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National Afternoon Tea Week

‘National Afternoon Tea Week’ is celebrated in the UK from August 7th to August 13th and it is a chance to spoil ourselves with lashings of char and copious amounts of scones, cake and sandwiches … nothing wrong with that!

Many hotels, cafes and restaurants now offer fab afternoon tea treats, but traditionally these were taken at home, usually in the drawing room. Historically, it has been said that this afternoon delight was started in the 1800s by Anna Russell 7th Duchess of Bedford, to combat the ‘sinking feeling’ she used to get at the later part of the afternoons. 

But the afternoon teas of old only had a few very small, light bites to eat, nothing as flamboyant as we enjoy now!  From scones to cakes, and mini sausage rolls to cut sandwiches, there is nothing off the high tea menu these days it seems!  The Atco team think that it could be time to get your posh frocks on and plan this ceremonial delight at home this week, so here are some ideas…

Afternoon Tea at Home

  • This is great excuse to get out your best china, tablecloth and napkins.


  • Ensure that where you are to sit is comfortable and the table has enough room for everyone to sit around and for all the treats it will be holding!


  • Try to bake as much of the food as possible yourself, this makes a whole lot of difference and really shows the effort you have gone to.


  • Ensure that you have arranged a specific time, so that scones can come out of the oven nice and warm, and sandwiches will not be curling at the edges!


  • On the menu can be: traditional sandwiches such as salmon and cucumber or egg and cress (cut crusts off and cut into bit size triangles), mini sausage rolls, savoury scones and Vol-au-vents.


  • Always eat savoury first, then after this you can tuck into Victoria Sponge, sweet scones with jam and cream, and macaroons.


Tea Etiquette

  • Tea should be loose, not in bags, and choose from Early Grey, English Breakfast or Darjeeling


  • Warm the teapot with boiling water, then pour away


  • Put the correct amount of tea leaves in the pot for the variety of tea you are using and add hot water.


  • Stir the leaves and let the tea steep for the allotted time.  The UK Tea Council has a handy chart showing the best times for each type if tea.


  • Pour tea through a strainer into proper tea cups, not mugs. And use saucers too!


  • Add milk at the end


  • The host, or hostess should always pour their guests teas.



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