There really is nothing more quintessentially British than afternoon tea! With National Afternoon Tea Week upon us (13th – 20th August), gear up for a celebration of the great heritage of afternoon tea in the UK and teatime treats in the world. We certainly don’t need an excuse to indulge in freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches, freshly brewed tea and bubbles! Join in the fun and host a beautiful afternoon tea at home with our top tips and recipes. Or if you’re on the hunt for a classic, new or boozy afternoon tea here are 5 of our favourite afternoon teas you can get delivered to your home. A perfect way to entertain family and friends this summer or as a birthday, date night or payday treat.
The basic kit and set-up
If you own a tiered cake stand, then dust it off and use as your centrepiece. Alternatively use your best crockery and silverware, add napkins, place cards and flowers to make it that bit extra special. You’ll need a basic teapot, teacups and some side plates, don’t worry if it’s mismatched, it adds to the charm and is currently oh so on trend and hip. Extend your table and dress it with a tablecloth or table runner and candles, you could always string up some bunting too. If the weather is warm, set-up your table in the garden for an alfresco afternoon tea.
The fancy spread
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food and drinks, you can opt for savoury, sweet or both. The standard afternoon tea compromises of sandwiches, a selection of cakes, scones with cream and jam and of course tea! However, feel free to throw in pastries, petits fours or biscuits, or add in savoury bites such as sausage rolls, bruschetta or quiche. Opt for coffee instead of tea or add a little luxury with some fizz or even pimms for a summer and adult feel. Take a look at our new in Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo Coffee Maker for only £49 or the Salter Expressimo for only £29! Plus here is a list of our favourite fancy how to coffee recipes you can easily make at home like a pro barista in your own kitchen.
Classic Scones Recipe
Cream tea wouldn’t be the royal occasion that it is without the classic scone. Made from store cupboard staples and easy to whip up in the kitchen, you can add in your choice of ingredients like chocolate chips, berries, sultanas or cheese and herbs. Here is a basic recipe from BBC Food to get you started.
Ingredients: 450g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting, 2 tsp baking powder, 100g butter, 50g caster sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 eggs, around 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat the over to 220c. Lightly grease two baking trays.
- Pour dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar) into a bowl. Add cold butter and rub in with your fingertips to resemble fine crumbs.
- Whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. You may not need all the wet mixture.
- Lightly knead on a floured surface, then roll out into a rectangle about 2-3cm thick.
- Cut out as many rounds as possible with a 5cm cutter and place on the greased baking trays.
- Brush the top of the scones with a little milk, then bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden in colour.
Top Tip: Do not twist the cutter when cutting out your scones, this will stop them from rising. For more sweet treat ideas, take a look at gooey chocolate brownies and apple crumble custard tart recipes in our Activities For the Whole Family blog post.
Afternoon Tea delivery
Why not enjoy a sumptuous spread of afternoon tea at home by post and prepare to strike up that age old debate of jam or cream first? Our favourites include:
Cutter & Squidge for 2, £29.99
Renowned for its beautiful array of cakes and bakes, this quirky London bakery is now delivering afternoon tea up and down the country. Enjoy their high quality, yet affordable offering for 2 for under £30, delivered in their signature orange box and kept chilled with ice packs. Packed full of classic buttery scones with Rodda’s clotted cream, strawberry jam, brownies, cake slices and Cutter & Squidges very own fine loose-leaf tea. Be sure to warm up your scones in the oven for 5 mins before serving. Visit cutterandsquidge.com
Piglets Pantry Classic Afternoon Tea for 2, £30
If you’re looking for sweet and savoury this is a good affordable choice. The offering includes cheese and chive quiches, traditional scotch eggs, mini sausage rolls (some with cheese and pickle), two scones with clotted cream and Tiptree strawberry conserve, plus a selection of four cakes (carrot cake and blueberry and banana with lemon curd icing) and teapigs tea bags. Visit pigletspantry.co.uk
Lola’s Cupcakes Deluxe Afternoon Tea for 4, £59.99
Bring a little luxury into your own home with this box of freshly baked goodies from cupcake specialists’ Lola’s. Inside the deluxe afternoon tea box, you’ll find tasty vanilla scones with Rodda’s clotted cream, Tiptree strawberry jam and fresh orange juice. A beautiful Victoria naked sponge cake to enjoy with fresh strawberries and blueberries. As well as some savoury delights including campaillou bread, West Country cheddar and juicy vine tomatoes – a feast fit for royalty! The deluxe box is only available to London residents, but there is a smaller cream tea for four available UK-wide for £18.99. Visit lolascupcakes.co.uk
The English Cream Tea Hamper – Luxury Banoffee Edition for 2, £82
Love banoffee pie and toffee? This is an extra special banoffee edition Afternoon Cream Tea Hamper for two with a twist to add a little luxury. The star of the show is the banana and coffee scones, with luxury toffee sauce, fresh clotted cream and bananas ready for you to assemble at home. The hamper also includes finger sandwiches, teabags, shortbread, meringues, brownies and lemon drizzle slices. You can also add champagne to the hamper for an extra £36. Perfect for a special occasion. Visit englishcreamtea.com
Gail's Picnic Hamper for 2, £25
Perhaps you're looking for more of a savoury weekend treat or to send someone a lovely gift then look no further than London's favourite high-street bakery Gail's. Imagine tucking into a freshly basked baguette with Clothbound cheese and Suffolk Salami, sausage roll, spinach and feta roll, sweet madeleines and summer strawberries. This little hamper takes the hard work out of a summer picnic so you can sit back and relax. Visit gailsbread.co.uk
For more ideas on entertaining friends and family at home take a look at our Hosting Garden Parties guide.