Afternoon tea or “high tea” is one of Britain’s most endearing time-honored traditions. Surprisingly, it doesn’t go that far back, despite its classic culinary appeal. History has it that the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna, introduced the concept in about 1840, as she’d require a nibble before the late dinner at 8 PM. She’d ask for bread and butter as well as some cake and invite a few friends to join her. So began the social nature of tea with a snack or two in the afternoon. Whether you’re looking for the quirky, the quaint or the traditional, there’s an afternoon tea for every taste in and around London.
1. Vintage Open Top Bus Tour with Champagne Tea Cruise on the River Thames
Experience afternoon tea while taking in some of London’s finest sights and sounds. You’ll ride a classic 1950s Routemaster bus as you take in the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard, Tower Bridge, the London Eye and more. Afterwards, enjoy a champagne afternoon tea cruise down the River Thames. Perfect for combining the best of sightseeing with the finest of afternoon traditions in elevated style.
2. Game of Thrones Afternoon Tea at Ballygally Castle, Co. Antrim
This Game of Thrones-themed food event will set you back £18. Winterfell, King’s Landing, Iron Islands and Stormlands inspire the food fair, so some of the delightful creations are Lannister egg rolls, mini dragons’ eggs, and Jon Snow cakes. Many pivotal scenes were also shot near Ballygally castle, enabling you to really live the Game of Thrones experience.
You can also extend the idea of a TV-themed tea gathering to the home. The concept is to bring together an inspired food theme, in this case, Game of Thrones, along with the series binge session. The popularity of the series allows for free-reign creativity, which is the nature of at-home teas. You can flex rules of etiquette and personal taste, with either traditional or boozy tea. You can even incorporate wine, prosecco, Chandon Brut NV or whatever you prefer to create uniquely-flavored boozy teas.
3. OXO Children’s Not Afternoon Tea
This one is for the kids. While you enjoy something distinctly stronger than tea at OXO Tower, your little ones can look forward to some well-presented fun of their own, too. Expect a delicious selection of child-friendly treats and milkshake mocktails.
4. Science Afternoon Tea at the Ampersand Hotel, Kensington
Dinosaurs bring out the best in everyone, so both adults and children will love this inventive take on tea! In the chocolate soil, you can indulge your amateur archaeologist and dust for shortbread dinosaurs or squeeze toppings onto your scones from a test tube. The savory treats are just as suitably scientific in nature.
5. Scandal Water at the London Edition
Tea was called “scandal water” in the nineteenth century, thanks to its ability to induce a good gossip session. This particular tea lives up to that reputation, as it has been specially designed to loosen those lips. Enjoy tea that’s more punch than anything else, along with a variety of food-and-brew pairings. If you’re visiting as a couple, Scandal Water could also make for an interesting date with a boozy twist.
It’s clear that tea is adapting to the lifestyle choices of present and future drinkers.
Featured Photo via Pexels.