A spoonful of sugar

Afternoon Tea – As Popular As Ever

What could be more British than afternoon tea? Buoyed by the popularity of programmes like The Great British Bake Off, we know there’s nothing nicer than a quality cup of tea and some delicious cakes.

The history of afternoon tea

Legend has it that the afternoon tea was created by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who was looking for a way to make her afternoons more interesting. Like many wealthy households, Anna’s family did not eat dinner until 8pm – a long time after her lunch, and the hunger pangs were overwhelming, so she sent for a snack. She started off enjoying her afternoon tea and cake by herself, but soon realised that it was a far better experience when she shared it with her friends.

Before you can say “tea and scones”, ladies everywhere were dressing up in their best gowns, sharing afternoon tea with their friends. Upper-class ladies traditionally served their tea around 4pm, calling it “low tea” or “afternoon tea”. This was not to be confused with dinner, or “high tea”, which was served later on in the day. The name simply came from the table height – high tea was served at the dinner table, while low tea was served on shorter coffee tables.

Anna’s tea started as buttered bread, a pot of tea, and some cake, and over time, it evolved into increasingly indulgent treats like pastries and filled sandwiches. Different parts of the UK started adding regional favourites, like scones and cream cakes from the West Country. The tea trolley had suddenly got a lot more tempting!

harry potter afternoon tea nottingham

The rise of the afternoon tea trend

It wasn’t long before hotels and restaurants picked up on this rising trend, and going out for afternoon tea became quite the social event. Tearooms ensured afternoon tea was served on the best bone china, with tea from exotic destinations like India or Ceylon, poured into proper teacups from a teapot. These teas were expensive imports at the time, so it was a real extravagance

These days, going out for an afternoon tea is a real experience. Big name destinations like The Ritz, The Savoy and Claridges – previously seen as beyond the reach of the normal person – offer afternoon tea as a way to indulge yourself, or celebrate a special occasion, and the trend is spreading to quality establishments like Colwick Hall, in the heart of Nottinghamshire’s most picturesque countryside.

As Anna discovered, an afternoon tea is the perfect excuse to get together with friends, family or colleagues, and enjoy some of the finer things in life. Thankfully, the afternoon tea experience is a lot more affordable than it was in the 1800s, and we’re seeing more and more customers keen to spoil themselves with this delicious selection of afternoon delicacies.

Time for a spot of tea?

If you’ve fallen in love with afternoon tea, why not spoil yourself and enjoy it in the luxurious surroundings of Colwick Hall? Our very own Byron’s Brasserie serves a mixture of traditional favourites and some of our chef’s tempting contemporary innovations. We even offer a twist on the tradition with some of our own special afternoon tea events, such as our Afternoon At The Movies, Wimbledon Fortnight (featuring lots of strawberries and cream) and spooky Wizarding Afternoon Tea, which have featured in publications such as Elle, Virgin Radio, Cosmopolitan and Unilad. And, from Feb 1st 2018, you’ll be able to experience our brand new themed afternoon tea; ‘Potty For Peter – Tails Of An Afternoon Tea’. Our gift vouchers make it so easy to surprise a friend or loved one with a personalised voucher to make their special day even more memorable.

We’d love you to join us at Colwick Hall for an afternoon tea experience which we’re sure you’ll remember forever. Just call our reservations team, or fill in our callback form on our website (https://colwickhallhotel.com/afternoon-tea-nottingham/) to book your table today.

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