“At half-past three, everything stops for tea”. High Tea, or Afternoon Tea, is a mini meal with a big reputation, enjoyed by social butterflies since the 1800s. Scones with jam and cream, dainty finger sandwiches and pots of English Breakfast – High Tea in London is the perfect excuse play it posh on an afternoon of traditional indulgence.
1. The Goring Hotel
Scooping high accolades in the “Oscars” of the tea world from the UK Tea Guild, the Goring Hotel’s Afternoon Tea can be savoured in the gilded lounge or overlooking sculpted private gardens. For that individual touch, the headlining tea is the Goring’s own blend, a delicate Assam-Darjeeling fusion.
Address: 15 Beeston Pl, London SW1W 0JW
2. The Athenaeum
Mayfair’s five-star Athenaeum Hotel is the very definition of decadence. A botanical flair flavours the menu, inspired by the vertical garden creeping up the side of the edifice. The Evergreen-Tea, Rose Petal Champagne and Orange Blossom Scones would please even the Duchess of Bedford herself!
Address: 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ
3. The Dorchester
High Tea is served five times daily at the Dorchester, so nobody has to go home sans scones. As a member of the prestigious Tea Guild, the Dorchester serves up a selection of fine French pastries and rare teas, putting a Parisian twist on this London classic.
Address: 53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA
The waitlist runs long for High Tea at Claridge’s and its reputation is well deserved. Tradition and glamour are marked by fine jade-and-white striped china, which host some 40 varieties of tea. Proving you’re never too young to indulge, Claridge’s also offers Children’s Afternoon Tea for the petite connoisseur.
Address: 49 Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR
5. The Berkeley
Touted as the fashionista’s Afternoon Tea, the Berkley’s Prêt-à-Portea is a smorgasbord of delicacies fit for a designer. The menu is revamped every six months to follow the latest catwalk cues, with Vivienne Westwood chequered macaroons, Emporio Armani mousse and Burberry biscuits. Tres chic!
Address: Wilton Pl, London SW1X 7RL
6. High Tea of Highgate
Tuck into traditional Victoria sponge and sip rose tea in the heart of Highgate Village at the High Tea of Highgate. Nestled under a black and white striped awning, High Tea of Highgate brews endless pots of loose leaf tea and serves handmade cakes on vintage teaware for the ultimate afternoon delight.
Address: 50 Highgate High St, London N6 5HX
7. Brown’s Hotel
The English Tea Room at Brown’s Hotel is said to be one of the most famous spots to enjoy High Tea in London. Expert Tea Sommeliers are on hand to help you choose the perfect blend from the 17-tea menu, while a “TEA-TOX” option is available for health conscious sweet tooths.
Address: 33 Albemarle St, London W1S 4BP
8. The Savoy
Set on the River Thames, The Savoy exudes timeless lustre like nowhere else. As a pianist plays beneath the historic Thames Foyer glass dome, guests can nosh upon fresh baked plain or raisin scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, plus signature cakes like chocolate fudge and banana pecan.
Address: Strand, London WC2R 0EU
9. The Lanesborough
Taking consecutive crowns in the UK Tea Council’s Award of Excellent, the Lanesborough Hotel serves traditional Afternoon Tea with all the beloved British trimmings you could hope for. Set in the chandelier-adorned Aspleys restaurant, you can feast your senses on both the gourmet and the grandeur.
Address: Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA
10. The Ritz
Put on “the ritz” and take your tea in the Palm Court of the iconic Ritz Hotel, complete with a glass of Champagne to put a bit of sparkle in your post-lunch pleasures. Enjoy your sweets and treats in this hallmark of London hotels, which has catered to the well-heeled for more than a century.
Address: 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9B
Words by Ashton Rigg