Afternoon tea in the charming living room of an English stately home:
Tea and afternoon tea have played important roles in British culture for centuries and up till today having afternoon tea is still an English custom.
It is believed that the idea of afternoon tea was conceived in the early 1800’s by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford who was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting. In those days, the upper crust ate a big breakfast, little lunch, and a very late dinner and every afternoon, the duchess experienced hunger pangs. One afternoon she instructed her servants to serve tea and little cakes in her boudoir. The experience was so delightful that Anna repeated it every afternoon thereafter. Soon others followed the Duchess’ practice.
The custom of “taking tea” grew very popular and it soon became an essential part of any social entertainment held outside the home. Tea gardens opened all over the country and on the weekends tea was served as the high point of the afternoon. The idea of tea dances was an extension of the tea gardens and tea dances was fashionable in Britain until World War II.
For the working clases, afternoon tea then became high tea which was a cross between the light afternoon meal and dinner. But for the upper class the full English tea experience is observed, complete with perfect service in opulent surroundings.
Afternoon Tea in London
Today, you can still enjoy afternoon tea or high tea in many 5-star hotel restaurants and coffee shops around the world. In London, some of the best afternoon tea places include the Palm Court at The Ritz, The Capital Restaurant at the Capital Hotel, Apsleys at St. Regis Hotel, St. James Restaurant at Fortnum and Mason and the Tea Palace.
However, if you wish to experience afternoon tea in the charming living room of an English stately home, head for Grosvenor House where you can enjoy Anna’s Afternoon Tea. Grosvenor House was one of the largest private houses situated on London’s exclusive Park Lane in the Mayfair district. For more than a century, the house belonged to the Grosvenor family (better known as the Dukes of Westminster). Grosvenor House was built to be a home worthy of their wealth and of their status and influence in the 19th century.
What is Anna’s Afternoon Tea?
A complete afternoon tea experience which includes a selection of finger sandwiches, plain and raisin buttermilk scones with Devonshire clotted cream and Cornish strawberry jam, a selection of cream puffs and French pastries and a choice of tea. The Afternoon Tea is held in the Park Room of Grosvenor House which is now managed by the Marriott Hotel group.