Anyone for Tea? Ultimate Guide to National Afternoon Tea Week

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Us Brits are a thick-skinned bunch. We laugh about bad weather as we watch our new living room sofa sail down the road, family cat still on board. We joke about the farce of our political leaders as our country drifts down the creek without a paddle, all of us still on board. We laugh off a lot of the bad stuff, but there’s only one thing that will really leave our cups feeling half empty; a bad cuppa.

So notorious are we in our love for a perfectly-brewed… er, brew… that friendships are forged and forgone based on milk-to-water ratios. A spoonful of sugar can make more than just the medicine go down, one too many can topple a friendship. Even our pals across the pond know how to really hurt us. In 1773 the American Sons of Liberty threw 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor in defiance of the Tea Act, a travesty so abhorrent to the English you could say they reacted quite dramatically; it essentially kick-started the American Revolution. Don’t worry though, we got our own back – we sent Piers Morgan over there. You get rid of our favourite drink, we send you our least favourite mug.

To honour our most beloved beverage we have – of course – dedicated an entire week to the art of afternoon tea. National Afternoon Tea Week (we’re good at making a brew, no one said anything about imagination) is fast approaching and we want you to do it right. So let us tease you with some of the best brew-ups below…

Starting off with Stoneleigh Abbey, you don’t get more old-world-England than a refined afternoon tea in a Grade I listed mansion. It’s so British that if you listen really, really intently, you just might hear an Etonian embezzling some money in the distance. With all the traditional treats associated with an afternoon tea as well as astonishing surroundings and unblemished views, a trip to Stoneleigh Abbey is the perfect way to remind yourself that there is a lot of great in Great Britain.

If you thought things couldn’t get any better, then you probably forgot about the existence of gin. The Rosylee afternoon tea comes with all the usual cakes, scones and cream teas but outdoes its rivals using the other British drink of choice. The only acceptable tea break is a refreshing gin cocktail, so sit back and drink up in this chic, classic Manchester venue.

Turn your attention towards the capital now. Navigating dusty undergrounds, Boris-bikers and a Pret a Manger every twenty steps can be tiring work. Luckily, you have the option of a riverside refreshment. Views of the Thames, a resplendent afternoon tea and a chilled glass of Prosecco? All yours aboard the floating haven that is the Tattershall Castle. It might not be the Titanic but 1) we promise Celine Dion won’t be serenading you here and 2) we’ve heard it said numerous times that it isn’t the size of the ship but the motion of the ocean. This ship moored up on Victoria Embankment welcomes all on deck for an enjoyable afternoon lapping up London’s flavours.

If you’d prefer your feet to be on dry land but still feel like they’re not touching the ground, soak up the luxury of  Searcy’s Bellini afternoon tea. Serving up a delicious traditional tea of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and dainty sweets, all washed down with your choice of tea or coffee, plus a decadent Bellini cocktail each, Searcy’s is the stylish way for any city slicker to tap into the traditions of afternoon tea. Based in Westfield Stratford, Westfield London or One New Change, Searcy’s allows an afternoon tea pre or post-shopping splurge. Your country needs you and your debit card, after all.

If the clinking of tea spoons and the sipping of perfectly temperate teas takes it out of you – and who can blame you? – the Imperial Hotel has anticipated your every need. Not only will you get your afternoon tea served up just as you like it, but you will get full access to a spa too. Sweat it out in the sauna, get massaged or have a facial. The perfect addition to any afternoon tea is some afternoon delight – with an indoor heated pool to use you can even have some Buddhist moment of enlightenment and feel what it must feel like to be a tea bag floating around in the hot water. Namas…tea.

For many people a good cup of tea can send you soaring, so why not sit amongst the clouds before sending your head up there too? London Sky Bar offers a brew with a view. Or a brew with the view. Look out over the magnificent London skyline as you slurp a wonderful selection of teas AND a bottomless supply of Prosecco or Champagne. Dizzying heights for a dizzying deal.

So there you have it, some perfect places to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week. Just remember… pinkies out! Now, what’s for dinner?

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