The Origins of High Tea

In our latest blog, we will share the origins of the tradition of taking tea – after all, we serve the finest High Tea in Devon!


The Birth of a Tradition

High Tea began in the mid-1700s, as during this time there was a surge in popularity for people to take an afternoon meal. The origins of this ritual first came to be as the working class would often eat a smaller meal before a late dinner or supper. As they would dine stood up, or sitting on tall stools or chairs, this is where the ‘high’ in High Tea originates.

At this time, the meal consisted of tea with cakes and scones, which isn’t dissimilar to how we enjoy it now. The main difference however, is that in those times even cheese on toast would have been served! In time, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, would be credited with having the marvellous idea of putting fillings between two slices of bread.

Gradually, this High Tea tradition evolved from being known as dining for the working class to a middle and upper society staple. Leisurely and social, this meal would gradually be known as Afternoon Tea, and in its modern form, many people use High or Afternoon interchangeably.


Afternoon Tea in comparison to High Tea

While similar, there are subtle differences between the two; mainly because of the origins of the traditions themselves. In the 19th Century, the popularity of tea increased and many people only ate two meals a day – breakfast and dinner. Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained of feeling peckish during the late afternoon. She asked for a light snack and pot of tea to see her through until the customary 8pm dinner, thus, Afternoon Tea was born.

Originally, High Tea (as we have already mentioned) began as a meal for the lower classes that was taken at 5pm or 6pm, and the upper classes would serve low tea (Afternoon Tea) at around 4pm. What is served at both has, over the years, become increasingly similar.


Our High Tea

When it comes to Devon country house hotels, few possess more history or heritage than our 16th Century property. Dating back to the Domesday book, our property has stood proudly through it all – and have served more High Tea’s than we can count! For the traditionalists, we serve a plethora of baked delights, speciality teas and classic finger sandwiches. We can even add a more modern twist by including a glass of Prosecco alongside your clotted cream scone. During summer, you can sip and sample as you relax on the terrace that overlooks our Jacobean gardens. In winter, you can retreat to our warm dining room for a touch of elegance.

Perfect for birthdays, baby showers, dates, catch ups or simply to take a bite before dinner, you haven’t taken a light afternoon meal until you’ve tried what is on offer at Langdon Court.

Our High Tea is served Monday – Sunday between 3pm and 6pm. You can view our high tea menu here


To sample the finest High Tea in Devon, contact a member of the team or reserve your table online today.