How to organise a tea party for your friends

If you love afternoon tea as much as we do, why not host one at home? Enjoy delicious sandwiches, sweet delights and of course, tea.

Afternoon tea is unmistakably a truly British custom known worldwide, with origins in 19th century England. It can be suitable for many celebrations. When you'd like to host a party that isn't as involved as a dinner party, a tea party can be the answer. It's an ideal format for a bridal or baby shower, a retirement party, a birthday celebration, or time to catch up with good friends. The food is prepared before your guests arrive, and is either presented buffet style or by passing plates of goodies at the table. The only thing you need to serve is the tea itself, leaving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy your guests.

Afternoon tea starts with sandwiches, which are usually made with thinly sliced bread and often with the crusts removed. There will usually be both white and brown bread sandwiches.

Any number of traditional fillings for afternoon tea sandwiches may include:

Thin slices of cooked ham and a little mustard
Egg mayonnaise
Coronation chicken
Roast beef
Cheese and pickle
Salmon with or without cucumber

The summery Botanic Garden tableware range includes everything you need for a beautiful outdoor table setting and can also make for a quirky afternoon tea setting indoors too.

In a traditional afternoon tea party, there is always cake - either slices of a large cake, cupcakes, or small iced buns (also known as Fancies) and not forgetting scones with clotted cream and jam. Depending on how hungry or decadent you feel there will be a slice or two of a tart. Select a cake stand and server from our collection to display your delicious creations.

Try to include some (one or two are enough) of the following:

Chocolate Cake
Rich Fruit Cake
Battenberg Cake
Marbled Coffee Cake
Chocolate Cup Cakes

Tarts may include:

Bakewell Tart
Yorkshire Curd Tart
Egg Custard Tart
Lemon Tart

Our best-loved accessory to have for a tea party is, of course, the teapot. Our collection of teapots from Portmeirion, Royal Crown Derby, Spode and Royal Worcester are the perfect addition to any tea party.

A true British classic, Botanic Garden was designed by the celebrated designer Susan Williams-Ellis. Botanic Gardens delightful mixture of pretty floral motifs and signature leaf border set a new trend for casual dining in the 1970s and today Botanic Garden looks as pretty as a daisy.

If you wanted to go the extra mile you could prepare small gift baskets containing candles, confections or samples of tea that each guest can take with them when they leave.