Afternoon Tea: Practical Study Day

Tea tasting, study of behaviour and manners, baking and preparing tea party

About this event

A one-day immersive workshop on the history, food, tea, and manners of the English afternoon tea party.

Do you ever dream of hosting an afternoon tea party in your own home? Which food and teas are appropriate to serve? Is there a correct way to serve tea? What is considered good and bad manners?

This practical workshop covers everything you need to know about hosting a tea party, from essential preparation (and closely guarded secret recipes) through to the finer points of entertaining guests.

You will cover the context of English afternoon tea party and how the domestic ritual might sit alongside the offerings of the public tea room. There is a focus on the culture and traditions of tea drinking with its associations with polite behaviour. This then raises the question of what it meant to be polite and practice civil entertaining in 18th Century England.

And of course, this full day practical study class and workshop provides a chance to enjoy excellent teas, cakes (made by yourselves) and conversation!


  • Manners and etiquette at an English tea party
  • Traditions of tea-taking from 1700 onwards
  • History and ‘Englishness’ of tea as a part of daily life, both inside and outside the home.
  • Delicious recipes and how to host your own tea party


  • Background to English tea drinking
  • Overview and guide to the manners and etiquette associated with the tea table
  • Basic tutored tea tasting (at least six different teas)
  • Lunch  (included in the price)
  • Hands-on baking workshop
  • Finish by creating our own English afternoon tea party


THE TRADITIONS OF TEA-TAKING When you picture a quintessentially English tea party, you most likely see a three-tier cake stand bedecked with crust-less sandwich-fingers, dainty, opulent cakes, and crowned, perhaps with pastel coloured macaroons. Pretty (and tasty!) though the vision is, this is the 21st Century’s rather decadent fusion of many traditions of tea taking. It might be how an afternoon tea looks like today, but it bears little resemblance to  to the many different tea parties of the past.

MANNERS AND ETIQUETTE AT AN ENGLISH TEA PARTY What is it about a tea party that makes us sit up straighter, wear a pretty dress and worry about our manners? My aim is to help you understand the curiosity of the English tea party and leave you feeling confident and inspired to bring your own ideas into this traditional setting.

THE ‘ENGLISHNESS’ OF TEA Tea was first imported from China in the late 17th century. Today, we continue to quench our insatiable thirst for tea from foreign import, sourcing our English breakfasts, Earl Greys, and Orange Pekoes primarily from India, Sri Lanka and East Africa. How, then, did this exotic beverage come to be so much a part of the English character? How did tea make its way from porcelain in the parlours of the rich into chipped builder’s mugs?

By the end of this course you will have a complete understanding of the Englishness of tea. To start wecompare the styles of the 18th Century teas to those now perceived as being ‘English’. Alongside this we discuss the customs of the numerous different types of tea party. Finally you will bake your own cakes, shortbread and scones and have our own tea party.

To help you understand and appreciate the context, Caroline will draw on a wealth of contemporary paintings, and diaries. We recommend that you have a good understanding of spoken and written English to make the most of this class. 

PRICES start at £550 for up to TWO people. For each additional person in your party the cost is £100 per person(maximum of four in total).

This class is currently available ON REQUEST. To check available dates please see the calendar page. To check prices for larger groups and confirm a date contact Caroline. It is possible to adapt this class to suit your requirements.

To minimise risks around covid transmission, I am only taking bookings for private groups rather than collecting together individual students. If you have any questions please email

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