Afternoon tea was introduced in England in the early 19th century by the Seventh Duchess of Bedford who complained of having that "sinking feeling" around mid-afternoon. However it was only when Queen Victoria began to engage in the Afternoon Tea ritual that it became more fashionable on a larger scale. At that time Afternoon Tea was enjoyed by ladies from the Upper Classes. It was often taken whilst sat on low comfortable chairs or sofas whilst socialising with friends. Afternoon Tea has been described as a mini meal which is usually served between 3-4pm to stem the hunger whilst waiting for the evening meal which usually takes place between 7-8pm .
Over time, Afternoon Tea became surrounded by etiquette and customs; invitations, attire, music, silver teapots, delicate china, cake stands, doilies and starched napkins all add to the ambiance and ritual of Afternoon Tea.
The table is traditionally laid with a white linen table cloth, napkins, china cups and saucers, a silver or fine china teapot, with silver or fine china accompaniments creating an elegant setting and adding to the quintessential English experience of this custom.
Traditionally, Afternoon Tea starts with finger sized sandwiches followed by scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and finally, a selection of dainty sweet pastries and cakes.
Today, Afternoon Tea is usually enjoyed as an occasional indulgence or to celebrate a special event such as a birthday and is most commonly experienced whilst being sat at a high table.
Traditional Afternoon Tea Menu
A selection of freshly prepared finger sandwiches
Cucumber; Egg Mayonnaise With Cress; Smoked Salmon With Cream Cheese
Warm scones with clotted cream and preserves
A variety of home made cakes and pastries
Victoria Sponge, Fruit Cake, Honey and Gingerbread, Chocolate eclairs
Your choice from a range of teas