Afternoon Tea Week

One of our favourite pastimes, Afternoon Tea Week takes place from 12th to 18th August this year. Read on to learn about the history of afternoon tea, get your afternoon tea checklist and decide on the best tea, sandwiches and cakes to add.

The History Of Afternoon Tea

It was around 1840 when the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, ‘invented’ what we now call ‘Afternoon Tea’. At that time, people were sitting down to eat their evening meal later than ever before due to the rise of industrialisation; close to 9pm.

The Duchess of Bedford, who was one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, described a 'sinking feeling' at about 5pm, so requested some tea, bread and butter and cake in the late afternoon, to perk her up. This soon became a popular trend and tradition within the upper classes and quickly spread across Britain.

Afternoon Tea Checklist

For the perfect set-up at home, check you’ve got everything you need for the full experience, in time for Afternoon Tea Week.

  1. Teapot
  2. Teacups & Saucers
  3. Milk Jug or Cow Creamer
  4. Sugar Bowl
  5. Cake Stand
  6. Side Plates
  7. Butter Pat
  8. Tea, Sandwiches and Cakes

We think the most important item for this has to be a trusty teapot and the larger the better, if you ask us! The spouts of our teapots, such as this Blue Asiatic Pheasants design, are elegantly designed to regulate flow and prevent dripping, making them the perfect choice for tea lovers.

Next of course you’ll need teacups & saucers to pour your favourite tea in to. We also make breakfast cups & saucers, should you want a larger cup.

We offer a variety of milk jugs and cow creamers, in a selection of shapes, sizes and designs. Choose from tankard, Dutch and cream jugs, depending on your style and how many guests you have.

Next up is a sugar bowl, which can hold granulated sugar or sugar cubes. Remember to add a spoon or tongues for ease and etiquette.

Afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without a Burleigh cake stand. Make a striking statement with our two-tier or three-tier cake stands, depending on what and how much you’re serving. They make a beautiful and practical centrepiece for your table and can be disassembled when not in use, to save space.

Ensure you have side plates for all those afternoon tea treats. Featured here is our Blue Asiatic Pheasants 22cm Plate, which can safely be used in the microwave and dishwasher, as all Burleigh items can.

Our butter pats are a cute and versatile item perfect for putting on the table when serving afternoon tea. Ideal for jam, cream, butter, sugar, fruit… you name it. Also great to keep on your bedside table for jewellery and trinkets.

Browse our other blogs to find the best cup size for your needs, a guide to different tea varieties, a savoury afternoon tea idea and a twist on a classic sweet strawberry cream tart recipe.

Shop all teaware and read more about ‘The tea-rific history of Victorian afternoon tea’ on the British Museum website.


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