The Best of Britain: The top places to have afternoon tea in London

It's common knowledge that Brits love their afternoon tea and the pastime has become so popular, that venues all over the country are adding it to their menus. However, it's still considered to be a treat and something to get dressed up for, so many people head to the capital for the best venues. With that in mind, we've put together our pick of the best places to have afternoon tea in London. Now all you have to do is choose just one to visit!

The Ritz, Picadilly

Since its opening in 1906, The Ritz has been serving afternoon tea, and it is one of the best in the business. Served in the Palm Court, this traditional tea includes smoked salmon sandwiches, raisin scones, and a choice of 18 different leaf teas. 

A glass of Champagne can be added if you're looking to go all out, while the tea itself is served on beautiful chinaware, with silver teapots and milk jugs. The dress code is smart with gentlemen required to wear jacket and tie, and sportswear strictly forbidden. For a taste of the quintessentially English tradition, The Ritz is the perfect location.

The Gore, Queen's Gate

Settle down in the Drawing Room of The Gore Hotel and enjoy a Dame Nellie Melba-inspired traditional afternoon tea. Taste the exclusive Dame Nellie Melba Bellini to wash down the truly delectable sandwiches and cakes. 

Feast on macaroons, cheesecake, freshly baked scones and seasonal fruit tartlets, as well as the usual sandwich suspects including smoked salmon and cream cheese, and cucumber with yoghurt. Select from a choice of teas named after some of the most famous guests of The Gore including Judy Garland, Miss Ada and Lady Blessington.

Afternoon tea tower

Claridge's, Mayfair

Claridge's has been serving afternoon tea for 150 years, so the expectation is that they are a head and shoulders above the competition. You'll be seated in Thierry Despont's stunning Foyer and can choose from teas that have been carefully selected by Claridge's very own tea connoisseur, Henrietta Lovell.

The tea itself is measured out and the team at Claridge's will ensure the water is at the perfect temperature and steeped to your personal requirements of strength. It's poured for you at the table, before the water is drained and the leaves prepared for a second infusion. If you want to make the most of your tea, then Claridge's will give you an education and a wonderful experience all in one.

Aqua Shard, London Bridge

Currently one of the most stylish places in town, the Shard is ideal if you want to go to a hip and happening venue for afternoon tea. Located on level 31 of this iconic building, Aqua Shard offers something a little more modern while keeping the traditions of the quintessential afternoon tea. Think lavender-perfumed mayonnaise & chicken sandwiches, passionfruit cheesecake and even red velvet & dark chocolate shard cake.

With spectacular views over the city, Aqua Shard is perfect if you want to combine your tea with some scenery. This menu also has the option to add on a glass of Champagne if you're planning to celebrate the occasion, while the tea itself is provided by the Rare Tea Company. The central location makes this ideal if you'd like to go sightseeing afterwards and it's easy to see why Aqua Shard is such a popular venue.

So there you have it - a selection of our favourite places for afternoon tea in the capital. There are plenty more to choose from, whether you want a themed tea, a more casual affair or even something downright unusual. All that remains is the decision as to whether you put the jam or the cream onto your scone first! Let us know which way you do it via our poll on Facebook and you could be in with a chance of winning your very own tea for two! 


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