In 1840, Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, decided that there was just too much time between lunch and dinner, and that a few pastries and tea would do just fine to fill in that gap! That is how the traditional British Afternoon Tea came into existence. Today, it has grown into full-blown national practice, and is now one of England’s most iconic idiosyncrasies!
For an Afternoon Tea worthy of the Queen, nothing beats these!
Fancy yet decidedly refined, Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s is an experience from another era; one that began 150 years ago. Taking place around the warm Foyer, royals and celebrities have long been serenaded by a live piano and double bass duet, whilst experienced waiters in bow ties pour beverages and serve freshly-baked scones and cream, poached salmon and avocado, on the finest green-and-white china. Everything about this moment is designed to bring out the best flavour of the tea and conversation to you.
Where: Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London
When: Daily, 2:45 – 5:30 p.m.
Price: £70 per person
The Savoy has long been known as the pioneer of the luxury hotel experience in England, so of course its Afternoon tea will be the same. The Thames Foyer with its glass dome and interior gazebo, is where this moment takes place. Soft melodies on a grand piano and natural sunlight bring a strange yet comfortable atmosphere of intimacy and openness. Choose from fresh English muffins and sweet waffles, fresh jams and lemon curds, ham and salmon sandwiches and unlimited high tea blends!
Where: The Savoy, The Strand, London
When: Daily, 1:00 to 5:45 p.m
Price: £75 per person
If you want to try out where the real Londoners enjoy the tea and scones then these are the best:
The Crusting Pipe Wine Bar and Restaurant
Covent Garden is one of the most popular destinations for either the city-dwellers or the tourists, so it is no surprise that the location should have its own Afternoon Tea experience. Either within the redbrick and dark wood setting or outside in the courtyard, relish loose-leaf teas, finger-sandwiches and scones whilst enjoying the performances of operatic singers and musicians.
Where: Crusting Pipe, 27 The Market, Covent Garden, London
When: Daily, 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Price: £23.95 per person
The National Café
The setting and the menu are traditional, with as much tea as you want and fresh scones to feast on. This restaurant is one of the Londoners’ favourite and will see many regulars pop in, in the afternoon to have their fill of the hot beverage, snacks and friendly banter!
Where: National Dining Rooms, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London
Time: Daily, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Price: £22.50 per person
And finally, if you want to enjoy an Afternoon Tea with a bit of a twist…
The Mind Palace
Do you enjoy your afternoon tea with a dose of… thrill? Then this Sherlock Holmes-theme afternoon tea experience should be perfect for you! For those who enjoy the thrill of the game, this restaurant/bar hidden within the W12 Shopping Centre serves the traditional scones and jam and 221 Brownie and Deerstalker cookies. Now, we all know how Sherlock likes his tea: Strong, with milk and sugar and….an eyeball.
Where: Doyle’s Opticians, Ground Floor, West 12 Shopping Centre, London
When: Saturday and Sunday only
Price: £ 30 per person
Farmacy Afternoon Tea
Nature’s the theme here. Not only are the decors delightfully fresh, the food and the drinks are as well. Here’s sandwiches are gluten-free with vegan options, while the traditional red fruit jams are given a post-modernist twists with rosewater and prosecco jelly to accompany the Scones with coconut clotted cream. And the highlight of this afternoon tea… CBD-infused chocolates, and a selection of wellness farmaceutical beverages.
Where: 74 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London
When: Thursday to Sunday, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Price: £ 50