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The Top Spots for Afternoon Tea

So, what is Afternoon Tea, exactly? Well, it means real tea (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Ceylon, Darjeeling, or Assam) brewed in a china pot, and served with china cups and saucers, milk, lemon, and silver spoons, between 3 and 5:30 pm.

For the full experience there should be elegant finger foods on a three-tiered cake stand: crustless sandwiches on the bottom; fruit scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam in the middle; and rich cakes, shortbread, patisseries, macaroons, and fancies on top.

Tea-goers dress smartly (though not ostentatiously) and a certain level of decorum is, of course, expected.

The Savoy. Hands down, this super glamorous riverside hotel off the Strand offers the most beautiful setting for Tea: the Thames Foyer, a symphony of gold and grays centered around a wrought-iron 'winter garden' gazebo, is just the place for the resident pianist to accompany you as you enjoy the award-winning house teas, along with finger sandwiches, homemade scones, and yummilicious pastries. Don't forget to swing by the adjacent Chinoiserie Vestibule—an impossibly chic black-and-white chintz covered room—to make some purchases in the Savoy Tea Boutique. Strand, London, WC2R OEU. 020/7836 4343. www.fairmont.com/savoy-london.

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