One of the things I really wanted to experience in London was Afternoon Tea. There are so many wonderful places to choose from, and after much debate (and recommendations from local Londoners) we decided on The Lanesborough Hotel. Located near Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, this landmark building from 1828 has been restored to it’s original grandeur, and was an absolute delight to visit.
Afternoon Tea is a very civilized occasion, so there are a few things you need to know before attending this luxurious British tradition. While sitting in the beautiful tea salon with my best friend Kristy and cousin Alexa, we shared a few giggles about how fancy this experience was compared to our every day lives. We enjoyed our tea and delicious treats, while carefully trying not breaking any of the Afternoon Tea Etiquette rules.
High Tea vs Afternoon Tea
We attended afternoon tea. Along with a choice of teas, there are three distinct courses: savones (or finger sandwiches) scones and a selection of desserts and pastries.
Traditionally, High Tea is comprised of more savoury foods and a heartier meal. A Cream Tea is just scones with cream and jams served with tea. A Royal Tea is when you add a glass of champagne to a traditional Afternoon Tea.
Stirring your tea
Traditional, a teapot of leaf tea is served, never teabags. You may dress your tea to your taste, with the addition of lemon, sugar or milk, but you must remember to stir correctly! Stir back and forth from 6 to 12 o’clock position, without letting the teaspoon to touch the sides or rim of the cup. Remember not to leave the spoon in the cup, instead placing it gently on the saucer, lengthways to the side of the cup. Pinkies down please! It is a common misconception that pinkies should stick out.
Cream or Jam first?
There is a big debate about this, but I say jam first (to soak into the scone) and a dollop of cream on top. Both the Cornish and Devonshire people lay claim to the invention of the Cream Tea, and each have their view on the order of the toppings. Scones (pronounced “sconn” never “scoan”) are broken in half lengthways by hand (never use a knife) and the jam and cream spread onto it, using a knife. Never put the two halves back together to make a sandwich. Each piece is eaten individually.
Never use your own utensils to dip into the jam or cream dish. Never place a used napkin back on the table before the meal is over, if you need to get up before the meal is over, place your napkin on your seat.
If you want to attend afternoon tea in London, book ahead! There are so many beautiful tea salons on London, but they book up quickly, especially on the weekend.
Have you ever attended Afternoon Tea? Let me know in the comments below