If the idea of strict dress codes, raised pinkies, hefty price tags and white tablecloths you daren’t spill anything on gives you the shudders, here’s our best afternoon tea ideas for hosting your very own tea party at home. Whether it’s indoors, outside in your garden or in a lovely, local picnic spot, we’ll help you to plan an afternoon tea your friends or family won’t forget anytime soon.
So, you’ve decided to host your very own afternoon tea party - great! But, where do you start? Well, first you need to figure out your guestlist. Depending on who you’re inviting will likely dictate a lot of the planning involved. For instance, do your guests have any dietary requirements? There’s no point arranging a chicken wing themed afternoon tea party (yes, they exist!) only to find out that one of your friends has just turned vegan. It’ll also be a total waste of your painstaking planning time if you end up with enough food to feed 10 people, only for it to turn out that 7 of them can’t make it that day.
Knowing who can attend will also help you create any customised items like name cards and other cute table place settings or party favours. So, get those invites sent out nice and early. Depending on the theme of your afternoon tea, you might want to tailor the design of your invitation to tie in with the rest of your party. And on that note, every great afternoon tea party needs a theme. Here are some of our favourite themed afternoon tea ideas:
Of course, this wouldn’t be the best afternoon tea ideas if we weren’t to mention the quintessential British tea party. If your afternoon tea is taking place during the summer months, team yours with tealights in jam jars, pretty napkins, bunting and picnic blankets; before serving up mini trifles, strawberries and cream, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and - of course - scones with strawberry jam and a dollop of Dorset clotted cream. A spot of after-tea croquet is advised for burning off the aforementioned clotted cream.
If you're hosting a more wintery afternoon tea party, switch your homemade lemonade and refreshing earl grey iced tea for spicy, warming chais and creamy gingerbread lattes. And pick denser dessert options like brownies or boozy rum-filled russian cakes. (Lifting your little finger while sipping tea, totally optional!)
Not a far cry from the British afternoon tea, but with extra sparkle, an Alice in Wonderland theme party will require some forward planning to truly take your guests down the rabbit hole. Fill mini clear cork-topped vials with an array of infused teas, tied with “Drink Me” labels and decorate your cake stand whimsical finishing touches like hanging cardboard clock medallions and pop-up toadstools.
Search ‘mad hatter tea party decorations’ on Etsy, if you’re not a dab hand at crafts. These Alice-inspired mini cake dome stands are also perfect for housing your colourful macarons. Include quirky 'Wrong way', 'That Way', 'This Way' signs to your party for when your guests turn up - but make sure to get your invites out on time, so no one can be late for such a very important date.
When it comes to decorative settings - and depending on your theme - you’ll probably want to consider sprucing up your table with some fresh flowers, pretty green foliage and candles. If hosting indoors during the colder months, consider soft furnishings like squishy cushions and cosy blankets. And if you’re taking your afternoon tea party outside, drape some paper lanterns and fairy lights wherever you can hang them and position garden party signs (Alice in Wonderland style) for directing your guests. For afternoon tea parties that are further afield, check out our guide to the top Northumberland destinations and picnic spots.
For presenting your food in the prettiest way possible, here are some ideas:
For creating the perfect tea party atmosphere, pre-prepare a background music playlist and bring your theme to life.
Make sure to have all the relevant cutlery in place: plates (paper ones, depending on how big your dishwasher is!), soup bowls, silverware and glasses, a tea cup for each guest and enough teapots and strainers for the amount of teas you’re providing. Condiments like honey for enhancing green or white teas are a nice touch, as well as additional milk, sugar, salt and pepper shakers.
Did you know that tea pairing is a thing? Well, it absolutely is. And getting the wrong tea and food combo could prove a little problematic for your afternoon tea party.
So, here’s a little guide to the perfect food and tea combinations when planning the best afternoon tea:
The theme, table settings and room decorations are all well and good. But if you don’t make a good impression with your food, it’d be fair to assume that your afternoon tea party won’t be getting repeated any time soon…
So, whether you’re opting for quirky savouries, show-stopping desserts or just some simple light bites, here are our afternoon tea food ideas to make sure your tea party leaves your guests with smiling faces and satisfied tummies.
From substantial savoury sarnies to light vegetarian bites and traditional crowd-pleasers, afternoon tea sandwich options are endless and can be made to be as adventurous as your theme allows.
Here are a selection of our favourite afternoon tea sandwich ideas:
Cake. Let’s face it, probably the main reason why your friends and family can’t wait for your afternoon tea party - unless you’re going for a street food, festival themed event, of course!
So, it’s important to get the sweet stuff right. Here are some of our favourite afternoon tea cake ideas, from the light and fluffy to the downright dense and gooey.
If you’re the best party planner and the perfect host, but don’t have the time or willpower to create your own afternoon tea spread from scratch, why not order a selection of homemade cakes and savouries online to create your own bespoke menu. Or - even better - get your very own Grant’s afternoon tea delivered to your door. We also offer a vegetarian afternoon tea option as well as our lovingly made vegan sausage rolls.
Our online afternoon tea includes a combination of our handmade specialties, such as our raspberry and white chocolate flapjack and unbelievably tasty ham and egg pie. With proper portion sizes and only the best ingredients, we guarantee your afternoon tea will go down a storm.
Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to take some time out from the usual hustle and bustle. Northumberland has some of the best walking trails to offer...