The quintessentially British pastime that is the Afternoon tea was introduced to England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840, and it was the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread.
As her family dined for their evening meal later in the evening, at around four o’clock in the afternoon, the Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon to keep her hunger at bay. This unique habit of hers quickly became a fashionable social event as she began inviting friends to join her. By the 1880’s, upper-class and society women for received their afternoon tea in the drawing room between four and five o’clock once they'd changed into long gowns, gloves and hats
A traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of delicate sandwiches - usually filled with butter and thinly sliced cucumber - scones served with clotted cream and preserves. Cakes and pastries are also served along with tea in bone china cups with saucers.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
There's a wide selection of hotels in Britain offering a quintessential afternoon tea experience, but we suggest you visit the iconic luxury of both Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, a stone's throw from the coast in Hampshire, and The Lygon Arms in the heart of the Cotswolds. Each offers a distinct charm and chance to unwind in comfort - feed your body, and your mind too!
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa
The Lygon Arms
Tea in these mugs are a delight - whether it's with a biscuit to dunk, or with a scone filled with lashings of cream and jam.