The Art of Afternoon Tea in Sussex

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What Are the Origins of Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea, a quintessentially British custom, dates back to the early 19th century and is credited to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. In those times, the typical day in upper-class society included only two main meals – a late breakfast and a late dinner. The Duchess, experiencing a ‘sinking feeling’ in the long gap between meals, began requesting a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake to her room in the late afternoon. This private habit soon evolved into a social event as she invited friends to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey.


The practice swiftly gained popularity among the fashionable society circles. By the 1840s, afternoon tea had become a refined and elaborate social event for the upper classes. The menu expanded to include a variety of teas, delicate sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an array of cakes and pastries. This leisurely repast was typically served in the drawing room between 4 and 5 pm. The tradition of afternoon tea was a much-anticipated break in the day to gather, socialise, and enjoy light refreshments, and it continues to be a cherished British institution to this day.


Afternoon Tea at Bolney


Book a delicious Sparkling Afternoon Tea with us and enjoy a selection of sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and cakes all whilst overlooking our stunning Eighteen Acre Vineyeard. The perfect way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, or whatever your occasion may be.


Afternoon tea parties – minimum 10 people, maximum 30 – any day of the week except Friday.


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Indulge in Sparkling Afternoon Tea at Bolney Wine Estate


Indulge in a quintessentially British tradition with a twist at Bolney Wine Estate. Our Sparkling Afternoon Tea is an exquisite way to celebrate life’s special moments. Whether you’re marking a birthday, an anniversary, or simply the joy of being with loved ones, our afternoon tea set against the picturesque backdrop of our Eighteen Acre Vineyard offers an unforgettable experience.


A Feast for the Senses


As you gaze over the lush, rolling fields of our vineyard, enjoy a hand-selected assortment of finely crafted sandwiches, each bite a celebration of classic flavours and artisanal quality. Delight in the lightness of freshly baked scones, lavishly topped with rich clotted cream and sweet, tangy jam. And for the sweet-toothed, a range of exquisite cakes awaits, each a miniature masterpiece, promising to tantalise your taste buds.


A Toast to Special Occasions


What sets our afternoon tea apart is the sparkle – literally. Complement your meal with a glass of our award-winning sparkling wine, a testament to the mastery and heritage of Bolney Wine Estate. Each sip offers a burst of effervescence, enhancing the flavours of your afternoon tea and adding an extra layer of celebration to your gathering.




Perfect for Groups


Our Sparkling Afternoon Tea is tailored for groups, accommodating a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30 guests, ensuring an intimate yet vibrant atmosphere. Available any day of the week except Friday, we provide the flexibility to suit your schedule, making it easy to plan for your special event.


Create Lasting Memories


At Bolney Wine Estate, we understand that life’s milestones are worth celebrating. That’s why we invite you to create lasting memories with us. Whether it’s a family reunion, a get-together with friends, or a corporate event, our Sparkling Afternoon Tea offers the perfect blend of luxury, relaxation, and scenic beauty.



Other Spots in Sussex for Afternoon Tea

The Grand Hotel, Brighton

One of the many beautiful things about Sussex is our bustling coastline. Take in the view and enjoy luxury Afternoon Tea by the sea in the Victoria Terrace at the Grand Hotel. If you’re lucky to visit on a sunny day, the terrace will be flooded with sunlight, illuminating the gorgeous décor and making the whole visit even more exceptional. You can choose from a variety of Afternoon Tea experiences, from Victoria Terrace Tea, Moet Moments or Brighton G&Tea. A perfect spot for tea, especially if you love being in the city to do a spot of shopping or hit a cocktail bar afterwards.


Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield

If you’d prefer to escape to the countryside for Traditional Afternoon Tea, Ockenden Manor is the venue for you. Just a stone’s throw away from Bolney Wine Estate, Ockenden Manor is a welcoming Elizabethan manor house with luxury suites and a fine-dining restaurant. The history of Ockenden Manor dates to the mid-1500s, it was opened as a guest house after the Second World War and is now one of the most celebrated hotels in Sussex, set within nine acres of beautiful countryside. Enjoy your Afternoon Tea by adding a glass of English sparkling wine, it really is a must!


Leonardslee House, Horsham

The spectacular Leonardslee Gardens is a must-visit if you have a passion for nature. The ancient gardens are home to peaceful lakes, stunning floral displays, impressive sculptures and an extraordinary range of thriving wildlife including Sika and Fallow deer, wallabies, rabbits, badgers and foxes. End your visit by savouring a delicious Afternoon Tea for two, set within the Italianate styled drawing room of Leonardslee House. Ingredients are foraged directly from the gardens or sourced in Sussex and served by Michelin star Chef Jean Delport.


Metrodeco, Brighton

Nestled in the Kemp Town district of Brighton, Metro Deco is a vintage inspired tearoom which is the perfect place for a post shopping treat. They offer a range of classic, vegan, vegetarian and gluten free Afternoon Tea served with their own bespoke blend, or why not add a cocktail, G&T or sparkling wine to make your tea extra special?