The History of Afternoon Tea

The History of Afternoon Tea

This week, we are giving it up for Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. The name doesn’t ring a bell? Shame on you, for without this woman and her mighty hunger pangs, we would not be enjoying afternoon tea today. The history is brief: one afternoon, Anna was feeling peckish and had the brilliant idea of asking for a combo of some sarnies and a cake to be brought to her room. And so the Afternoon Tea was born. Not quite a Eureka moment but we’ll give her some credit anyway.

Today, most will have their Afternoon Tea in the form of a mug of Builders Breakfast and a custard cream. However, the traditional Afternoon Tea still exists today, and although it doesn’t quite live up to the 1800s upper-class original, there are many that get it pretty close.

Here are some of our favourites for a little 4pm-5pm indulgence.

Afternoon Tea in London:

  1. Fortnum and Mason’s Afternoon Tea

fortnum and mason afternoon tea

The classic décor and smooth piano playing sets the scene for Fortnum and Mason’s renowned Afternoon Tea. F&M is renowned for some of the more exquisite and finest teas in the world, and with over three centuries’ experience in sourcing teas, we trust they know their Greens from their Oolongs. We recommend delving a little deeper and getting the Tea Sommelier to accompany your tea fiesta – from tea manufacturing to tea tasting, the experience is top dog and you leave feeling educated.

Find out more at

2. B Afternoon Tea

B afternoon tea bus

We recommend this one for those of you non-Londoners who wouldn’t mind catching Big Ben while you’re here. All aboard the B Bakery Routemaster Bus Tour for an Afternoon Tea full of sights and “Britishness”. Get sip-happy on some classic brews and get snap-happy on some of London’s top attractions. If the scenic route is your thing, head to Bath for The B Afternoon Tea river boat which can host 10 down the River Avon.

Found out more here:

3. Shosharu Afternoon Tea

shosaru afternoon tea

This one is calling your taste buds. Shosharu has created an Afternoon Tea selection based on some of its delicate Japanese flavour infusions. Swap your cream scones for some bergamot & coconut rolls with matcha & nori crumb – easier eaten than said. Enjoy these delicacies with either their loose-leaf green tea or one of their fresh sparkling cocktails.

Check out the menu here:

Afternoon Tea in Manchester

4. Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at Richmond Tea Rooms

mad hatters afternoon tea

It’s not every day that you’re served a pot of tea by The White Rabbit or The Chesire Cat. So, if any of you are in the Manchester area, take a trip down the rabbit hole and end up in the wonderful world of Alice – or the next best thing - the Richmond Tea Rooms. The setting is spot on - something which has been self-declared inspired by Tim Burton. They have different tea selections from The Hatter’s Tea to The Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea which comes with a pint and some fish and chips.

Find out more here:

Afternoon Tea in Hertfordshire

5. Tea at Tapps’

tea at tapps

This time, we’re recommending no frills, no dress up. Sue and Graham Tapp do an exceptional Afternoon Tea the Cornish would be proud of. A quant and quiet spot in Baldock, Hertfordshire, the Tapps are baking masterminds, serving up some of the best home-made treats we’ve ever had (seriously, we can’t get our heads round the chocolate orange marble loaf). Oh, and they have pretty good taste in teas too.. come here for an afternoon delight, with a cup of our very own loose leaf tea. 

Read more here:

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