You can’t visit historical Niagara-on-the-Lake without experiencing the long-time British tradition of High Tea at the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel. You won’t be able to resist the warm, freshly bakes scones, slathered in churned butter and sweet homemade jam.
High Tea is an experience that I never thought that I would encounter without leaving Canada and visiting Britain. I was wrong. I found an authentic setting for experiencing my first High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, in the historic Ontario town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
History Behind High Tea
High Tea is the quintessential tradition of Great Britain. The concept was introduced by Anna the Seventh Duchess of Bedford. Historically, the
British ate their dinner meal later in the evening, leaving a longer period between lunch and dinner. High Tea was introduced to fill in the time between meals.
High tea quickly became a social event among elite and wealthy women. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, the upper-class and society women would change into ballgowns, adorn fancy hats and gloves and retire to the drawing room for afternoon tea.
5 Etiquette Tips When Experiencing High Tea
While the etiquette for High Tea is not quite as proper as it was historically, however, there are still five simple courtesies that tea-goers are still expected to be followed:
- A proper dress code is still expected. While the hats and gloves are no longer required, it is expected that guests dress smart casual
- High Tea is still all about the freshly baked scones, which should be broken apart with fingers, never a knife or fork. This is considered to be highly insulting.
- Eating Manners. While it is completely acceptable that the dainty cucumber sandwiches be eaten with your hands, it is expected that the sweets be eaten with the silver cutlery provided.
- Stir the Tea Properly. Insert the spoon at 6:00 and gently swirl it towards the 12:00 position without touching the edge of the china. Once stirred, the spoon is to be placed on the china plate provided.
- Proper Placement of Pinkie. Despite popular belief, the proper way to hold a china tea cup is with pinkie placed down.
High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Upon entering the Prince of Wales, I knew immediately that we had picked the perfect spot to enjoy High Tea for our very first time. Immediately upon entering the Hotel, the decor was a rich chocolate brown, oozing with old-world charm and warmth, while the Drawing Room room where High Tea was being served was pleasantly light and airy. The atrium was encased by windows which allowed an abundance of sun to shine through.
The crisp white linens, delicately cut sugar cubes and baby pink roses on every table quickly set the mood for the perfect High Tea in one of Niagara-on-the Lakes most historic properties.
High Tea Experience in the Drawing Room at the Prince of Wales Hotel
As reservation are required, we were quickly escorted to our table upon our arrival and were given and extensive menu of over 15 of tea selections. Thankfully the server made recommendations or we would still be trying to decide which tea to try (I highly recommend the peaches and cream tea). In addition to each person choosing the pot of tea that she would like, there were different levels of tea service to choose from:
- Traditional Afternoon Tea
- Prince of Wales Tea
- The Royal Tea
- The Monarch Tea
- Little Prince/Princess Tea
We chose the Traditional Afternoon Tea, with a side cheese tray. We thought we would receive a cheese tray to share, but we each had our own tray.
Food Included at High Tea at the Prince ofWales Hotel
We weren’t surprised to receive a 3 tiered tray of delicate cucumber sandwiches, freshly baked scones, creamy butter and sweet jams, as well as other freshly baked sweets. However, we were surprised by the amount of food served along with the amount of tea.
There is so much food served, but don’t be disappointed if you can’t eat it all. Your server is more than happy to pack up the leftovers for you to take home.
All of the dainty food and tea was served with the best delicate bone china and silver cutlery, which added to the feeling of authenticity to our British experience in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
High Tea in Historic NOTL – Conclusion
In conclusion, experiencing High Tea at The Prince of Wales Hotel in historial Niagara-on-the-Lake, offers a once of a life time experience of this quintessential British tradition. Moreover, attending High Tea will have you feeling like you’re upscale socialite sipping tea with high society in a drawing room. High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel should be added to your list of things to do when visiting historical Niagara-on-the-Lake.
I hope you enjoy as much as I did 🙂
SAVE EXPERIENCING HIGH TEA IN HISTORIC NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE