You're in London. You've seen the London Eye, you've seen Big Ben, you've seen Parliament, maybe you've stopped by the castle to say hi to the queen (maybe not). What's next? It's time for tea. When it comes to afternoon tea in London, there are so many options that it's hard to know which are best. We've narrowed it down to our favorites.
Fortnum & Mason
Let's start with the place where the queen purchases her tea. Yes, you read that correctly. Serving tea for almost 100 years, Fortnum & Mason remains an iconic London destination for afternoon tea. The Tea Salon offers a menu of almost 50 different types of tea, and the service is impeccable. Serving warm scones, lavish cakes and savoury finger sandwiches, the knowledgable wait staff here caters to your every need, making you feel like royalty. You'll be offered some of the finest delicacies you've tasted in London, but the fun never stops, as packaged teas and treats are available to take home in the store downstairs.
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You're probably wondering about this "Sketch" place that everyone is either talking about or sending you photos of. This edgy Mayfair destination lives up to its reputation. Teatime happens in the Gallery, an inviting pink room filled with eccentric art. It's quirky, it's fun and it's delicious. Feast your eyes on the cake tower where you'll find gooey apricot and pistachio cake, hot-pink Battenberg and salted-caramel éclairs, all before your waiter brings out Sketch's delicious warm scones and Victoria sponge cake. You'll be having so much fun that you might even want to add champagne.
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The Ritz London
The Ritz London sets the standard for afternoon tea. The grand Palm Court welcomes guests into an entertaining experience accommodating excellence, as the afternoon tea here is the most traditional you'll find. You will be served an array of delicate teacakes and pastries in this charming setting, feeling full and satisfied when they replenish your cakes upon request. The tea selection ranges from 18 different loose-leaf teas, and they even have their own exclusive Ritz Royal Blend Tea. Your experience is accompanied by music from the Ritz's pianist and harpist, making sure your afternoon tea is unforgettable.
Dean Street Townhouse
Soak up the Soho buzz and enjoy a more laid-back but still elegant afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse. Enjoy your tea in the lounge, where you'll be served dainty sandwiches and creative yet classic cakes - chocolate Swiss roll, mini Victoria sponges with strawberries and cream, Battenberg in hot pink and bright yellow and tangy lemon tart topped with a blueberry. Dean Street is definitely a more cosy option, and it will have you wanting to stay for cocktail hour and possibly even dinner, but there's nothing wrong with that.
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An extravagant choice for afternoon tea is The Dorchester. From the elegance of the setting to the meticulously sliced sandwiches, everything about this afternoon tea experience is perfect. Finger sandwiches are filled with chicken with ginger, lime, garlic, mayonnaise and shallots or poached wild salmon with heritage tomatoes on a range of different kinds of light bread. The Dorchester even offers vegetarian options, such as indulgent truffle tofu with vegan mayonnaise and a salt-crusted golden-beetroot sandwich. Exotic teas are presented in between the savoury and sweet courses, and the glamourous atmosphere is an experience in and of its self. Needless to say, there is something for everyone at the Dorchester.
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