Large Castello in Bordeaux Red and Dusty Pink sold by The Lacquer Company

10 of the Most Beautifully British Trays

Interiors /

Britishness, is served

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British trays have been the stage to English afternoon teas for hundreds of years – here are 10 to make your brew that much more elevated.

10 of the Most Beautifully British Trays

a shiny black tray holds drinks to make cocktails, which is next to a red lamp and green wall with antique paintings hanging

Image courtesy of The Lacquer Company

Trays, you might think, are a bit of a frivolity; a bit of an unnecessary purchase. But interestingly, British trays have been part and parcel of English society for hundreds of years. They go back as early as the Medieval times (‘tray’ in middle English comes from ‘treg’ or ‘trig’, meaning ‘flat board with low rim’).

The Best British Tea Sets

For 18th Century Georgians, it was a way to flex social status via oval silverware trays. Then from the 19th Century, fashions moved from to the Victorian, heavily ornamented, doily cloth style.

Today, British trays are still part of the fabric of our tea ritual, but trays have also moved on to have more purposes. It’s a way to accent a bedside table with a Roberts radio, or station your spirits and to elevate cocktail concoctions. British trays have also been working hard recently for more modern times: a Covid-19 essential on which to offer meals at a distance, or a WFH teas and snacks station.

Whatever you’re planning to use your tray for (perhaps for alfresco dining?), here’s our roundup of the most beautiful trays. The Lacquer Company is probably your best bet for the quintessential British tray, then Emma Bridgewater; Wabi Sabi is a small Cornish business, who does bespoke tray paintings, if you’re so inclined; then Matches Fashion if you’re predisposed to more fashion-forward statement pieces; followed by eBay and Vinterior, who have some antique gems if you’d like to do some trawling.

Our Edit of the Best British Trays

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Emma Bridgewater Vegetable Tray sold by John Lewis

Emma Bridgewater

Vegetable Garden Deep Round Tray, £45, Emma Bridgewater, John Lewis,


Carlos Zipperer Inlaid Butterfly Serving Tray, Brazilian, 1930s, 51 Cm sold by Vinterior


Carlos Zipperer Inlaid Butterfly Serving Tray, Brazilian, 1930s, 51 Cm, £85, Vinterior,

Red and pink crenellated tray sold by The Lacquer Company

The Lacquer Company

Medium Castello Tray, £350, The Lacquer Company,

a blue scalloped tray in a historic interior with yellow walls and historic painting

Wabi Sabi Lacquer

Scallop, £220, Wabi Sabi Lacquer,

Glasette tray made from straw showing a vase of purple tulips


Hastshilp, £75, Ivy Rattan Tray, Glassette,

Pink Wavy Tray by The Lacquer Tray sold by Koi Bird

Koi Bird


Luke Edward Hall collaborates with The Lacquer Company for this tray

Luke Edward Hall x The Lacquer Company

Large Antinous Tray, £375, The Lacquer Company,

H&M Home Rattan Tray

H&M Home

Rattan Tray, £29.99, H&M Home

Locketts Tray


Personalised Tray, £180, Locketts,

Green Floral Tray sold by Wolf & Badger

Wolf & Badger

Green Floral Tray, £150, Wolf & Badger,


Main Image: Courtesy of The Lacquer Company


The Best British Tea Sets  / The Best Afternoon Teas in London