A brief history of afternoon tea

With our Wimbledon themed Afternoon Tea in Chelsea in full swing to mark the prestigious Wimbledon Tennis tournament, we thought we would sit back with a cup of tea and a homemade scone and learn about the origins of our beloved afternoon tea.

A brief history of afternoon tea….

Although the custom of drinking tea can be traced back to the third millennium BC in China, and it became popular in England during the 1660’s, it was not until the mid-19th century that the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ first appeared.

Afternoon tea as we know and love it was founded by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840. With dinner served fashionably late, at around eight o’clock in the evening, in the Bedford household, Anna would often become peckish at around four o’clock so would have a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake brought to her room during the late afternoon. This soon became a habit which she shared with her friends, inviting them over to join her for her afternoon snack.

With the lower classes often looking to aristocracy to lead the way with new fashions and trends, afternoon tea soon became a fashionable social event in nineteenth century England. During this period, the upper classes and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for a spot of tea and cake, which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.

Although this longstanding tradition is, and always has been, a treat for the senses, we must confess that none quite compare to the delights you will find at The Draycott Hotel, located a stone’s throw from the exclusive Sloane Square in the heart of London.

Our afternoon tea can be enjoyed with either a glass of Champagne or a variety of the highest quality teas, accompanied by quaint finger sandwiches, mouth-watering homemade scones, clotted cream and a fruity jam, not to mention a selection of tempting sweets and pastries, all of which are prepared daily by our wonderfully talented Chef.

Experience the finest English afternoon tea Chelsea has to offer and indulge yourself with a trip to the Draycott Hotel.

View our menu & book your afternoon tea in Chelsea at our luxury hotel




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