You’ll probably have noticed during your visit to the UK that the “cuppa” is a big part of day to day life. Whilst you can find the classic British Tea in countless other countries, no one does it quite like the British. With its richness and invigorating properties, it’s no wonder that 26 percent of the UK population drink at least one cup of tea day, with 36 percent drinking 2 to 3 cups. That’s a lot of tea consumption, and it’s difficult to pinpoint what makes British tea so much more moreish than in other countries.
First imported from China in the mid-17th century, tea quickly became a staple of upper-class society in the UK. As the years went on, it trickled down to become a staple in most households. This led to the creation of the traditional afternoon tea in Britain.
Afternoon Tea – An historic tradition
Afternoon tea refers to the tradition of having a break in the mid afternoon from your daily duties, and enjoying a cup of tea. Often accompanied by scones or cakes, and often social in its ritual, friends will enjoy an afternoon tea in a café, or work colleagues will take a breather to have a cuppa in the canteen. Whatever the brevity of your afternoon tea, it’s still a punctuation of the day which dates to the aristocracy of the 17th century.
It was the wife of King Charles II, Portuguese princess, or infanta, Catherine de Braganza, who introduced the concept to the UK. There were also references to afternoon tea in the famous diary of Samuel Pepys, who preceded Catherine de Braganza in his time in London. Despite this, it was Catherine who formalised it into a part of the daily routine and tradition of the British. With dinner served late at 8 pm for Catherine, she would ask for a light snack and cup of tea to be prepared for her in the arduously famishing period between lunch and dinner, inviting her friends to join her.
Afternoon tea in the present day
Obviously, we’ve come a long way from the 16th century of Catherine de Braganza, and afternoon tea in its most formal guise is now a special treat for many in the city. The Grand Royale London Hyde Park is one of the most popular afternoon tea venues. Serving a variety of afternoon tea deals between 1 and 5 pm with reservations 24 hours in advance. With great service and a relaxed yet classy atmosphere, this could be the highlight of your stay in the city.
Traditional afternoon tea at the Grand Royale
With a wide range of teas and coffees available, you can go herbal or breakfast, depending on your tastes. Alongside this you will experience a delectable range of Victoria Sponge Cakes, macaroons, clotted cream scones and sandwich bites.
Chocolate afternoon tea
Your second option for afternoon pampering at the Grand Royale is a gourmet chocolate inspired tea. With sumptuous swiss rolls, chocolate lathered scones and moreish toffee cake, your tea will be served up with only the best of British baked goods.
All teas at the Grand Royale have the option of being served with prosecco, adding a little fizz to the afternoon.