It is a well known ritual of Afternoon Tea in UK. This ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. As a young woman in the early 1800s she lived During a time When it was common to eat only two main meals a day, with breakfast early in the morning and dinner scheduled occurring late in the evening. Weakened by hunger pangs and irritated each day, she decided to schedule time for afternoon tea and snack each take. But over time, this practice became very famous and has taken strong roots in the culture of the country.
Nowadays there are tearooms and hotels that have a very large supply in this tradition. Plenty are pretty much indistinguishable but quite a few offering something unique.
Below are some of the capital’s best afternoon teas for those who want to experience this ancient tradition.
Queen Victoria loved to take tea at Brown’s, a wonderfully traditional Mayfair hotel where the afternoon tea is legendary. Established in 1837 for genteel folk, James Brown’s charming hotel instantly became synonymous with the refined tradition of afternoon tea. A popular haunt of royalty and statesmen, the hotel has also attracted and inspired a number of famous guests. The English Tea Room is a wonderfully refined, discrete setting from which to enjoy a choice of teas – there are more than 17 teas – finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones, Brown’s famous home-made jams and clotted cream, and a selection of cakes and delicate pastries with the finest Wedgwood porcelain and select your desired delicacy from a Victorian silver tea-stand as you form part of history at Brown’s.
Tea at The Ritz has to be the London equivalent of Breakfast at Tiffany’s – a world-famous brand that captures the essence of each city’s history and culture. Synonymous with the comfortable colonialism of the old British aristocracy, for Londoners afternoon tea at The Ritz conjures an image of luxury, indulgence, formality and impeccable service. Detailed in delicate shades of gold, pale green and pale pink, the Palm Court, where afternoon tea is served, is an exemplar of soothing sophistication combined with lavish Louis XVI luxury. Lofty ceilings, glittering chandeliers, gilded trellises, marble columns, deep cornices and draped floral curtains all combine for a visual treat of the old Establishment. Waiters, dressed immaculately in tails, serve up tea in fine bone china with exact precision while a pianist tinkles the ivories and a harpist plucks away in the background. Views of the Green Park royal gardens are a stunning reminder of a time when King Edward VII, Winston Churchill and Charles De Gaulle formed part of the regular stream or royal, aristocratic and noble visitors taking tea at the hotel’s Palm Court. It hardly needs saying but dress smartly – a jacket and tie are essential for men. Early booking is essential.
Laduree at Harrods
This famous French patisserie dates back to 1862, when Louis Ernest Laduree, a miller from southwest France, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. Their English off-shoot is suitably situated in plush baroque surroundings within Harrods. Delicate and delightful macaroons, sold by the kilo, are their signature and come beautifully presented in boxes in a whole choice of flavours from pistachio to rose petal. But you can also choose from a whole variety of baked and creamed goods from fresh petits fours to millefeuille au vieux rhum brun – vanilla cream flavoured caramelized puff pastry with old dark rum. The sweet pastry, smooth passion fruit cream and fresh raspberries tarte passion framboise is hard to resist. Champagne Ladure, available from 3.30pm to 6pm, adds an indulgent bottle of bubbly to a traditional afternoon tea.
Named the Tea Guild’s Best Afternoon Tea in 2006, 2011 and 2012, and presented with an Award of Excellence an impressive five times, Claridge’s is one of the top locations for Afternoon Tea in London. The Art Deco interior of Claridge’s saw a stunning refit in 1999, bringing it back to its awe-inspiring former glory and worthy of its affectionate title “the extension to Buckingham Palace”. The centre piece of the Foyer is a huge glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly, adding to the magic of the venue. Diners are accompanied by a pianist and harpist while they choose between more than 40 different blends of tea from around the world and devour classic finger sandwiches, pastries and moist, fluffy homemade raisin and apple scones served with Marco Pollo jelly and Cornish clotted cream.
Winner of numerous awards, this hotel has been a byword for style and comfort for over 70 years. Served in the famous marble and gold Promenade entrance lounge of The Dorchester, diners can chose to indulge in either a Traditional, Champagne or High Tea before drinking in the extravagance of the lavish setting. Palm tree fronds flutter above elegant couches while bright sun-light streams through the windows. Choose from a varied selection of 20 imported teas, or go for the Dorchester’s very own delicate blend. The hotel employs its very own tea chef. Their scones have been made to the same delicious recipe for over 50 years, and we can tell why. Awash with light this is no place for those who want to hide away in the shadows. It is, however, perfect for those traditional afternoon tea takers for whom glamour and glitz coupled with eyeing up fellow diners is part and parcel of the whole ritual.
If you are planning a trip to London, you better go to one of this Afternoon tea otherwise you are gonna regret.
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