Where in London can you have an afternoon tea experience to remember.
image: Dalloway Terrace
Hands up: there is a lot of confusion. If, like me, you are not English, tea, high tea, afternoon tea are concepts that might, at first, be a little unclear to grasp. But, fear not. We are here not only to clarify this important issue, but also to recommend some cracking places in London to experience a very civilized or fun afternoon tea.
First things first.
When I arrived in this country to work as a nanny, my boss asked me to prepare tea for the kids. She was going to be out all day, so it was my responsibility to make sure the children were fed. She also mentioned tea should be served at 5pm. "How very English!", I remember thinking, and set off to prepare a lovely tray of chocolate biscuits, cake, hot milk, toast with butter and jam. When the mother of the children got home and asked her sons what they had for tea, they were so pleased to say they had chocolate biscuits and jammy toast, I remember my proud smile as they were so eager to assure their mum the great time they had with me. Oddly, their mum was not amused. Lesson learnt: tea was simply dinner for the kids, served between 5 and 6pm. End of the story and end of the fun.
I soon realised that tea, dinner, supper were words to describe a very similar meal. But then, what would one call the gorgeously set table full of jams, scones, perfectly cut cakes and sandwiches I have always seen in films? Afternoon tea, it is called! Not to be confused with high tea.
Afternoon tea, also known as low tea is always served at a low table, think coffee table , for example and it usually has finger food such as sandwiches, scones, petit fours accompanied by black or herbal tea.
High tea, although sounds rather sophisticated, simply means a lighter dinner served with tea. Think salads, fish, eggs, dessert. It did have aristocratic and royal origins, but after the Industrial Revolution, when workers were too hungry when back from factories to wait until a later dinner, high tea, or simply tea, became another expression for dinner.
So, where in London can you experience a memorable afternoon tea? Well, it dependes on what you are after: traditional, very posh, fun, quirky style, there is something for every one and every taste. Check our top 5 great picks. There is something for everyone: the arty types, the girly girls, the chic ones, the city people, the classic classy ones, the very quirky crowd. Try to match them.
The Swan at The Globe
An afternoon tea that serves a glass of love potion? We're in! This Midsummer Night's Dream themed tea is a concept that celebrates the Bard and all his theatre and art right next door at The Globe. The table is decorated like a forest and you can just picture Hermia, Titania, Bottom, Lysender, Demetrius, Helena and Oberon whispering love spells as you savour the Swan's beautiful and generous delights.
This French inspired bakery is very girly and very lovely. They sell the best lemon macarons you will ever find in London. Their afternoon tea offer is pretty tempting too and they have an array of services to make it all very exciting. You can have your afternoon tea in their beautiful parlour in Covent Garden or you can get on a double decker and go for a ride whilst enjoying their yummy treats. They also make afternoon tea available for delivery, if that is what you fancy. A tour of the capital whilst enjoying marvellous bites sounds to us like a fab idea!
One of the most famous restaurants in London due its ever increasing Instagram followers, the Dalloway Terrace offers a top quality choice for afternoon tea. Enjoy a glass of Grand Brut or Blancs de Blancs whilst taking in the carefully put together flower and plant wall panel that changes with the seasons. Spot a famous influencer as you taste the divine selection of scones including vanilla and the more traditional raisins ones. All very chic and sophisticated, we are sure Mrs Dalloway would be delighted with both the service and quality of the savoury and sweet treats.
This green, cool and very Notting Hill like restaurant with a sister branch in New York, serves a delicious version of a healthier Afternoon Tea. But if you think healthy means compromising on flavours, think again. This tea offers fluffy scones with coconut clotted cream, confit peppers and charcoal bread. They also serve cannabidiol chocolate truffles. Yes, it comes from cannabis, but sadly for some, it has none of the effect you would expect, yet it is supposed to be rich in goodness. If super healthy food is your thing and you want to have the delightful treats of an afternoon tea without indulging in the sugary treats, then this your option of afternoon tea. All plant based with gluten, dairy and refined sugar all kept at bay.
Mr Foggs Residence
Old school, quirky and adorable. If you look for some old style English way, this one is certainly for you. A generous serving with traditional china and a Victorian vibe in the air. This one is the Tipsy Tea served at Mr Fogg's Residence in Mayfair. However, through the History of all the Mr Fogg's pubs and restauranurants, you can see that their exquisite afternoon tea is served in their different venues. In common, the quality of the food, the Victorian splendour and a celebration of Mr Fogg's adventures. Quite quirky, rather adorable.
We recommend champagne with your afternoon tea, of course!
This feature is kindly sponsored by Champagne Route UK.
For exquisite champagne in London that goes beyond the usual, visit Champagne Route at 30 Gauging Square - London. champagneroute.co.uk
Images: Champagne Route UK.