Afternoon Tea: Practical Study Day

Practical workshop: Tea tasting, tea party baking, preparing the tea table,  and study of polite manners and behaviour.

Full details for a new class schedule will be posted in Spring 2024. 

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 or bad mannered behaviour?

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 an 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 practise 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!





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 the many different tea parties of the past.


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.


Tea was first imported from China in the late 17th century. Today, we continue to quench our insatiable thirst for tea from foreign imports, 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 we compare 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).

If you have any questions please email