Teapots across the country are poised to pay homage to Britain's favourite beverage on 21 April. Celebrate in style with ideas for an impressive afternoon spread, plus a recipe for tea with a twist
For more than 350 years Britons have had an enduring love affair with tea. King Charles II and his tea-obsessed wife Catherine of Braganza are usually credited with popularising the drink in the 1660s. Fast forward to 2018 and 165 millions cups are drunk every day in the UK. National Tea Day honours the nation's number one beverage with tea parties across the country. Host your own celebration, or just curl up in bed with a brew in your favourite mug.
1. Think pick and mix
Afternoon tea is about indulgence and variety. Try to have a few finger sandwiches, a small slice of cake, a mini tart and one other sweet or savoury item per person.
2. Offer a choice of teas
This is a great time to try some of our speciality leaf teas, from pale delicate Darjeeling to strong Assam and floral Earl Grey. Put out a pot of each and clearly label with a tag on string tied round the handle, so guests know what to expect. If you are serving prosecco or Champagne, do this before the tea arrives.
3. Make it a spectacle
Create a sense of theatre and occasion. If you don't have a cake stand, you can still create different heights with the food you choose. Surround a towering layer cake with individual treats, and place sandwiches on their side so you can clearly see the filling.
Swap fine china for glassware and serve your tea with a sweet and fragrant twist. This easy iced-tea recipe packs a citrus punch with bergamot-spiked Earl Grey and fresh clementines.
Give the gift of afternoon tea with a selection of classics in a keep-forever wicker basket