Henry James said, ‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.’ Henry James got it spot on.
The quintessentially British tradition has evolved little since the Duchess of Bedford requested a delicate afternoon snack to keep her going until dinner. It quickly became a social occasion for women to get their glad rags on and put the world to rights over dainty sandwiches, miniature cakes and beautiful china.
Fast forward 175 years and afternoon tea is undoubtedly making a comeback, and rightly so. Finding an hour to escape the hustle and bustle of modern living and taking time over a lavish tea ceremony is the ultimate indulgence – and better than a yoga session any day.
A great place for a luxurious afternoon tea is The Alverton in Truro. The sumptuous hotel is Truro’s hidden secret that’s just outside the heart of the city in an impressive 11 acre sanctuary. While the world rushes past outside, guests of The Alverton are cocooned in British splendour. It’s a befitting setting for the ultimate afternoon tea.
Climb to their rooftop terrace if the sun is out and let the hotel team take care of you. A tiered tea stand offers delicate finger sandwiches, including smoked salmon, cucumber, coronation chicken, all with crusts removed. There are sweet treats of tarts, eclairs and cakes with triumphant layers of decadence. And, oh, the scones … however you pronounce it, these light, buttery clouds are the tea’s crowning glory. Smother with a good dollop of homemade jam and lashings of clotted cream – Cornish, of course.
A world away from a café pit-stop, afternoon tea is so much more than just tea and cake and The Alverton has embraced the rituals that make it such a special ceremony: the chilled flute of prosecco, the Cornish Tregothnan tea leaves, the tinkle of silver tea spoons and the attentive service.
Whisk your chums off for the afternoon, celebrate a birthday, raise a glass for a baby shower or as a pre-wedding party – there’s always an excuse to spoil yourself. The only question to chew over is should the jam go first?
Afternoon tea at The Alverton is served between 3pm and 5.30pm, served either at the bar or on the terrace, £15 per adult and £5 for children.
The Alverton, Tregolls Road, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 1ZQ