Afternoon Tea

As stockists of homeware and picnicware, it’s fair to say we’re huge lovers of afternoon tea here at Sass & Belle – whether that be going out for one, or creating a spread at home!

In honour of Afternoon Tea Week (9th-15th August), Sass & Belle has conducted a survey which asked 1,000 UK consumers to rank a range of popular afternoon tea treats, revealing the nation’s perfect spread.

The results are in! Aside from the scone – a classic component in any afternoon tea – we’re huge fans of chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches, sausage rolls and brownies. 

Participants were asked to rank the treats according to the following options: Tier 1 (love it – get in my belly), Tier 2 (like it – take it or leave it), Tier 3 (hate it – get in the bin). Those with dietary requirements were asked to vote on the assumption that alternatives were available.

Based on the top Tier 1 and most hated Tier 2 treats, here are the most – and least – enjoyed afternoon tea foods:



Get in my belly

  1. Chicken and mayonnaise
  2. Tuna and cucumber/sweetcorn
  3. Cucumber

Get in the bin 

  1. Beef and horseradish
  2. Ham and mustard
  3. Veggie & hummus


Savoury selection

Get in my belly

  1. Sausage roll
  2. Pasty
  3. Cheese straw

Get in the bin

  1. Pork pie
  2. Scotch egg
  3. Quiche


Sweet selection

Get in my belly

  1. Brownie 
  2. Victoria sponge
  3. Lemon drizzle

Get in the bin

  1. Carrot cake
  2. Bakewell tart
  3. Macaron 

And to wash the afternoon tea treats down? English Breakfast tea, of course, as voted for by 42% of respondents. One in ten (11%) said they’d prefer a coffee or even something a ‘bit stronger’, though.


The battle of sweet vs savoury treats

When it comes to our favourite tier, it seems we’re a nation of dessert lovers, with 42% rating the cakes and sweet selection the best, followed by the savoury selection and scone tier, with only one in five (21%) claiming ‘the middle tier’ as the one that makes their mouth water the most.

Tucking into their afternoon tea, a quarter are likely to start with the scone or sweet selection first too – so it’s not always a case of saving the best ‘til last! 

And while we were at it, we thought we’d settle the scone pronunciation and ‘jam or cream first’ debates once and for all. Here’s are the votes: 

How do you pronounce the word ‘scone’? 

Scone, to rhyme with ‘cone’ – 60%
Scone, to rhyme with ‘gone’ – 40%

In what order do you put the jam and cream on a scone? 

Jam first – 65%
Cream first – 35%

Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Disney are our favourite afternoon tea themes

Other popular themes include: 

  • British/royal
  • Harry Potter
  • Fairytale 

When opting for a classic afternoon tea, nearly two-thirds of consumers (65%) would be happy to pay up to £20 per person for a classic afternoon tea, while 26% would be prepared to pay between £20 and £30. 


Presentation is key: how to serve the perfect afternoon tea at home

Here are some tips from Sass & Belle’s design team to help wow your guests when it comes to the presentation of your afternoon tea: 

1. Choose a theme

If you’re looking to jazz things up, consider opting for a themed afternoon tea. Decide on your theme before going shopping though, as this will likely influence what food you make or buy. A theme could be something as simple as one or two colours running through the decoration – and even the food itself – or you could go all out and base your afternoon tea on a band, film or cuisine you love, to name a few. From our survey, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Disney are a few of our favourites. 

2. Create an Insta-worthy tablescape

Tablescaping has become a bit of a buzz word of late, referring to the art of designing your table in an aesthetically pleasing way, often with heavy decoration. There’s no right or wrong way to do tablescaping, though it’s generally advised to have some sort of centrepiece; this could be the tiered cake stand itself – or more than one if you’re having a big get together – or flowers, or candles, for example.

3. Get out the fancy homeware 

There’s never been a better time to get out your fancy crockery and cutlery! Go and raid your cupboards for any hidden or long-lost gems; failing that you could rent tableware, or buy a couple of pieces outright. Quirky or vivid designs can really bring a table to life, while opting for plain bronze, gold or silver homeware can add an element of luxury.

Looking to buy some pieces for yourself? We have some characterful mugs & teapots on our retail website, plus other tablescaping essentials such as coasters and tableware.