The great thing about a British theme is you can apply it to most types of parties. Whether you are throwing a baby shower, birthday, bon voyage, or simple dinner party, the theme is flexible and can be expressed in a number of creative ways. My husband is 1/2 English, so we decided to throw a England/London/British themed Valentine’s Day party and called it “Love in London.”
British food has a reputation for being a little dull and boring, but your spread doesn’t have to be. There are so many amazing recipes online, it can be hard to decide just what to make. We opted for sausage rolls, beef wellington (labor intensive & expensive, wouldn’t do it again), fish & chips (just buy ’em & fry ’em), cucumber & tomato salad, cucumber sandwiches and more. You can add some easy flare to your finger foods with these union jack toothpick flags.
Last but not least, don’t forget proper condiments for your amazing food. Buy a bottle of malt vinegar for your fish & chips, and a bottle of HP sauce, and you’ve got your bases covered.
Ok, depending on your crowd, this might be the most important aspect of the party. There are lots of great drink options, but a British party wouldn’t be complete without Pims cup. There’s no exact recipe you have to stick to – I like taking whatever fruit looks fresh at the store and adding it to Sprite and/or ginger beer. For ease, you can also mix up a whole pitcher to have ready to go, similar to a sangria.
Fortunately we can thank England and Scotland for having a number of great beers. Head to your local beer/wine outlet and find the “England” section. We went to Total Wine. You only need a 6-pack or so of each if you are buying a big selection. Guests enjoy trying new beers as well as old favorites.
If you want to try something really special, and have some time to plan ahead, take a chance on a home brew and create your own. We made a delicious London Porter in just 4 weeks using this easy home brewing kit. We also customized the bottle to fit our theme using these handy waterproof labels for your home printer. We sealed the caps with union jack flag stickers for a finishing touch.
There are many creative options for desserts to fit your theme. I’m not much for baking, so I cheated and outsourced a bit of this. The classic English dessert is a trifle, which is simply a layered dessert, typically with pudding, sponge cake and fresh fruit.
The hallmark of English tea time, after the tea of course, is small cookies. Any small simple butter cookies will do. You can make these, but I opted to buy pre-made. For a mixed display, buy a box of chocolates to add to your 3-tier cake stand, and you’re ready for tea time.
For another dessert option (which is a great go-to for any party or theme), consider some custom decorated cookies. These sugar cookie masterpieces are from Cookies by Design in Virginia Beach. They are also a hit if you have little kids attending your party.
The easiest way to convey “British” visually is with the union jack flag. You don’t have to be an artist to create cool and creative decorations. Add a $5 union jack flag over a white tablecloth to create a bold canvas for your delicious food.
Simple things like adding a sticker to your cups or nametags can help carry your theme forward in an easy way.
Another option that requires no artistry, is to apply this $4 union jack duct tape to simple objects. For this project, buy 3D cardboard letters to spell whatever you choose. Then wrap them in the duct tape and viola!
If you do consider yourself artistic or crafty, and don’t mind putting in some time cutting objects out, consider making your own garland. Find any image you like online, print it on photo paper, cut it out, hole punch it and string them together. Add a lace paper doily for an extra English touch.
Pandora has an array of great themed channels. The best fit for an all-ages England themed party is British Invasion Radio.
Games & Fun
Party games and activities are tricky. Everyone’s been to a party where games feel forced and grueling, but you don’t want a party with everyone just standing around. Two simple activities I love are photobooths and trivia. They are great because guests can participate on their own time throughout the party, and they don’t take any bandwidth away from the host or hostess.
Grab some simple props (hats, glasses, boas) and if you want to go big, a life-size celebrity cut-out. Kate Middleton and Queenie were the life of the party.
If you entertain a lot, consider investing in the modern polaroid, the FujiFilm Instax mini camera. It instantly prints a polaroid-style photo that makes a great takeaway memory for your guests.
Create a set of questions related to your theme and post them, along with pens and ballots, for guests to fill out. Winner gets a prize!
So that’s it, ideas for food, drinks, music, decorations and activities for your next London/British/English themed party. For additional ideas not mentioned here, check out the Love in London Pinterest board.