It would have been more appropriate to entitle this piece ‘My Favourite Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London So Far’. There are a lifetime’s worth of great places to have afternoon tea in London, each with their own particular charm. These are the best of the many I have visited up to now.
Some of the Best Places for afternoon tea in London:
One of the most iconic places to enjoy afternoon tea in London, there really is nothing like afternoon tea at The Ritz. There’s often a piano playing in the background and the atmosphere is always elegant yet friendly. After you have chosen from 16 different blends of tea, you are served delicate tea sandwiches, followed by fluffy scones served with jam and cream and then gorgeous little cakes and pastries. We have visited The Palm Court Restaurant for afternoon tea several times. It’s a not to be missed experience. You do have to dress up a bit – gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie and most ladies wear dresses or skirts although smart dress trousers are acceptable. No jeans or trainers.
Enjoying afternoon tea at The Goring could put you in very distinguished company – its proximity to Buckingham Palace means it is often frequented by the Royal Family. This was also the hotel where The Duchess of Cambridge, her family and close friends spent the night before her wedding. It’s also the place I enjoyed my favourite afternoon tea in London so far.
Pink champagne and strawberries were followed by the arrival of this gorgeous tea tray. The middle layer is warm scones wrapped in a napkin to keep the heat in.
There was a huge choice of teas and we were offered refills on every layer of the tea tray. There were even special cakes to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday, some of which are actually favourites of Her Majesty when she visits The Goring.
The service is incredibly attentive here but not at all intrusive. An equally elegant experience to The Ritz, the dress code is much more relaxed at The Goring. I would encourage stylish smart casual attire but I even saw people in jeans.
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The Corinthia Hotel
Seated under a stunning Baccarat chandelier, the comfortable chairs in the Lobby Lounge of The Corinthia invite you to an effortlessly elegant experience of afternoon tea in London. Plates of sandwiches are offered to begin.
After the waiting staff have ensured that you have had as many sandwiches as you like (second helpings are encouraged), the scones and cakes arrive. These are presented on the largest tea stands I have ever seen.
The stands are around 3 feet tall and are placed on the floor next to your table, one stand between every two people (when there are three of us we have two stands). The scones are lovely and the cakes are very creative. On our most recent visit I enjoyed an exquisite Blackberry and Violet Cream Cake. I think the delicate floral flavours of that beautiful cake will stay in my memory forever!
As tea takes place in the elegant hotel lobby, the dress code is fairly relaxed but again I recommend stylish smart casual.
The Georgian Restaurant at Harrods
This oasis on the fourth floor of the iconic Harrods department store is another one of the elegant places for afternoon tea in London. A beautifully panelled room, starched white tablecloths and waiting staff in formal attire all add to the experience at The Georgian Restaurant.
After you have selected your blend of tea from what seems like hundreds, everything arrives at once here. You simply work your way from the bottom of the tea stand to marvellous cakes at the top.
The Georgian Restaurant is located in Harrods, the iconic department store. As such they encourage smart dress but the dress code is not as strict as at The Ritz.
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
Offering a wonderfully elegant afternoon tea experience, the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon offers a large selection of single estate teas as well as their classic blends. Traditional finger sandwiches (the Coronation Chicken are my favourite) are served. Then tender scones arrive with your choice of jams or lemon curd. These are followed by pastries and a fantastic cake carriage. I also recommend the individual tea tasting with one of F&M’s ‘Tearistas’ before your afternoon tea in order to help you choose your very favourite blend.
If you have young children, consider enjoying a much less formal afternoon tea experience in The Parlour restaurant on the first floor at Fortnum & Mason. It may be a bit less traditional but their scones are delicious and the kids will absolutely love it. Again, this is a department store, albeit an iconic one, so the the dress code is a bit more relaxed. I definitely recommend smart dress if you visit The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.
There are so many wonderful places to have afternoon tea in London. I look forward to sharing more of them with you in the future!
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