5 Essentials of Afternoon Tea Etiquette

5 Essentials of Afternoon Tea Etiquette

Afternoon tea is a quintessential part of British culture – and Yorkshire life too!

With its crackling open fire, pretty mismatched china and quirky vintage grandfather clock (that is only right two times a day!) our tearoom makes it the perfect place to enjoy the experience.So here is a quick guide to traditional afternoon tea etiquette.

But feel free to break with tradition and ditch the rules – as the most essential of them all is just to relax and enjoy.Here we go!

1. What to Wear

It sounds like such a formal occasion – but does your clothing need to be too?In short, no.We’d recommend that you don’t rock up in your tracksuit…but there’s no need for men to wear a jacket and smart/casual should strike the right chord.

2. Dunk It?

It’s all about enjoying what’s on offer – the tea, the treats. But for us dunking your biccy is just a step too far. Save it for your sofa.

3. Causing a Stir

The ‘proper’ way is not to cause a racket – and no chinking your cup!It’s also advised to place your spoon in a 6 o’clock position in your cup and then gently ‘fold’ your tea to the 12 o’clock position and then back again.Not round and round (and round).

4. Pinkie Up?

Many think popping up a pinkie is the posh way of enjoying you tea.But they’d be wrong as according to etiquette it’s considered rude.There are different theories as to how this faux pas originated, but all you need to remember is to tuck it in.

5. Milk in First?

No. No. No. At least that’s the afternoon tea law according to etiquette expert William Hanson.He told The Daily Mail it goes in last – primarily as you don’t know how strong your tea will be until it’s poured.It also once related to class and heritage.According to Hanson servants of the house would need the milk to act as a coolant first to avoid cracking the inferior clay cups. Whereas with the fine bone china this wasn’t necessary.

To book our famous afternoon tea in our tearoom contact 01439 770466.


Six Celeb Swanners

The Black Swan has a long and rich heritage. The traditional inn, which is thought to have stood on the same site for centuries, has welcomed thousands of guests over the years – and some of them are quite well known!So we thought we’d bring you a rundown of some of the most famous people the Helmsley hotel has had to stay.Here we go!

1. William Wordsworth

The English poet stopped at The Black Swan on his way to another location.So happy with their stay his sister Dorothy, who also stayed, said in her journal: “My heart danced at the sight of its cleanly outside, bright yellow walls, Casements over-shadowed with jasmine, and its low, double gavel-ended front…”

2. Bryan Adams

The Canadian rocker is perhaps one of the most well-known singers that has stayed over at ‘the Swan’. As well as his Helmsley trip, he visited the area again in 2016 to perform at a one-off gig in Scarborough.

3. Anne Robinson

Queen of mean Anne Robinson was also one of The Black Swan’s valued guests. However she may not have overly indulged. In an interview with the Radio Times, Anne, 73, revealed she is “permanently on a diet” and never eats breakfast.

4/5. Princess Anne

Princess Anne once spent a night in the hotel – with security needing to be tight. King Juan Carlos of Spain was another royal guest too.

6. Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict is reported to have been filming in the local area when he stayed. It was reported in Heat, the celeb mag calling the venue ‘a luvvies haven’.It said: “It’s one for theatrical types as Benedict Cumberbatch has stayed.”


Savoy Service

A touch of The Savoy’s famous service is now available at The Black Swan.

This stunning silver-plated carving trolley – once owned by one of the world’s most famous hotels – has a new chance to wow diners.

The beautiful centrepiece will be integral to a new type of dining at the venue’s three AA Rosette restaurant The Gallery.

Alan O’Kane, executive chef at The Black Swan, says that the refurbished trolley will help serve up traditional Yorkshire fare, which takes dining at the Helmsley establishment back to its roots.
There is also a cheese trolley which offers an extensive range of around 25 cheeses – including Yorkshire, French and Swiss – and dishes include classics such as chicken liver parfait, beef wellington and baked Alaska.

He said: “It’s a silver plated carving trolley that was made in 1962 for The Savoy in London.
“We bought it in the last six months privately, but it was in a bit if a state and it had seen better days.”
Alan’s early career years were spent at The Savoy.

He added: “We are taking The Black Swan back to a traditional coaching inn style and felt that the food offering had to be in keeping with an olde worlde classic Yorkshire serving – with carved meats at the table, a cheese trolley, just fantastic service and a lot of theatre.”

Heritage Silverware undertook the refurbishment of the trolley, and by coincidence it was the same company initially commissioned by The Savoy to originally design it.
For more information about what’s on offer at The Gallery Restaurant visit this link.