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  • Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

Afternoon Tea: From Then Until Now

Afternoon tea, one of Britain’s finest traditions, truly is one of life’s great pleasures. The journey from the delicate finger sandwiches, through the freshly baked scones to the beautiful cakes and patisserie is a treat like no other.  But let us not forget arguably the most important part… the tea! Here at The Ritz, we pride ourselves on serving the quintessential, English Afternoon Tea. Our guests return again and again for an unrivalled, classic offering, which we refresh seasonally to include British produce at its best. We have been serving Afternoon Tea in The Palm Court since the hotel first opened its doors in 1906, and it is still as popular as ever. But just how did this fine tradition arise?

Humble Origins

Let us turn back time to the 1840s. The Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell, a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria and prominent member of London’s high society, once visited the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle. During the visit, she complained of the long wait between luncheon and dinner. Therefore, she requested a light refreshment consisting of tea and cake or sandwiches to stave off ‘that sinking feeling’. It was the ideal way to punctuate the afternoon and soon she started inviting friends to enjoy it with her. Given her influence, it didn’t take long before other ladies of society soon started to host their own tea parties and so, Afternoon Tea was born.

The Palm Court

Dress for the Occasion

As time went on, the custom became increasingly popular. Afternoon Tea transformed from a light, mid-afternoon snack to the grand ceremony it is today. Ladies would dress in their finest hats, gowns and gloves and the taking of tea between four and five o’clock became a prominent social occasion. In keeping with this transition, Afternoon Tea was no longer simply taken at home, but in the dazzling tea rooms of London’s finest hotels, most notably of course, The Palm Court at The Ritz. Whilst some things have changed over the years, others have stayed the same and rightly so. Just as the ladies of London society in the 19th century put on their finest dresses for an afternoon outing at The Ritz, our wonderful guests in the 21st century also love to dress up to make the occasion extra special.

Did you know? The Ritz was the first hotel to welcome unchaperoned ladies to enjoy Afternoon Tea together. In fact, The Long Gallery was designed specifically for two ladies to walk side by side in their voluminous dresses.

Afternoon Tea cakes and patisserie

Set the Scene

It wouldn’t be the full Afternoon Tea experience if the surroundings weren’t fit for the occasion. Hence why The Palm Court has spectacular Louis XVI-style décor. The setting is completed with panelled mirrors, glittering chandeliers, marble columns and a 24-carat gold leaf fountain sculpture. The décor coupled with the delightful tunes of our resident pianist or harpist create a magical ambiance for the Afternoon Tea ritual.

The Palm Court

Time for Tea

In Victorian times, tea was an expensive commodity and therefore exclusively reserved for the upper class. Today however, tea is the nation’s favourite drink. The British sip their way through over 100 million cups of it each day. You won’t be seeing any tea bags at The Ritz though, as we are the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Master. He travels around the world to various tea plantations to source our wonderful loose-leaf teas. Our Tea Master blends three of the teas on the menu in-house, including The Ritz Royal English tea – but the recipe is our secret! How do you take yours?

Tea being poured

The Duchess of Bedford may not have realised exactly what she was creating when she had a hankering for tea and cake one afternoon almost 200 years ago. But, we are glad she did and we are sure she would have appreciated a glass of Champagne with her tea, just as many of our guests do.

Afternoon Tea: From Then Until Now

  • Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

Afternoon tea, one of Britain’s finest traditions, truly is one of life’s great pleasures. The journey from the delicate finger sandwiches, through the freshly baked scones to the beautiful cakes and patisserie is a treat like no other.  But let us not forget arguably the most important part… the tea! Here at The Ritz, we pride ourselves on serving the quintessential, English Afternoon Tea. Our guests return again and again for an unrivalled, classic offering, which we refresh seasonally to include British produce at its best. We have been serving Afternoon Tea in The Palm Court since the hotel first opened its doors in 1906, and it is still as popular as ever. But just how did this fine tradition arise?

Humble Origins

Let us turn back time to the 1840s. The Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell, a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria and prominent member of London’s high society, once visited the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle. During the visit, she complained of the long wait between luncheon and dinner. Therefore, she requested a light refreshment consisting of tea and cake or sandwiches to stave off ‘that sinking feeling’. It was the ideal way to punctuate the afternoon and soon she started inviting friends to enjoy it with her. Given her influence, it didn’t take long before other ladies of society soon started to host their own tea parties and so, Afternoon Tea was born.

The Palm Court

Dress for the Occasion

As time went on, the custom became increasingly popular. Afternoon Tea transformed from a light, mid-afternoon snack to the grand ceremony it is today. Ladies would dress in their finest hats, gowns and gloves and the taking of tea between four and five o’clock became a prominent social occasion. In keeping with this transition, Afternoon Tea was no longer simply taken at home, but in the dazzling tea rooms of London’s finest hotels, most notably of course, The Palm Court at The Ritz. Whilst some things have changed over the years, others have stayed the same and rightly so. Just as the ladies of London society in the 19th century put on their finest dresses for an afternoon outing at The Ritz, our wonderful guests in the 21st century also love to dress up to make the occasion extra special.

Did you know? The Ritz was the first hotel to welcome unchaperoned ladies to enjoy Afternoon Tea together. In fact, The Long Gallery was designed specifically for two ladies to walk side by side in their voluminous dresses.

Afternoon Tea cakes and patisserie

Set the Scene

It wouldn’t be the full Afternoon Tea experience if the surroundings weren’t fit for the occasion. Hence why The Palm Court has spectacular Louis XVI-style décor. The setting is completed with panelled mirrors, glittering chandeliers, marble columns and a 24-carat gold leaf fountain sculpture. The décor coupled with the delightful tunes of our resident pianist or harpist create a magical ambiance for the Afternoon Tea ritual.

The Palm Court

Time for Tea

In Victorian times, tea was an expensive commodity and therefore exclusively reserved for the upper class. Today however, tea is the nation’s favourite drink. The British sip their way through over 100 million cups of it each day. You won’t be seeing any tea bags at The Ritz though, as we are the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Master. He travels around the world to various tea plantations to source our wonderful loose-leaf teas. Our Tea Master blends three of the teas on the menu in-house, including The Ritz Royal English tea – but the recipe is our secret! How do you take yours?

Tea being poured

The Duchess of Bedford may not have realised exactly what she was creating when she had a hankering for tea and cake one afternoon almost 200 years ago. But, we are glad she did and we are sure she would have appreciated a glass of Champagne with her tea, just as many of our guests do.

Stay for Longer

Treat yourself and stay at least one more night at The Ritz with our compliments.

MORE INFORMATION

Stay for Longer

Treat yourself and stay at least one more night at The Ritz with our compliments.

MORE INFORMATION

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