Back in the early 1800s, it was common to eat only two meals a day - an early breakfast and late evening meal. For Anna, the 7 Duchess of Bedford, the hunger pangs that set in mid-afternoon were too much and she decided to schedule time to take tea and a snack each afternoon. Over time, well-heeled acquaintances joined her and pretty soon, afternoon tea had evolved as a mini-meal in its own right.
These days, afternoon tea tends to be enjoyed as an occasional indulgence or to celebrate a social event such as a birthday, baby shower, pre-wedding, or a gift. Usually made up of delicate finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes, they are served by most hotels and tea rooms.
Not sure how to find an afternoon tea that really stands out? It’s true that many are indistinguishable. But some offer something really special or unique and it is these afternoon teas that feature in our round-up below.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies