Prepare to feast on finger sandwiches and delicate pastries as the UK's sixth Afternoon Tea Week begins on 8 August. Follow The Field's guide to afternoon tea for the best jam, the most original scones and, when all else fails, the best spots for teatime treats
Afternoon Tea Week returns for the sixth year this August. For one week from 8 August 2016, whip up some jam, cut off your sandwich crusts and make a bottomless brew. Delicious and decadent, afternoon tea is one of our nation’s very best institutions. Afternoon Tea Week gives the perfect excuse to indulge. Follow The Field’s guide and host something special at home. Or, if that isn’t quite your cup of tea, find out where the best spots for afternoon tea are in town, and country.
Whether it’s tea, a picnic or a BBQ, summer dining is a jolly affair. Follow the top 7 best summer recipes for The Field’s favourite seasonal recipes or read the top 7 best summer game recipes for some summer game suppers.
THE FIELD’S GUIDE TO AFTERNOON TEA
Inviting friends to tea is the perfect treat.
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These gooseberry, lime and elderflower travel cakes are inspired by the French tradition of bringing an edible present to a…
Our apple scones are a fruity twist on the classic teatime treat. They look impressive but are incredibly simple to make. Don’t forget a final sprinkling of cinnamon to really bring out the apple flavour.
Our gooseberry, lime and elderflower travel cakes are inspired by the French tradition of taking an edible gift to a party. These delicious morsels will also look rather splendid atop your afternoon tea stand. The miniature mouthfuls are proof that good things come in small packages.
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT JAM FOR SCONES
Jam on top or clotted cream? This may be a source of constant debate, but everyone can agree that homemade jam is far better than the shop bought stuff. Making your own may be a little extra effort, but it’ll all be worth it when enjoyed with clotted cream and a warm scone straight from the oven.
Learn the best way to make wild fruit jam to really make the most of the goodies you find in hedgerows. Use whatever you find, whether it be sloes, elderberries or blackberries, and try to resist eating them all before they make it to the maslin pan. If you’ve collected damson, don’t be put off by the fact they are too bitter to eat. They make great jam, follow our damson jam recipe to find out for yourself. Or for something a little more delicate, try our rose petal jam recipe. It will bring an unquestionably British taste to your afternoon tea.
Collecting fruit and balancing the flavours is all rather jolly but to really master the perfect homemade jam you have to embrace the maddening technical side too. Learn how to judge pectin levels in fruit so you can get on with harvesting the hedgerows and perfecting your homemade label.
THE 5 BEST AFTERNOON TEAS IN TOWN
If hosting your own tea doesn’t appeal, don’t miss out on Afternoon Tea Week. In London there are more places for tea and treats than you can imagine. Here are The Field’s 5 favourites.
The Wolseley puts on tea every day of the week from 3pm (and from 3.30pm at the weekend). No matter when you are in town they will be able to accommodate you. Their tea consists of assorted finger sandwiches, fruit scones and a selection of pastries. Their cake selection is constantly changing and all of the scones and pastries are made on the premises. There will always be a new treat to enjoy. If you have an occasion to celebrate opt for their champagne tea, or if you are just popping in try their cream tea.
The Wolseley Afternoon Tea is served weekdays from 3pm, weekends from 3.30pm and costs £27.50 per person. Ring 020 7499 6996 or visit their website.
Claridge’s have served afternoon tea for the best part of 150 years. They have certainly mastered the art. They remain faithful to the classic combination of finger sandwiches, scones served warm, and sweet pastries, which they prepare and serve fresh everyday. Set in Theirry Despont’s magnificent Foyer, inspired by the 1930s’ heyday of art deco, Claridge’s’ afternoon tea is as splendid as its setting.
Afternoon tea is served at Claridge’s everyday in sittings from 2.45pm to 5.30pm and prices start at £58 per person. Ring 020 7629 8860 or visit their website.
THE GORING HOTEL
The Goring have been perfecting their tea since they opened their doors over a century ago, with a menu that changes seasonally to offer the freshest fruits available locally-sourced. For real indulgence try their Bollinger Tea or if you visit before 31 August 2016, sample HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Afternoon Tea. The closest hotel to Buckingham Palace, The Goring has been a favourite of the royal family’s for many years, and it is easy to see why.
Afternoon tea is served everyday between 3-4pm in the Bar & Lounge, and from 1-4pm in the Dining Room on Saturdays and prices for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Afternoon Tea start at £42.50 per person. Ring 020 7396 9000 or visit their website.
Tea at The Ritz is as institution in itself. Set in the stunning Palm Court, guests can choose from 18 types of loose leaf tea and enjoy an assortment of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a selection of afternoon tea cakes and pastries. Musical accompaniment from their resident pianist, harpist or string quintet, playing classic and contemporary favourites, never fails to delight.
Afternoon tea is served daily in sittings from 11.30am to 7.30pm with prices starting from £52 per person for the Traditional Afternoon Tea. Ring 020 7493 8181 or visit their website.
FORTNUM & MASON
Fortnum & Mason have been selling tea for over 300 years, with their buyers travelling the world to source the very best. Fortnum’s can provide you with everything you need to host an afternoon tea but to experience it yourself visit The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, an oasis of calm in their busy Piccadilly store. The Fortnum’s Afternoon Tea includes finger sandwiches, plain and fruit scones, afternoon cakes and a selection from the Cake Carriage. Noone does tea better than Fortnum’s.
THE 5 BEST AFTERNOON TEAS IN THE COUNTRY
If you aren’t going to be in town, we have the best afternoon teas to be enjoyed in the country. Delicious treats and stunning locations, these are the best places to indulge.
Bettys have spent nearly 100 years perfecting their afternoon tea. They’ve combined the Swiss perfectionism of their origins and the warm character of their Yorkshire home and now people flock from all over the world to sample it. Served in all six of their Yorkshire cafe tea rooms, the Bettys Traditional Tea includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones (served, of course, with strawberry preserve and thick Yorkshire clotted cream) and handmade cakes. Or try the Lady Betty Tea, named in honour of their namesake and flirty cover girl.
Afternoon tea is served all day everyday in all six of their Yorkshire cafe tea rooms, prices start at £18.95 per person. Lady Betty Afternoon Tea is reservation only, ring the York tea room on 01904 659142 or the Harrogate tea room on 01423 814070 or visit their website.
THE NARE, CORNWALL
The Nare Hotel has been voted the best hotel in Cornwall every year for the past 15 years, and their Quarterdeck Restaurant serves a delicious afternoon tea daily. With classical yachting décor, a sheltered terrace and spectacular sea views over Gerrans Bay, it is the perfect place to refresh after a walk along the coastal path or on Carne Beach. Tea is served daily from 3-5pm and there are many variations, including the The Quarterdeck Full Afternoon Tea, The Captain’s Tea and the Cornish Cream Tea – all delicious, of course.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 3-5pm, prices start from £8 for tea and cake. Ring 01872 501111 or visit their website.
HOLBECK GHYLL, WINDERMERE
The Central Fells and Lake Windermere has been voted as one of the top fifteen views in the world, and at Holbeck Ghyll you can admire it while enjoying afternoon tea. Whether you enjoy your tea in one of the Arts & Crafts Lounges by the roaring fire or al fresco with the breeze from Windermere keeping the cream chilled, this is a luxury tea that is difficult to forget.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 2.30-4.30pm. Ring 01539 432 375 or visit their website.
THE PUMP ROOM, BATH
With its tall windows, Corinthian columns and and glittering crystal chandelier, The Pump Room in Bath is one of the most spectacular settings for afternoon tea. Part of The Roman Baths, The Pump Room offers various afternoon tea packages which include a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones and pastries. With live music from The Pump Room Trio and their resident pianist, The Pump Room is Bath’s finest backdrop for afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea is served daily, with prices starting from £22.50 per person. Bookings can be made Monday-Friday only, at the weekend they operate a queuing system. Ring 01225 444477 or visit their website.
THE CALEDONIAN, EDINBURGH
Affectionately known as ‘The Caley’ amongst Edinburgh locals, this former Victorian railway station makes for a grand afternoon tea setting. Served in Peacock Alley, formerly the station concourse and ticket office, the tea includes a selection of savoury finger sandwiches, homemade scones and delicate pastries created by the talented pastry team.
Afternoon tea is served daily, with prices starting from £28 per person. Ring 0131 2228945 or visit their website.