London! The word connotes not only a city but an amalgam of arduous feelings and whimsical places. Be it fine art or rich culture, or delicious food, no one can compete with the British! One such quintessential experience is afternoon tea in London.
The tradition dates back two centuries when an extra meal began to be served to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner by the Duchess of Bedford. There is no end to the traditional options, from the Classic Afternoon Tea to Earl Gray, along with a spectacular spread of delicacies that include scones, jams, and sandwiches.
What to expect at an afternoon tea in London?
Afternoon tea in London is a quintessential British experience that usually involves tea, sandwiches, scones, and pastries served on a tiered tray. When you arrive at the venue, you will typically be seated at a table with an elegant setting, including fine china and silverware.
You will then be offered a selection of teas to choose from, ranging from classic blends to more exotic flavors. After choosing your tea, you will be served a three-tiered tray filled with finger sandwiches (such as cucumber and cream cheese), scones with clotted cream and jam, and various pastries and cakes. The order in which you eat the items is up to you.
Some venues also offer champagne or other alcoholic beverages to accompany the meal. The experience is leisurely and relaxed, with conversation flowing around the table as guests enjoy their food and tea. Dress code may vary by venue, but it is generally advised to dress smartly for the occasion.
Irrespective of whether you are a local or are visiting the city, afternoon tea is a welcome break from the otherwise exuberant vibe of the British capital. Read on to acquaint yourself with these top places in London. Here are top 7 places that serve the best afternoon tea:
1. The Beaumont
Photo Credit: @TheBeaumont
Excelling in the arena of décor with a cozy and languorous ambiance, The Beaumont serves one of the best afternoon teas in London. The menu includes a robust concoction of American flavors topped with refinement unique to London.
The place is popularly known for its exquisite Reuben, chicken caesar sandwiches, and freshly baked scones served with the jam of your choice. Macaroons, cheesecakes, and cream pies are some of the other delicacies served here. One cannot miss the matcha-stuffed religieuse served in the hotel’s Gatsby room amidst the recherche artwork and melodious notes of the grand piano filling the air of The Beaumont.
2. Fortnum & Mason
Photo Credit: @Fortnum&Mason
If you wish to have a typical British afternoon tea affair, Fortnum & Mason is the best choice. The place offers a composite brew of delicate flavors with impeccable service that will leave you in utter awe. The 1902 Royal Blend pledges to be the finest cup of tea in the land.
In keeping with the symbolic British afternoon tea culture, the place has a magnificent spread of finger sandwiches and sweet treats that are irresistibly tempting. A fragrant cup of Earl Grey paired with a classic jam scone straight out of the oven is all you need to add delight to your visit to Fortnum & Mason.
3. The Savoy
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Offering an extensive variety of thirty teas and a tea-based non-alcoholic fizz named JING Jasmine Pearls, The Savoy has been serving exemplary afternoon tea since 1889. The tranquility of the place is unparalleled, owing to the canorous piano playing under the stunning glass-domed atrium.
The menu offers exquisite delicacies, including English cucumber sandwiches with green pea hummus and smoked salmon with lemon cream on the side. You could also indulge in the still-hot scones and cakes or the marvelous plat du jour (seasonal fruit tartlets). The Savoy’s impeccable service has stood the test of time and continues to serve afternoon tea in London the traditional way.
4. Theatre Royal Drury Lane
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Living up to its name with plush interiors and enormously lavish chandeliers, Theatre Royal Drury Lane offers Regency-themed afternoon tea London takes pride in. Lili Vanilli’s creation steeps in luxury, and the attention to detail makes it a cut above the rest. Accompanying the Rare Company Teas are madeleines with lapsang souchong-glazed salmon, toffee puddings, pink lemonade tarts with elderflower jelly, and an indulgent chocolate cake topped with delicious piping and a chocolate cherub.
What makes it stand out is its china with illustrations of historical ballets and operas. It is a delightful experience to have your tea overlooking the Covent Garden Piazza on a warm summer afternoon. Now that you have enjoyed your scrumptious tea, here are some places to explore with your family.
5. The Ritz
Photo Credit: @Ritz
The Ritz is the best place to visit when looking for a classic English afternoon tea affair, where everything is up to the nines. Straight out of a Cinderella story, the hotel’s original ballroom adds to the grandeur of the ornate interiors. Listen to serene music as you pamper your taste buds with seasonal pastries and fruit scones.
The Ritz promises an experience beyond satisfaction within its walls as you gorge on the best high tea in London. You can also opt for wild strawberry fingers with lemon verbena while you sip a steaming cup of afternoon tea. The place also offers decaf alternatives for your little ones.
6. The Rosebery
Photo Credit: @MandarinOriental
The Rosebery at Mandarin Oriental is a Victorian-themed tea room named after Prime Minister Archibald Primrose, Earl of Rosebery. Isabela Castro assists diners in choosing from an extensive menu of fine imported teas. The Rosebery boasts a menu that includes options ranging from Darjeeling First Flush from India and Apricot White from China.
The other delicacies served at the tea house are freshly baked scones with seasonal jams, exceptional finger sandwiches, and a mouthwatering selection of delicate desserts such as jasmine and clementine crème brûlée and seasonal tarts. Standing alongside South Carriage Drive, the Rosebery promises you a satisfying afternoon tea experience.
7. The Goring
The understated elegance offered by the family-friendly ambiance of The Goring is something that your trip to London is incomplete without. The Goring is where Kate Middleton spent the night before her big day. The regalia of the place is kicked up a notch by the themed teas and hot-out-of-the-oven scones, a large variety of cakes, and finger sandwiches.
The Goring is the perfect spot to indulge in succulent treats and a heavenly afternoon tea on the verandah embellished with a fig tree and a bird enclosure. It is known to serve the best afternoon teas in London from time immemorial and does so with unfading brilliance.
With these spectacular afternoon tea places in London listed above, you are all set to spend an indulgent afternoon here to make the most of your visit to the city of Big Ben.
You can also check out these glitzy nightclubs in London as London’s nightlife is famous worldwide. London is fertile in eye-pleasing sites that will grow on you as days pass. Bon Appétit dear foodies.