From the time I was a small child, I dreamed of Castles, Kings & Magical Things…Mothers Day is Sunday, May 8th so I thought I would share a Downtown Abbey High Tea that I did in my home.  Afternoon tea or high tea is an excellent excuse and reason to get together. Simple refreshments served at an afternoon tea such as tea & coffee, along with sandwiches, fancy shortbread cookies, cakes, candies, and trifle. I wanted my afternoon tea to have the elegance of the Victorian era but be able to include my personal touches.

On our dining room table, I used my late Grandmother’s Victorian tablecloth, showcased the silver tea set that has been in my family for over 50 years, used our finest English bone china paired with Waterford crystal wine glasses all the things you would find not only at Highclere Castle but used in elegant high teas!

A big must for afternoon tea parties are flowers. The Victorians loved roses. However, they are not always available. Typical flower’s found in Victorian gardens are pansies, hollyhocks, and snapdragons. Even wild daisies, Queen Anne’s lace & clover blooms look lovely in an arrangement if you can get them. The centerpiece was a beautiful teapot made by Behar Party Designs that I filled with white flowers from another arrangement from my home along with hydrangeas and some heather some of the past Queens favorites.

Touches of Downton Abbey scattered throughout the party are sure to please any member of the Crawley family, and every fan of the show.

Traditional English Trifle Recipe:

160g/ 6 oz Madeira, sponge or pound cake, halved and cut into thick slices Or 1 160g packet trifle sponges,
3 tbsp sweet sherry (I use Harveys Bristol Cream)
1 x 135g block jelly made up to one pint
300g/10 oz fresh strawberries or raspberries, or defrosted frozen ones plus a few extra for decoration.
500ml/ 2 cups thick homemade custard or 1 500 ml packet ready made. (You can also use  Ambrosia Custard from the can) 500ml/ 2 cups double whipping cream, softly whipped Handful flaked almonds, toasted (optional)

The trifle can be made in one large glass dish or into individual glasses Line the bottom of the bowl with the cake slices or trifle sponges. Sprinkle with the sherry and leave to soak for 5 minutes. If using fresh strawberries, slice thickly (reserve a few for decoration), if using previously frozen leave whole. Otherwise, lay the fruit evenly over the cake. Press lightly with a fork to release the juices. Pour over the liquid jelly making sure it covers the sponge. Place the dish into the refrigerator and leave until set. Once set, spoon over the custard, again in a thick layer. Finally, finish with a thick layer of whipped cream either spooned over or piped using a piping bag. Decorate with strawberry slices or raspberries and toasted, flaked, almonds if using.

Vendor Credits

Party Styling Blessed Events-The Gift of Giving

Photography – Klos Photography

Invitations & Menus – D & P Celebrations

Party Printables – Party Hearty Designs & Events

Lace Heart Banner – BellaGrey Designs

Downton Abbey Tea, Mug Products – Cost Plus World Market

Scones – Wisteria Tea Room & Cafe

Cucumber Sandwiches, Fruit Tarts, Trifle – Blessed Events-The Gift of Giving

Victorian Sponge Cake Cupcakes – Kailey Panzarino

Downton Abbey Cupcake Toppers – 4 Kids Cakes

HRH Sugar Cookies – Creating Awesomenessity

Scottish Scottie Dog Cookies – Walkers Shortbread

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Snickerdoodles – Maegs Bakes Cakes

Teapot Centerpiece – Behar Party Designs

Downton Abbey Napkins – Fancy & Fold

Sparkling Blue Purse Valet – Kate Aspen

Silver Picture Frame – Family Dollar