Afternoon Tea especially afternoon tea in London is a great British institution, not something you do all the time but lovely for a treat now and again. The Ritz in London is far and away the most famous place in the UK to take tea, and as good as it is, it is by no means the best – and you often have to book two months in advance! Next time you need to spoil a parent for their birthday (or even a friend, relative, or yourself!) give one of these places a try instead. So if you visiting the English capital here is my list for the Top 10 of the best places for afternoon tea in London…
Afternoon tea in London – Afternoon Tease at Volupte
For something completely different from the many hotel teas offered in London, how about “a dollop of burlesque” with your tea, along with a glass of champagne, and in fabulously decadent surroundings. A unique event that is fun for girls and guys alike. Time for Tease.
Afternoon tea in London – Winter Garden at The Landmark Hotel
One of the earlier ones we went to afternoon tea in London and I think still one of the best. Thankfully not quite as well known so you can sometimes get same-day reservations, and the palm trees in the atrium really add an element of drama to proceedings!
Afternoon tea in London – TLSee at The Howard Swissotel
If you fancy “eating your way around London” then this is the place to go – you literally eat London, as the many cakes and biscuits (I think I counted 11) are all shaped as famous city landmarks. Don’t do what I did though, and eat the whole lot while you’re there – they have doggie bags to take away if you ask them.
Afternoon tea in London – Rubens at The Palace
The place to go to treat someone on their birthday – not that it wouldn’t be nice on another occasion, but they have the unique feature of making a special birthday cake, personalised to you or your guest. Just let them know when you phone to book.
Afternoon tea in London – Claridges
Excellent in every way, but the highlight is the exclusive Marco Polo jam. Worth the trip alone, in a place that oozes class without being too stuffy, and in my opinion better than the slightly over-rated bar.
Afternoon tea in London – Palm Court at The Langham Hotel
Palm Court is one of the absolute best in London, they simply did everything right on our recent visit. A beautiful room, with wonderful lighting and mirrors, charming unobtrusive service, and an excellent selection of tea and food – I especially liked the cakes here.
Afternoon tea in London – The Dorchester
Right up there in the top-flight hotels in London – and thus almost as hard to get a reservation as The Ritz. When I mentioned it was my dad’s birthday they brought out a small cupcake with a candle on it, while the pianist played As Time Goes By.
Afternoon tea in London – Harvey Nichols
The place to go when you don’t want to be tied down to a reservation (I don’t believe they actually take reservations), though you rarely have to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a table. Food quality was as good as the hotels (but at half the price); the only thing different is the rather more café-like service.
Afternoon tea in London – Fortnum & Mason
If it’s good enough for the Royal Family, it’s good enough for the rest of us! A shop that is famously the “grocer to the Royals”, their menu includes Afternoon Tea as well as High Tea (more of a light meal) in sumptuous surroundings.
Afternoon tea in London – Palm Court at The Park Lane Hotel
Despite being confusingly named – the hotel itself is actually on Piccadilly – the tea we recently had here was excellent. I usually go for something smokier to begin with, though vanilla tea is rapidly becoming my favourite way to finish the meal and the one here is on a par with The Langham’s. I also loved the sandwiches in particular, which were a bit unusual. Get it wrong (like at The Connaught) and it tastes awful, get it right (like they did here, with coronation chicken on sultana bread, and salmon on pesto bread) and for once you thank the kitchen for daring to stray from the tried and tested traditional options, all in a fabulous Art Deco interior.
The Jumeirah Carlton Tower just missed the list – although there was no single thing that excelled itself above the others, this was the first place we went to where we couldn’t find fault with anything. You may find better cakes or a wider tea selection elsewhere, but it was still consistently good in terms of food and service for the whole afternoon.
There should also be a mention of several other places I’ve heard great things about, but I’m yet to try. Despite going for tea almost every other month, so about 6 times a year, there are so many places to try the list is growing quicker than I can visit them! Top of my list to visit are currently Brown’s (for its consistent ability to win awards), The Gore (for it’s Rock & Roll tea, where you get Jack Daniels instead!), and the recently re-opened Savoy.