Afternoon Tea – A very English Occasion

Some occasions take you right back to the past, and taking afternoon tea in England is one of those times. At it’s best it is a real celebration of the cup of tea. I never thought I would be enjoying afternoon tea in the best setting possible, but this past week I was fortunate enough to accompany my cousin to the Grand Hotel in Brighton to enjoy the most perfect cup of tea ever.


My lovely cousin, Sue joined me for a seat at the front of the building, overlooking Brighton seafront. The perfect staff brought us sandwiches including thinly sliced cucumber ones, scones with jam and cream followed by delicious pastries, along with our personal choice of blended tea (which included Darjeeling and English Breakfast tea).

afternoon tea at the Grand 001IMG_2120IMG_2121IMG_2122afternoon tea at the Grand 007Everything was just perfect and we felt like royalty. It was only the second time in ten years I had put on a dress, the other being my daughter’s wedding. How nice to dress up for an occasion, and made to feel so special.

Of course, being a ‘blogger’ of family history I wondered about afternoon tea of the past.

According to

“Afternoon tea was introduced in the 1840s where Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal would be served around eight o’clock, leaving a long time between lunch and dinner.”

This pause for tea became a fashionable social event. During the 1880’s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing-room between four and five o’clock.

Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches (including of course thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches), scones served with clotted cream and preserves. Cakes and pastries are also served. Tea grown in India or Ceylon is poured from silver tea pots into delicate bone china cups. See also:

Truly, an afternoon to remember.

About Jackie Dinnis

Welcome to my blog where I am enjoying meeting my family - past and present - one at a time. Join me as I learn who my ancestors were, where they lived, what their occupations were and what everyday life was like for them.
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