Afternoon tea and London go together like scones and clotted cream (or an Alexander Wang tee and skinny jeans, a smoky eye and a nude lip). Each and every time we’re in London we always take an afternoon to grab a spot of tea, nibble on dense scones dotted with currents and topped with marmalade, and savour the tiny finger sandwiches. It’s inherently British and a delightful way to spend an afternoon in London (whether it’s rainy outside or not). But to be named the best in Tea in London is no easy task — The Tea Guild reviews their afternoon tea sets each year with impeccably high standards, and name the best. This year’s best includes some of our favourite spots, that we know you will love as well.
A stop to The Dorchester is always at the top of our must list when visiting London (whether it’s for a spa appointment, overnight stay or for tea). We just love the English charm, richness and class of this iconic hotel. You’ll want to book tea on The Promenade (the luxe lobby portion of the hotel on the ground floor) — the setting is regal with marble columns, deep, soft chairs and plush pillows). Star the tea with tiny finger sandwiches, before moving on to the standard scones and cream, then finish off with a tray of tartlets, pastries and fresh raspberry macaroons.
Afternoon Tea costs £36.50, thedorchester.com.
Most recently famous world-wide as the place that Kate Middleton and her family stayed before her nuptials to Prince William, an afternoon spent at the Goring can definitely feel like royalty. If it’s sunny, opt for tea on the terrace at a table with a bunch of freshly clipped English roses from the private garden. The homemade scones are delish topped with Devonshire clotted cream and jams, and we recommend sipping on the Goring’s own special tea blend. Hats are not required, but a tiny fascinator would definitely up the royalty factor.
The Traditional Afternoon Tea costs £35, thegoring.com.
It would be nearly impossible to include a best tea spots list of London and not mention The Ritz. Tea at The Ritz is simply something everyone should do at least once in London. It may be a bit pricier to do tea in the Louis XVI styled hotel and Palm Court, but well worth it in terms of quality and tradition. Drink from fine china as you sample the freshest scones, the most delicious and delicate sandwiches and the finest French tarts. And while you’re there, this is the ideal setting to add a bit of champagne to your tea.
Ritz Traditional Afternoon Tea costs £40 per person; Champagne Afternoon Tea costs £52.00 per person, theritzlondon.com.
The Sofitel London St. James
After taking a few snaps at Buckingham Palace and strolling through St. James’s Park, you’ll be well deserving of a spot of tea. And there’s no better spot close by than the Sofitel London. The 5-star hotel is in an old bank and mixes traditional British design with an unmistakable French charm. The Rose Lounge brings the French feel into play with it’s delicate pink and cream colour scheme — it’s where you’ll want to have tea with your girlfriends. Enjoy Le Tea en Rose as you sink into the cushion-y sofas, with scones, French pastries and tea served on pink Wedgwood china.
Le Tea en Rose costs £24.50 or £29.50 with a champagne cocktail, sofitelstjames.com.