For those of you who don’t know, back in the early nineteenth century it is said that Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, complained of a ‘sinking feeling in the afternoon’ (at the time it was common just to eat breakfast and supper) and so she began to snack on sandwiches and little cakes. On returning to London, Anna invited the girls over to join her and so the tradition of afternoon tea was formed. To say the list of places offering tea now is extensive, is a bit of an understatment because London sure knows how to do an afternoon tea, but here are 6 for you to try– thank you for feeling hungry Anna.
The Ampersand Hotel
Why: The Ampersand has a tea for all occasions, alongside their classic tea they like to get inventive and offer something a little bit different, right now it’s a musical afternoon tea complete with a dark chocolate grand piano cake and live performances from London’s buskers at the weekend. Oh and the sandwiches are some of the best we’ve had.
Where: The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ER
InterContinental London Park Lane
Why: The InterContinental London Park Lane, is the ultimate in decadence – take someone you’re trying to impress here, their Wellington Afternoon Tea honours the Duke and uses the finest ingredients and flavours which have been influenced by the Duke’s travels. They also do beautiful themed teas with past ones including a mini edible garden created for Chelsea Flower Show and a 12 Days of Christmas inspired feast.
Where: One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7QY
Sanctum Soho Hotel
Why: Men, do you often feel like afternoon tea is a somewhat feminine affair? Then think again because the Sanctum Soho Hotel offers a tea without a scone in sight, instead it includes seared steak on sour dough toast, mini beef burgers, twice baked chocolate fudge cake with Jack Daniels ice cream and a cigar and tankard of Jack Daniels to finish. Look at you being all manly.
Where: 20 Warwick Street, Soho, London, W1B 5NF
Why: Can’t get enough of burgers? Can’t wait until supper or was lunch too far away? Then head to the BRGR CO because they do a burger afternoon tea with sliders including a lobster blat version, mini fries and a smorgasbord of teeny tiny cakes like little doughnuts with salted caramel and brownies. Wash it down with a vanilla milk shake and a gulp of Prosecco.
The Langham, London
Why: Palm Court at The Langham is meant to be the first place to have started serving afternoon formally all the way back in 1865. 149 years later and they are still up there as one of the go to places for tea, with three on offer including Tea Therapy – a morning in the spa before tea in the afternoon. Each year they also offer tea to a select few at 7p, the equivalent of 1 shilling and sixpence, the original 1865 prices!
Where: 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA
Why: A newcomer to the afternoon tea circle, Ting at Shangri La are quite literally serving high tea as they are situated way up on the 35th floor of the Shard. There is the Asian afternoon tea with steamed prawn dumplings and rice paper rolls or there is the classic afternoon tea with cappuccino cake and rich chocolate sponge. Now you just have to hope you get sat at one of the elusive window seats – prepare to charm your way there.