Top 10 afternoon tea essentials

Afternoon tea has always been our favourite indulgence – after all, what could be nicer after a long, countryside walk than a pot of tea with homemade scones and jam? Make it even more of an occasion by investing in some beautiful crockery and accessories – it’s an oasis of calm in a busy world.

1. Ulster Weavers: Ducks tea cosy

Keep your tea piping hot with this tea cosy, priced at just £11 from Ulster Weavers. In duck egg blue and French grey, and decorated with a pattern of cheerful looking ducks, it’ll make any teapot proud.

2. Pots ‘n’ Pictures: ceramic bird bowl

This gorgeous sugar bowl, handmade and painted by ceramic artist Katherine Morton, is almost enough to tempt us to take sugar in our tea. A real conversation piece, it would be equally useful for jam or cream. £30 from Not on the High Street.

3. The Contemporary Home: Eclectic cutlery set

We’ve fallen in love with this mixed-up cutlery set from The Contemporary Home – it looks like we spent hours rummaging through the vintage shops to put it together, or maybe inherited it from a favourite but eccentric aunt. Add a little quirk to your tea table for £29.99 a set of 16 pieces.

4. Hanne Rysgaard: Cow face milk jug

Funny, nostalgic, stylish, practical – we like these milk jugs from ceramic artist Hanne Rysgaard so much, we’ve had to use four adjectives. Hand made in Bristol, they’re even microwave and dishwasher proof, for those who like afternoon tea on the MOO-ve. Find them at Hanne’s website, starting from £36.

5. Julia Davey: Dorset beach hut ceramic butterdish

This cute dish, hand decorated with stylised beach huts by ceramic artist Julia Davey, makes us think of afternoon tea in seaside cafés on sunny days. Accessorise with fresh scones and the sound of the waves lapping at the shore. £24 from

6. Portmeirion: Crazy daisy two tier cake stand

Daisy, daisy, give me your answer, do…

If you thought that floral cake stands were old fashioned, how about this funky, fresh design from Portmeirion? A modern twist on an old favourite, priced at £44.

7. Sibona: Beehive cotton napkins

Afternoon tea just isn’t the same without proper napkins. We love these hand embroidered napkins from Sibona – the cute beehive decoration makes us think of summertime, and fresh honey for our crumpets. £7.50 each, available from

8. John Lewis: Botanist Teapot

This classic teapot decorated with beautiful, subtle butterflies makes us long to take afternoon tea in the garden, complete with a rose arbour and the cast of Brideshead Revisited. Sigh. Priced at £25 from John Lewis.

9. Fairmont & Main: Little red dot teacup and saucer

With its simple design and enamel dot design, there’s something appealingly 1950s about this cup and saucer. Perfect for a proper afternoon tea, including hot buttered toast and seed cake. Priced at £9.50 from Fairmont & Main.

10. Izzy Design: Camellia Parrot Cake Plate

This stunning plate is almost too pretty to use! The design represents the three main tea producing countries – India, China and Kenya, and couldn’t more appropriate for afternoon tea. Designed and decorated by Izzy Design and Illustration and available from Not on the High Street, £18.

By Sara Walker

By .