10 best tea trays

Put the kettle on and get out the best crockery – it’s time for a tea party. IndyBest finds serveware that will impress your guests

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The Independent Online

There’s never a bad time for tea (and biscuits, obviously) in our book. Serve up with no spills using a cleverly-designed tray. From classic wood to tessellating coloured steel, here’s our edit.

{1} Just Slate Antler Handle Oval Tray: £35, amara.com



We’re used to seeing slate cheeseboards or place mats, but not trays, which is why this one caught our eye. The foam-backed bottom means that you can place it on tables without fear of scratching them, and the steel antler handles make it extra striking.

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{2} La Petite Cuisine Tray: £18, debenhams.com



Channel Parisian chic with this artfully distressed wooden tray with useful handles that will make sure you keep hold of your wares. There is also a cutlery tray and chalkboard in the range.

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{3} Wilko Carnaby Tray Yellow: £4, wilko.com



If you’re looking for a budget buy, this bright little number is great. The cut-out handles will ensure you have a firm grip on it; just avoid stacking it with anything too hot.

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{4} John Lewis Water Hyacinth Tray: £15, johnlewis.com



If you’re looking for an alternative to plastic or metal, then this sustainable tray woven from raw water hyacinth could be the one for you. It’s a good size, and the neutral tone ensures it will not look out of place in your kitchen.

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{5} Underground Lines  Melamine Tray: £21.99, lakeland.co.uk



This tray was created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. We think it makes a fun addition to a tea table wherever you are in the country. It also makes a great souvenir or gift.

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{6} Emma Bridgewater Black Toast Hatch Steel Tray: £30, emmabridgewater.co.uk



“Let’s have tea in the garden, it’s such a lovely day,” reads the inscription on the inside of this tin tray. Good idea, we reckon, or breakfast in bed in winter. The higher-than-average sides and large handles minimise the chance of spillage, too.

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{7} Anti-slip serving tray: £9.49, lakeland.co.uk



OK, this might not be the most attractive tray on the list, but you can’t fault its practicality. With an anti-slip surface, it promises no more spillages. Our mugs full of steaming char certainly stayed firm. One for glasses and cups as it’s not huge.

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{8} Bamboo Tray: £17.50, marksandspencer.com



If you’re not a fan of plastic, try this neutral-coloured sustainable wooden tray. The cut-out handles make it practical when carrying your tea-party goodies, while the raised sides stop things from slipping off the edges.

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{9} Hay Kaleido Tray: From £10 each,  uniqueandunity.co.uk



The bold colours and geometric shapes of this range of trays from the Danish designers Hay are winners with us. Inspired by furniture from the Fifties and Sixties, they’re made from robust steel and come in a range of sizes, slotting neatly together.

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{10} Alessi Joy Round Tray: £90, johnlewis.com



This tray, designed by Claudia Raimondo, is simple at first glance. Then the unusual moulding on the surface creating pretty reflecting patterns makes it stand out from the pack. One to splash out on – and hand-wash.

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Verdict: Amara’s slate and metal tray is a great addition if you’re on the hunt for something more unusual. If you’re on a budget, try Wilko’s Carnaby Tray. Or, when practicality is the order of the day, try Lakeland’s anti-slip one.


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