How English can you get! Afternoon tea is something that every English woman and man worth their salt would stop for. We've come up with 11 ideas that will get your mouth watering for a cuppa and a piece of cake. Some of these are timely for an Easter visit also.
Conrad London St James
As well as dainty sandwiches, tea at the Conrad means nibbling on freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream, homemade strawberry jam and pink grapefruit curd. Save space for the sweets: think bunny cookies and chocolate eggs, mini toadstool lemon tarts and elderflower macarons, especially for Easter. The ‘paint the roses red’ cake is designed for Instagram. A harpist provides entertainment.
InterContinental Park Lane
With its contemporary décor and views of Green Park, the five-star InterContinental Park Lane hotel is a delightful setting for a Royal Afternoon Tea. Dainty English sandwiches filled with classics such as Speyside smoked salmon are followed by warm buttermilk scones and intricately decorated desserts, including the Queen's rumoured favourite: coffee mousse and walnut torte. Excellent service and a vanilla-infused signature tea complete the package to leave you feeling like royalty.
The restaurant and bar Hush is tucked away in a courtyard, so its boozy afternoon tea can be your little secret. Sandwiches, warm scones, macarons and Earl Grey crème brûlée are served in the Silver Room, which resembles the interior of a 1930s ocean liner. Wash it all down with HR Higgins of Mayfair loose-leaf tea, chased by a cocktail made with handmade jam and gin distilled in London.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
With its glamorous interiors and beautiful garden, this branch of celeb-favourite The Ivy on King's Road is a stunning setting for afternoon tea. Feast on savouries such as truffled chicken gougère and smoked salmon blinis with cream cheese and chives before slicing into warm fruited scones and a chocolate opera cake. Lemon meringue pie and a delicate lavender and almond macaroon are just the refreshing sweet treats to end a memorable afternoon.
The Landmark London
Experience one of the capital’s most tranquil spots: the Landmark’s Winter Garden – an eight-storey glass roof atrium that is flooded with natural light. Surrounded by luscious foliage, you’ll indulge in a classic selection of sandwiches, freshly baked scones and French pastries. There’s even a delicious chocolate afternoon tea for those with a particularly sweet tooth.
Ichi Sushi Bar
If you’ve been overdoing it with sandwiches lately, why not try a healthy sushi afternoon tea? Located on the South Bank, with views of Big Ben, the intimate Ichi Sushi Bar serves up fresh and simple sushi and sashimi in its tea package, followed by a selection of cakes, such as green tea and chocolate Japanese savarin. Ask to sit at the bar so you can watch the skilled chefs at work.
The Fan Museum
Afternoon tea in The Orangery—the museum’s unique garden room—is an enchanting treat. Gaze out over a ‘secret’ Japanese-style garden while enjoying scones with cream and jam, and a selection of freshly-baked cakes with tea or coffee. At just £7, plus museum admission charges, this is one of the best-value afternoon teas.
Dip into a hamper packed with goodies at Cahoots’ Squiffy Picnic (Sun 3pm-6pm; above). As a jazz band plays, you can nibble pork pies, smoked salmon sandwiches and Victoria sponge, drink Sipsmith cocktails from hip flasks and play with the toy aeroplanes, cards and dressing-up hats provided.
Inspired by the world’s top fashion designers, the Fashionista’s Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley celebrates the best of this season’s styles. Take a bite out of Dolce & Gabbana’s pink rose dress and Valentino’s shoulder bag. Elegant canapés, miniature savoury skewers and taster spoons complete this feast of fashion.
Even if you're still dieting and detoxing, there’s no need to go without afternoon tea! Just head to the historic Brown’s Hotel for a healthy ‘Tea Tox’ spread of low-carb, low-fat, low-sugar treats (above). You’ll feel like royalty sitting in the English Tea Room, where Queen Victoria used to take her tea. Even the accompanying Champagne is low-calorie, not that you’d guess it from the taste.
Enjoy a slice of Austria with The Delaunay’s Viennese Afternoon Tea. You’ll feel cosy sitting in one of the restaurant’s grand leather booths as you dine on exquisite savouries and sweets such as poppy seed gugelhupf (Bundt cake), sachertorte (chocolate cake), and coffee and Stroh rum cake.
Still hungry? Click here for more London restaurants.