Tea at The Ritz.
Everyone knows that the British can be a bit on the eccentric side, but there’s one British custom that commands respect the world over: its afternoon tea.
This week, Brits across the island nation, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, will indulge in one of their favorite pastimes, as they celebrate Afternoon Tea Week (August 8–16).
The dailies are buzzing with new ways to cover this time-honored tradition, from the Mirror’s “8 delicious deals to celebrate the British pastime around the UK” and The Telegraph’s “Afternoon Tea Week: all the best events” to the Metro’s “18 recipes for the perfect vegan afternoon tea”.
One thing is certain: there will be plentiful supplies of finger sandwiches, scones and fancy little cakes to accompany the 165 million cups of tea drunk in Britain every day.
On the Daily Mail website, you can take a quiz to determine your perfect style of afternoon tea, be it traditionalist, quirky, thrifty or fancy, and receive recommendations of some of the best venues to indulge. And etiquette expert William Hanson presents an informative video vignette on the etiquette rules of afternoon tea, including: tea should be loose-leaf, not bags; scones should be broken in half, not cut; one should stir one’s tea in a gentle back and forth motion, to avoid unnecessary clanking or splashing; and the mouth should be dabbed with the napkin, never wiped.
B Bakery’s Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is one of London’s quirkier tea experiences.
If you find yourself in London looking for the best afternoon tea in the land, the Mirror recommends you head to The Ritz, The Connaught, Palm Court at the Langham, Fortnum & Mason’s, or The Collins Room (formerly the Caramel Room) at The Berkeley. Or for something a little less conventional, you can hop on a London bus for the B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour to sightsee while you sip.
For regional events during Afternoon Tea Week, the official Afternoon Tea Week website lists plenty of options, including tea tastings, charity afternoon teas, masterclasses (including at Twinings’ 216 Strand), afternoon tea and flower arranging (at Harrods), and children’s tea parties.
Sources: Mirror, The Telegraph, Metro, Daily Mail, AfternoonTeaWeek.com