Our ever-so British guide to afternoon tea etiquette

by Rachel Ricks
Tuesday 30 July 2019

Afternoon tea is an important business in Britain, so avoid causing unutterable offence and explore our afternoon table for tips…

Tap the image!

Afternoon tea etiquette

One must eat the sandwiches first, and with fingers not cutlery.

Then the scones – they should still be warm.

Scones should be broken in 2 by hand, not with a knife, and each half eaten separately. It’s unthinkable to sandwich them back together!

One can spread scones how one prefers: the Devon way is cream first, jam on top. The Cornwall way is jam first, then the cream.

We know it’s hard, but one must save those delightful cakes till last!

One person is elected to be ‘mother’ – they then pour the tea for everyone at the table.

Remember to put the milk in first!

Tea should be stirred back and forth, not in circular motions! One must also avoid the temptation to bash the sides with one’s spoon.

Cups should be held with one’s thumb and index finger meeting in the handle and the handle resting on your middle finger. Fingers should not be hooked through, and horror of horrors saucers never lifted from the table.

You may add a touch of fizz to your tea with a glass of English Sparkling Wine or a glass of Champagne.



Rachel Ricks

Rachel is Britain's biggest fan so she couldn't possibly choose her favourite place to visit in the country! From hiking in the wild and windswept Highlands of Scotland, to moseying around the shops in Brighton's Lanes, Rachel has done it and written about it.

| View all author blogs

Latest Blogs

Foodie map of Britain

Foodie map of Britain

Top 10 Events in Wales for 2020

Zip World Bangor Gwynedd Attractions North Wales
Top 10 Events in Wales for 2020

Take on Britain's best cycling routes

Take on Britain's best cycling routes

Exploring Brent – London's next Borough of Culture

Steel pan player for Brent London Borough of Culture 2020
Exploring Brent – London's next Borough of Culture

48 hours in Leeds

Athena Rising Mural in Leeds, England
48 hours in Leeds