Experience the best afternoon tea in London with our list of the most elegantly appointed refreshments.
There’s something self-indulgent about the British tradition of afternoon tea. It’s reminiscent of school days and delightfully decadent. It’s the ultimate in luxury when it comes to refreshments and if you’re in the right place, you may even come across something as extravagant as an Eton Mess Éclair.
There are many venues offering afternoon teas, but not all of them deliver the most perfect finger sandwiches, still warm raisin scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Some venues now offer alternative menus that are lighter and gluten free.
In our opinion, afternoon tea is best taken in between shopping stints or to help recover from the night before.
Here’s our recommendations for where to take a break when you’re in the capital.
Catering to the discriminating few, the Ritz offers exquisite service and precise fayre. Finger sandwiches sit alongside cakes and scones on a tiered cake stand. You’ll need to wear a jacket and tie as its formal attire. This is the charm and grandeur that allures well-heeled tourists, so you’ll need to book your spot well in advance. Prices from £54.
Selling tea since 1707, Fortnum’s are professional specialist tea experts. You may find yourself accompanied by a pianist as you enjoy the sophisticated setting of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon (prices £44 – £48). You’ll need to choose from the 82 teas that are reputedly on the menu and then there’s the wide selection of cake and patisseries to go with your sandwiches and scones.
An informal setting for the feast that includes egg mayonnaise, ham, cucumber and organic chicken sandwiches will set you back around £60. If you’re with the family, note that there is also a children’s afternoon tea menu. The tea room is slightly more relaxed than the Ritz and has an art deco feel to it. The service is reportedly slightly better too and you’re allowed to take home a doggy bag with you. As with most afternoon tea venues, there is also a champagne option on offer.
At this central London hotel that was once a favourite of Queen Victoria, you have a choice of the traditional spread or the gluten free ‘teatox’. Enjoy the splendour of traditional blended with the contemporary in a quiet setting, in this hotel that first opened in 1837.
Sip on a choice of teas in the ornately beautiful granite Oscar Wilde Bar in Regent Street as a pianist plays soothing lullabies in the background. You’ll start with savouries, sandwiches and scones and then move onto the exceptional pastries and cakes. The menu changes seasonally but there could be macaroons, tarts, pies or hot cross bun cake or rhubarb vanilla slice. Prices start at £42
If you’re a fan of afternoon tea, where do you recommend our readers to visit?
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