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Where is the best afternoon tea in London ??

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Where is the best afternoon tea in London ??

Old Mar 28th, 2019, 01:55 PM
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Okay, sorry to bring this up again... I read through the afternoon tea site and most of them say that reservations are required. Do you think one can find a tea in the Kensington area in early May on a walk-in basis? I'm not looking for £75 fancy dress tea. I'm just not sure how long our tour of the Victoria and Albert museum is going to take (and if I'm going to have an urge to sing "To Sir, With Love") and would rather be less scheduled.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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The best is a Quixotic Quest in such a city - why not just a great place - if there is a best the difference betweeen them and the next bests can't be much - rather the environment also plays a different - like at Harrod's fancy tea rooms (often dismissed here as too touristy) - forget the best and settle for some great ones.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 02:20 PM
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Most restaurants in London now offer an afternoon tea. It’s a money maker for them with so many tourists thinking it’s the thing to do when in London. For the Kensington area there’s The Orangery next too Kensington Palace. I believe the cafe in Kensington Palace also offers afternoon tea but haven’t been there. Have no idea about trying to do it without reservations but in early May it may well be possible. You might have a look at the Caffe Concerto in Kensington. I know they have afternoon tea starting at £20 a real bargain, and I seriously doubt that reservations are necessary. All three have pleasant ambience and for some £60 less than the Ritz, simply makes more sense. After all we are talking tea, tiny sandwiches and some small pastries.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 02:35 PM
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Starbucks must have good teas and snacks? https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drink...-fog-tea-latte

Their new London Fog Tea Latte was introduced with huge fanfare.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 02:45 PM
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The V&A only does a formal afternoon tea one day a week and you need to book, but you could put together your own selection, and their tea rooms are a sight in themselves. Otherwise there is a Patisserie Valerie one bus stop away - or walking distance.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 03:44 PM
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Fancy/posh/high end teas require advance booking -- some far in advance. Just an afternoon tea in a casual cafe or department store -- no, walk ins are easy.

As for Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, etc. -- each has several dining spots (Harrods and Selfridges each have MANY) and while for their casual venues one can usually walk in sometimes after a bit of a wait . . . but their special/fancy/posher spots and tea salons, yes one definitely needs to book.

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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 03:49 PM
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The entire Patisserie Valerie chain was placed in administration. An equity fund came to rescue last month - but I think which locations will remain open is still not determined.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 04:21 PM
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That's a pity. They were certainly a better option than Starbucks!
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 04:26 PM
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AFAIK most are still open -- but some have closed. They are trying to renegotiate leases and such
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 05:26 PM
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Surely Pal was jesting about Starbuck’s.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 07:40 PM
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I would just take my tea in the William Morris rooms
at the V/A. The food is served at various kiosks and you pay a cashier for your dinner, cafeteria style. You can have salmon and scalloped potatoes, for example. Wine and Champagne are also served.

I had some very delicious scones with jam and clotted cream at the V/A in September.

Thin
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Old Mar 29th, 2019, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
The best is a Quixotic Quest in such a city - why not just a great place - if there is a best the difference betweeen them and the next bests can't be much - rather the environment also plays a different - like at Harrod's fancy tea rooms (often dismissed here as too touristy) - forget the best and settle for some great ones.
I completely agree. It seems that many tourists feel that having tea is such a defining 'British thing' that they yearn for the 'ultimate' tea. A single experience where they can come away satisfied that they've 'done tea' without any 'footnote'. They've been to the 'best' so they've experienced it to 100% without any doubt. Nice solid tick on that 'bucket list' item with no dispute.

This isn't particular to having tea in Britain, of course. I just don't think this is a good mindset to have when traveling.

i've never heard any real person use the term 'high tea' in Britain.
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Old Mar 29th, 2019, 05:11 AM
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i've never heard any real person use the term 'high tea' in Britain.
janisj was referring to "high end" afternoon tea. The fact that you have never heard of high tea doesn't alter the fact that it is just as much a "thing" as afternoon tea.

To put it simply, high tea was eaten by the working class after work, afternoon tea was eaten by aristocratic women while not working. Afternoon tea as served by posh hotels these days is largely a construct for the tourist trade. Regular people have a cup of tea (or coffee) and a slice of cake or a scone in a tea shop or cafe.
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Old Mar 30th, 2019, 01:26 AM
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To eastender - I agree that it depends on what you are looking for. If a cup of tea and scones or cake is what you want, try the cafe in the V&A. I was searching for a photo I'd taken but can't find it - there is one room that is quite spectacular, try and get a seat in there. Otherwise you could have a shortlist of a couple of places in your budget and phone them once you're finished at the museum to see if you could come by and have afternoon tea. We paid about 22 pounds each for a lovely afternoon tea at Ham Yard Hotel which is roughly 15 mins by tube or bus from the V&A. We were there in September and it was about half full, some people having lunch and some afternoon tea. Hope that helps.

Kay
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Old Mar 30th, 2019, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
The entire Patisserie Valerie chain was placed in administration. An equity fund came to rescue last month - but I think which locations will remain open is still not determined.
This is what I was referring to when I wrote that it looks like Patisserie Valerie has been saved for the moment. The branch in Brompton Road is closed, this was the one on the same side of the road as the Skandium store and Racine Restaurant, also sadly closed. There is a Paul bakery in South Ken which serves patisseries.
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Old Mar 30th, 2019, 06:44 AM
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The V&A has tea on Fridays, coinciding with our visit. The website indicates it is planned by a food historian to be how Queen Victoria would have enjoyed tea. £30 so not too, too pricy. I think I'm in. Thanks everyone.

It seems the Orangerie is closed right now for renovations.
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Old Mar 30th, 2019, 07:42 AM
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This thread has made me wish we were heading off for London sometime soon. Please report back on your tea experience - enjoy!
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Old Mar 30th, 2019, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
janisj was referring to "high end" afternoon tea. The fact that you have never heard of high tea doesn't alter the fact that it is just as much a "thing" as afternoon tea.

To put it simply, high tea was eaten by the working class after work, afternoon tea was eaten by aristocratic women while not working. Afternoon tea as served by posh hotels these days is largely a construct for the tourist trade. Regular people have a cup of tea (or coffee) and a slice of cake or a scone in a tea shop or cafe.
No, I never said that I "never heard of" high tea. Reread my post and be mindful that language has nuance of meaning.
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