Two Centuries of Afternoon Tea at Woburn Abbey new

Join us at the home of afternoon tea for this fascinating illustrated talk, with full afternoon tea included, which covers how tea drinking was first introduced into England, how it was popularised and how afternoon tea became a social institution.

The English custom of taking afternoon tea was popularised in the 1840s by Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford. A Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, Anna Maria began the custom
of taking afternoon tea at around 5.00pm and it became a popular part of the day at Woburn Abbey and the Royal Palaces.
Enjoy a glimpse into history and find out, through entertaining anecdotes how Duchesses past and present like to take their afternoon tea.
The talk is given by Simon Pestell, Head Housekeeper at Woburn Abbey and formerly Head Butler to the Duke and Duchess. Simon’s in-depth knowledge of the day-to-day running of great stately homes, including the custom of afternoon tea has been gained through years of experience as a butler.
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Event Itinerary

  • Arrival at Woburn Abbey and Gardens any time from 11am
  • Visit the Abbey and Gardens at your own leisure
  • Arrive at The Sculpture Gallery at 2.30pm for a 3pm start of Simon's talk
  • 3pm illustrated talk on the history of afternoon tea
  • 4pm sitting for afternoon tea in The Sculpture Gallery
Ticket price is £40.00 per person including full afternoon tea and entry to Woburn Abbey and Gardens. Limited availability remaining, please telephone 01525 290333 and ask for Admissions to enquire and book. If you have any dietary requirements please email us at