It doesn’t get more British than afternoon tea but one has to admit there is something both delightful and soothing about having cake and scones in the afternoon washed down with a cup of coffee. The tradition, it is believe, started when, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, fed up of just having two meals a day, breakfast and dinner, with hours between them, opted for a sneaky snack in her bedroom in the afternoon. Soon enough she proved bodacious enough to snack in the dining room and invite her friend to join her and thus began the long revered tradition of the British afternoon tea.
True, during those few precious afternoon hours which should be the reserve of tea ritual, most of us are still stuck in offices most afternoons trying to fight off hunger pangs, late afternoon slump and the work piling up on our desk, there is nothing like a little escapade to treat yourself to tea and delicacies. Make like the Duchess, and try to sneak in a treat this week. Here are the coolest, quirkiest spots to take afternoon tea.
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, Sanderson is inviting us to tumble down the rabbit hole and enjoy all the splendor of the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. Here you will discover menus hidden inside vintage books, teapots adorned with kings and queens, sandwich plates decorated with birdcages, carousels and ticking clocks upon which rest savoury, specialty sandwiches. The delicacies are eqaully quirky: think chocolate-coated, coffee-flavoured Pocket-Watch Macaroons and red velvet Ladybird cake. There are also five new, tailor-made teas inspired by the characters of this beloved story. “Alice” has transformed into China Black Tea infused with hints of blackcurrant, vanilla, caramel, citrus, bergamot, blue cornflowers and blue mallow flower
Between £48 and £65 per person
Monday – Saturday12:30pm until 4:00pm
Sunday – 1:00pm until 5:00pm
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych
From one literary classic to another, as One Aldwych serves afternoon tea inspired by Roald Dahl’s children’s classic. From decadent golden eggs to blueberry brioche and playful flavoured candy floss, every item reflects the wit and wonder of the story. Other delights include lemon and raspberry cake pops, cocoa bean financier and Eton mess, served with a selection of award-winning loose leaf teas and infusions from Canton Tea. Imagine Mango Noir, silky smooth, fine black China tea with a soft, malty flavour lifted by intense mango notes, or Chocolate Tea, a moreish blend of Indian Assam, Chinese Yunnan black, Peruvian cocoa nibs and Madagascan vanilla pod.
£39 per person
Monday to Saturday – 12.30pm – 3.30pm
Sunday – 12.30pm – 4.30pm
Ice Cream Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
Since opening in 1931, The Dorchester has served the finest afternoon tea in London. Available throughout August, Ice Cream Champagne Afternoon Tea is sure to be a sophisticate and ‘cool’ affair at The Promenade, set in the heart of the hotel offering maximum opulence. Served with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne (Brut or Rosé), the afternoon tea features a selection of sumptuous finger sandwiches, French pastries and house-made ice cream cones.
£65 per person
1pm, 2pm, 3.15pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm every day
Royal Afternoon Tea at The Rubens
Afternoon tea with the Queen? Not exactly but you can feel like true royalty at The Rubens sitting back in our Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. The menu is inspired by Royal events and dining trends throughout the centuries from Her Majesty the Queen’s much-loved jam pennies to the red velvet cupcakes influenced by the House of Stuart or the chocolate biscuit cake, a favourite of Prince William and Prince Harry of the House of Windsor, all served with a selection of delightful blends from the Twinings collection.
From £32 per person
Monday to Friday – 2:00pm – 4:30pm
Saturday-Sunday – 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
One of the top things to do when in London is to take a bus tour of the city which will allow you to take in exceptional views and historic landmarks from the comfort of your upper deck seat. B Bakery’s Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is the same concept but for tea lovers. Just hop on a Routemaster from Northumberland Avenue or Victoria Station and take in the sights and sounds of the city while sipping on your tea. Some of the sights you’ll see includeThe London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street and more. The menu offers a selection of macaroons ad cup cakes as well as mini quiches and sandwiches. For the nautical tea lover, B Bakery also has on offer Afternoon Tea Boat tour.
From £51 per person
12:30 and 15:00 tours depart from 8 Northumberland Avenue, off Trafalgar Square WC2N 5BY
12:00, 14:30 & 17:00 tours depart daily from Victoria Coach Station