What Should You Expect from Your Afternoon Tea Set?

It would be hard to find anything more quintessentially British than afternoon tea. Its traditions and rituals are deeply ingrained into our way of thinking, so that even if it wouldn't occur to you to indulge at home, an afternoon tea at a high-class hotel or tea-room remains the last word in luxury.

But why not enjoy this tradition on special days at home, too? Or perhaps it would make the perfect present for someone special to you. So what should you expect from your afternoon tea set?

What Should Be Included in Your Afternoon Tea Set?

The exact make-up of your afternoon tea set will depend on your needs and your tastes. How many guests would you anticipate entertaining? It's generally best to overestimate slightly. The last thing you'd want would be to have to give someone a non-matching cup and saucer, so perhaps add one or two pieces to the maximum you'd expect to need.

Your afternoon tea set should clearly include the same number of cups, saucers and teaspoons, and you'll also need a matching teapot with capacity to serve all your guests. Besides this, you may well want a matching milk jug or creamer, as well as a sugar bowl. Yes, we know you may consider sugar to be unhealthy, but a good host should make it available for their guests to decide.

You may want to include plates, as well, if you're intending to serve cakes or scones with the tea. In addition, a tray or birdcage would complete the set, to store the cups and saucers and make it easy to bring them in.

Afternoon Tea Sets | Flower hand painted fine bone china tea set

What Size Should the Items in Your Afternoon Tea Set Be?

Both teacups and teapots come in all sizes. For instance, a teacup could have a capacity of anything from 180ml to 250ml, while a teapot could be as small as 650ml or as big as 1400ml.

The choice really depends on your tastes, but consider the impression the size of cups, in particular, will have on your guests. Large cups will certainly give the feeling of generosity, but some people might find them unwieldy and prefer more refills instead.

Teacups | White bone china teacup with blue stripes on a matching saucer.

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What Materials and Design Should Your Afternoon Tea Set Be?

In order to evoke the traditions of afternoon tea, your set needs at a minimum to be made of fine porcelain. For the maximum effect, though, you'd be best to go with bone china crockery.

For a traditional effect, you can't go wrong with a fine floral pattern, but you may prefer the elegant simplicity of a geometric pattern on white, such as our Glamour Bone China Tea Set, hand-painted in gold in a design inspired by Art Deco.

Afternoon Tea Sets | White bone china tea set with golden decorations.

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Whether your tastes run to traditional or modern, though, we offer a wide range of afternoon tea sets. Why not browse our selection, whether for yourself or for a very special present?