Afternoon Tea experience guide…

A few friendly tips on afternoon tea and how to make the most of your next afternoon tea experience.

Afternoon Tea is a quintessentially British institution and it’s popularity continues to grow with the experience becoming more individual and stylised by an assortment of venues. Call it what you may… Cream Tea, High Tea, Elevenses (for the earlier birds), Royal Tea or Champagne Afternoon Tea (with bubbles of course!) each can be traced to a slightly different origin however the principle is the same… to gather with friends and satisfy a hunger craving between the larger meals of the day.

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As a seller of nearly 300,000 gift experiences and gift vouchers (results from SK Chase 2015 annual figures), we can say with some confidence that Afternoon Tea Gift Vouchers and Afternoon Tea Gift Experiences are a number one seller! The reasons being they typically are a highly accessible experience with suitable venues throughout the UK and with an average value in four and five star hotels of around £30 – £40 per person (although some can cost much more than others), they make ideal gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions or simply as an excuse to get together with friends.

The much loved musician Sting in his song, An Englishman in New York, refers to enjoying his toast done on one side. Now, I don’t know many people who would indulge on having two coats of marmalade on their granary brown but there are some who have strong views on ‘orders’ when it comes to Afternoon Tea, that is, and hopefully we can clear a couple up for you…

What to spread first… jam or cream?

Depending on which side of the Devon / Cornwall border you fall, the jury is out (did I say we were going to be helpful?!). The Devonshire people would recommend serving your scone with cream first and jam second. The Cornish would suggest a jam underlay with a cream topping… Our tip would be to dive in without thinking and then discuss as you observe how everyone made their own minds up!

Top to bottom… Save the best to last?

Most Afternoon Tea experiences (check the menu, of course) will include a selection of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries… with the serving suggestion to be consumed in that order. However, don’t be afraid to ask for more.

You may be surprised how many afternoon tea goers provide disappointed feedback to say, “it was lovely, but I wish there had been a little more”. Our top tip… ask for more! Many five star establishments will not charge you more for extras and in fact they deliberately provide underserved potions to ensure both the freshness (no one likes a curling sandwich) and to not over-face guests.

Doggy bags for grown-ups!

To save you the pain of having to loosen a button or two to fit the last pastry in… ask if you can take the remaining elements of your tea away with you. Again, the majority of afternoon tea venues will gladly accommodate your request (you won’t be the first to have asked!) and some will do it without you asking… so your afternoon tea experience can extend a little longer!

Take your time

When choosing your venue for our Afternoon Tea experience, at the time of reservation, be sure to ask if the table is required back at a particular time. Some venues may set a time limit on your dining experience which, whilst is understandable, may not be fitting with your requirements and spoil your relaxing experience. No one should feel rushed when savouring their tea!

Children allowed?

Afternoon Tea is a lovely opportunity to eat with the kids… but proceed with caution. In the same way that some hotels are more suitable for adults and couples, if you are choosing to dine as a family you may wish to check that your venue of choice is suitable.

That said, there is a great range of children friendly afternoon tea experiences to choose from. From the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson to free toy donkeys at The Grove.

For young families, Afternoon Tea with children means that the whole family can be together and with younger children typically wanting to eat earlier than their parents it means everyone can enjoy a good feed at a more accommodating hour.


So, your next challenge… picking where to go?! For more afternoon tea inspiration take a look on our website:

What I Really Wanted ( offers a unique range of luxury hotel and resort gift voucher experiences throughout the UK.  With gifts available for every age and budget, experiences include overnight luxury hotel stays, spa days, golf breaks, fine dining experiences, afternoon teas and champagne afternoon teas.




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