dec. 29, 2018) noon – 4pm.
Cost: $109 per guest (adult), $69 children. Reservations strongly recommended.
Where: Claremont Lobby Lounge & Bar, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley. For reservations, reserve online, call 510-549-8515, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more thing: Special Whoville brunch with Santa is scheduled for December 25th with a different price structure. See details online >
Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, Oakland
This historic estate will make you and your child feel extra fancy.
When: High tea is available Dec. 9th from 11am to 1pm.
Cost: $55 per person for high tea. Plus $15 for parking. Reservations required.
Where: 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland
Purchase tickets online >
The Tearoom, Oakland
This Rockridge spot offers a la carte items, full high tea, and children's sandwiches for a pleasant experience.
When: High tea is available on weekends only.
Cost: $25 per person for high tea. Reservations strongly recommended.
Where: 6241 College Ave, Oakland between 62nd and 63rd
See menu online >
Berkeley City Club, Berkeley
This Christmas tea for children is raising money to fight GM1, a rare and fatal neurological disease that primarily affects babies and children. Santa will be in attendance and the event includes facepainting and bubble fun in addition to the full menu of food and treats.
When: Sunday, December 9, 2019 at 1 pm
Cost: $70 for children; $80 for adults
Where: 2315 Durant Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704
Details and tickets online >
In the (925) and beyond, make your holiday tea service in Pleasanton or Benicia.
The English Rose, Pleasanton
This popular East Bay spot has put up all its best Christmas decorations for what it dubs a “festive and tealightful Christmas Tea,” offering a selection of seasonal treats for kids and adults. Expect many flowers and royal touches.
When: Nov. 23rd – Dec. 29th Charming Christmas seatings are 3 times daily. Reservations strongly recommended.
Cost: $40 adults, $30 children.
Where: 163 West Neal Street, Pleasanton, Calif. Reserve a spot at (925) 462-6233 or see website for more info.
Camellia Tea Room, downtown Benicia
This Benicia spot, about half an hour from Berkeley, hosts an annual Teddy Bear Tea, complete with traditional tea service, costumed characters, storytellers, Christmas carols and a visit from the man in red, all as a fundraiser for the Benicia Main Street Program.
When: December 1st and 2nd, with 3 seatings each day.
Cost: $49/person. Reservations required. Call to reserve (707) 746-5293. More on the website.
Where: 828 First St., Benicia, Calif.
San Francisco Holiday Tea Services
Lovejoy's Tea Room, San Francisco
This adorable tea shop accepts reservations and allows picky kids and adults to customize their high tea experience. A la carte ordering is a big relief for my family!
When: Wednesday through Sunday, seatings 11 am to 4:30 pm
Cost: $22.95 for high tea with each additional for $22 and many custom packages for more and less
Where: 1351 Church Street San Francisco in Noe Valley (415) 648-5895
Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco
The hotel is offering a traditional-style afternoon tea for adults and children. The lobby features a 12-foot tall castle made from sugar at this time of year as well as a tempting sweet shoppe (as in, you might never make it to the tea service). High tea service is elegant, traditional, and may be upgraded with sparkling wine for the adults.
When: Nov. 24-Dec. 15; available Saturdays and Sundays only, noon to 4pm
Cost: $68 Adults Complete Tea; $75 with Red Blossom Tea; $80 Adults Royal Tea; $85 with Red Blossom Tea; $40 for children 12 and under for regular tea. Reservations are required. Please be sure to book early. For reservations, call (415) 774-0264.
Where: 335 Powell Street (between Geary and Post), San Francisco. (415) 774-0264. See website.
[Photos used with permission from the businesses as indicated; photo from Sir Francis Drake by Heather Flett]
This post was written in collaboration with Lisa Tsering and Anna Azimi. We welcome your feedback! Find more to do in our East Bay Holiday Events Guide.