Afternoon Tea Ideas for the Best At-Home Tea Party
The Brits have been hosting events with some of the best afternoon tea ideas for centuries. From ‘high tea’ to more casual tea parties, afternoon tea is no longer saved for the upper classes. Now, it’s open to all – and it’s best done at home!
From savoury afternoon tea ideas to the sweetest of homemade treats, if you’re thinking about hosting your own tea party this year, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we share the very best tea party ideas, good enough for Her Majesty The Queen. So, dust off your cake stands, get practising your table settings and prepare for an afternoon of fun.
DIY afternoon tea: Theme & decoration ideas
The heart of a great DIY afternoon tea? Going all-out and choosing a theme for your party. From vintage or Art Deco to Alice in Wonderland, there are plenty of fun, stylish or adventurous themes to choose from. Here are a few key elements to consider:
Think about including a dress code
Alongside an event theme, why not add a dress code to your invitations? Ensuring your guests really get into the spirit of your tea party, your chosen dress code could pair up with your overall theme or simply be a hint towards dressing up for the afternoon.
Include games in your tea party agenda
When you’re brainstorming at-home afternoon tea ideas, think about adding some games to the itinerary. Once the food is eaten, games are a great way of extending the fun. From a teacup treasure hunt to a tea bag toss or sugar cube stack challenge, there are plenty of tea-related games that your guests will love.
Thoughtfully set the table
An afternoon tea event is all about the table, and if you’re creating an at-home experience, you can really get creative when it comes to your table setting. Your theme will help direct you in terms of colours, so start by laying a large tablecloth in your chosen colour palette as the foundation of your table. If you’re opting for a quaint tea party, add lace, doilies and placemats, which can easily be found at charity shops if you don’t have them to hand at home.
Choose a centrepiece
Think about adding a centrepiece to your table to make it truly special. Whether it’s your fanciest cake, your tallest sandwich stand or a beautiful flower display, choose something that draws the room together and stands proud for the whole table to see – just don’t make it so large that your guests can’t see each other over it!
It’s all about the china
If you’re looking for tea party ideas that scream British, you’ve probably been thinking about china. For a genuine afternoon tea celebration, the cups and saucers are a key element – but fear not if you don’t have a complete set to serve to your guests. Mismatched china is timeless, and when done well, looks just as intentional as a fully coordinating tea set.
Savoury afternoon tea ideas
Some of our favourite savoury afternoon tea ideas are the most classic: sandwiches. Cut into dainty triangles or fingers with the crusts removed, some traditional sandwich fillings include cucumber, smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise.
Why not use this opportunity to get a little creative and add some less traditional options to your menu? More unusual afternoon tea sandwich ideas could be anything from triple decker sandwiches to crusty baguettes and homemade sourdough rolls, stuffed with interesting flavours like salt beef and mustard, chicken tikka or even miniature cheese on toasts.
Sweet treats for afternoon tea
Is afternoon tea really afternoon tea without a mouth-watering selection of cakes and sweet treats? We think not! As a crucial part of planning any afternoon tea, the cakes need to be just right; and by right we mean homemade and baked with love!
Don’t worry about perfection. Simply experiment and have fun with recipes ranging from sweet scones and fruit-filled muffins to whole Victoria sponges, carrot cakes and lemon drizzle loaves. Display yours whole for your guests’ arrival, or slice them into bite size chunks, ready to share around the party.
The almighty homemade scone
We all love to debate which is the right way to eat a scone (jam or cream first?). What we can all agree on, is that scones are an essential part of afternoon tea and British cuisine as a whole. One of our favourite recipes is Mary Berry’s – simple to make and can be ready in 40 minutes!
Don’t forget the tea
Last but certainly not least, when you’re putting together your afternoon tea menu, don’t forget the tea! From classic English Breakfast to quintessentially British Earl Grey, it’s entirely up to you how many teas you have on offer; head over to our blog for some of our favourite tea pairings to choose from. For those who aren’t tea-fans or adults looking for a sparkling treat, why not include prosecco or Pimm’s on the drinks list?
Afternoon tea ideas for kids
It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a children’s birthday party. However, there are some great afternoon tea ideas for kids that might just change your mind. Fun, filling and fabulous, a kids’ afternoon tea party could be the perfect theme for your event, no matter what the occasion.
Kids love the same delicious homemade afternoon tea treats as the adults, so you don’t need to conjure up a whole new menu – think mini sandwiches, cakes and scones. Simply replace the tea with juice (it can still be served in teapots!) and they’ll feel just as grown-up as the adults!
Finish the tea party with some fun games and you can guarantee a lovely day to remember.
Feel ready for your own DIY afternoon tea? Whether you’re planning a fancy afternoon birthday party or setting up for a kids’ high tea, this guide should serve up the perfect mix of sweet and savoury ideas for any tea-inspired event. If you decide to throw your own, we’d love to see how it turns out. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram with your photos!
As your comfort and wellbeing are our number-one priority at HSL, we provide a reliable range of chairs, sofas and beds to support a healthy lifestyle – all of which have been approved by our Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC.