The centuries-old British tradition of afternoon tea is the perfect way to wile away an afternoon in London. But you needn’t limit your taste buds to just the classic pairing of cucumber sandwiches and clotted cream scones. Whether you hunger for the traditional or prefer your tea shaken and not stirred, here is LUXOS’ pick of our favourite afternoon tea offerings in the city...
Traditional, tea-tox & tea-torials at Brown’s
There is something very ceremonial in sitting down to afternoon tea at the very place where Queen Victoria used to take her tea - the historic Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair. And as well as their classic Afternoon Tea, there are also other tea rituals on the menu, including Tea-Tox, a lighter take on the traditional afternoon tea offering. The health conscious can indulge in open sandwiches, flourless cakes, low-fat crème fraiche and low sugar spread as well as delicious white tea.
If you want to learn more about the art of afternoon tea, book yourself in for a Tea-torial, complete with afternoon tea and during Wimbledon, you can sit down to a perfect pairing tea and tennis, with their unique afternoon tea with a Wimbledon twist. www.roccofortehotels.com
Marie Antoinette afternoon tea at Pont St
Afternoon tea is a truly decadent affair, so an adaptation of the British classic inspired by the opulence of Queen Marie Antoinette is a seemly fit. With savoury treats including Foie Gras on Brioche Toast and Hollandaise Quail Egg Tartlets, sweet tooth desires such as Champagne Lychee Jelly with Rosewater Cream and Chocolate Opera Cake and all accompanied by Ruinart Champagne, this is truly, a foodies heaven.
Served in the Pont St. restaurant tucked away in the very chic yet bohemian New York style Belgraves Hotel, you can be assured of the best of British, French and American heritage and hospitality. www.pontst.com/afternoon-tea
© Pont St.
Afternoon tea at Claridge’s
For a truly traditional afternoon tea, Claridge’s is our first choice. With 150 years of experience in the ritual of afternoon tea, the team here certainly knows their stuff and is now taking their culinary offering to gastronomic new heights. Tea, rightly so, takes centre stage, with over twenty unique and rare teas from small producers and ancient tea plantations around the world including China, India, Africa and even Cornwall in the UK.
Your tea is meticulously poured by tea-trained waiters and accompanied by finger sandwiches, pastries and scones and if you fancy a tipple, Laurent Perrier is also chilled and waiting. www.claridges.co.uk/afternoon-tea
Gentleman’s afternoon tea at Sanctum Soho
For the chap who prefers a steak sarnie to the cucumber variety, this is afternoon tea with a rock ‘n’ roll edge at Soho’s super cool Sanctum hotel. Yes, tea is served, but alongside a meat and carb infused medley of rabbit pasties, poached oysters with Bloody Mary relish, seared steak sandwiches, burgers, mini hotpots, a chocolate fudge cake as opposed to a scone, and finished with a shot of Jack Daniels (in a tankard) and cigars to smoke on the hotel’s roof terrace. Boom. www.sanctumsoho.com
© Sanctum Soho
Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at The Sanderson
The Brits are known as an eccentric bunch so why not indulge in a truly fantastical take on the classic afternoon tea with the Mad Hatter’s Tea at London’s stylish Sanderson hotel. At this Wonderland inspired tea party, saffron and spinach infused breads turn sandwiches pink and green, while mini cakes are labeled ‘eat me’ and blueberry lollipops, strawberries and cream marshmallows and a tick tock Victoria sponge clock all look too good to eat.
Menus are hidden in vintage books and napkins wrapped in riddles. But best of all, for balmy summer days, this is one afternoon tea that we can enjoyed al fresco, in the hotel’s courtyard garden. www.morganshotelgroup.com/mad-hatters-afternoon-tea
© The Sanderson
Gluten free and dairy free treats at the Lanesborough
If you're looking for gluten free and dairy free afternoon teas that taste anything but then head to the recently refurbished Céleste at the Lanesborough. After a 19-month closure and a top-to-toe refurbishment the hotel has reopened with great pomp and splendour.
The glamorous surroundings set off the elegant afternoon tea menu put together by Executive Chef Florian Favario perfectly. Choose from their award winning tea selection and of course bubbles to combine with your gluten filled or gluten free treats. www.lanesborough.com/eng/restaurant-bars/afternoon-tea/
Céleste at the Lanesborough