Afternoon Tea Etiquette

Afternoon tea 4One 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.
Afternoon tea 5Afternoon tea 1Afternoon tea 24Afternoon Tea 28Afternoon Tea 2 Afternoon tea 8High 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.

Afternoon tea 1Afternoon tea 22Afternoon tea 10Cream 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.

Book Ahead
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.

Favourite Spots for Afternoon Tea in London
Fortnum and Mason | Sketch Tea Room | The Ampersand Hotel | Claridges | Palm Court at The Ritz

Afternoon tea 26

Have you ever attended Afternoon Tea? Let me know in the comments below

  • Such fab tips and I love afternoon tea! Cannot resist scones hehe!


    • Ah me too. After the tea sandwiches, its my favourite part! The cream in England is SO delicious too.
      Next time I’m in London, I can’t wait to visit another spot – there were so many good ones to choose from.
      Hope you’re having a great start to 2018 Shloka!

  • Alexa

    Ah let’s go back Lyndi! Craving a good scone right now 🙂 Lots of love xxx

    • Next time I visit London, we will definitely go again! This was such a great day. I’m still dreaming about the scones and tea sandwiches. There are so many darling places to choose from. I can’t wait to visit Fortnum and Mason or Claridges!

  • Yvonne

    Such a great place for afternoon tea! It all look so delicious and thanks for the tips! Have a great day!
    xo Yvonne

    • Ah it was wonderfully delicious! It was such a great way to catch up with good friends, and enjoy a decadent afternoon tea

  • Sheena Sy Gonzales

    That place looks so amazing. Perfect for an afternoon tea and snacks!

    Sheena |

    • It was such a fabulous afternoon. The tea salon is so decadent. There was even someone playing the piano!

  • oh such a lovely place to have tea with friends
    The Glossychic

    • Perfect place to have tea with friends. I can’t wait to go visit again.
      Hope you’re having a great start to 2018!

  • Rach

    This afternoon tea looks amazing!! And the place is stunning!

    • Oh you would of loved it Rach! The room is so gorgeous, and the food was fantastic.
      I can’t wait to go again! xo

  • This place is so gorgeous! I’ll be visiting London in March, so you are definitely giving me some ideas! 😉


    • Oh London is such a wonderful city to visit. There is SOO much to see and do. You’ll have the best time.
      I hope you make it to an afternoon tea. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it for the experience. Arrive hungry, there is A LOT of food!

  • What an exquisite spot. Love all the beautiful details and I love those couches pulled up to the tables too. Heart eyes for days! And I love all your etiquette tips, so fun learning all the intricacies. As for attending afternoon tea? Nope, I’ve never been, but now that I’m able to tolerate gluten a little better. I think it’s a definite must do! Happy Thursday babe!! xo

    • Oh Veronika, it was so wonderful. You would of LOVED the hotel. Even the bathrooms were beautiful – they had Jo Malone soap and hand cream, my favourite scent too.
      I need to find a good place for afternoon tea in Vancouver!

  • Absolutely loving this post babe !!!

    • Oh thank you so much!! I had fun putting this piece together xo

  • Beautiful place. I just adore afternoon tea – it’s so much fun. This place looks amazing and those cakes….love

    • Ah it was so amazing! The cakes were so decadent.
      If you’re ever in London, afternoon tea is a must!

  • Such a great post! Love the photos and tips.
    Have a great weekend.

    Gemma x

    • Thank you Gemma! So happy to hear you enjoyed.
      I can’t wait to come back to the UK xo

  • WhatWouldVWear

    High tea is my fave! I go to the Drake Hotel downtown Chicago and it’s always so fun! I always feel so sophisticated! Great photos – just love this!
    Have a wonderful weekend, love!
    xoxo, Vanessa

    • Thank you Vanessa! It’s such a fun way to spend an afternoon with friends.
      Vert sophisticated indeed! Hope you’re having a great week so far xo

  • Nikki Living-Life

    Growing up in South Africa everything comes to stand still for 3′)’clock tea everyday. So I love the high tea ritual. Experiencing this when I was in London was such a special treat for me as well. Looked like you ladies had a great time and thank you for sharing those tips. You have me craving scones now, lol.


    • I grew up in SA too! In Cape Town. I have very fond memories of tea time 🙂
      I always love visiting London because of the many similarities to life in South Africa. Mmm I want a scone now too!
      Hope you’re having a great week so far Nikki xo

  • How fun, I would love to do tea in London! The royal option sounds right up my alley 😉

    xo Annie

    New England Romance

    • How can you pass up the glass of champagne with this decadent dessert 🙂
      Hope you’re having a great week so far Annie xo

  • It looks amazing there! I like the ambiance, so peaceful and relaxing.

    StyleSprinter Blog by Katya Bychkova

    • It was so lovely – the piano player really added to the atmosphere

  • We are almost never taught all these etiquette where I’m from; I usually just dive into whatever is on the tiered trays placed in front of me! Love reading this, very interesting and actually educational – and omg those pastries look DIVINE.

    xo, Liyana |

    • I had to do a little research to make sure I had all my facts straight – there are so many etiquette rules!
      Happy to hear you enjoyed this post and you found it informative. Enjoy your next afternoon tea date 🙂

  • Wow – this is such a beautiful post and I love all the photos. Absolutely gorgeous and afternoon tea is great, especially when it’s done right! Looks like you had an amazing time! 🙂

    Layla xx

    • Thank you so much Layla! It was such a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
      So happy to hear you enjoyed reading this post xo

  • Thanks so much for sharing this, girlie! I’ve been to a high tea before, but it was here in the states and was more laid back, so there wasn’t any pressure to adhere to the etiquette, but this is so good to know! I love the idea of this tradition so much that it was the setup and theme of my baby shower 🙂 Thanks for sharing, beauty, and I hope you have a great week ahead!



    • Oh yes, it’s so much more laid back in North America. A proper British afternoon tea is quite the event. Perfect idea for a baby shower. I’ll have to look up those photos on your blog! Hope you’re having a lovely week so far Jalisa xo

  • Caitlin

    London is such a beautiful city!

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

    • Oh isn’t London lovely? Photography heaven! Thanks for stopping by Style Calling

  • All of this looks so delicious, the place is stunning!

    My Vogue Style |

    • Thanks Camila. It was such a gorgeous tea salon, not to mention the pretty cakes, that were almost too pretty to eat!

  • Kim

    How cute! I love the little desserts!

    Simply Lovebirds

    • Aren’t they darling? Almost too pretty to eat 🙂
      Hope you’re having a great week so far Kim xo

  • ah tea time is my favorite! looks so fun!

    • Thank you Kelsey! It was so much fun 🙂

  • Funmi Alabi

    This Salon looks beautiful! Trust you had a great time.

    Funmi x

    • It was such a beautiful tea salon. Thank you for stopping by Style Calling Funmi

  • Your pics looks amazing and I would love to go back to LONDON <3
    Nice pics too 😉
    Have a wonderful day !
    Olivia Poncelet <3

    • Thank you Olivia! Ah I know, I want to go back to London too! Thanks for stopping by Style Calling

  • Beautiful. Nothing like an afternoon with the girls having a good chat, scones and tea.

    • Oh I couldn’t agree more. Scones, tea and girl time is such a treat!
      Thanks for stopping by Style Calling. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

  • Vaya sitio y que pinta tiene todo.