The sheer number and variety of restaurants in London truly reflect the cosmopolitan nature of the city. From chic Pan-Asian celebrity haunts to French Michelin-starred establishments, there is something for everyone. However, there is one dining tradition that is quintessentially British, and that is the traditional afternoon tea. A celebrated national dining pastime, the British afternoon tea conjures up images both delightfully quaint and effortlessly elegant. The fine bone china, freshly baked scones and immaculately cut finger sandwiches, the theatre of it all is just as important as the food itself. London boasts some of the finest locations to enjoy this national tradition in superb style.
Tea at the Ritz
Renowned the world over, The Ritz is an essential first stop on our tour of London afternoon tea destinations. A London landmark in itself, The Ritz manages to offer an unsurpassed level of British elegance and tradition, yet remains at the forefront of modern hospitality and culinary skill. Afternoon tea here is no exception. Diners can truly get into the spirit of the traditional British afternoon tea at The Ritz, as it operates a strict dress code – gentlemen are respectfully asked to wear a formal jacket and tie, with no jeans or trainers allowed. After the pageantry of getting dressed up, diners are treated to surroundings that have been at the forefront of 5* London elegance for a century. Crisp white tablecloths cover the tables in a gilded room, filled with luxurious fabrics, rich colours, and an air of real history. In the warmer months, tea can be taken on the terrace, to give that true British summertime feel. So as many people as possible can enjoy afternoon tea at the Ritz, there are gluten free, wheat free and dairy free alternatives available, as well as diabetic, vegetarian and vegan menus.
Mauve Lounge at Swissôtel The Howard
The beauty of afternoon tea in London is that it can offer all of the traditional elements, yet add in contemporary twists along the way. Afternoon tea at Swissôtel The Howard is a perfect example of this. A striking, luxurious contemporary interior is intimately lit with vibrant colours, complemented by the dark, rich colours of the plush leather seating. As for the afternoon tea itself, the Swissôtel offers a special London-themed variety on this established tradition. The skilled pastry chefs prepare a selection of cakes, pastries and 3D chocolates in the shape of miniature major London landmarks and iconic sights.
Next to the Theatre Royal, Brumus is another example of British decadence at its very best. Inside the Haymarket Hotel, the brasserie-style restaurant is filled with rich purple shades, photographic prints, and all-round chic pedigree. The glamour of a traditional British afternoon tea is given a fresh twist with the inclusion of several exotic speciality teas. From Green Jasmine Flower Blossom to Rooibos from the hills of South Africa, international flair is infused into the Brumus afternoon tea menu in superb style. The best of British is still showcased however, with fresh strawberries served alongside the selection of freshly made cakes and sandwiches.