Tea time, and it coincides with the final season of Downton Abbey! Gather your dowager pals and settle in for the real deal: regulation afternoon tea, with tiny sandwiches and scones and clotted cream and the works. You'll find it all just so at:
Mary Ann's Tea Room
This airy, glassed-in space in the Central West End neighborhood offers a full menu alongside its namesake tea service, and a contemporary fashion/gift boutique to browse, to boot; 48-hour advance reservations required for afternoon tea.
La Patisserie Chouquette
A jewel of a French bakery in an up-and-coming dining district, it's also a great place to enjoy high tea (Saturdays at 11 am and 1 pm, by reservation).
The Queen's Cuisine, at Fleur de Lys Mansion
A three-course afternoon tea, served by an actual Brit, takes on an even more gracious air in the historic environs of the Fleur de Lys Mansion (a local landmark now converted into a bed-and-breakfast, near one of the city's Victorian-era public parks); select Sundays by reservation.
London Tea Room
More real-life British expats at the helm, meaning a wide and authentic variety of teas, scrumptious baked goodies, and even a small selection of merchandise. Afternoon tea, in a charming room with 19-century furnishings, is served Fridays at 1 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (24-hour advance reservation required.) Cheeky and cheerful attitude permeates the entire enterprise.
Josephine's Tea Rooms
Across the river in Godfrey, Illinois, this combination café/gift boutique spreads out through several buildings on a historic property not far from the Mississippi River bluffs. No high tea service as such here, but rather 6-day-a-week luncheon options including soups, salads, sandwiches...and a staggering 16 homemade dessert choices daily.