“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James
If you want to feel like a real Englishman, you must partake in the affair known as afternoon tea. What could be better than a hot cup of English Breakfast tea with deliciously light scones? Below you’ll find a list of London’s top venues for afternoon tea, from traditional to unique. As Henry James once said, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
The Ritz – The Traditional
Prices start at £53.50 per person
If you’re looking for traditional, afternoon tea in the Palm Court at The Ritz is probably the most traditional you can get. Afternoon tea has been served there since it opened in 1906 so you know they have perfected every aspect of it. Not only that, but they are the only hotel in the United Kingdom to have their own Tea Sommelier who travels around the world searching for the best tea leaves available. They have multiple afternoon tea experiences ranging from traditional afternoon tea to Christmas afternoon tea. If you plan on joining them, make sure you’re dressed in your best outfits, as they have a strict dress code. Men must wear a jacket and tie, and jeans or sportswear are not permitted.
Claridge’s – The Most Well Known
Prices start at £60 per person
One of the most well known and popular places to get afternoon tea in London is Claridge’s. For the better part of 150 years, they have been honoring England’s wonderful tea heritage with a selection of 24 teas from around the world. They make sure that the drink itself is the focal-point of the experience, and select teas that complement the rest of your meal perfectly. Look out for luxurious jade and white striped china, which is their signature style. Like The Ritz, there is also a dress code, although not as fancy. “Elegant smart casual” is how they put it.
Hotel Café Royal – The Most Luxurious
68 Regent St, Soho, London W1B 4DY, UK (map, website)
Prices start at £41
Speaking of luxurious, Hotel Café Royal has an extremely luxurious afternoon tea experience. Join them in the Oscar Wilde Bar full of authentic Louis XVI detailing (meaning A LOT of gold) and plush red seating. Oscar Wilde visited the room daily, meaning you know this is serious stuff. You can go for their award winning traditional tea setting, or sometimes they have special tea experiences. From now until mid-November 2017, you can dine in collaboration with French perfumer Diptyque in an experience inspired by the iconic brand’s scents. This is something you don’t want to miss.
The Ivy Kensington Brasserie – Ballin’ on a Budget
Prices start at £8.75 per person
If you’re a broke college student studying abroad, or just want to experience afternoon tea on a lower budget, The Ivy Kensington Brasserie is the place for you. Don’t let the fact that it is primarily a modern grill fool you, this place has an amazing tea experience for half the price. Step out onto their hidden garden terrace and you’ll find yourself in the perfect English setting for enjoying tea in a chic and vibrant atmosphere. You can choose between a sweet or savory menu or even include a glass of champagne with your meal.
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley – The Non-Traditional
For a more non-traditional afternoon tea, try Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley. Here they change the menu every six months to reflect the new season’s fashion trends. Previous menus have included Dolce & Gabbana themed patisserie accessories and even a Jimmy Choo shoe cake. The dining room fits the vibe with soft silver chairs and sleek glass tables. Food and fashion lovers, this is the place for you. If you want to learn the secrets behind this fashion forward afternoon tea, they also offer Prêt-à-Portea Masterclasses with Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat. Here you’ll be given the chance to make three of the afternoon tea favorite patisseries.
Brown’s Hotel’s Tea-Tox – The Healthiest
Prices start at £55 per person
Journey over to Brown’s Hotel and you’ll find a unique and healthy afternoon tea experience situated in the heart of where Queen Victoria used to take her tea. Tea-Tox by Madeleine Shaw is the classic British experience, but with a twist. On the menu you will find things like cauliflower couscous with apricot and pistachio, gluten free raspberry and pistachio brownies or even a beetroot crêpe. If you want to booze it up a bit, they also offer tea served with a glass of Dosnon & Lepage, extra-brut Champagne, which they make sure to tell you is low in calories.