AFTERNOON tea may conjure up images of the glamorous and wealthy sipping tea from expensive China in some ornately decorated establishment like The Ritz, but even the likes of you and I can have a slice of the refined action.

Not to be (so commonly) confused with High Tea, which was in fact the evening meal of the working class typically eaten between 5pm and 7pm, Afternoon Tea refers to the lighter meal once consumed by the upper classes.

Introduced in the mid Nineteenth century, this posh pastime was usually enjoyed between 4pm and 6pm.

Once a recreational amusement for the rich, Afternoon Tea has fast become a popular activity but has turned from a ‘light’ meal to a tiered feast of sweet and savoury delights.

And if you’re in charge you can be as traditional as you please, or customise to your own taste.

For your finger sandwiches, head to Staff of Life, Kendal, where they have a range of small tin loaves perfect for cutting into little triangles. Choose from a selection which includes 100 per cent wholemeal with six seeds, deli rye with caraway seeds or white sourdough at £1.80 each or a 100 per cent spelt loaf at £2.20.

To stray from the customery Afternoon Tea sandwich menu, try pastrami at £16 per kilo from Peter Hutchinson, Greenodd, on deli rye with yellow mustard for a New York inspired alternative, or why not go for ox tongue at £14 per kilo in a salad sandwich?

They also have pieces of cajun chicken at £4.40 per kilo to cook at home for a warm, spicy and tasty option.

For something more British, William Peat, Sedbergh, has honey roast ham at £1.58 per 100g. Best with white bread, just keep it simple with a spread of (less British) Dijon mustard.

They also have homemade scotch eggs at £1.20 each to enjoy as a savoury light bite on the side.

And even more British at that is the classic cucumber sandwich. Stay in Sedbergh and get a large English cucumber at 69p from Powells Greengrocers where they also have Scottish strawberries at £2.25 a punnet to go with scones.

They also have Italian cherries at 45p per 100g and flat peaches at £2.55 per kilo for something a little healthier and great for decorating your posh platter.

Staying on the classic lines, Bowland Bridge Stores has free range eggs from Swallow Mire Farm at £1.50 for half a dozen. Boil them up and indulge in a warm egg and cress sarnie on white bread.

They also have Damson Extra Jam at £3.12 for a 225g jar, made at West View Farm at Crosthwaite, to give your scones a regional twist.

Greenlands Farm Village, Carnforth, has all the neccessaries if you want to assemble rather than bake yourself. They have a range of cakes at £2.99 including carrot, coffee and walnut and lemon drizzle plus salted Rolo brownies and raspberry blondies at £1.99 each.

They also have Cottage Delight clotted cream at £3.65 to go with your homebaked plain scones.

Finally, to finish off for those who prefer to dodge the sugar, nip to Country Harvest, Ingleton, where they have Thomas J. Fudge's 'Many-shaped Miscellany of Biscuits for Cheese' at £5.80 for 300g.