If you have taken any lessons in British culture (or English at school) you will know by now the prominence of tea (and the afternoon tea) in the local customs. Tea is a sacred drink and, as I have swiftly learnt upon my first day at work when I moved here, it has to be prepared and served that way too. I know now that you have to brew the tea bag and squeeze it out as if there was gold hiding in there and it is an offence to put the milk or sugar in first. Just don’t.
The tea has such an importance it actually became a part of a celebratory meal served around 4pm that includes a selection of cakes or scones and tea. Most British households find the time for afternoon tea.
Nowadays, most hotels and restaurants serve Afternoon Tea which consists of selection of sandwiches and sweets and tea, obviously. If you are considering treating yourself to this quintessential British experience here’s a selection of most popular London High Teas:
Afternoon Tea at The Georgian, Harrods
Why? The most iconic shopping destination in London also prides itself in its Afternoon Tea served at The Georgian, London’s finest destination for afternoon tea, guests can experience the epitome of elegant dining – according to their website.
What? Their selection includes freshly prepared finger sandwiches, variety of tea pastries from their patisserie, freshly baked scones with clotted cream, strawberry jam and rose-petal jelly and signature Harrods’ trifle.
When? Served from 11.30am–7pm.
Visit their website to find out more.
The Ritz High Tea
Why? High Tea at The Ritz is equivalent to the breakfast at Tiffany’s. This is the first place that comes to one’s mind and for all the right reasons.
What? According to the website, The Ritz offers a selection of finely cut sandwiches together with freshly baked scones served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, followed by a delectable selection of afternoon teacakes and pastries. There are also 18 different types of loose-leaf tea to choose from (Tea heaven). Make sure you indulge yourself in the wonderful pastries, including the mouth-watering rhubarb and custard choux and lemon posset macaron.
When? Sittings for Traditional Afternoon Tea take place at 11.30am 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
For more information visit their website.
The Langham Afternoon Tea
Why? The Langham’s Palm Court is considered to the the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition; it has been serving it since 1865, regularly improving its menu.
What? It prides itself in an exquisite selection of teas, sandwiches and pastries.
When? Seatings 12.15pm to 4.30pm.
To book or find out more click here.
Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s
Why? This is probably the most luxurious and one of the most expensive Afternoon Teas and it is worth every penny. Hosted at magnificent Foyer decorated with fresh roses with accompanying live piano played in the background it is a number one destination for the A-listers.
What? You will not be disappointed with their selection of 24 teas sourced from all over the world, a delicious array of finger sandwiches and specials as well as fresh raisin and apple scones with Marco Polo jelly and Cornish Clotted cream and a selection of pastries.
When? Every day between 2.45pm-5.30pm.
To find out more or book click here.
Mad Hatters High Tea at The Sanderson’s
What?Discover its menus hidden in vintage books, decorated teapots, and items like a mocha chessboard gateau, chocolate and pistachio blue caterpillar, Alice’s cinnamon, apple and peach “Drink Me” potion and Tweedle Dee le mon curd financier. Its savoury bites range from smoked salmon quails egg with caviar and cream cheese to King of Hearts parmesan croque-monsieur stack along the traditional selection of finger food.
When? 12:30pm to 4pm Monday – Saturday and 1pm – 5pm Sunday
Book your experience here.
Contemporary Art Afternoon Tea at The Rosewood
Why? Rosewood Hotel went into the art direction and offers an art-themed Afternoon Tea inspired and featuring some of the most iconic modern artists including Jeff Koons, Hubert le Gall, Wassily Kandinsky, Banksy and Jackson Pollock.
What? The menu is “a work of art in itself,” and dishes will include traditional afternoon tea fare as well as desserts inspired by work from each artist, including Chocolate cube filled with vanilla cream choux, salted caramel, chocolate cremeux inspired by Banksy or Green apple Bavarois, lime mousse, puff rice chocolate disc topped with an ivoire glaze and chocolate mobile with chocolate pearls inspired by Hubert le Gall.
When? Monday to Friday: 2.00 pm to 6.00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.
Indulge yourself in the experience by booking your session here.
German Gymnasium ‘German’ & ‘Austrian’ Afternoon Tea
Why? The venue itself is considered to be one of the most beautiful restaurants in London and it offers a selection of The German’ or ‘The Austrian’ variations! It is also one of the more affordable options
What? Its selection ranges from assorted sandwiches and mini rolls including black forest ham, egg mayonnaise, Atlantic shrimp and desserts such as black forest macaroons. “The Austrian” version of the menu offers hay speck, smoked salmon, cream cheese rolls and apple strudel with vanilla sauce.
When? Thursday & Friday: 3.00-5.30 pm, Saturday & Sunday: 4.00-5.30 pm
Find out more here.
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour at B Bakery
What? Selection of finger sandwiches, profiteroles, mini quiches, scones and cupcakes and pastries. All accompanied by tea, of course.
When? Daily noon, 2.30pm or 5pm from Victoria; 12.30pm, 3pm from Northumberland Avenue.
Find out more here.
Pret-A-Portea at the Collins Room, The Berkeley
Why? This is for all the fashionistas out there. The Berkeley’s designer afternoon tea, is inspired by the world of fashion and its menu gets a makeover every half a year to reflect current fashion trends.
What? A selection of beautiful fashion-themed biscuits, sponges and sweets as well as a flavoursome collection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons, elegant canapés and tea sandwiches.
When? Daily, 1pm-5pm.
Find out more about this experience by visiting their website.
Luxury Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
What?A selection of finger sandwiches on artisan bread, freshly baked scones and delicate French pastries accompanied by carefully selected grand and rare teas.
When? Daily at 1pm, 1.30pm, 3.15pm, 3.45pm, 5.30pm and 6pm.
Book your experience here.
Have you decided which one to book yet?