Afternoon tea is a wonderful British invention, believed to be introduced in the early 1840s to stem the hunger before dinner at between 8 and 9pm. The 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna, is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon (we know exactly how she feels…). The solution for the Duchess was a pot of tea and a light snack (not polishing off the kids leftover fish fingers), taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.
Over time, she started to invite close friends to join her, to exchange news and stories over tea and light refreshments, and gradually these kinds of afternoon teas became fashionable. Before long all of high society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.
We may not live in those times, but there is something very decadent about Afternoon Tea. “Posh” sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and cake. Loose leaf tea drunk from china cups, good company and nice surroundings…
We love afternoon tea. One of our favourite places is the Fir Tree tea rooms in Penshurst. Gorgeous sandwiches, crumbly scones with homemade jam and cream and, rather than dainty little pastries, large slabs of cake. We tried the chocolate (of course), lemon and orange & walnut (our favourite).
Fir Tree tea rooms is open weekends 2pm to 5.30pm until the end of March (2.30pm to 6pm every day except Mondays April to October).
Penshurst has some gorgeous walks to exercise off some of the indulgence if you feel inclined!
And if you like your tea, or know someone who does, we now sell beautiful bone china cups with Shakespeare quotes hand calligraphed by Ellen Waldren at her beautiful workshop in Appledore, Kent.
As Peter Pan asks, “Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?”