As it’s Afternoon Tea week, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most beautiful & creative Afternoon Tea that Britain has to offer. Whether it’s served with a view, or just created by a fantastic, innovative chef, we’ll list them all. Even if you’re not planning on going for Afternoon Tea any time soon, some of these pictures are true food porn.
Afternoon Tea has been a tradition since the 1840’s. In those days, dinner often wasn’t served until 8pm, and lunch wasn’t an established meal, so traditionally people would have sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and sweet dainties like cakes and pastries to help lift the spirits, bolster energy, and see you through the rest of the day.
Often the phrases “afternoon tea” and “high tea” are used interchangeably as many mistakenly believe that there is no difference. Both tea traditions are steeped in British history and the differences, subtle as they may be, are a direct result of their origins.
Afternoon tea is traditionally served around 4 p.m and the origins clearly show it was a preserve of the rich, whereas for workers in the newly industrialized Britain, tea time had to wait until after work. By that time, tea was generally served with heartier dishes which were substantially more than just tea and cakes. Workers needed sustenance after a day of hard labour, so the after-work meal was more often hot and filling and accompanied by a pot of good, strong tea to revive flagging spirits.
The ‘high’ in ‘High Tea’ refers to the tables and chairs to which the food is served on, with Afternoon Tea traditionally served on low, comfortable, parlor chairs or relaxing in the garden and the worker’s after-work high tea that is served at the table and seated on high back dining chairs.
The Ritz (obviously) the most famous Afternoon Tea there is…
Aqua at the Shard – both for uniqueness and the fantastic view
The next has to be Betty’s Tea Room in Yorkshire…
One Aldwych, in London offers a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory themed Afternoon Tea which also takes a festive twist from November.
Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea at St. David’s Hotel, Cardiff
Atlantic Hotel, Newquay – enjoy in their 2 AA rosette restaurant overlooking the sea.