Our Chef’s Essential Guide to the Perfect Afternoon Tea Experience

Written 4th August 2021

Have you tried our afternoon tea experience at Billesley Manor?


Delve into the history of this quintessentially British tradition…

Afternoon Tea Experience
Afternoon Tea at Billsley manor

The History of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea dates back to the nineteenth century where it was originally served to the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell. She described a ‘sinking feeling’ around 4 pm, and so retreated to her room and requested tea, bread and cake to tide her over until dinner. This concept then became what we now call afternoon tea. 


It quickly became British custom to partake in afternoon tea, and many saw it as an opportunity to parade their wealthy status as they dined in their gardens with their finest table linens and silverware. 


Afternoon tea remains, to this day, a British tradition – but for most, it is now a luxury experience rather than an everyday custom. We often see people indulging in an afternoon tea to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions.


This week, we caught up with our chef, Luke, to discuss the afternoon tea experience here at Billesley Manor:


What Does a Traditional Afternoon Tea Consist of?

Luke said, “Our afternoon tea here at Billesley Manor consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, followed by fruit or plain scones that are served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. 


It’s then finished off with a selection of sweet treats including red velvet cake, victoria sponge and a seasonal fruit tartlet. The food is served with a full selection of fruit and herbal teas, as well as an English Breakfast tea. Many of our guests also choose to add a glass of fizz!


It’s a popular experience because it’s so quintessentially British – a timeless tradition to be enjoyed through the generations.”

Afternoon Tea Experience
The Afternoon Tea Experience

What Makes the Ideal Afternoon Tea Experience at Billesley Manor?  

Luke explained that for many, the experience comes from enjoying quality time with family and friends. He said, “There’s no rush; our guests can relax and enjoy our homemade cakes against the perfect backdrop of our beautifully manicured gardens – and they can expect great hospitality.”


We recently underwent a full refurbishment in the Stuart restaurant so our guests can dine there and enjoy our collection of eclectic artwork, or they can dine on the terrace and savour the stunning views.


Luke said, “At Christmas, we add a special twist to our afternoon tea experience in keeping with the festive season.”


Finally, we asked Luke how he likes to enjoy his scones… “Without a doubt, cream first!” 


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To book your afternoon tea experience, please contact a member of our team.