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Elevenses at Hand Picked Hotels

The renaissance of afternoon tea has demonstrated how we love an excuse to meet friends. We have now reinvented another great British tradition – elevenses.

Why wait for the afternoon?

Elevenses captures the current mood for nostalgia, immortalised by John Betjeman, Anthony Burgess, the Rev W V Awdry in his engine stories and Paddington Bear*. It was originally known as elevens, a break during the morning, when it first emerged in Victorian times. Elevenses became popular at country house parties and are still served during country pursuits.

When our hotels were private houses, elevenses would have been a popular ritual. So it seems fitting that our guests can now enjoy delicious canapé-sized savouries and sweet confections in the perfect setting and atmosphere. We are serving elevenses to guests and visitors from 11 am onwards; it makes a light alternative to lunch and a savoury option alongside traditional afternoon tea.

Our chefs have researched traditional elevenses recipes and are offering a tantalising mix of miniature sweet and savoury canapés using local produce, served in the traditional afternoon tea format from £15.50 per person.

At Audleys Wood Hotel, the elevenses menu includes quails eggs florentine, smoked ham rillettes, cheese scones and home-made crumpets, served with a selection of Twinings teas or a glass of Champagne. Fans of Winnie the Pooh will be delighted to hear that elevenses is now on offer at Buxted Park Hotel, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. The author A. A. Milne set the Pooh stories in Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh’s favourite meal was elevenses with condensed milk and honey on bread.

Literary references to elevenses:

  • Winnie the Pooh preferred honey on break with condensed milk for elevenses.
  • John Betjeman wrote, in London’s Historic Railway Stations, said: “I know no greater pleasure for elevenses in London than to sit in this teaplace and watch the trains arrive and depart.” 
  • In Enderby’s End, the novel by Anthony Burgess, Enderby, the poet and professor, offers one of his students: “Would you like what we British call 'elevenses'? Cakes and tea and things?" 
  • The Rev W V Awdry, in Percy the Small Engine, the guard spilled his tea he had brought “for elevenses.”
  • In Michael Bond’s Paddington books, Paddington Bear often dropped in at Mr Gruber’s antique shop in the Portobello Road for elevenses “cocoa and treats”.

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About the Author

Julia Hands

Julia Hands

As owner of Hand Picked Hotels Julia is the driving force behind the unique style of Hand Picked Hotels and the atmosphere of relaxed comfort that is prevalent in all properties.

Comments (3)

  • Alistair Watts

    Alistair Watts

    16 May 2012 at 12:31 |
    We have been working hard all morning preparing our new blog pages for a grand launch in this week's e-blast and reading this particular post about elevenses has made me rather hungry, definitely need to consider taking Elevenses on a regular basis.
  • Janina


    16 May 2012 at 12:55 |
    Totally agree, Elevenses should be a workers right !
  • Olli Warelius

    Olli Warelius

    26 May 2012 at 15:38 |
    This was really a fascinating subject, I am very lucky to have the ability to come to your weblog and I will bookmark this page in order that I might come back one other time.

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