Crunchy yet butter-soft scones, homemade jam, the yellowest clotted cream, a colourful assortment of canapé-sized iced cakes, bone china cups and saucers, a bottomless teapot, a table dressed with a white linen tablecloth, and a comfortable chair in a luxurious venue…is there a better way to spend an afternoon?
The idea of sitting down for afternoon tea was first popularised in the 1840s by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, who found she needed refreshment and nourishment in the middle of the afternoon. Afternoon tea was her solution to the problem, bridging the long gap between lunch and dinner. It quickly caught on, and today, afternoon tea still manages to be an event, whether we’re enjoying it out or at home.
To enjoy a real afternoon tea experience in Knightsbridge or Belgravia, head to any of these destinations:
Head Pastry Chef, Nicolas Rouzaud, is something of a wizard when it comes to whipping up pastries and delectable cakes. Afternoon tea takers at The Lanesborough will be thoroughly spoilt, both in terms of the quality of the food and refreshments and the luxury hotel’s enviable décor. Afternoon Tea is served in the Michelin-starred Céleste dining room from 2.30pm – 4.30pm on weekdays, and 3pm – 4.30pm on weekends. Extended hours are offered in The Withdrawing Room. The Lanesborough was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate in the Afternoon Tea Awards 2016.
The ceremony of afternoon tea is beautifully observed at The Goring. The finest quality tea blends are available, as is a glass of Bollinger Champagne, should guests wish to indulge. The yellow and gilded china is exquisite, and is the perfect accompaniment to the tea, pastries, sandwiches and scones provided. Afternoon Tea is served in the hotel’s Bar & Lounge daily between 3pm – 4pm, and in The Dining Room on Saturdays between 1pm – 4pm. The Goring was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate in the Afternoon Tea Awards 2016.
The Berkeley brings a touch of theatricality to the proceedings. Fashion and fashion design is creatively incorporated into what is served at the ‘designer afternoon tea’, Prêt-à-Portea, and the menu is inspired by the fashion world. A range of loose leaf teas are available. Afternoon tea is served daily between 1.30pm – 5.30pm.
The V&A isn’t only one of the world’s most celebrated museums. It also serves up a particularly impressive ‘Victorian Afternoon Tea’ every Sunday between 3pm to 5pm in the awe-inspiring Morris Room. The museum has joined forces with eminent food historian Natasha Marks to devise a menu which combines both sweet and savoury treats and includes ‘Mrs Beeton’s cucumber sandwich’.
Elegance is the word to describe The Georgian Restaurant, the room where partakers of afternoon tea gather. Harrods is something of an institution, especially when it comes to quality produce. The homemade lemon curd is a tasty treat, while the freshly-baked scones, finger sandwiches and savouries will melt in your mouth. A selection of black teas, green teas, white teas and herbal infusions are available. The Georgian has also been awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate in the Afternoon Tea Awards 2016, and tea is served here Monday to Saturday between 11:30am – 8pm, and on Sundays from 11:30am – 6pm.
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