If there are two things I love, it is afternoon tea and the United Kingdom.
For those unfamiliar with the tradition, afternoon tea is a mid-afternoon snack comprised of tea with finger sandwiches, scones or crumpets with clotted cream or butter, and a small array of sweets. Variations of afternoon tea include cream tea (a lighter snack comprised just of tea with scones, jams, and clotted cream), high tea (which is more of a dinner that was sometimes served to families with servants who were given a night off), and royal tea (afternoon tea plus champagne).
I will be honeymooning in London this summer and am keen to try out all the best spots. You might be interested in visiting them too, so I put this list together.
Let me know if I have missed anything essential! :)
The Goring Hotel
The Goring Hotel offers one of London's best afternoon teas and has won several prestigious awards, including The British Tea Guild Council’s Top London Afternoon Tea Award and The Award of Excellence.
Fun fact: the Duchess of Cambridge stayed at this hotel the night before she married Prince William. Apparently her room went for £5,000 a night!
Many view the Ritz Carlton's afternoon tea as the ultimate tea to enjoy while visiting London. It does seem to be that a significant portion of its daily tea takers are from out of town. Make sure to save up for this event as the prices are on the higher end. Also be sure to make your reservations well in advance. Tables here around tourist season apparently disappear quickly!
Famous guests of this hotel include the Aga Khan, Paul Getty, Churchill, de Gaulle, Eisenhower, Charlie Chaplin, Nöel Coward, and Tallulah Bankhead.
Brown's Hotel also offers award-winning afternoon tea, and has a rich history to boot! Apparently, this was a favorite afternoon tea spot of Queen Victoria.
Claridge's afternoon tea has been served for over 150 years and pays just as much attention to the teas it serves as it does to the delicious finger sandwiches and sweets that accompany them. The hotel even has a dedicated tea connoisseur, Henrietta Lovell, who searches the world for top drawer teas to serve to this London-based hotel's guests.
Guests may also opt to enjoy this midday respite outside in the hotel's inner courtyard, but smoke-haters, be warned! The hotel offers an impressive cigar list and guests are welcome to enjoy their purchases in this al fresco setting.