How to Host Afternoon Tea at Home

Learn how to host afternoon tea at home for a posh British-style affair
that is sure to make you feel like you’re on Downton Abbey!

If you’ve ever wanted to host afternoon tea at home, this is your go-to guide!

When you watch Downton Abbey, Bridgeton, or any other favorite British show, you’ll see afternoon tea time! And it’s so much fun to host your own at home!

Let’s get started!

How to Host Afternoon Tea at Home

First, let’s chat about afternoon tea and all the different variations!

In the UK, they have several afternoon tea versions:

Cream Tea – just tea with scones and clotted cream + jam

Afternoon Tea – what you’re seeing in this post with the 3-tiered tray with sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats.

Royal Tea – afternoon tea plus champagne

High Tea – this has more hearty items such as a meat pie or quiche and is served on a high tea tray.

Historically, afternoon tea started as a way for upper-class people to have a light snack before their supper at 8:00 pm or after.

It took several years, but the trend caught on and grew wildly famous — making it a social affair each day.

When I visited the UK in high school, I can remember all the places I took tea each day, and I have such fond memories of it!! My favorite place was Bettys in York!

afternoon tea at home

You’ll need to raid your mother’s china cabinet, or get out all your favorite vintage finds and family heirlooms!

I set the table with a red cloth and a fabric remnant that added a bit of extra pop. I flipped the fabric over, so the serving ware could shine, instead of the pattern of the fabric.

Next, I gathered all my vintage teacups, china, antique glassware, and a 3-tiered tea tray.

antique tea cups for afternoon tea at home

Get your teapot and sugar + creamer ready, and you’re ready to assemble the food!

For fun, I added mini bottles of Champagne! It added a bit of whimsy to the table!

What to serve:

You’ll need some tea sandwiches:

  • Cucumber Sandwiches
  • Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
  • Cheddar & Chutney Sandwiches

You’ll need a type of scone, or two!

  • Plain scones
  • Blueberry Scones

And serve with jam (or lemon curd with the blueberry scone!), and clotted cream.

Here in the states, we don’t have clotted cream… We have something similar, but not even close.

If you can find Double Cream in the jar, or make your own homemade clotted cream, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much it adds to your scone!

For the third “course” you’ll need some sweet treats. I picked these up from Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market, and just assembled them on the tray.

Afternoon Tea at home looks like a lot of work, and it is to set up… But, you actually don’t have to cook anything!

You can purchase everything — and assembled it all on your tray!

Years ago, I hosted a Princess Tea Party, and once again, it was all assembled.

Fill your table with beautiful serving pieces, and pile everything super high, and you’re guaranteed to have everyone “oooooh and ahhhhh” over it!

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