THe “Downton Effect” has led to a resurgence for that most quintessentially English past-time Afternoon Tea.
Overseas visitors influenced by TV period dramas such as Downton Abbey are now asking for the same genteel style as soon as they board a plane to Britain.
So great is demand that airline Virgin Atlantic has now decided to bring back the tradition which for centuries was the hallmark of an English gentleman.
Upper Class passengers will even have finger sandwiches, scones and cakes served in their own purpose-made dainty cake stand – just like a scene from the successful TV series.
Every year, Virgin Atlantic serves approximately 3.75 million cups of tea on board which is approximately 1. 2 million pints.
Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman Janine Doy: “It’s clear that Britain is still seen as a bastion of civility at a time of changing social values. “
The re-emergence of Afternoon Tea was confirmed earlier this month when The Queen, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duchess of Cambridge all went to afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons.
And so popular is the trend with smart London hotels that The Ritz and The Savoy now regularly have queues to attend their traditional afternoon teas.
Closer to home, due to customer demand Bettys in York and Harrogate have introduced a new reservations-only Afternoon Tea.
Due to the popularity of Afternoon Tea The Belmont Room, Bettys York or in The Imperial Room, Bettys Harrogate, have introduced a new “bookable” Afternoon Tea.
Afternoon Tea will be served in the most elegant of surroundings, accompanied by music from Bettys café pianist, on Saturdays and Sundays, between 12.30pm and 6pm.”
“A visit to Bettys is always a special occasion and the delicious new menu created for our reservations-only Afternoon Tea encapsulates everything we treasure most: attention to detail, time-honoured craft skills, true continental finesse and the finest local ingredients,” explains a Bettys spokesman.
Janine Doy adds:“Overseas visitors still associate Britain with Old World charm. Our country still has a fantastic reputation for service and gentility.
“Introducing Afternoon Tea onboard our aircraft is also part of our drive to put style back into flying.
“We want our Upper Class passengers to be able to have the same civilized experience as the Queen recently did at Fortnum and Masons, or indeed to be able to imagine that they are a character in Downton Abbey.”