The best themed afternoon teas. Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Breakfast at Tiffanys…we list the best themed afternoon teas for children, families and adults.
The seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, was a marvellous woman. Thanks to her, and her late afternoon ‘sinking feeling’, we now have one of the most quintessential (and delicious) English customs: afternoon tea.
In the 19th century dinner was served fashionably late and so, at around four o’clock, the hungry Duchess would request a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake to be brought to her boudoir. Realising that this treat would be even better shared, she began inviting friends to join her in the drawing room at Woburn Abbey. Word spread and, before long, afternoon tea became a fashionable social event for the upper classes.
Today, although still considered a luxury, afternoon tea is firmly established as one of the nation’s favourite culinary traditions. More recently, it has been elevated to new heights with themed events increasing in popularity. From seasonal themes embracing Easter, Halloween and Christmas to Hollywood, Disney and literary events, the options are endless. Here are our favourites across the region this summer.
The best places for afternoon tea in the East
1349-1353 London Rd, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 2AB
Tel: 01702 714766
Enjoy a decadent affair from 19 May to 4 July with a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s Afternoon Tea’, inspired by the 1961 film starring the iconic Audrey Hepburn. The Parlour will be decorated in the signature Tiffany blue throughout and your afternoon tea will pay homage to the favourite delicacies of the era. This will be followed by The Parlour’s ‘Be Our Guest Afternoon Tea’, inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, from 10 July to 5 September. Weekday £33pp inc service, weekend £38.50pp inc service.
The Assembly House
Theatre Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1RQ
Tel: 01603 626402
Famous for its award-winning themed afternoon teas, The Assembly House is promising a summer theme that will be a sweet temptation to diners. Themes are always kept under wraps until shortly before they launch with this year’s scheduled to begin on 21 June. To give you an idea of the delights to be announced, last summer’s themed tea was ice cream inspired and included a chocolate and strawberry Neapolitan macaron, a mint-choc-chip gâteau opéra, a knickerbocker glory shot and an ice cream cookie sandwich. Price: £23.95pp, £14 for children.
Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP29 5QE
Tel: 01284 735350
With both adult and children’s menus available, The Ickworth’s ‘Wind in the Willows Afternoon Tea’ features the favourite foods of the much-loved characters in Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic. Along with delicious savouries, adults will be treated to Ratty’s lemonade posset and Badger’s chocolate and berry Swiss roll while the children’s tea includes a classic breakfast
re-imagined. Mole’s Boiled Egg reveals a surprise filling of whipped mascarpone mousse and a mango gel with soldiers replaced by a chocolate pastry finger for dipping. Available from May through to the end of September. Price: £27pp, £15 for children
13 Station Road, Knebworth, Hertfordshire, SG3 6AP
Tel: 01438 221144
Sugar Boutique specialises in teas with a delightful twist and they have lots of new themes planned for this summer. Join them for an Instagram-worthy experience with a selection of delicious savoury and sweet treats inspired by your chosen theme. Indulge in a trip through ‘Wonderland’, take part in a magical ‘Hogwarts’ adventure or relax with a ‘Mary Poppins Tea’ which is, of course, “practically perfect in every way.” A non-refundable deposit of £10 will be taken at the time of booking. Price: £27.50pp, children £15.