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Afternoon Tea

942 of 1157 nominations


Afternoon Tea

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Afternoon Tea

It’s said that Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced this fashionable pause for tea, cake and sandwiches in around 1830. Usually served between four and five in the afternoon, it was generally eaten in the drawing-rooms of the upper classes and staved off hunger pangs during the long wait between lunch and dinner.

In the average English household, afternoon tea is little more than a swig of hot tea and a biscuit, but the traditional version seems as popular as ever in London hotels like the Dorchester and Claridges, and in tea rooms in the West Country.

The quintessential afternoon tea features crustless sandwiches, cakes and pastries, and tea served in bone china cups from a silver teapot. The cream teas served in the West Country with scones, fresh cream and jam, are a delightful variation on the theme.

Photo: Ted Davis


Your comments

I think it's really important for us to take time out each day, especially with everyone working such long hours. Afternoon Tea allows us to take a breather and gather our thoughts either on our own or as part of a social gathering.

Adele Prince

A strictly British image. If it were coffee it might be Viennese but even then there would be differences in the china.

I don't think it needs to be afternoon tea - tea is the universal language of welcome, "fancy a cuppa?"
Rachelle Bartlett

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry