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Afternoon Tea in London: 5 Places
Afternoon tea is about as English as it gets. The time-honoured custom of afternoon tea is a London experience not to missed. This traditional late-afternoon tea with sandwiches and sweet pastries came into fashion over 150 years ago. It was a way for the upper classes to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. And it is still going strong today.
Here are the top five addresses to sample this gorgeously decadent pleasure:
Timelessly classic, the Ritz serves afternoon tea in the spectacular Palm Court. With its sparkling chandeliers, opulent gold leaf and delicate china. There are 18 teas to choose from served with delectable finger sandwiches. There are also requisite scones and a selection of enticing cakes. The strict dress code (no jeans or sportswear permitted, jacket and tie for men) along with the impeccable service ensure this a truly elegant affair.
The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, London
Pastel-toned Foyer at Claridge’s and its signature jade-striped china provide the stunning art-deco backdrop for their afternoon service. The traditional sandwiches are combined with a constantly-changing season twist of creativity. The sweet pastries are rotated weekly to keep the menu fresh and seasonal. Claridges, Brook Street, Mayfair, London
The Savoy’s sumptuous afternoon tea is held under the soaring glass dome of the Thames Foyer. It strikes the perfect balance between sophistication and stuffiness. A whopping 30 teas are on offer along with superb savoury and sweet treats, all accompanied by the laid-back tinkling from the live pianist to create an atmosphere of refined elegance.
The Savoy, Strand, London
Afternoon tea at the Langham. Celebrated as the birthplace of afternoon tea, the Langham’s beautiful Palm Court has been serving scones to the elite since 1865. There are several menus on offer including a wonderful kids version with specially designed novelty pastries and a complimentary Hamley’s teddy bear. For full relaxation opt for the spa day and afternoon tea combo.
The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London
Fortnum & Mason
Queen Elizabeth II herself opened Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on the fourth floor of their historic Piccadilly department store, and the Edwardian-style surroundings are indeed fit for royalty with pretty gold-rimmed turquoise china and crisp white linens. There is a choice between a classic afternoon tea, an all- savoury version or a high tea with more robust dishes (think Welsh rarebit or beef wellington) in place of the usual delicate sandwiches.
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London
MEININGER has a fantastic hotel in South Kensington that is perfectly located to visit all these places.