Everything To Know About Afternoon Tea In London


London is one of the most historic cities in the UK, harnessing nearly 2000 years of history and a wealth of culture. With 30 million tourists visiting the city each year, it’s no surprise that Paddington Hotel special offers are snatched up so quickly! 

With large tourist populations comes the need for attractions and activities that will elevate the experience for London holidaymakers. From seasonal markets and fairs to museums and tours of historic London districts, one popular pastime that projects a certain, tourist-friendly image of London is the concept of afternoon tea. In fact, afternoon tea deals at hotels and well-known cafes attract not only visitors to the city and guests of our spa near Paddington, but locals too. 

There’s something unique about afternoon tea in London, and this blog will explore why it has become such a popular activity for both overseas holidaymakers and locals as well. 

What Is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition, although the staple ingredients of it are imported from overseas. Countries such as China, India and Sri Lanka lend their herbs and flavours to the wealth of afternoon tea drinks that don’t mask, but accommodate the flavours of the snacks that are served with the beverage. Snacks have a more English air to them, baked products like scones and Victoria sponge cake and finger sandwiches being a quintessentially British addition to the afternoon tradition. 

The Very English History Of Afternoon Tea

So where did afternoon tea originate from? Back in the early 19th century, a rise in the consumption of tea paired with a habit of only having two meals a day – breakfast and dinner – meant that in the late afternoon, energy was lacking among all parts of society. Much like the Spanish “siesta”, afternoon tea was developed as a way to re energise yourself. 

This habit was at first reserved only for the upper classes, allegedly instigated by the 7th Duchess of Bedford who would have a snack and a cup of tea as a mode of socialising with her friends and courtiers. Soon, the trend hit London and many were jumping on the afternoon tea bandwagon, thus leading to the many offers in the modern day at the Chilworth London Paddington

Traditionally speaking, there were two types of afternoon tea – low and high. Low tea was favoured by the upper classes who would serve drinks and food before a walk around Hyde Park at around 4pm, all served on a low lying table. A heavier tea for the middle and lower classes would be served around 5 or 6 pm as a substitute for a late dinner. This was served on the higher hanging dinner table, hence the name “high” tea. 

What To Expect From Afternoon Tea

In modern London, you can find afternoon tea served at many hotels. The Chilworth’s afternoon tea London Paddington reflects the 19th century sensibilities in its elegance and comfort, also being situated close to Hyde Park where aristocrats would take a walk after their tea was served. Modern afternoon tea usually consists of a choice of cakes or scones as well as a selection of teas to try, including various fruit flavoured beverages and herbal teas. The choice is yours!