Afternoon Tea in London Questions

Old Feb 12th, 2023, 03:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Afternoon Tea in London Questions

We will be in London the first week of July. First time visit for my 12 year old daughter and 2nd visit for me and my husband. I have only had afternoon tea in the dining hall at Harvey Nichols (it was the only one we could get a table at the time). I'd really like to go for a more traditional afternoon tea in a beautiful setting this summer, and think it would be a fun first for my daughter as well. My husband wants clotted cream & strawberry jam with his scones which is why I was thinking a more traditional menu might be good. It seems there are fancy hotels that offer it, as well as dedicated tea houses. Any thoughts about the Savoy, Fortnum & Mason, or any others that I should look into?

Also, what time do you suggest having afternoon tea? I understand that afternoon tea is a bit lighter fare than high tea, so would you do a light lunch and then go for afternoon tea? Not sure what is typical and trying to get a better idea of timing so that I can plan our sightseeing around it. Thanks in advance for the suggestions and tips.



kimberlyb is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 04:07 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,086
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Of the really posh ones I've done afternoon tea at the Ritz (several times - probably 10X over 20 years), F&M maybe 4X, the Savoy twice (8 years apart -- last time in 2021), Brown's, the Marriott County Hall, Claridges, the Dorchester and a few others. Any would be great -- just depends on where you can get bookings for your desired time. Most of the 5 star hotels limit non-guests to late seatings -- 4:30, 5, maybe 5:30

"so would you do a light lunch and then go for afternoon tea? " OH, definitely not IME. In fact I often book afternoon tea for 4 or 5 PM and sometimes skip both lunch and dinner. If I have a full cooked breakfast, afternoon tea is plenty for me. A perfect day for me is late-ish afternoon tea w/ champagne, a play or musical, followed by a late night light supper if I get peckish.

At most of the posh teas, they will keep refreshing the sandwiches/other savory (usually 5 types, sometimes 4) - last time at the Savoy they gave me 'seconds' of all the sandwiches and 'thirds' of a couple. They'll usually also replenish any of the scones/cakes if you want more so you can make it a full meal for sure. As it should be for the price

Last edited by janisj; Feb 12th, 2023 at 04:09 PM.
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 04:21 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We had high tea at Kensington Palace was a great experience and we enjoyed visiting the gardens afterwards
hugo64 is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 04:37 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,086
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by hugo64 View Post
We had high afternoon tea at Kensington Palace was a great experience and we enjoyed visiting the gardens afterwards
Note above edit. Kens Palace, whether in the 'old days' in the Orangery, or now in the Pavilion, serves afternoon tea. ('high tea' is essentially dinner)
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 07:54 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Of the really posh ones I've done afternoon tea at the Ritz (several times - probably 10X over 20 years), F&M maybe 4X, the Savoy twice (8 years apart -- last time in 2021), Brown's, the Marriott County Hall, Claridges, the Dorchester and a few others. Any would be great -- just depends on where you can get bookings for your desired time. Most of the 5 star hotels limit non-guests to late seatings -- 4:30, 5, maybe 5:30

"so would you do a light lunch and then go for afternoon tea? " OH, definitely not IME. In fact I often book afternoon tea for 4 or 5 PM and sometimes skip both lunch and dinner. If I have a full cooked breakfast, afternoon tea is plenty for me. A perfect day for me is late-ish afternoon tea w/ champagne, a play or musical, followed by a late night light supper if I get peckish.

At most of the posh teas, they will keep refreshing the sandwiches/other savory (usually 5 types, sometimes 4) - last time at the Savoy they gave me 'seconds' of all the sandwiches and 'thirds' of a couple. They'll usually also replenish any of the scones/cakes if you want more so you can make it a full meal for sure. As it should be for the price
Thank you! I wondered if any of the more posh spots replenish the food, so appreciate that additional info for planning purposes.

Will look into Kensington Palace as well.
kimberlyb is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 08:07 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,086
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
IME the posh hotel teas (and at Fortnum and Mason as well - in the 4th floor Tea Salon, not the downstairs venues) do freely replenish -- though last time at the Ritz it seemed they were just a little 'tighter' than in past years. Still a 2nd round but the waiters weren't as 'proactive' offering more than that.

At tea shops and places like Kens Palace service is more like a regular restaurant - just one round of the menu.
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 08:55 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,531
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
We had high tea once at the Ritz and it was great, served in a beautiful room. But it was hard to get a booking and was pricey. More recently we had the same thing at Ham Yard Hotel and enjoyed that. The surroundings were nice but not lavish and historic like the Ritz. Service was good and food was similar. High tea for tourists/overseas visitors usually means scones and jam and cream, savoury bites of some kind or finger sandwiches and tiny cakes, plus your choice of tea. I would say skip lunch and enjoy yourselves. The seating times will depend on the establishment.
https://www.firmdalehotels.com/hotel...afternoon-tea/
https://afternoontea.co.uk/uk/london/
KayF is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 09:23 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,086
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I try not to be pedantic (honest ) but repeat after me . . . Afternoon Tea, Afternoon Tea, Afternoon Tea . . .

(I don't think any hotels in London serve High Tea)
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 12th, 2023, 10:23 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 6,255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What Janisj says; the tea/scones/cakes/sandwiches meal is called Afternoon Tea.
It's too much sweet stuff for me, but I sometimes have guests who like to go. I used to take them to the Wallace Collection, but recent reviews were not so good. Still a lovely place to go to. We had a cream tea recently at the Ivy Soho; really lovely, silver tea pots, scones, jam, clotted cream and very friendly staff, no rush. And not expensive. I don't think they do a full afternoon tea. If I were having a full afternoon tea, I don't have lunch or dinner. Any of the grand hotels mentioned is good. Or The Wolseley. Kensington Palace is OK but much more casual, as is the Wallace Collection.
Tulips is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2023, 12:17 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,340
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I believe the Antipodeans sometimes call it “high tea”, but in England it is always afternoon tea.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2023, 05:50 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 23,664
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
https://www.thespruceeats.com/aftern...ference-435327
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2023, 07:58 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,348
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My sister and niece were in London over Thanksgiving and absolutely loved their afternoon tea at the Goring. As an added bonus they were served mulled wine too and had a fabulous time.

I have always greatly enjoyed the tea and service at the Savoy, though I havenít been since Covid.
geetika is online now  
Old Feb 14th, 2023, 10:02 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I do the same as janisj, in that I skip both lunch and dinner if I am going to have afternoon tea. It is always a LOT of food!

I know this suggestion is not what you were specifically looking for in your original post, but I was in London in December and I had a really fun time on a Brigit's Bakery tea bus. It seems like it would be a perfect thing to do with a 12 year-old, especially since she has not been to London yet (and this is just your second visit).

Perhaps you could do a formal tea at one of the spots discussed above, and then find a way to work a Brigit's tea in as well? Brigit's has red double-decker buses that they use to drive you around London to see the sights while you eat. It's super fun and entertaining, and a great way to see a bit of the city. (Especially on a first or second day in London, when you might still be a bit jet-lagged.) I did their holiday-themed Grinchmas Bus to see the Christmas lights, but they have other regular and seasonal tours as well. Their website is b-bakery.com. I recommend it! Also if you do it, I think it's worth it to get a spot at the front of the bus, for the best views.
LunaBella is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2023, 02:29 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6,405
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kimberley, I've been trotting out The Zetter Townhouse in answer to this kind of query. Def something different. We absolutely loved it. Great food and drink in a quirky Clerkenwell setting.
I am done. the clotted Fodors
zebec is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2023, 11:50 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Iíve been looking into taking my niece & nephew to the Ampersand hotel for afternoon tea. They do two versions of it for kids, Jurassic & Science which might be fun for them & a nice idea after visiting museums in the area.


https://ampersandhotel.com/eat-drink...afternoon-tea/

balthy is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2023, 01:01 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 24,069
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've had afternoon tea at Fortnum's, the Ritz, Harrod's, the Natural History Museum, and Brown's Hotel. Brown's was the absolute best, both for atmosphere and quality/quantity of the food. Fortnum's was a close second, tied with the Ritz.
Underhill is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2023, 07:35 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Silly question. Looking to book an afternoon tea at The Savoy this summer. Would you order an afternoon tea for each person or do people share? Not sure how this works. There will be 2 adults and one teen.
kimberlyb is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2023, 08:22 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 23,664
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Normally you book for the numbers and then actual details begin at the table. For instance there are a variety of actual teas. Logically you get all the Earl Grey in one teapot and all the Afternoon tea in another teapot. But there is a limit to how much tea you want in a pot and how heavy it can be. Then milks of your choice, lemon, sugars. I could go on, but let the staff manage the details.

A good place will sort it out very nicely so you feel like you are in control (you aren't) and a bad place will make you feel like they are nanny.

One piece of advice, don't ask for ketchup or phili-cheese with your cucumber sandwich (a friend in Bremen was offered this last week) ;-)
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2023, 08:48 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 71,086
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by kimberlyb View Post
Silly question. Looking to book an afternoon tea at The Savoy this summer. Would you order an afternoon tea for each person or do people share? Not sure how this works. There will be 2 adults and one teen.
2 adults and a teen is three -- so you book for three. You do all share in a way (all the food is served sort of communally). The finger sandwiches / scones / pastries are usually served together on a multi tiered cake stand(s) with the number of items to cover the number of diners. So if for instance they offer 4 types of finger sandwiches -- there would be 12 sandwiches for the 3 of you. doesn't matter if one eats 2 or 3 and one eats 7. As the waiters see the sandwiches disappear they will usually be right there to top up them up.

If you all order the same variety of tea there will usually be one pot but if the group orders 2 or more varieties - there will be multiple pots.
janisj is online now  
Old Apr 24th, 2023, 09:15 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Normally you book for the numbers and then actual details begin at the table. For instance there are a variety of actual teas. Logically you get all the Earl Grey in one teapot and all the Afternoon tea in another teapot. But there is a limit to how much tea you want in a pot and how heavy it can be. Then milks of your choice, lemon, sugars. I could go on, but let the staff manage the details.

A good place will sort it out very nicely so you feel like you are in control (you aren't) and a bad place will make you feel like they are nanny.

One piece of advice, don't ask for ketchup or phili-cheese with your cucumber sandwich (a friend in Bremen was offered this last week) ;-)
Thank you. P.S. ketchup and phili cheese sounds disgusting to me. Yuck. Ive had traditional afternoon tea before, so would never even think to ask them to modify in any way, but as always appreciate your suggestion as a precaution.
kimberlyb is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -