The History of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is an English institution, so why not pair it with an English Sparkling Wine from Sussex, England? When you look into the history of afternoon tea, you’ll find that the concept was born in England when the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained that breakfast and dinner was simply not enough to satisfy her appetite! This genius eighteenth century woman started taking a pot of tea and light snack in her boudoir of an afternoon and soon began inviting friends to join her. The ritual quickly spread throughout fashionable society and the rest is history.

Now considered more of a luxury than an everyday occurrence, the finest restaurants and hotels around the UK offer indulgent afternoon tea experiences, accompanied with a glass of bubbles. We hope you’ll agree a delicious glass of English Sparkling is the perfect pour for an afternoon tea. Our friends in the hospitality trade do, so make sure to look out for a glass of English on the menu.

Whether you add your milk before the tea or cream your scone before the jam, read our guide to some of the best restaurants and hotels proudly serving afternoon tea with a glass of Rathfinny.

Ham Yard Hotel

The Ham Yard Hotel is a real favourite among the Rathfinny family. Furnished by the extraordinarily talented designer and co-owner, Kit Kemp, The Ham Yard is an oasis of urban luxury. Afternoon tea is served in The Orangery with an optional glass of Rathfinny Classic Cuvée. The delicious savouries include smoked salmon finger sandwiches with lemon and cream cheese, Croxton Manor gougères and black pudding sausage rolls. These are followed by sweet treats such as a baked caramel tart, with hazelnut Chantilly and lemon and raspberry choux alongside homemade scones with clotted cream and preserves.

Hotel Endsleigh

Situated between Cornwall and Devon in the Tamar Valley, Hotel Endsleigh is a Grade I-listed building, glorified by 108 acres of fairy tale woodlands and gardens. Afternoon tea is a daily occurrence, served in The Library, or guests can opt for a picnic rucksack that can be enjoyed among the beautiful grounds. The menu here is truly exciting and a little less conventional than most. Highlights include old Cornish sausage roll with pistachio and apricot, pea and ricotta gougère, lemon and passion fruit meringue tart and Inaya chocolate and choux au craquelin with miso caramel. Our Rathfinny Classic Cuvée is served by the glass.

Afternoon Tea Hotel Endsleigh
Hotel Endseligh Find out More

The Wingrove

Closer to our Sussex Vineyard is The Wingrove in Alfriston village, a 19th century colonial-style country house near the Cuckmere River. Their Sparkling Afternoon Tea includes a glass of Rathfinny Classic Cuvée with a selection of classic finger sandwiches including Springs smoked salmon, ham and mustard, cucumber and dill, fruit scones and pastries.

The Wingrove Afternoon Tea
The Wingrove Find out More

The Coral Room

Set in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury, The Coral Room is a one-of-a-kind bar, designed by Martin Brudnizki which pays homage to the fun and daring reveals of the Modern era through art deco design, statement colours and irreverent art. Head Pastry Chef, and Afternoon Tea of the Year Finalist, Chris Dodd creates beautiful afternoon tea menus that can be accompanied by a delicious glass of our Classic Cuvée. Our favourite treats include the brie and plum tomato sandwiches and ‘Rose Silence’ which is a delicately scented rose and almond sponge topped with rose cream.

Rathfinny Afternoon Tea Coral Room Bloomsbury Hotel
The Coral Room Find out More

The Cadogan

In 2021, we were thrilled to announce Rathfinny sparkling wine was chosen to be served at The Cadogan and our Classic Cuvée is perfectly paired with the afternoon tea. Served in The Lounge, the afternoon is a truly spectacular experience and there is even free-flowing sparkling wine option! The menu is as considered and detailed as you might expect from the luxury hotel, carefully design by Executive Chef Chris Hill and his team. We recommend the rich yolk egg and cress on brioche, Chicken pâté en croûte and caramelised pear frangipane. Divine!

Afternoon Tea at The Cadogan
The Cadogan Find out More

The Dorchester

The Dorchester really needs no introduction. Afternoon Tea at The Promenade is on many of our wish lists when we imagine a day of ultimate luxury in London. Serving since 1931, The Dorchester is perfect if you’re looking for a traditional and elegant afternoon tea experience, particularly for special celebrations. The menus are designed by the master pastry team, regularly changing to reflect the best produce of the season. Enjoy delicate pastries, freshly-baked scones and a chilled glass of Rathfinny Blanc de Noirs.

The Dorchester Vegan Afternoon Tea
The Dorchester Find out More

The Grand Hotel Eastbourne

Affectionately nicknamed ‘The White Palace’ for its impeccable 19th century architecture, The Grand Hotel on Eastbourne seafront is home to a wealth of history and famous guests. If walls could talk, they would have much to say about Suite 200 where Debussy completed his symphony ‘La Mer’ or the hotel bar where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s planned his Antarctic expedition! Now a days, High Tea takes place in The Great Hall. Finger sandwiches of Cheddar and chutney and honey roasted ham are followed by freshly baked scones and cakes and savoury pastries such as the mini tomato and Sussex Charmer quiche. Here, your sparkling of choice is our Rathfinny Rosé Brut.

Rathfinny Afternoon Tea Grand Hotel Eastbourne
The Grand Hotel Find out More

Afternoon Tea & Sparkling at Home

If you would like to create your own afternoon tea with a bottle of Rathfinny in the comfort of your own home, we can recommend a selection of wine merchants across the country. From DBM Wines in Bristol, Lea and Sandeman in London or Cork & Cask in Scotland, find a stockist near you using our online map tool.