Afternoon tea has become a quintessentially British tradition, but where did it come from? As trade routes opened up with China in the 19th century, tea became easier to import and more and more people started to drink it. Around this time, Ann, seventh Duchess of Bedford, famously complained of having ‘that sinking feeling’ towards the end of the afternoon.
She ordered a light snack of tea and pastries, which she ate in private in her boudoir. Later, friends were invited to join in her afternoon meal and it became so fashionable that the Duchess continued the practice when she returned to London for the season, sending invitations to tea to the rest of high society. Other hostesses quickly picked up on the habit,which was deemed to be respectable and healthy, and before long the idea had caught on across the whole of fashionable society.
Here at the Swettenham Arms, we’re delighted to keep up the centuries-old tradition of afternoon tea. From being the norm for fashionable followers of society it’s become an occasional treat for most of us, and we think it’s all the more special for that. We’re currently serving our famous afternoon teas (served between 1st June and 30th September), and we’re got two menus to tickle your fancy. Choose from the indulgent classic tea, just the thing after a long local walk, which includes a homemade scone with cream and jam, sandwiches, cakes, lemon and raspberry posset and tea or coffee (is your mouth watering yet?). Less indulgent but equally delicious is the cream tea, with a homemade scone, jam and cream or homemade cake and tea or coffee.
Now the weather’s warmer and the days are longer, why not take a drive out to see us and treat yourself to one of our special summery afternoon teas – you know you deserve it.