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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Britain 'stops for afternoon tea'
Cream tea
Cream teas are mostly served in the West Country, the book says
Visitors to Britain must expect the country to shut down each afternoon for tea and scones, a new guidebook warns.

Afternoon tea is a tradition "enacted daily" in British homes, tea shops and grand hotels, the DK Eyewitness travel guide informs its readers.

It paints a picture of Britons sitting down to "delicately cut" fish paste and cucumber sandwiches at 1600 BST.

The guide also advises visitors to the UK to "leave room for a slice of fruit cake or jam sponge".


The book goes into great detail about the traditions of Britons' afternoon tea "taken at around 4pm".

It says: "The tea is usually from India or Sri Lanka, served with optional milk and sugar; but it could be scented China or herbal tea served with or with lemon.

"Small, delicately-cut sandwiches are eaten first: fish paste and cucumber are traditional fillings.

"These may be followed by scones, jam and cream, especially in the West of England.

"Other options include buttered toast or crumpets, but leave room for a slice of fruit cake or jam sponge, a chocolate eclair or a regional speciality such as Scottish shortbread."

The guide also describes the "national institution" of fish and chips covered in salt and vinegar.

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