Afternoon tea is quite literally the food of royalty as the nation’s favourite drink was made fashionable to the English to drink by a Portuguese queen and later championed further by a duchess.
A rich history
Our love affair with tea began way back in 1662 when Portuguese Catherine de Braganza married Charles II. She brought tea-drinking to court and the tradition flourished – even more so in 1706 when Thomas Twining opened London’s first tearoom. But it was Anna Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who really popularised the tradition in the early 1800s.
The close friend of Queen Victoria and prominent figure within London society complained of ‘having that sinking feeling’ during the late afternoon.
To satisfy her hunger, Anna began ordering tea and nibbles to her room, and soon the light snack evolved into a full-blown country house ritual, and by the middle of the 19th century a late afternoon spread of sandwiches, cakes, scones, cream, and jam were a daily occurrence throughout England.
Born inside the houses of the rich and fortunate, during the 1880s upper-class women would change into long gowns, gloves, and hats for the ritual which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock. But once summer came around, they wanted to take this fabulous time of day outside into their beautiful gardens, encouraging the lords and men of the house to also take part.
If you’re in search for the perfect place to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in Tunbridge Wells, look no further than Salomons Estate.
Set in an oasis of rolling gardens, you can imagine the Duchess herself soaking up the elegance of this Victorian mansion where afternoon tea is served overlooking 36 acres of picturesque grounds. In keeping with the establishment’s traditional theme, the menu offers a little more than the light snack of its origins where the selection of sweet treats and savoury delights allow guests to indulge in an offering that boasts classic British flavours. There are fresh cut finger sandwiches, warm scones with fresh cream and jam and sweet macaroons. But the homemade cakes are the main attraction, perfectly accompanied by hot tea or a glass of bubbles.
Available on Wednesdays and Fridays, traditional afternoon tea at Salomons Estate can be enjoyed for £22.50. Upgrade to prosecco for just £5 more.
A complimentary glass of prosecco will accompany all traditional afternoon tea bookings during Afternoon Tea Week Monday 8th – Sunday 14th August, click here or call 01892 515 152 to book. During Afternoon Tea Week, afternoon tea bookings can be made every day, Monday 8th through to Sunday 14th August.
Take me to the Terrace
With summer in full swing, it’s time to get outside and soak up some sunshine. The Terrace at One Warwick Park Hotel is Tunbridge Wells’ go-to spot for all things alfresco.
They also offer an afternoon tea selection but if you’re in the mood for something more savoury then how about grazing on one of their new charcuterie boards? They’re the perfect addition to a summer’s afternoon catch up with friends. And for those of you who’d like to continue into the evening, the good news is drinks are served in The Terrace or you can enjoy a tipple or two from their fully stocked and beautifully appointed bar.
Bookings for Afternoon Tea can be made here. The Bar and The Terrace at One Warwick Park Hotel are open daily, please call 01892 520 587 for more information.
Salomons Estate & One Warwick Park Hotel are owned by the Elite Leisure Collection who also own SO Magazine