What is Afternoon Tea?

Scones with clotted cream, jam and strawberries

Scones with clotted cream, jam and strawberries

What is afternoon tea?

Afternoon tea became very popular in the United Kingdom around the 1850s and was originally seen as a social event for upper-class ladies so they could entertain their friends at home.

Originally, afternoon tea was served between 4pm - 7pm but today it is possible to enjoy it anytime between 11am - 5pm.

What do you eat and drink?

It is a meal comprising of a selection of small savoury sandwiches and pastries, scones with clotted cream and jam, cakes and other sweet specialities served as finger food. 

Afternoon tea is usually served on a two or three-tier tower which you can help yourself from and eat at your own pace, sampling whatever you want any any order.

Traditionally only tea was served but today you can choose from a selection of different types of tea, coffee and often champagne or prosecco is also offered as an accompaniment.

What is afternoon tea like today?

Afternoon tea is now an indulgence which is enjoyed on special occasions.

It has seen somewhat of a revival over the last few years and is now a fashionable way to treat a friend for their birthday or take your mum out for Mothers' Day.  It is a very sociable and relaxing way to spend a few hours chatting, a typical afternoon tea sessions lasts 1 - 2 hours.

Where can you have afternoon tea?

Many grand hotels, country clubs, historic houses, brasseries and restaurants offer afternoon tea. Some places are more formal and offer a silver service afternoon tea, whereas others are a more relaxed affair. 

Join an English through Food & Drink tour or an English through Historic Houses, Castles and Cake tour with Plus English. Both of these touring English courses include a traditional afternoon tea in a lovely location. What better way to improve your English than sipping tea and eating cake!

Afternoon tea history

Afternoon tea was originally seen as very English tradition but later spread to Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom.  If you are interested, see here to learn more about the history of afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is definitely a worthwhile experience at least once when you are on holiday in Scotland. It is a great thing to do on a rainy day!  What a lovely way to enjoy tea and scones.