How to Host Afternoon Tea

As Henry James rightly said, “there are few hours in life more agreeable than the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” So, in the spirit of tea and cake, we’ve pulled together some top tips for hosting your very own afternoon tea.

1. Pick a theme

Pick a theme

It’s the picture-perfect way to tell a tale and tie everything together. Word has it that the Mad Hatter and his guests are on hand to bring a collection of colourful china characters to the tea table…

2. Set the scene

Set the scene

Consider where you’ll host it – at home, a local venue, or if the weather’s “good”, embrace the British stoicism and brave the great outdoors. We’re ever the optimist…

3. Send invitations

In the name of tradition, why not handwrite them and include an RSVP card?

Send invitations

4. Choose your spread with care

When it comes to the all-important tea, we recommend Darjeeling or a bespoke afternoon blend such as our Afternoon Tea, which is relatively light but has enough astringency or sweetness to balance the richness of the food. On the topic of tasty treats, a traditional tea stand – from top to bottom – features scones, finger sandwiches and sweet treats, pastries and desserts. We’ve whipped up a few baked delights ourselves over the years should you wish to steal our recipes.

5. Entertain your guests with a quiz on the national pastime

Pinkie in or out? Full of fun and intriguing facts, our etiquette guide on the dos and don’ts of afternoon tea is a great place to start.

Entertain your guests

Did You Know?

Afternoon tea is said to have been invented by Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford. She got a little peckish between lunch and dinner and instructed her servants to make her a “light meal” of tea, cake and sandwiches. Tea parties soon became a tradition in high society – and the rest is history.

Without further ado, it’s time to pop the kettle on!

Take Tea at Whittard

Such is our love for the British custom that we host all-day afternoon tea year-round at our Covent Garden Tea Bar, which features a specialist brew bar, over 100 loose leaf teas and plenty of scrumptious tea-infused treats.
Book your trip here.

Take Tea at Whittard

Such is our love for the British custom that we host all-day afternoon tea year-round at our Covent Garden Tea Bar, which features a specialist brew bar, over 100 loose leaf teas and plenty of scrumptious tea-infused treats.
Book your trip here.

© 2022 Whittard of Chelsea. Customer Services, First Floor West, 25 Western Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4SH