From the manicured gardens of Government House to the lively pubs dotted around the city, Victoria stays true to its strong British roots. A tradition that is alive and well in Victoria—and also quintessentially British—is the ceremony of afternoon tea. The Pendray Inn & Tea House is one of several tearooms across the city that serves up an authentic afternoon tea experience, just like our well-mannered friends across the pond. But have you ever wondered how this fun and festive custom came to be?
Afternoon tea began as a solution to an all-familiar feeling: hunger between meals. In 1840, Anna the Duchess of Bedford found herself experiencing a “sinking feeling” between the two house meals (dinner was served fashionably late around 8 o’clock). The hungry duchess requested that a small tray of tea, sandwiches, and cake be brought to her room at 4 o’clock every day. Anna enjoyed the mid-afternoon snack so much that she began inviting her friends over to partake and socialize, thus creating a new gathering place for the upper-class. The practice spread across England and blossomed into an elaborate ceremony with its own etiquette, rules and accompaniments. Afternoon tea is still enjoyed around the world as a way to experience old-world sophistication.
A traditional afternoon tea comes with a laundry list of ground rules, but nowadays you really need to follow a few basic ones.
Our very own Pendray Tea House in beautiful Victoria, BC, promises an authentic, turn-of-the-century afternoon tea! Did you know that the mansion’s original owner, William Joseph Pendray, is from Cornwall England? For this reason, we recreated his favourite teatime snack and a specialty of Cornwall: fresh-baked scones served with jam and Devon-style cream. Visit our website for more information on the history of the mansion or to make a reservation for afternoon tea.
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