When you think of English food, what comes to mind? Fish and chips? Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings? Or a good, old-fashioned afternoon tea? Actually, afternoon tea is not as old-fashioned as you might think. It dates back to the 1800s, when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, finding that she became hungry in the afternoons (dinner being served in the late evening), requested tea, bread and butter, and cake to be served in her rooms. Gradually the idea became popular amongst fashionable ladies, and developed into the delectable afternoon teas served in many hotels and tearooms across England today. Historic UK and About.com have more information on the history of England’s beloved snack.
Afternoon tea traditionally consists of delicate finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, cakes and a cup of tea, which can be served with milk or lemon. If it is done well it can be a real treat, and makes a unique gift for the person who has everything. Whether you are looking for something to complement a trip that is already planned, or will build your trip around the afternoon tea, what better place to experience something so quintessentially English than London? Taking afternoon tea in London is something that everyone should experience at least once. There is an abundance of venues to choose from; in fact www.visitlondon.com has an entire section dedicated to afternoon tea. Each venue has something unique to offer, from traditional English cream teas served in historical venues to chilled treats served with a view of the capital. With so much on offer, it can be difficult to pick just one! Prices in some venues start from under £10 per person, but others can be costly, with prices over £80 per person. The easiest way to make sure you get the best gift possible whilst sticking to your budget is by using a daily deals website such as Dealzippy (http://www.dealzippy.co.uk/afternoon-tea-deals/). Saving money and giving a special gift to a loved one is surely cause for a celebration in itself!
Afternoon tea in London is an unforgettable experience. Pre-purchased vouchers make a fantastic gift for a friend or relative. You can also purchase in advance and hold your celebration at the venue you choose – it will be a memorable birthday or anniversary, or you could even turn it into a magical engagement story! To get the most from your celebration, remember that some venues, particularly hotels, have a dress code. Check that you are suitably dressed before you start out, otherwise you may not be admitted. If you are having a traditional afternoon tea, the standard order in which to eat is sandwiches, then scones and finally cake. Etiquette also extends to the correct order in which to pour your tea: sugar first, then tea, finished with milk or lemon to taste. Most of all, enjoy yourself – it is an experience to be savoured, and the recipient will enjoy the memories for many years to come.