Afternoon tea is a not-so distant cousin to the now enormously impressive movement of high tea, and is also known as ‘low tea’, due to it being a traditionally casual-type meal (or more accurately a snack, obviously with tea) enjoyed outdoors, on low-seated chairs. Common foods are cakes and other sweet foods, often served with clotted cream.
In comparison, it is a much more leisurely meal than the concept of high tea ever was – whether you are taking the higher-class or the lower-class view of the almost ritualistic and fabled act. High tea gained its opposing name by the act of being seated in high, formal chairs.
Afternoon tea itself is generally conducted in the afternoon, around just after or before children come home from school. Typical times vary (some individuals will serve afternoon tea earlier in the afternoon if an early lunch has been served, or for whatever reason lunch was missed), but generally it is conducted somewhere between 2:30pm and 4pm in the afternoon.
Small sandwiches cut into fours may be offered as well, containing any filling the host desires. Small cakes and slices of larger ones may also be present. Much like in the higher-class version of high tea, a three-tiered cake stand is also often present in order to house cakes, sandwiches, and other such goodies.