Dare I ask about Tea in London?

Old Dec 11th, 2014, 05:38 PM
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Dare I ask about Tea in London?

Hi folks,
Hope I'm not asking a question that's been beaten to death and or that will cause a debate over the proper nomenclature (i.e.high tea, cream tea, etc.).

Essentially, I'm looking for current recommendations for great places to grab a traditional tea & a scone (and maybe something savory) in the afternoon in London. Doesn't have to be overtly fancy or formal; just delicious scones and perhaps some savory options. If they have any decaf tea options (for the kids), even better.

On our last trip in 2004, I learned that a brief self-imposed rest period with a good shot of something caffeinated and a delightful tray of carbohydrates around 3pm was a perfect antidote to the mid-day lull that comes with big city travel. I actually don't regularly drink coffee or even caffeinated tea, but got quickly addicted on that trip.

At the British Museum, I remember enjoying their afternoon tea options. Very good scones, and a stunning space. Are they any good any more?

We also had a very nice, if slightly more formal, tea service at the Basil Street Hotel, which at the time was a forum favorite I think. (Not sure if they're even around any more.) The interior was all dark upholstery and leather club chairs and floral chintz. But the service was all quiet and really welcoming and the savory options very delicious.

I'm generally *not* looking for an overly formal affair, or anything set amidst a crowd of tourists.

That said, we are spending our last night in London at the Intercontinental (thank you points). I noticed they have a very formal afternoon tea service... is it worth it?

The rest of the trip we'll be staying near Gloucester Road tube, but I'm open to recommendations anywhere.

skatterfly is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2014, 06:42 PM
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Old Dec 11th, 2014, 06:50 PM
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I always suggest The Orangery at Kensington Palace. Not far from where you are staying, and neither too casual nor too stuffy. Followed by a walk through Kensington Gardens for the perfect finish.
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Old Dec 12th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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There is a Richoux tea room branch close to Harrod's, which is within walking distance of the Gloucester Road tube shop. It has charm without being extra expensive and also serves other food items. My sister doesn't drink caffeine and found peppermint tea that she liked.
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Old Dec 12th, 2014, 03:12 PM
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I was a regular at the Richoux's across from Harrods for years, but the last couple of times I was there the place was in dire need of renovation. Years ago the waitresses used to dress in turn of the century costumes. They have been replaced by male waiters who while efficient are certainly not charming. In fact, rather brusque.Their scones never have been particularly good but love their fruit tarts. Perhaps they have upgraded since I was last there, but I quit going several years ago. Disappointing since it had been a favorite. Probably a case of longing for the way it was. The Richoux's on Piccadilly doesn't fare much better. Of course this is just my opinion.
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 01:25 AM
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Check out www.afternoontea.co.uk for tonnes of listing and options.
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 05:06 AM
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I like the Wolseley on Piccadilly and also Sotheby's on Bond Street does a good tea...and in a very quiet setting. Both are in good shopping areas and not too far from your last nights stay...
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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All the major department stores do afternoon teas, the Wosleley (best to book), the Orangerie . . . all are good choices. Plus each of the major galleries/museums have nice restaurants that do afternoon teas. I'd plan based more on where I'll be sightseeing on the day and go from there.

You really have hundreds of choices -- unless you want the Wosleley or one of the posh hotels, you don't need to pre-plan.
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