17 Best Table Setting Ideas for British Afternoon Tea Party

table setting ideas for british afternoon tea

A British afternoon tea immediately sends thoughts of elegance and delight for any occasion.  That’s why we have a complete list of table setting ideas for British afternoon tea party.

These ideas are dripping with delicate beauty in a fun and fruitful way.  You will love these ideas for both adult and kids tea parties. You and your guests will feel like royalty with these lavish and playful British afternoon tea ideas. Each of the ideas are uniquely designed and offer great party ideas for a selection of occasions from birthdays to weddings.  

Tea Party Table Setting Ideas for British afternoon tea at home

Creating a tea party at home is one of the best ideas for a unique party.  The part that takes the most thought is figuring out how many guests that you want to invite and then making sure there is adequate seating and a place setting for all.

Next, you can look at the sizes of your tables and plan the tablecloth or table covering for the party.  

Third, plan the type of menu that you would like serve with your tea.  A table setting for British afternoon tea party doesn’t require an extensive menu.  This is one of the benefits of the afternoon tea.  An afternoon tea usually has snack offerings such as finger foods and cookies or “biscuits.”

Lastly, but most important, the type of tea is a top priority.  After all, it is a “tea” party!

What is a British Afternoon Tea Party?

According to Wikipedia, Northern England “tea” refers to a light meal or snack. British tea usually consists of black tea. Departures describes the preferred type of tea in Great Britain is Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea. Tea can be loose leaf tea or tea bags. 

Additionally, tea time is usually between 3:00pm to 4:00pm. So, if the Seventh Duchess of Bedford calls to invite you to a British afternoon tea, you will know what time to show up!

Afternoon Tea Table Decorations

If you are aiming for a traditional afternoon tea, you will need the best of fine china, cloth napkins, and place card.  Let’s get into more detail on the afternoon tea table decorations. 

As mentioned above, you will need to have table linens.  For the traditional afternoon tea, the linens can be kept simple as the tea cups, tea pot, and table settings will have plenty of patterns and details.

How to Set a Beautiful Table for High Tea

Before you get started, make sure you get this Free Tea Party Checklist and Ultimate Planning Guide.

This guide will help you learn how to set a beautiful table for high tea and afternoon tea.  In addition there are many party ideas, occasions, and themes built in and ready get started. 

Additionally, learn how to create the perfect British afternoon tea party for both adults and kids.

The tea party checklist is also linked at the bottom of this post.

Setting a Table for Tea

Here are the steps to setting a table for tea:

  • In the center in front of the guest spot, set a small dessert plate with a place card just above the plate.
  • To the left of the plate, set the folded napkin or napkin in ring.
  • Next, to the right of the plate, set from left to right the fork, knife, spoon.
  • Above the silverware set the tea cup and saucer.

17 Table Setting Ideas for British Afternoon Tea Party

Wow, there are table setting idea for British afternoon tea for all occasions.  Who knew that an afternoon tea could be such a versatile way to spend time together with friends and/or family.

Each table setting idea below is equipped with examples of items mentioned to help give you a visual example of how it will all come together.

#1 Garden Party

Picture a flower filled tea party with pastels and butterflies.  This garden tea party theme will dazzle all of your guests.

This is very similar to the magical fairies tea party that we will also mention below. 

#2 Christmas Tea

Peppermints and jolly laughter of all guests fill the air for you and your guests.  Just think of the options, a Christmas in July theme even is a cute idea.

Here is a list of Christmas Tea Party details.

#3 Wedding Tea

White linens fill the tea tables with the most beautiful place settings and fresh flowers.

A wedding tea party is the perfect way to celebrate a bridal shower. 

Get more details on planning a tea party bridal shower. The list includes steps to planning a tea party bridal shower from the guest list etiquette to games to play for during the celebration.

#4 Class Tea Party

A wonderful class celebration for classes of all ages.  This is a great idea for bringing a class topic to life.  Another great thing about a class tea party is for a class reward.  Give the class an experience they will always remember.

Having a class tea party is a fun idea for a Mother’s Day celebration at school as well. 

Be sure to use non breakable dishes, alternative beverages for sipping like juice, and fun table decorations.  Here is a great idea for a table setting.

#5 Easter Tea

An Easter tea is the perfect way to celebrate both Easter and the Spring Season. 

For elaborate ideas for Easter Tea are listed here.

Get all of the ideas for invitations, decorations, menu, Easter craft ideas, games, and party favors.

#6 Poolside Tea Party

What an amazing setting for the perfect afternoon outdoor tea.  A poolside tea allows for either melamine or plastic tableware due to the nature of poolside.  This atmosphere gives a nice relaxed feel to the tea.

Here is a cute idea for poolside tea and toast!

#7 Book Club Tea

I bet you never thought of this one?! I was inspired by this teapot to think about a book club tea.  If you think about it, a book club and tea party pair well together.


A book club tea party can be super simple and great for a backyard picnic style gathering of friends.

Here are some great pictures for an example of a poolside tea party.


#8 Fairytale Tea

A fairies tea party goes hand in hand with a garden style tea party.  Get the entire details for this tea party in this article.
Just to give you a few tips:

  • Use Fairy Elements like fairy wings, flowers, and butterflies.
  • Add a touch of memorable elegance with special napkin rings, floral tea cups, and plate chargers.
  • Plan a simple fairy menu such as tea or juice, butterfly shaped sandwiches, and cupcakes.

#9 Teddy Bear Tea

There is a place called the Roosevelt, and each year they host a Teddy Bear Tea.  At the teddy bear tea, there are nice table linens, a 3 tiered shelf at the table with a variety of items like fruit, cookies, muffins, and macaroons.
To give you more ideas, here is a great image of a Teddy Bear Tea.


#10 Doll Tea Party

One of my favorite ideas is a doll tea party.  Bring your favorite doll to the tea and let’s enjoy. 
Kids will enjoy being able to bring their very own special guest – their favorite doll!


The doll tea is part of the ideas for American Girl doll parties.


#11 Baby Shower Tea

If you know the gender, you can of course decorate to go along with that gender color.  However, maybe they might want a surprise or a gender reveal.
Definitely customize according to the theme.


#12 Birthday Party Tea for Adults

A birthday celebration is always a great time for a tea party.  Moreover, adults like tea parties just about as much or more than kids.


#13 Birthday Party Tea for Kids

Celebrate all of the birthday milestones with an extra special tea. The British royalty elements is a great “icing on the cake.”


#14 Traditional British Royal Tea Party

Using the royal details, create your own traditional British Royal Tea Party at home.  Keeping the tradition is part of the fun of it all.  Here are the steps to get started for the royal tea party:

  • Dress code – Have guests dress up in their favorite royal tea party outfit. 
  • Include a tea party hat as well.
  • Set the tea time – some time between 3:00-4:00pm.
  • Like the other tea party suggestions, be sure to set the menu with finger foods and light dessert treats.
  • Have your tea party place setting with tea cups, saucers, and tea pots.

#15 Halloween Tea Party

Invite guests to come dressed in their favorite costume to celebrate with some Halloween tea party fun.
Check out the full list of Halloween Tea Party Ideas here.


#16 Thanksgiving Tea

After the big turkey meal, many people will have a cup of coffee with dessert.  Why not turn it into a Thanksgiving afternoon tea?


#17 Mad Hatter Tea

When Wonderland and Mad Hatter theme are your new go-to themes, create the most epic tea.


We have an entire article based mainly on the Wonderland Tea. You can find the Wonderland Tea Party here.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Mad Hatter Tea sandwiches
  • Colorful Macaroons
  • Black and White Cups

Types of Tea For Your Tea Party

Since we are talking about a tea, we must talk about “the tea!”  Haha, there are so many types from which to choose, however, you can also get a variety. 

If you are having a traditional British tea, you may want to go for the English breakfast tea.

English Breakfast Tea:  (amazon) new English teas union jack tea tin British souvenir – This tin contains 40 tea bags plus a beautiful souvenir tin

New English Teas Song Thrush Tea Tin – This tin contains 40 English breakfast tea bags.

Twinings English Afternoon Tea – Black tea which is smooth and robust.

Tetley British Blend Premium Black Teas – British blend that is a rich and robust blend.

Herbal Tea – This lemon ginger herbal tea also has probiotics.

Iced Tea – This is a great idea for hot days when your group is looking for something cool to drink.

Green Tea – Green tea bags with earthy flavors. 

Tea Party Snacks for British Tea Party

Tea party snacks can definitely be light snacks.  The time of the afternoon tea is perfect for small plates of light snacks with your cup of tea. Since the tea party is in the late afternoon, finger sandwiches, fruit, and light desserts are perfect for the place setting for British afternoon tea ideas. 

Tea Sandwiches – Tea sandwiches are small sandwiches that are perfect for pairing with the tea.

Finger Sandwiches – Similar to the tea sandwiches, these are great for your party.  Be sure to cut off the crust to really capture the details for the tea party.

Egg Salad Sandwiches – One of the easiest sandwiches (and budget friendly) is egg salad sandwiches.  Similar to above, be sure to cut off the crust of the sandwich and cut into finger size fourths.

Warm Scones – Homemade or store bought, warm scones are a great way to have a delicious pairing for a variety of teas.

British Afternoon Tea Books

A great gift for the tea party host or for tea party guests is a souvenir book.  Great ideas for books are books about royalty, afternoon tea cookbooks, and coloring books.

Tea Party Table Setting Tips

There are two must-have times on the tea party table.  These are afternoon tea cake stands and afternoon tea macaroons.  

The cake stand will offer a nice height to the table which feature your beautiful and colorful macaroons for your guests.  Here are some examples linked below with great ideas for afternoon tea cake stands and afternoon tea macaroons.

Tea Party Themed Items For Gifts

Tea time can also a time to give gifts or present gifts to your royal guest of honor.  Here are two tea themed gifts that pair perfectly with a tea party.

Tea Party Checklist


Everyone can use a good checklist when preparing for a party.  We have the perfect tea party checklist below which gives you some great ideas to include in your tea party planning. 

The checklist includes the following sections:

  • Theme, occasion, and number attendees – the basis for the entire party
  • Things to remember before the party
  • Details for the Tea
  • Tea Accessories
  • Menu Planning
  • Food Accessories
  • Table Decorations
table setting ideas for british aftenoon tea, tea party checklist

Things to Remember for Your Tea Party

The most important thing to remember for your tea party is to have fun!!! After all, that is why you are throwing the party, you want your guests to have fun and create memories for a lifetime.

Regardless of the occasion, whether it is birthday or just because, create the best tea party with fun decorations, delicious bites for guests to eat, and a nice atmosphere.

You don’t have to spend a lot to create a tea party at home.  Remember, the tea set can be mix and match.  In fact, it is better and more decorative if they are mix and match.  They will serve as the perfect talking points during the tea when guests compare cups. 

Therefore, don’t be afraid to borrow pieces from family and friends.  Additionally, the same with the linens.  If you go with a certain vibe like pastels for instance, you can have a range of pastels to go along with the theme. Same with floral or even themed like the Halloween, Easter, or Christmas themes.

Ideas for More Tea Parties

Here are several ideas for more tea parties with lots and lots of details. 

Wonderland Tea Party Guide – Menu and Decorating Tips

The wonderland tea party is a great way to bring in the whimsical nature of wonderland.

Best Halloween Themed Tea Party Ideas

Take Halloween to a new level with the best ways to throw a Halloween Tea Party.  From Witches Brew to treats and decoration, you can have fun creating the best Halloween gathering with this tea party.

Hosting the Perfect Easter Tea Party

A spring time gathering is a great time to host the perfect Easter tea party.  Get all of the ideas right here in this post.

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