After stiff upper lips and colonisation it’s the most British thing imaginable: the afternoon tea. Everyone likes their tea that certain way, with a squeeze of this and a dash of that, while what goes with the tea is even more important; scones (pronounced nothing like ‘stones’), cucumber sandwiches and so on. Well this week is all about celebrating all the variety of a three-tiered tea as it’s National Afternoon Tea Week. So here are some places you can enjoy this most British of traditions.
A Nod to Heritage
People flock to London for a variety of different reasons. Perhaps it’s the shopping, perhaps it’s the food…(but one thing we do know, is it’s definitely not for the weather). However, most notably, our heritage is a huge reason people love to come and sample a slice of the big smoke. For this reason, Four Seasons’ Ten Trinity Square afternoon tea is a real nod to where we came from, seen in the from of their new afternoon tea, the aptly named Heritage afternoon tea. Inspired by the buildings history as the old Port of London Authority, the menu maps the historic tea trading routes and celebrates the city’s connections between east and west. This can be seen in the form of traditional finger sandwiches of egg mayo and truffle oil and coronation chicken, accompanied by seasonal pastries of apricot and verbena sponge and homemade scones with seasonal jam and clotted cream.
For the tea lovers too, don’t think you go unnoticed. The tea includes brews from the foothills of the Himalayas to earl greys from the Satemwa Estate in the highlands of Malawi. Oh, and did we mention there’s Chamagne? Lots, and lots of Champagne!
Where: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.1 miles)
St Ermin’s Hotel have just launched a new summer afternoon tea filled with white chocolate and carrot choux buns, lemon macarons, chocolate and salted caramel pots and mango jelly and coconut panna cotta and unlimited prosecco or a glass of Nyetimber and throughout National Afternoon Tea Week, they’ll be knocking 25% off the price which makes it all the more sweeter. There’s also a Mini Gardeners Tea for little ones too, where they can go and see the bees buzzing away on the rooftop garden.
25% off available 14th -20th August
Where: 2 Caxton Street, St James, SW1H 0QW
The Royal Afternoon Tea
There is no actual need to sit down at 4pm and eat afternoon tea the way we do other than for luxury. No one needs that much cake. That said once you’re there you might as well take decadency to the next level, which is exactly what Novikov have done with their Royal afternoon tea. Feast on the likes of king crab and avocado bruschetta, burrata and truffle ‘tacos’; Wagyu wrap with onion marmalade and rocket and Cornish lobster thermidor. Followed by Craquelin Chantilly cream profiteroles, mini tiramisus and cheesecake. Marie Antoinette might not have said it, but we will: let them eat cake.
Available until the end of August
Where: 50A Berkeley Street, Mayfair, W1J 8HA
Exclusive Floral Afternoon Tea
ME London’s Radio Rooftop is harnessing the power of the flower for a new floral afternoon tea, exclusively designed National Afternoon Tea Week. With a Spanish twist on afternoon tea classics, the menu includes: manchego and quince sandwiches, chorizo and egg salad watercress wrap and Iberico ham on tomato-infused bread followed by lavender scented crème brulee, rosemary apricot and vanilla mousse and rose layer cakes with strawberry.
Available from the 14th -20th August 2018
Where: ME London, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA
Nearest station: Temple (0.3 miles)
Mad Hatter's Tea Party
The Botanical Restaurant at Kew Gardens has launched an Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea to accompany the play which is being performed in the grounds of Kew Gardens this month. Likely to be the closest you’re going to get to attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the tea includes: Cheshire Cat’s finger sandwiches, The Queen of Hearts’ cherry scones, The Mad Hatter’s mini tea cakes, The White Rabbit’s pocket watch macaroons Playing Card cheesecake, Eat Me mushrooms and of course jam tarts, all to be washed down with Drink Me botanical tea. And all accompanied by the madcap characters of Lewis Carroll’s treasured classic.
Available until 27th August
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE
Over in France the equivalent of afternoon tea is Le Goûter, so to celebrate our quintessential English tradition at Le Restaurant de PAUL they are bringing the two together in an indulgent combination of pastries and cakes. You’ll find French sparkling wine, sandwiches filled with the likes of poached salmon and Camembert, macarons and fresh, sweet brioche with lashings of cream and jam.
Where: 29 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9ED
The High Chai
In another twist on the British tradition, the LaLiT have used Indian flavours and ingredients to create their High Chai. The menu includes Khaman Dhokla -a traditional leavened steamed chickpea cake served with tomato jam and Punjabi samosas with tamarind imli chutney and to finish, mano lassi.
Where: 181 Tooley Street, London SE1 2JR, UK
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.4 miles)
Champagne in Teapots
Mews of Mayfair have teamed up with Veuve Cliquot Rich for a boozy afternoon tea. Created with extra sweetness, the Veuve Cliquot will infuse the tea (it’s said to work particularly well with Earl Grey) before being served in glass teapots. And when it comes to the food, you better be hungry because it’s a veritable feast. Starting with sweet fig, goats cheese and prosciutto crostini and tomato, basil and bocconcini the tea will also include rich buttery scones, chocolate brownie and mint meringues with Pimms jelly.
Where: 10 Lancashire Court New Bond Street W1S 1EY
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.3 miles)
The Important of Being Earnest
Off to see The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre? Then it’s only fitting that you go for afternoon tea at Hotel Café Royal first. Why? Because it is home to the spectacular Oscar Wilde Lounge, where the man himself once drank and dined, who knows maybe he penned some of the play there. Not just for National Afternoon Tea Week but running until the 20th October 2018, you can enjoy the award-winning Champagne afternoon tea followed by Band A tickets to see The Importance of Being Earnest.
Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)
Choc on Choc
If chocolate is your thing then you need to head to Lanes of London who have teamed up with Choc on Choc to create a special chocolate tea especially for National Afternoon Tea week. Don’t know who Choc on Choc are? They’re the British brand that create all manner of things from chocolate like Brussel sprouts, cheese and even chocolate sushi! Alongside classic sandwiches and scones you’ll also find Choc on Choc chocolate biscuits; Choc on Choc cucumber sandwiches and a Choc on Choc scone that when cut into oozes jam.
Available from the 13th -19th August
Where: 140 Park Lane, W1K 7AA
New to the Afternoon Tea Scene
Recently opened, the Chilworth Hotel is getting straight into National Afternoon Tea week with the launch of their Indian afternoon tea. You won’t find cucumber and salmon sandwiches, but you will find paneer kathi rolls, vegetable samosas, mini fruit kheer tarts, chutney sandwiches and even scones which are given an Indian twist with spiced sultanas. Wash it down with Indian masala chai tea, Assam, Darjeeling or Green tea – not all of them, the tube journey will be a nightmare home otherwise.
Where: 55 Westbourne Terrace, Paddington, W2 3UY
1920s New York
The Beaumont has launched their new afternoon tea just in time for National Afternoon Tea week. Transporting you back to the glamour of 1920s New York, Head Pastry Chef Pierre Storti has created an afternoon tea made from American favourites. Start with lobster rolls, pastrami Reubens and cucumber bagels before the cake trolley arrives laden with coffee and pecan cake, red velvet cake and Jimmy’s chocolate cake and if you can still manage more there’ll be sweets, cookies and candies. We suggest taking a walk after.
Where: The Beaumont Brown Hart Gardens Mayfair London W1K 6TF
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.2 miles)
Fruit and Floral
Everyone loves a classic cuppa, but when summer hits there’s a tendency to avoid hot drinks, (especially given this years’ heat wave). Which is why Four Seasons Hotels’ afternoon tea sounds like the perfect alternative. JING tea, supplier of some of tea favourites, has partnered with Four Seasons Hotel at Park Lane for a limited-edition Fruit and Floral afternoon tea experience. The tea will include a complimentary JING Explorer gift set containing samples of each of the four flavours. This will be partnered with The Garden Tea in partnership with Chelsea Physic Garden, featuring a whole host of sandwiches, scones and jam to fill your bellies with.
Where: Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7DR, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.2 miles)