January 26, 2017

Afternoon Tea in Washington DC - Washington National Cathedral

Between the summers of 2015 and 2016, my family and I lived in Virginia. I drank tea at several shops and even in an embassy in the DC area. You can read my posts about tea shops in the DC area. I also indulged in afternoon tea. In the first post of this mini-series about afternoon tea in DC, I wrote about tea time in Peacock Alley of the Willard InterContinental. Today I share another twosome experience, this time with my husband at the Washington National Cathedral.

Washington National Cathedral Tour & Tea

I learned of the Washington National Cathedral's Tour & Tea program through two channels simultaneously. One was a local friend's Instagram feed and the other was through a web search. I really wanted to tour the cathedral and thought tea would be icing on top. I made a reservation before I secured childcare. Events sell out in DC just as quickly as they do in NYC. I am thankful to my neighbor's au pair for taking care of our younger child. My husband worked in DC so I met him at the cathedral.

The tour was excellent! Our guide was equally parts reverent and irreverent. Her knowledge and appreciation of the all aspects of the cathedral such as its history, architecture, congregation, and its social justice commitments were palpable.

Tea was served at the end of the tour in the Pilgrim Observation Gallery on the top floor of the cathedral. This portion of the program is co-sponsored by the Cathedral and the All Hallows Guild. I appreciated the simplicity of the tea service was a light afternoon tea. There were four sandwiches/savories but I don't recall the fourth so it was likely a meat-based sandwich. The open-faced cucumber was refreshing and the scalloped carrot topped with cream was unusual but tasty. The third sandwich was an egg salad.

The dried fruit scones were studded with sugar crystals and served with jam and cream. The other sweets were eclairs and, I think, toasted marshmallow tarts. I was excited about the eclair but it had been refrigerated before being served and had not reached room temperature.

If you live in or visit DC, I would recommend the the National Cathedral Tour & Tea. The tour was undoubtedly the highlight of the afternoon. The actual tea served was not particularly memorable but we liked the sandwiches and the views from the gallery were expansive.


  1. Wow, I'd love to visit some day! How neat to combine the 2 ideas into one experience. Definitely on my to-do list now. :)

    1. Your comment made me wonder if other places of worship offer a tour and tea. I'll search for the NYC area. Thank you for reading Notes on Tea!


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