I’m really not a tea person, but guess what? I had an absolutely lovely time at Fortnum and Mason and I think since then I’ve been drinking much more tea! So how did I end up at afternoon tea – a fine English tradition.

Well, at the beginning of the year and amongst travel enthusiasts and bloggers there was a lot of buzz about 2018 travel goals.

To be honest, I wasn’t really fussed. I remember mentioning to a few people that it’d be goal attained if we managed to travel anyway as a family this year – seeing as our first attempt to travel with a new born was quashed.

Anyway, when my friend Dee (who I’ve featured here and here – seeing as she’s travel and career goals) shared her travel 2018 goals, it ranged from Australia to Capeverde to Switzerland to Belize and Indonesia. That’s 5 continents!

While chatting randomly, she mentioned that she’d also love to have afternoon tea. Ah, finally something I could do. She’d been in the UK for two years, was returning to the US and wanted to tick this off her UK bucket list.

Well I had been here for 4 years and didn’t exactly even have a UK to-do list.  I thought I could start with this one. And so we set a date to experience this together.

So what’s afternoon high tea?

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”

— Henry James

Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner – and she would become hungry in between.  The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches (including thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches), scones, cakes and pastries are also served. Tea is also served from fancy tea pots into tea cups.

Based on our research some of the best places for this were fancy hotels and tea rooms. We settled for Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason. Fortnums as it’s popularly called has been serving tea for 307 years!  Little wonder it’s such a popular thing that by the weekend before our set date, most places were fully booked – but we got one for the rather early 11am.

What to wear?

As I hurriedly got into my jeans that morning I thought for a second “what if they don’t let us in if I’m dressed too casual“. Particularly as the tradition had a history of being a fashionable one during which  women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats. A quick call to Dee confirmed my thoughts of going with smart casual. But we need not have bothered too much – loads of people turned up in denim and very casual clothes.

First Impressions

I had my first impression of Fortnum even before I arrived. You see, I was running real late thanks to a missed train and they were kind enough to push our booking back by an hour – even though tables are typically reserved for 1.5 hours. And when I finally arrived, I was amazed at how huge and fancy it all looked. Like a reviewer said “you think to yourself that nothing bad could happen in this building

We were shown to the table and finally time to order. We decided to go with two different options so we could try it all. So I had the afternoon tea which had amongst other things coronation chicken and smoked salmon sandwich plus some plain and fruit scones; Dee had the savoury afternoon tea with the same selection of sandwiches but some savoury scones.

We could have had champagne for an extra £12, but we decided to stick with two pots of tea. And my royal blend tea was so fab I asked for an extra pot – and finished it too.

It’s amazing how the items looked so small yet we couldn’t finish it all.

And the taste? Everything was so good! Typing this up a month later and I can almost still recall the exact taste of the salmon and the scones. Eating the scones (apparently pronounced like gone and not stone) reminded me of a conversation at work where colleagues debated the proper English way to eat a scone – whether the cream or jam should be spread first.  This afternoon tea etiquette article suggests it’s cream before jam – but who really cares?

Another good part? We could take out left overs with us and the waiter very kindly packed this up in a nice box plus we also got a huge chunk of cake from the trolley!

1.5 hours went by so quickly amidst good food and conversation and then we had to leave the salon. But we didn’t have to leave the building so, we explored for a bit – including window shopping [theres a lot to buy though] and photo taking!

In all, I had such a lovely time and it’s definitely one that has been added to my what-to-do-in London-list. So ditch your regular lunches and dinners and meet up with friends for afternoon tea! – or DIY it and have your own afternoon tea at home. Why not?

Have you had English fancy afternoon tea? Would you enjoy it? Are you a tea person – I’d love to know.

Love,

Kachee.. Xx

pS: Staycation in St. Ives Cornwall and quick rock climbing adventure in Abeokuta


15 COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

15 Comments

  1. Rae Talks

    March 27, 2018 at 10:10

    I do not do tea I have hated it since I was a child. Also it isn’t the best health wise.However, having said that I have wanted to have afternoon tea for years! I am a vegan and managed to come across a place where they do afternoon tea with vegan options. I found it via a fellow Nigerian vegan.I honestly want to have afternoon tea for the photo opt and I think it’s a must being British and all. Those tea cups are the cutest!I think I may bookable a table for my birthday. I am going to text my sisters hahaha. My birthday is all the way in September. Hahaha Thanks for thiswww.raetalks.co.uk

    Reply
  2. 'Dara

    March 27, 2018 at 14:25

    For a long time (and maybe even till now) I always felt it was weird drinking tea in the afternoon. I probably only have an inclination to drink tea on cold mornings, but nowadays, I realize that I tilt more towards decaf coffee.I totally love the idea of tea parties (and all the fanciness) but I would skip the tea part- I love the sandwiches, scones, cakes and every other thing my sweet tooth gets to enjoy. I remember I had this very grand idea to have a tea party for my 20th birthday and my best friend’s words to me were “what is all these oyinbo behaviour?” Haha! Anyway, we had a ‘jollof rice’ party instead (as expected of a proper Nigerian)

    Reply
  3. Olufisayo Adeleke

    March 28, 2018 at 03:05

    I’m totally dreaming of this!!! Since my days of watching Downton Abbey, I just wanted to dress up in a fancy gown with a very big beautiful fascinator and go someplace fancy to have afternoon tea! Must definitely do this before the year runs out! Will definitely have an afternoon tea birthday party too! I think that will be simply gorgeous and I will feel closer to the thirty billion gang 😂😂😂

    Reply
    • Adanma

      April 2, 2018 at 20:00

      I don’t know you but I like you already! You had me at the fancy gown and beautiful fascinator…now I have to dress up exactly like this when I go! Lool!

      Reply
      • Olufisayo Adeleke

        April 3, 2018 at 07:38

        Awww🤗🤗🤗 I like you too!! Now we are definitely going to Fortnum & Mason together…and we will get Kachee to feature us and all our fine pictures in our Queen of England apparel!

        Reply
        • Adanma

          April 8, 2018 at 21:44

          Yes! Yes! Yes! Lets do it!

          Reply
  4. RuthsTravel:Because I Believe

    March 28, 2018 at 11:28

    I loooove teeeeeeeeeea! I could drink it at anytime of the day, at any temperature, depending on the weather, mood, need, and with ANY meal. I actually have tea and rice when I need a drink as soda or juice and have none. I never regret it.I’ll definitely would love an English fancy afternoon tea.becauseibelieveblog.com

    Reply
  5. Madeline Wilson-Ojo

    March 28, 2018 at 11:43

    I am not a big tea drinker either but I have gone for afternoon tea a few times, including Fortnum and Mason (not in the grand salon you’ve just featured, but in St. Pancras station)I’d definitely love to do it again!Madelinewww.madelinewilsonojo.com

    Reply
  6. Cece Alex

    March 28, 2018 at 16:04

    That looks lovely! I took my mum to a place in Victoria for afternoon tea years ago for her birthday and it was so much fun!The pronunciation of scone: I can’t let it go I’m sorry. It does depend on whether you’re actually from the North or the South, but it’s actually pronounced scone like “stone” 🤷🏽‍♀️But I do agree on putting cream on before jam – why would you do it any other way???And why do people take these things so seriously? LOL. I love the pictures, you gals look stunning!!!! xoxo

    Reply
  7. Dee Olateru

    March 28, 2018 at 19:43

    Aww, this was soo fun to do with you chica 😉 !!! Love it all, great job on summarising the experience and everything. It does look lovely!! I know a colleague of mine saw people dressed up with fascinators and all but we were just fine! Its a great once in a while experience. I think beyond the tea and scones and everything its about taking time to be, to take the time to sip and have conversations, to enjoy life in small ways such that it doesn’t pass us by. At least that’s how I see it.

    Reply
  8. Tiese

    March 29, 2018 at 00:06

    Ooh this is lovely & such a nice thing to go out to do. I’m definitely a tea person and have been wanting to go out for “high tea” here in the U.S but haven’t gotten round to doing it. Hopefully I can soon. Not surprised you ladies couldn’t finish it all. All those mini-breads are deceptively small!

    Reply
  9. Grace Smart

    March 31, 2018 at 12:53

    Nice! To think there is a place where just tea is being sold. Sounds cool!www.liveinibadan.blogspot.com

    Reply
  10. Adanma

    April 2, 2018 at 19:59

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m also not a tea person but I have so put this on my list of things to do in London! Love it!

    Reply
  11. The Sweet SF

    April 4, 2018 at 15:48

    High tea is such a good one for a British bucket list, I love going for afternoon tea! looks like such a lovely day xxxYasmin 💗The Sweet Seven Five

    Reply
  12. Cynthia Mari

    January 2, 2019 at 13:14

    I love afternoon tea! I always feel so fancy going! There are always deals on Wowcher and Groupon if you want to “ball on a budget”! X

    Reply

follow along on Instagram