'Many visitors from overseas still imagine that we are a nation where, in the words of the well-known song, ‘at half past three, everything stops for tea'. Sadly these days Afternoon Tea is usually only an occasional luxury for the British; a birthday treat in a country house hotel, or a welcome break from a hectic days shopping ‘in town'. Luckily the tourist is still able to indulge in a little bit of British tradition for him or her self.'
Taken from the Nottinghamshire based Langar Hall site and their Afternoon tea history web page.
In my humble life it is rare that tea gets accompanied by anything more than a bit of cake or a biscuit but my neighbour and myself did indulge in the traditional British habit last summer in our shared garden. I have to say that is was very pleasant and a darn site cheaper than tea at the Ritz in London (which I've never had the pleasure of either) and probably won't at £36 a shot.
Just for the record I pulled up some info on what exactly one gets at Tea at The Ritz.
'Tea at The Ritz is nothing less than an institution. It has become so popular that there are now 5 sittings every day at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Booking at least 4 weeks in advance is essential. The Afternoon Tea package costs £36 and is served in the elegant Palm Court with music by a pianist or a harpist.
For £36 a head you get the kind of treat that "Afternoon Tea at the Ritz" habitués such as King Edward VII, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Winston Churchill, General De Gaulle, Judy Garland and Evelyn Waugh all enjoyed during the past 100 years. You will eat off and drink from fine bone china, and take tea from silver pots, milk jugs and strainers. And while you admire the oval oeil-de-boeuf windows, the deeply coved cornice and the gilded trelliswork you can choose from a selection of ham, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise and mustard, cress, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, raisin and apple scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, afternoon pastries and fresh cream cakes served on a tiered cakestand and wash them down with lapsang souchong, ceylon orange pekoe, earl grey or darjeeling.'
I think my back garden will suffice for now thanks. £36 a head! That's a lot of shopping at my local Co-op supermarket. Then I would be missing out on the views of the oval oeil-de-boeuf windows, the deeply coved cornice and the gilded trelliswork. Never mind, brick walls can be beautiful in the afternoon sun.