Afternoon tea is a time-honoured tradition in Britain. It has seen a major resurgence in recent years as more and more people discover this relaxing and indulgent way to treat yourself or a loved one. In this blog, we’ll uncover some of the lesser-known facts about afternoon tea…
What is afternoon tea?
Afternoon tea first arrived in Britain during the 1840s, and was presented as a novel new way to help curb hunger before a late evening meal. The trend during this period was to dine at around 8pm, and afternoon tea fast became fashionable amongst middle and upper-class ‘ladies who lunch’, enabling them to gather and catch up on the latest gossip whilst also enjoying a delicious small meal.
The tradition for afternoon tea continued through the intervening years, but has only recently begun to reassert itself in a fashionable new way, with trendy and unconventional takes such as Indian afternoon tea.
What’s in a traditional afternoon tea?
Traditional afternoon tea is an elegant affair, comprised of delicately sliced sandwiches filled with tasty (yet never overpowering) fillings, alongside small cakes, pastries or scones with jam and clotted cream. This has certainly not prevented restaurants in London each offering their own unique new spin on the trend, with different flavours and combinations available.
How to serve afternoon tea
The afternoon tea tradition is one steeped in ritual, and there are certain rules of engagement to abide by. Whether you’re arranging your own afternoon tea experience at home or treating yourself to a Park Grand Lancaster Gate Afternoon Tea, there are a few key things to remember. There is no need to be overly fancy or ostentatious, unless you want to be – the tradition itself is quite flexible. Above all, try and ensure an attractive and tasty selection of treats and teas which will appeal to you and your guests.
- When should you have afternoon tea?
Afternoon tea should be served between 3pm – 5pm. Traditionally, the meal would be served each day in high society, though in the modern age it is more commonly viewed as a special treat, enjoyed by those visiting London and staying at hotels such as the Park Grand London Lancaster Gate.
- How do you drink afternoon tea?
You drink afternoon tea just as you would drink any other cup of tea, as there are lots of ways to adjust the experience to your own personal taste. Adding milk, lemon or sugar, or simply leaving the tea to brew until you are happy with the taste – this is all up to you.
- Is it rude to dunk biscuits?
Opinions on this matter differ quite drastically, as Britain is a nation filled with people who are scarcely afraid to dunk biscuits in tea. However while this might be acceptable in your own home, when you’re enjoying afternoon tea in public it is perhaps best to curb the habit!
- What’s the difference between high tea and afternoon tea?
While afternoon tea has traditionally been considered an upscale treat served mid-afternoon, high tea is far more grounded, defined as a working class dinner or meal which used to be served between the hours of around 5pm – 7pm. High tea is also a more substantial meal than afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea at the Park Grand Lancaster Gate Hotel
Enjoying afternoon tea at the Park Grand Lancaster Gate is the perfect way to spoil yourself, with a variety of different ways to enjoy the traditional treat while you stay in the city.
Our traditional afternoon tea includes all the delicious dishes you’d expect, including an assortment of teas, yummy cakes, scones, tarts and macarons, and a selection of finger sandwiches.
Our chocolate afternoon tea embraces British tradition yet gives it a contemporary update, with a chocolate-themed selection and a variety of savoury treats.
We also offer a champagne afternoon tea which takes a luxurious and traditional approach, with the addition of a glass of champagne.
Our Indian-inspired afternoon tea gives authentic afternoon tea dishes an Indian twist, while the ice cream afternoon tea is perfect for sunny afternoons in London. Each can be served for either one diner or two.
Accommodation at the Park Grand Lancaster Gate
As one of the top boutique-style hotels in the city, we offer a range of stylish accommodations which combine cutting edge contemporary design with traditional hospitality and a relaxing atmosphere. Rooms range from a deluxe single and a deluxe double room, inclusive of a continental breakfast, through to club double rooms and club twin rooms, which also include a continental breakfast as standard. Each room provides modern fixtures and fittings and comfort sure to ensure a great night’s sleep.
Afternoon tea etiquette
As afternoon tea is considered such a special occasion, observing a few etiquette rules has become standard practice, and also reflects the early origins of the tradition itself. Many places where you can enjoy an afternoon tea experience have a relaxed approach which includes the acceptance of smart-casual attire, so simply dressing smartly is a great starting point. However, many use this as an excuse to really dress up and practice their manners.
What to eat with afternoon tea
The dishes served with afternoon tea can range from the traditional (scones, cakes, pastries and finger sandwiches) to more elaborate and unusual varieties, which can be enjoyed by those taking advantage of our hotel deals in Lancaster Gate. The rebirth in popularity for afternoon tea has led to new varieties and spins on the classic, including simply switches to the treats on offer and even the addition of champagne – ensuring everyone can find the perfect afternoon tea for them.
Adding afternoon tea to your special occasion
One of the great things about afternoon tea is its flexibility, which allows it to be easily added to a wide variety of special occasions. Everything from a birthday to an anniversary, a promotion to a big house move – there’s no occasion which can’t be bettered with a few delicious cakes and a selection of flavoursome tea.