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One of the highlights of my recent trip to Edinburgh was a vegan afternoon tea at The Dome. This gorgeous restaurant seemed perfect for a fancy afternoon tea. My nearby accommodations meant I could walk to The Dome. And I knew, from photos on social media that the interior was magical, all decorated for the holidays. I couldn’t wait.
And yet, that afternoon tea almost didn’t happen!
Check out my beautiful experience. It’s a memory I cherish.
History of The Dome in Edinburgh
Located at 14 George Street, in New Town, The Dome occupies the site of the former Physician’s Hall. Built in 1775, the construction of the hall ran over budget, leaving the Physician’s College in debt. The college eventually sold the building to the Commercial Bank of Scotland.
In 1844 the hall was demolished, making way for the current structure. The Graeco-Roman style, with arched and keystoned upper windows and a Corinthian portico offered a magnificent presence on George Street. Inside, twin staircases rose to offices on the floor above and in the main hall, arched ceilings and a coffered dome capped the center of the building.
In 1959 Commercial Bank of Scotland joined with the National Bank of Scotland. The building on George Street no longer served as the head office. Caledonian Heritable Ltd bought the building and created The Dome, opening its doors in 1996.
What The Dome Offers
Whether you desire afternoon tea or a delicious meal, a meeting room or a place for a private dinner, The Dome provides.
The Grill Room
The former banking hall under the dome now functions as the Grill Room. The Bar Area in the room serves snacks, sandwiches and drinks. The meal menu is a la carte. The Grill Room opens daily at noon. Check out the menu and make an online reservation for a meal or drinks HERE.
The Club Room
The sumptuous Club Room is considered one of the most beautiful rooms in Edinburgh. Sparkling mirrors and chandeliers preside over dark green banquettes and tan chairs. This room provides the perfect setting for a romantic meal, a casual catch up with friends over tea or a special family get-together.
The Club Room opens daily from 10:00 – 2:00 for breakfast and Morning Tea.
Click LINK for menus and to make a reservation for the Club Room.
The Front Bar
If you want a cozy yet gorgeous room for a drink, look no further. The Front Bar occupies the building’s storeroom. Outfitted with rich wood paneling and Swarovski crystal chandeliers, it’s an intimate yet showy spot to share drinks with friends.
Choose from superb cocktails, an amazing malt whisky selection and a huge range of gins. Or try a craft or draught beer, champagne or Prosecco.
A 50 inch television allows sports fans to catch a rugby game or a Wimbledon match.
Opening times for the Front Bar differ daily. Call ahead to find out when the bar room opens.
The Georgian Tea Room
Daily afternoon tea is served in the beautiful and classy Georgian Tea Room upstairs. In Scotland this is called the first floor, as opposed to what Americans call the second floor. Climb the gorgeous curved staircases for access to this room or take the lift (elevator).
The tea room offers a variety of tea services: afternoon tea, gluten free tea, vegan tea, tipsy tea and children’s tea. The tipsy tea provides a tea infused cocktail for each tier of food.
The Georgian Tea Room opens daily at noon. Check out each menu and make reservations ONLINE.
The Afternoon Tea That Almost Didn’t Happen
As I shared at the beginning of the post, this beautiful experience almost didn’t happen.
I booked the trip to Edinburgh in August, inspired by years of dreaming about attending the city’s Christmas Market. After two years of shut downs and limited travel due to COVID, I was excited to finally attend in 2022.
A formal afternoon tea at a special location, like The Dome, was high on my list of planned activities.
I knew I needed to make a reservation. What I didn’t realize is how popular The Dome afternoon teas are, especially during the holiday season. Early November I got online to make my reservation and found The Dome completely booked up for the week of my visit. I felt so disappointed. However, I knew other places for vegan afternoon existed in Edinburgh. The search began for another afternoon tea time.
Two weeks before my trip, having not found another unique place like The Dome for afternoon tea, I felt a nudge to check online reservations again. Perhaps, I thought, a cancellation opened a spot. I am so glad I checked. There was indeed a time available, three days after my arrival. I happily booked my vegan afternoon tea at The Dome.
My Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome
I chose the vegan afternoon tea. Although I do have a gluten sensitivity, The Dome can’t combine gluten free AND vegan so I didn’t worry about gluten that afternoon.
My accommodations on Rose Street, CoDE Boutique Hostel, was one block away from George Street. My second day in Edinburgh I walked by, to make sure I knew the precise location and then eagerly anticipated my special afternoon tea.
With my reservation pulled up on my phone, I arrived at The Dome fifteen minutes early on Friday, December 9. On the portico, people queued, waiting for an opportunity to step inside The Dome and admire the Christmas decorations. With a reservation though, I didn’t have to wait.
Once inside I took photos of the lobby and then climbed the stairs to the Georgian Tea Room. My table for one was ready!
I ordered a pot of Delicious Berry tea and while waiting for my afternoon experience to begin, took more photos before the room filled with people.
Unforgettable Afternoon Tea
Truly, even after all the anticipation, the experience surpassed my expectations.
The wait staff appeared often to see if I needed anything. Soft lights, Christmas decor, crisp white linens, a silver teapot and shiny silverware created a beautiful oasis to relax and savor the moments along with the tea.
I know my eyes teared up when the tiered tray with my vegan treats appeared.
On the lower tier I found a baby potato with walnut pesto and three sandwiches: roasted veggies and hummus, sundried tomato and basil, and artichoke, peas and mint salad.
The next tier contained a scone with vegan cream and jam.
And the top tier offered sweet treats: lemon tart, strawberry sponge cake and Mille-feuille, a puffed pastry filled with vegan cream.
It was ALL delicious, filling and perfectly prepared. I had an hour and a half to enjoy this special treat so I took my time, nibbling and then pausing to sip tea. I relished my the time at The Dome and made it count.
Afternoon Tea Fan?
I’ll never forget my afternoon at The Dome. In a city I dearly love, enjoying a Scottish tradition that I practice daily, this experience felt magical. I’m ever so grateful.
And, I look forward to a return experience someday.
Are you an afternoon tea fan? When you visit Edinburgh, I highly recommend The Dome.
For other wonderful vegan fare in Edinburgh, check out this post.
Create an afternoon tea at home:
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