Ah, tea. Many would agree that the herbal concoction is one life's simple pleasures. A stress reliever, a comfort blanket, and of course, the go to beverage for almost any social occasion. Such an important role this drink plays, there is even a time of day purely dedicated to the enjoyment of tea, which naturally has to partnered with buttery scones, moist cakes and flavoursome sandwiches...
The concept of Afternoon Tea was introduced during the early nineteenth century, when Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, is said to have complained of "having that sinking feeling" during the late afternoon. At the time, it was common practice for people to only have two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o'clock in the evening. Therefore, it was decided that the solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea accompanied by a light snack. As a result, it wasn't long before all of fashionable society was taking part in this ritual, and Afternoon Tea eventually became the norm among certain circles. Thanks Anna!
Although Afternoon Tea is now only an occasional luxury for the British, many hotels, bars and cafes endeavour to recreate the ceremony, for when people fancy a moment of decadence. Consequently, Afternoon Tea now comes in various shapes and forms, offering a wide choice for tea lovers everywhere.
Here is a small assortment of beautiful and and delicious Afternoon Tea selections on offer throughout the UK:
The Ritz, London
£52 per person / £68 per person including a glass of Champagne
Having been served at the hotel since it opened in 1906, The Ritz is synonymous with Afternoon Tea, and is an experience steeped in tradition. Everything, from the Palm Court location to the 18 varieties of tea, exudes quality and superiority. However, there is a strict dress code where men are required to wear a jacket and tie (jeans are not permitted for either men or women).
Betty's, The Belmont Room, York
£32.90 per person / £39.95 per person including a glass of Champagne
The 'Lady Betty' Afternoon Tea service offers a touch of opulence with an extensive selection of sandwiches, scones and exotic cakes. Betty's has tourists flocking to their doors in order to taste the delights of this famous tea house, therefore, make sure to pre book.
The Balmoral, Edinburgh
£35 per person
With menus created by chef Jeff Bland, customers can choose from either 'Elevenses' or a classic 'Afternoon Tea' service. Although neither of these services offer Champagne or an alcoholic beverage, the extensive, and equally exotic, selection of teas and infusions is spectacular.
The Langshott Manor Hotel, Surrey
£21 per person / £30 per person including a glass of Champagne
Offering a complimentary setting to the English tradition, the service includes: scones, cakes and sandwiches, all homemade by in-house pastry chefs. When the weather is cooperating, the Afternoon Tea service is served on the terrace, overlooking the picturesque gardens.
The Fizzy Tarte, The Lake District
£29.60 for two / £39.60 for two including a glass of Champagne for each person
New, with a luxurious and intimate atmosphere, The Fizzy Tarte offers an Afternoon Tea service with a twist. Whether you are looking for a traditionally classic Afternoon Tea, or a more contemporary selection, The Fizzy Tarte can serve both preferences. Want to experience the true Fizzy Tarte flair? We recommend The Fizzy Tarte 'Ultimate Afternoon Indulgence'. Overall they guarantee a swanky and modern setting, delicious treats, and an afternoon to be remembered.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea” - Henry James
Quintessentially British. 100% Delicious.