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Pinkies in please!

A lesson in Afternoon tea etiquette

There is something so special about frocking up and playing ladies with your girlfriends at a decadent high tea. Chilled bubbles, delicious dainty treats on elegant tiered plates and the finest tea in pretty china tea cups – I mean, what’s not to love?! 

But before you even think about taking your first bite of that pillowy white scone, make sure you have polished up on the etiquette surrounding this elegant English tradition.

Newest royal member, Megan Markle would have undergone intensive training on how to conduct herself at such an occasion, but we’ve put together some tip tips to have you looking like a member of the royal family in no time. You’re welcome m’lady!

high tea food with ladies

Dress code:

Afternoon tea is a much more relaxed affair these days, but you should still look smart. Leave the ripped jeans and trainers at home. Instead, think pretty dress or smart casual at the very least.

Before you begin:

Make sure you have your napkin placed on your knee and watch that posture darling!

Manners please!

Dainty finger sandwiches can be eaten with the fingers (as the name suggests), but when it comes to the sweet delights, a petit fork will ensure you don’t end up with sticky fingers.


It’s all about the scones:

Put the knife down. It’s proper etiquette to use your fingers to gently break the scone apart.

Jam or cream first?

The jury is still out on that one, although Queen Victoria liked her cream first (plus, let’s face it, it’s probably a better choice for instaworthy pics). Either way, the cream must be clotted!

The perfect stir:

One should always stir gently moving the spoon back and forth, as if to go from 12 to 6 on a clock face. Make sure there is no clinking on the side of the cup of course and finish with a light flicking off the spoon before placing it gently at the back of the cup.

milk in teaMilk or tea first?

Tea first is correct. But did you know during Victorian times, milk was added first to protect the fine bone china from cracking?

Pinkie in or out?

Contrary to popular belief, pinkie out is a rookie error! The correct way to hold your cup is by making your thumb and index finger meet in the handle and support the cup by resting on your middle finger.

Mobile phones allowed?

Absolutely not! (unless of course it’s for your insta story!).

So now that you’re qualified to dine with Queen Elizabeth, I think it’s time you put on your Sunday best and put into practice your royal new skills. Just remember, pinkies in!


Would you like to further your knowledge on high tea etiquette? Read our top 8 etiquette tips 

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