Devon vs Cornwall Cream Teas

Devon vs Cornwall Cream Tea Differences

Devonshire cream teas have been made with cream on the bottom and jam on top ever since their origin in Tavistock Abbey in Devon, where the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam began in the 11th century. This origin of the Cream Tea is disputed by the Cornish who believe the only way to serve a cream tea is with the cream on top.

Historically, there have been more variations between Cornish and Devon cream teas than just whether jam or cream is placed on top. In Cornwall, the cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of slightly sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. But nowadays the scones and clotted cream used throughout tearooms in both counties is very similar and therefore the main difference is how you choose to have it.

Devon vs Cornwall cream teas arguments for both -

For Devonshire Cream Teas:

  • Cream is like the butter, you wouldn’t put butter on jam.
  • It originates from when jam was expensive so you’d just have a bit to put on top.
  • You can get more cream on if you load it first!
  • It stops you getting cream on your nose. :) (jam on cream lays flatter???).
  • If you’re sharing a cream tea with a Cornishman (although unlikely!) you get first dibs on the cream.

For Cornish Cream Teas:

  • It’s easier to spread.
  • You can taste the cream better on top!
  • You wouldn’t put cream on the bottom of a fruit salad.

Personally, I think the great thing about cream teas is that almost everywhere gives you the choice so it shouldn’t be a Devon vs Cornwall debate but the focus should be on fresh locally produced ingredients, and definitely no whipped cream!

Our Great Cream Tea Poll

Between August 18 and March 19 over 1,000 internet user took our poll to decide which method is most popular, in theory these users were as unbiased as possible. Did the poll backfire with more people preferring the Cornish method 😬?

Cream Tea Debate Poll Results

Decide For Yourself Which Is Best

Cream Teas By Post Decide for yourself which is the best way of serving a cream tea with our cream teas by post delivered straight to your door the next working day.

See Also:

How to make the perfect Devonshire scone

Rodda's recipe for Cornish Splits


  • I’m a jam first person and my partner is cream first which causes many a good natured debate but we were both left flabbergasted, speechless and horrified in Yorkshire a couple of years ago when we were served a ‘cream tea’ consisting of scone, jam, squirty cream, scone!!!

    Sue Latcham on

  • I prefer my scone split with clotted cream on one side jam on the other then put them together but with no discipline as to which half gets which .
    Nice either way, but with a glass of Somerset cider so it is proper West Country

    Andrew Fry on

  • Is it just me, or does anyone else change how they do it depending on whether clotted cream is used or not?
    In most cafe’s and hotels they give whipped cream (boo, hiss) which means I’d slather the jam on first, then dollop cream on top (Cornish style).
    But if proper thick clotted cream is used (as is only right), I’ll do it Devon style, because it’s impossible to spread that stuff over jam!
    [Posted by a Welsh woman living in Ireland!]

    Sarah B on

  • I’m from Cheshire and I like to spread a thick layer of clotted cream then a big dollop of raspberry conserve on top. Prefer raspberry to strawberry. If I did it the other way around then the jam would all ooze out the sides when I tried to spread the cream.

    Martin James on

  • OH NO!! Those who put the jam on top will never be invited to the queen’s garden parties…….even Debrett’s, the connoisseur of all that is ‘right and proper’ in the art of gluttony agrees……jam first!! X

    Paul Rowlands on

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