A British Afternoon Tea Time10/20/2009
The British are internationally known for a number of cultural habits, but afternoon tea time has got to be one of the fondest cultural habits of all. This well- loved tradition began in 1661 when Charles II married Catherine of Braganza and adopted the Portuguese tradition of drinking tea and eating a light meal in the afternoon.
This pastime used to be enjoyed daily in the privacy of one’s own home, but these days, afternoon tea is usually at a neighborhood café or hotel on a less- frequent basis. Partake in this rich (and flavorful) British ritual at the following tea houses:
The Capital Restaurant
This privately owned London hotel has a posh and sophisticated atmosphere. The staff gives superb service and the tea is absolutely delightful. Tea is served in the sitting room. A bonus for winter- time visitors is the cozy fire burning in the hallway. Prices are more expensive than you would expect for a cup of tea, but the experience afternoon tea time at the Capital Restaurant pays for itself.
The Orangery Restaurant
There are very few places on earth that allow you to sip delicious tea with a palace as your back drop! This building dates back to the 18th century with its high, vaulted ceilings and large windows. In addition to wonderful afternoon tea, you will also enjoy scrumptious treats. Be sure to try their incredible cream cakes after you feast on their light lunch salads and sandwiches.
Sotheby’s Café Restaurant
As with most European countries, England takes great care in making sure its venues are as aesthetically pleasing as they are successful in functioning as a business. Sotheby’s Café Restaurant is no different, boasting walls hung with Cecil Beaton classic black and white photos. Do not be intimidated by the sophisticated atmosphere of this fine dining area. The patrons and wait staff are generally friendly and the food and afternoon tea taste better than they are priced.
There are countless venues to enjoy afternoon tea in England, both high end establishments and casual establishments. The observance of afternoon tea time is just another example of how European culture values taking time out of busy days to enjoy some peace and tranquility. Go to enough afternoon tea venues and you will find yourself stopping to smell the roses stateside as well.