LuxeGetaways Magazine – Fall/Winter 2017 | According to historians, Afternoon Tea began at the time that kerosene lanterns had been introduced, and it became fashionable to have dinner later in the evening. This left many very hungry between the primary meals at that time of breakfast and dinner, and they needed an afternoon snack. Over the years, it continued to evolve and was not only part of the daily routine for many everyday people and families, but it also became a favorite pastime for ladies of leisure.
Afternoon Tea, also known as Low Tea, was enjoyed on lower tables, such as coffee tables, while relaxing in comfortable chairs and enjoying the tea service. Typically, you have the option of three Afternoon Tea services: Cream Tea includes the tea with a light selection of scones and cream, Light Tea also includes a selection of sweet treats and/or fruit, and finally the tea service we generally see today is Full Tea that includes all of these along with savory selections and finger sandwiches.
High Tea was originally served on high tables, and included meat and fish dishes, as well as additional heavier dishes. High Tea was for the working class, and served after they returned from work… Of course, many people still use the term “High Tea” to simply sound more regal, without taking the time to educate themselves about the history of this iconic tradition.
Afternoon Tea is a ritual in London, and one that every traveler should make sure to include during their visit. While many choose the traditional service at iconic locations such as Claridge’s or The Dorchester (both never disappoint), London also has local favorites like Cake Boy and Sketch, and new twists on tradition at Ting and Sosharu. Regardless of where you choose to take the time to savor an Afternoon Tea service customized just for you, know that you are enjoying a timeless tradition that dates back to the mid-1800’s. To get you started, we have created this collection of 15 of our favorite Afternoon Tea options in London. Enjoy!
Cake Boy by Eric Lanlard
This is a fun atmosphere for a glamorous Afternoon Tea experience with organic tea brands and the cutest cupcakes; or a Champagne Afternoon Tea with finger sandwiches and exquisite pastries by Eric Lanlard!
Unit B Kingfisher House
Battersea Reach (off York Road)
London SW18 1TX
Set in the splendor of Thierry Despont’s magnificent Foyer (inspired by the 1930’s heyday of art deco), Afternoon Tea includes elegant bites and a collection of teas from small producers around the world in this magical environment.
Brook Street, Mayfair
London W1K 4HR
The Georgian Restaurant at Harrods
As one of London’s finest destinations for Afternoon Tea, guests enjoy the epitome of elegance with classic English fare and array of tea experiences, including Champagne, The Georgian and The Georgian Luxury Afternoon Tea.
87-135 Brompton Road
London SW1X 7XL
The Luggage Room by London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square
Enjoy London’s first Low Tea experience and Mayfair’s best-kept secret inside this prohibition-inspired Luggage Room Bar that screams of the 1920’s upper class, and features hot foods, sweet treats, tea and cocktails.
London W1K 6JP
The Mirror Room at The Rosewood
Rosewood London’s Art Afternoon Tea is served in the elegant Mirror Room, and is inspired by the vibrant art scene. Featuring five of the most iconic modern artists, these sweet and savory treats are true works of art.
252 High Holborn
London WC1V 7EN
Number Sixteen by Firmdale Hotels
This relaxed and stylish Afternoon Tea is served all day in The Orangery or private garden. Take advantage of their Prosecco Afternoon Tea this season, as well as their unique gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options also available.
16 Summer Place
London SW7 3EG
Palm Court at The Langham
Palm Court has been serving tea to London society since the Victorian era. We especially love the diversity of options like Wedgewood Afternoon Tea, Children’s Afternoon Tea with Hamleys and the Spa Day with Afternoon Tea.
1C Portland Place
London W1B 1JA
The Promenade at The Dorchester
The Dorchester has been a favorite Afternoon Tea destination since it opened in 1931. The Promenade provides an opulent setting to enjoy the seasonal specialties and other unique offerings that all celebrate British heritage.
53 Park Lane
London W1K 1QA
Seymour’s Parlour at The Zetter Townhouse
A true “local” experience inside this Georgian townhouse, just behind Oxford Street, Seymour’s Parlour has history, eclectic décor, sophisticated servers and impressive tea-infused cocktails ideal to enhance your Afternoon Tea outing.
28-30 Seymour Street
London W1H 7JB
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is a must-experience, so expect a proper tea service where people are dressed for the occasion, and the “tea time” goes later into the day to provide more opportunities for locals and visitors to enjoy this tradition.
London W1J 9BR
It is difficult to describe the masterful Afternoon Tea experience at Sketch that is whimsical in all the right ways. Sensational bites are topped with caviar and quail eggs; and the personalized seasonal offerings are a sure winner for everyone.
9 Conduit Street
London W1S 2XG
For the exact opposite of a traditional Afternoon Tea experience, Sosharu is the answer. It begins with tuna or salmon temaki and ends with raspberry sugar-dusted donuts and matcha-flavored tarts. And the tea selection is amazing.
64 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5RR
Thames Foyer at The Savoy
You cannot discuss Afternoon Tea in London without featuring The Savoy, a Fairmont managed hotel. The service is impeccable, the sweet and savory bites are delicious and the tea menu is impressive. The Savoy is simply special.
London WC2R 0EU
The Winter Garden at The Landmark London
This refined and modern approach to Afternoon Tea sets The Landmark London apart from most London offerings, while the service, tea menu and artist-worthy treats are very British. Inquire about their Festive and Chocolate Tea services.
222 Marylebone Road
London NW1 6JQ
Ting at Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard
Located on the 35th floor, enjoy either the traditional or Asian-inspired Afternoon Tea with views across the meandering River Thames and over the City of London, Tower Bridge, Tower of London and towards Canary Wharf.
At The Shard
31 St. Thomas Street
London SE1 9QU