Afternoon Tea Week is 10–16th August 2020, which celebrates one of our nation’s favourite traditions, originally dreamt up in the 19th Century to avoid a slump in post-lunch energy levels.
So whether you’re after a traditional cream tea, you’re out to celebrate with a glass of fizz or you’re looking for something a little bit different, here are some of the city’s best venues in which to enjoy this leisurely afternoon treat.
Ritz Restaurant, Piccadilly
With its palatial setting on London’s Piccadilly, The Ritz requires no introduction and is known the world over for its afternoon tea. The famed ‘Tea at The Ritz’ is taken in the hotel’s pristine Palm Court, with its marble pillars, glittering chandeliers and fresh flower arrangements. Staying true to tradition, The Ritz features sandwiches on flavoured breads, scones and classic British cakes and pastries. They’re also the only hotel in London to boast their own tea sommelier!
One Aldwych, Strand & Covent Garden
This stylish hotel offers a unique – and positively scrumdiddlyumptious – ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ themed afternoon tea: a must for fans of the classic story by Roald Dahl. From whipple-scrumptious red velvet cake-pops and scones with snozzberry jam to fizzy lifting drinks, water pistol punch and minty chocolate milk (mixed by waterfall), your tastebuds will be enraptured by the imaginative delights on offer.
So named for the army of quirky sketches that line the walls, Sketch resembles a still from a Wes Anderson film, with plush pink chairs, marbled chevron floors and rose gold hardware arranged in a harmoniously symmetrical fashion. Customers select from assorted finger sandwiches, scones with Cornish clotted cream, ‘petits gateaux’ and traditional Victoria sponge served from a trolley; go traditional with a pot of tea or add a glass of fizz to liven things up.
The Wolseley, St James’s
Owners Chris Corbin and Jeremy King created The Wolseley in the style of a grand European café: all pillars, arches and marble, and thanks to its stylish looks and celebrity following, the restaurant has something of an iconic status. Keep it simple with scones and tea; add in finger sandwiches and cakes or bring some sparkle to the occasion with a glass of champagne. From the macaroons to the millefeuille, all their pastries are freshly made by hand each day.
OXO Tower, South Bank
In this landmark building bearing the famed beef stock logo, and with a view of St Paul’s and the Thames, the OXO Tower restaurant offers the full on British afternoon tea experience. Dine on finger sandwiches and snacks such as ‘Milk chocolate and cep muffins’. The buttermilk scones and ‘sweets’ like the quintessentially British ‘Strawberry Pimms and shortbread’ will keep even those with the sweetest of tooths happy.
Claridge’s has a long, illustrious history dating back to 1812 and this iconic and very British hotel has been a favourite of the royal family over generations. The Foyer with its ornate art deco styling and striking chandelier is the setting for a thoroughly British afternoon tea which remains faithful to the classic combination of finger sandwiches, warm scones and sweet pastries; all accompanied by an impressive selection of loose leaf teas, prepared and poured at your table.