The Classic Afternoon Tea at Weston Park – A picnic indoors!
Is there anything more quintessential of English customs than the classic afternoon or high tea?
I recently visited Weston Park, the stately home on the Staffordshire/ Shropshire border and enjoyed a wonderfully satisfying Afternoon Tea, served amongst the décor, elegance and architecture of their Victorian Orangery.
Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!
The custom of drinking tea became fashionable in England during the seventeenth century but it was not until the mid – 19th century that the concept of the afternoon tea first appeared amongst the fashionable circles of English society.
During the early nineteenth century, the evening meal or dinner was served at around eight o clock, so there was a long break between the mid-day meal or lunch and dinner in the evening. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford regularly became hungry during this period and started to order a tray of tea, bread, butter and cake in the late afternoon. It soon became a habit for the Duchess and she began inviting friends to join her and the afternoon tea was born! The Earl of Sandwich had earlier had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread, hence the sandwich!
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Afternoon tea became a fashionable social event during the 1880’s with upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.
After enjoying an informative and fascinating Behind the scenes tour of Weston House, I then enjoyed a delicious Classic Afternoon Tea in the stunning Victorian Orangery. We were served a selection of dainty finger sandwiches with delicious fillings, which included thinly sliced cucumber & herbed cream cheese, smoked salmon & chive, Roast beef, water cress, horseradish & beetroot relish, a mini egg mayonnaise & cress roll and a Pea & Feta cheese savoury tart.
We then went on to Homemade scones with a large helping of thick clotted cream & sweet strawberry jam, sherry trifle shots, white chocolate and Merlyn`s mousse cup and we completed our tea with Welsh cakes covered in whipped butter.
All of this was then washed down with lashings of speciality teas (Lady Grey for me) from India & Sri Lanka, poured from porcelain tea pots into delicate bone china cups. The serving staff were friendly and answered my questions about the different teas that were available. The Orangery was very spacious so guests were not crowded together.
I’m an afternoon tea type of girl. I come from a Russian background where we love our teas. So between lunch and dinner after training I come home and I love a nice cup of tea with jam in it, as we drink it there. Black English Breakfast with raspberry jam is my favorite.
The sun was hot and the orangery doors were opened to allow a much appreciated cool breeze into the greenhouse to keep us cool. The afternoon tea was simply delightful. This is how tea should always be served. There was no need for us to eat again for the rest of that day!
‘I love Afternoon Tea because we get to treat our guests to so many different sweets all in one! My favourite treat on this menu has got to be the white chocolate and Merlyns mousse cup which is absolutely divine”
Gemma LeClare – Head Chef at Weston Park
Guests can also choose to enjoy a glass of fizz with a Prosecco Afternoon Tea, if they wish. A number of guests in our group were enjoying their prosecco instead of the tea.
Having already explored the house on a Behind the scenes tour, we decided to wander the rest of the Park and Gardens and had a great time at the Yew Maze.
Did you Know? An orangery or orangerie was a room or a dedicated building on the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries where orange and other fruit trees were protected during the winter, similar to a greenhouse or conservatory.
The Grade I listed Temple of Diana is one of five properties on the Weston Park Estate which visitors can book to stay in overnight. The Temple can sleep up to six people but is actually an Orangery and garden house? Built in stone ashlar in three bays and fronted with ionic columns, the interior is decorated with painted panels depicting the life of the goddess Diana. It was later described by its architect as “my greenhouse at Weston”.
A Classic Afternoon Tea costs £27.50 per person
A Prosecco Afternoon Tea costs £33.50 per person
Price includes admission to the House, Park & Gardens and Afternoon Tea in the House.
Pre-booking is required by calling 01952 852106 or by emailing email@example.com
For further information please visit weston-park.com
Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors. Alice Walker
Tel: 01952 852100
Facebook: Weston Park