From the 8th to the 14th of August, we get to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week. A quintessentially British past time, afternoon tea was invented in 1840 by Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, as a resolution to her hunger during the long wait between lunch and dinner. At this time during the Victorian era, industrialisation was on the rise, so the set time for evening meals was becoming later and later. Her request for afternoon tea came with tea, scones and biscuits, a tradition that has lasted through the centuries.
Afternoon tea was the perfect solution, first enjoyed by the wealthy aristocracy. It became increasingly popular after luxury hotel, The Langham in London, added afternoon tea to their menu, making it not only a tasty meal, but also a social past time for the upper classes. The Langham has welcomed a number of famous and prestigious guests during its time to enjoy their afternoon tea, including Winston Churchill and Princess Diana.
As it trickled down to the working classes, afternoon tea often comprised of a steaming hot pot of tea accompanied by savoury ingredients; usually bread, vegetables and cheese, and for those who could afford it, meat may have also been present. Sweet additions were an expensive commodity, so the working classes created their own version of the aristocrats' afternoon tea. Nowadays, afternoon tea is often enjoyed by everybody, a go to treat for special occasions and well-known as 'a very British thing to do'.
Whether you're planning a picnic in the countryside or an at-home feast with friends, we've rounded-up the best afternoon tea hampers to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week...
15 delicious afternoon tea hampers
Afternoon Tea Hamper
For something truly classic (and completely vegetarian), you can't go wrong with Cutter & Squidge's Afternoon Tea Hamper. Filled to the brim with a selection of goodies, including chocolate shortbread, hazelnut truffles, strawberry sponge cake, two mini bottles of Prosecco, and of course, loose leaf tea and scones with jam and cream. And if you fancy all this again, their afternoon tea cookbook is included, so you can make some traditional treats at home!
More like this
The Fortnum's Afternoon Tea Hamper
Famous for their teatime creations, Fortnum & Mason's Afternoon Tea Hamper offering is quite the selection. Inside you will find 23 of Fortnum's classic products such as loose leaf tea, biscuits, chocolate almonds, fruit cake, preserves, and essential tools to make the perfect afternoon tea, just to name a few. And we can't forget the famous Fortnum's wicker basket all the goodies come packed in. What a treat!
The English Breakfast Afternoon Tea for Two Hamper
As you can probably guess from its name, this afternoon tea hamper from Whittard includes a loose leaf English breakfast tea caddy, as well as a glass teapot with an infuser, two wonderfully designed bone china cups with saucers and some delicious shortbread to enjoy as you sip. All carefully collated inside a wicker basket, its perfect for a pretty picnic in the park or to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
Selfridges Selection Afternoon Tea Gift Box
If you love to sample an array of teas, this Selfridges afternoon tea gift box is sure to peak your interest. With six different teas ranging from traditional options to fruit and herbal alternatives, you have enough leaves to enjoy for weeks to come. You'll also get to enjoy some sweet nibbles with your tea, a box of all butter shortbread and a box of salted caramel shortbreads also nestled in the familiar yellow gift box.
Summer Afternoon Tea Hamper
Rick Stein might be famous for his incredible fish and chips, but you can expect the same tasty standard from this Afternoon Tea Hamper, filled with a variety of sweet and savoury bites. A slight twist on the traditional afternoon tea, you can expect to find miniature pastries from Cornish pasties to quiches and sausage rolls. As for the sweet stuff, there's a selection of cakes alongside the scones with jam and cream. No afternoon tea is complete with out a beverage; in this case its yorkshire tea, or to spice things up, why not add a bottle of Whispering Angel, a lovely French rosé?
Champagne Afternoon Tea Gift Box
Feeling fancy? It's always a good idea to upgrade to a Champagne afternoon tea, especially when its delivered straight to your doorstep! Betty's have been serving tea since the 1920s, so you can expect a hamper filled with the best ingredients. Their Champagne Afternoon Tea gift box's contents include delicate macaroons, Darjeeling tea bags, cakes, fondant fancies, and strawberry preserve to spread atop the four fluffy scones. Combined with a bottle of bubbly, you've got yourself an afternoon delight!
The Kensington Teatime Hamper
If you're more of a traditionalist when it comes to afternoon tea, M&S have created The Kensington Teatime Hamper, offering a classic spread. With Devon scones topped with strawberry jam, gold label tin tea, shortbread, truffles and cakes, it's a hamper everyone can enjoy.
The Somerset Afternoon Tea Hamper
The Newt in Somerset is renowned for its excellent cuisine, so you can expect nothing but the best from their afternoon tea hamper. It's a Somerset twist on the classic, so if you swear by scones it might not be for you, but if you're open to something a bit different, it's sure to impress. A savoury platter, the hamper includes a pork pie, Westcombe cheddar, chorizo pokers, cheese pickle, cider chutney and rosemary cheese straws. A cup of tea would go down a treat, but this hamper includes a bottle of cider if you're in the mood for something stronger.
Luxury Afternoon Tea Hamper
Bring the luxury of a restaurant home with this afternoon tea hamper from British Fine Foods. Think flavourful fruit scones, raspberry and vanilla jam accompanied by smooth clotted cream. Add in lemon drizzle cake, brownies, honeycomb clusters and some classic breakfast tea, it's everything you could think of when craving a sweet-filled spread.
Madame Valerie's Afternoon Tea
Add a touch of Belgian delicacy with Madame Valerie's Afternoon Tea hamper. The traditional tea, scones, jam and cream are all still present, but instead of the usual sweet treats, this hamper features gateau, Choux, and éclair, to name but a few. This is a great choice if there's more of you dining, too, with the option of a hamper for two or a hamper for four.
The Sparkling Teatime Picnic for Two
If your heart is set of Fortnum & Mason hamper but their afternoon tea hamper is a little on the large size for you, then their Sparkling Teatime Picnic for Two is a great alternative. Prepared fresh in Piccadilly, the picnic bag contains a variety of savoury tarts, tasty preserves, freshly-baked cakes and a chilled bottle of bubbles.
Tea Tray Afternoon Tea Hamper
Virginia Hayward is one of the hamper heavyweights, and the Tea Tray Afternoon Tea Hamper lives up to that reputation. Not only do you get two lovely mugs, but two different teas, cakes, florentines, and a rustic white-washed tray that you can reuse time and time again.
Luxury Afternoon Tea Hamper
Piglets Pantry's Luxury Afternoon Tea hamper is packed full of tasty bakes, so there will be something even the fussiest of eaters can enjoy. For savoury, it's quiches, scotch eggs and a variety of sausage rolls, and of the sweet side, its scones, cakes, cookies and blondies. Of course, theres tea bags in there too, as well as a lovely bottle of sparkling wine. Quite the treat!
The Afternoon Tea Gift Selection
Looking for an afternoon tea hamper you can personalise? Whether it's for a birthday, anniversary, or you just want to show your appreciation for someone, The Afternoon Tea Gift Selection's sleeve can be customised by adding an image and two lines of text. The contents are perfect for the occasion too, with cakes, crumbles, fudge, strawberry preserve and a bottle of Champagne.
British Afternoon Tea Hamper
A quintessentially British offering, Harvey Nichols' British Afternoon Tea Hamper is sure to get you past the afternoon slump. Pour yourself a glass of wine and a cup of tea (who says you can't have both at once?) and tuck in to a feast of scones, truffles, fudge and biscuits. Even the preserves have a drop of tipple in them, offering whisky marmalade and champagne jam!