I don't know anywhere - I just wanted to let you know that afternoon tea and high tea are two entirely different animals.
Afternoon tea consists of sandwiches and cakes whereas high tea is a hot meal - usually something like fish and chips with bread and a pot of tea, often but not always followed by a pudding of some sort.
Three places come to mind, one is at the Palace of Holyrood House where they have a lovely cafe. The other two are just up from there, go along the Royal Mile and just at the end of the Parliament buildings you will see two tea rooms on either side of the street (sorry I cant remember their names), both are great for afternoon tea. The further up you go, the more touristy they will become.
Also it's two years since I lived in Edinburgh so there may be other, new, places.
The afternoon tea at the Balmoral is great, yes is an expensive one, but you get really nice food and they even give you the option to take whatever you didn't eat in a box... is not in royal mile, but is just crossing the bridge
Are you looking for what I call a 'posh' afternoon tea, which will set you back a fair amount of cash but be a lovely experience, or is a nice cafe with home baked cakes and a decent pot of tea more your thing. I am trying to remember the name, but there was a lovely little cafe on the left hand side going down the hill at the Holyrood end of the Royal Mile.
Alternatively as someone said, the Balmoral has the real deal:
The cafe at Holyrood does look very nice though. You can check it out on the pages of www.list.co.uk (the url was too long to post here)
for posh afternoon tea you can't beat the Sheraton on Lothian Road, far superior to the Balmoral where you have to sit at dining style tables and where the scones are less than average, also better than the Caledonian where the service can be long and the atmosphere dull. The Sheraton excels in it's delivery, atmosphere (particularly on a Sunday afternoon when there is a pianist), and quality of food.
For an excellent tearoom then I would suggest Clarindas, 69 Canongate. The Canongate is part of the Royal Mile and just over half way between the Castle and the Palace. They are listed on a few websites but I could not find their own website. There is a review
Another place to consider may be the Elephant House in George IV Bridge (just off the Royal Mile).
I would suggest walking through the back as that will give you views looking out towards the castle and the Grassmarket. Great place to watch the world go by.
For something a bit different think about the Lower Isle Restaurant below St Giles Cathedral (on Royal Mile) but the entrance to this is at the back of the cathedral opposite Parliament House / Parliament Hall (…ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/…featurefirst6570.html) and the High Court.
Thanks everyone, my wife will be very appreciative. She wasn't looking for something posh so your suggestions of the little cafes down from the palace should suit her just fine. She had her high tea experience at Harrod's last year and it was pretty expensive!! Ron
you mean afternoon tea right? ;-)
Ah Meks, I think it was Clarinda's I was thinking of. They have lovely home baking!
The Elephant House has the Harry Potter connection too. It was one of the places JK Rowling spent time keeping warm and writing the very first Potter book. Very quirky looking place and very popular.
Just returned from Edinburgh and we went to both Clarinda's and the Elephant House. We really loved both places, but from an authentic tea room, I would definitly recommend CLarinda's. We had a lovely breakfast and tea there before going to the palace and I would go there again if we ever got to go back. The elephant house was great too, but it has so much other food and drink besides just tea, I didn't even think of it as much of a tea room, but more of a cafe.