Afternoon Tea Week – The History of Afternoon Tea

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea” (Henry James), and we couldn’t agree more! Afternoon Tea Week is here so we thought we would dig into the history of our favourite pastime, afternoon tea (featured above, our Portmeirion Botanic Garden collection).

The History of Afternoon Tea

Legend has it that afternoon tea originated from Anna Maria Stanhope, 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early nineteenth century when she was just too hungry to wait until dinner time (we know the feeling!). In those days, dinner wasn’t served until late and Anna found she hit a low in the afternoon around 4pm and needed a little pick me up, so she requested a selection of cakes and biscuits with tea to be served to her dressing room. Anna quickly got used to this little afternoon treat and decided to invite her friends to join her for an afternoon social event.

Sara Miller London Portmeirion - Afternoon Tea Week
Sara Miller London Portmeirion Afternoon Tea

From then on, the concept spread like wildfire and before we knew it, Queen Victoria was taking part in the tradition. In true British fashion, it doesn’t take much persuading for us to get involved with an occasion that includes lovely cups of tea, scones with lots of jam and clotted cream, mini sandwiches and an abundance of cakes!

Afternoon Tea Week

Afternoon Tea Week was created to encourage tea lovers, for just one week each year, to carry on this classic tradition. Whether it’s hosting a fabulous afternoon tea for friends and family or just having a cup of tea with a piece of cake at work, when 4pm hits, get out your best china teacup and make the most of this guilt-free week.

Will you be celebrating this week? We would love to see photos of your afternoon tea moments! Use the hashtag #PortmeirionATW for a chance to be featured on our social media channels.

See what we are getting up to for Afternoon Tea Week by staying tuned to the Teacups & Tales blog.