London Tea: The top 5 places to up the ante on a traditional afternoon fix
Going to London and not stopping for tea is practically criminal. Even though tea jargon is somewhat complicated (afternoon tea does not equal high tea!) and the rituals are sometimes confusing (tea into milk or milk into tea?), it’s become our favourite meal of the day when across the pond. There really is no better way to break up a busy schedule of shopping and London sightseeing than with a few tea sandwiches and some jasmine pearls. Here are some of our favourite picks.
9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG
Tea doesn’t have to be granny, guys. Case in point: Sketch. While this place is always popping at night, come daytime it’s just as busy when a young and very chic crowd stops by for brunch/lunch/tea!. On weekdays, tea is served in The Glade, a room that can only be described as someone’s very vivid interpretation of Wonderland. Weekends, the tea services moves into the Gallery Room, a Hudson’s Bay meets Scandi Modern meets junk shop (in the very best way) kind of space. Both spaces are totally inspiring and perfect for a casual cuppa’ with cool friends.
160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
For an ever so slighty European take on afternoon tea, head to The Wolseley hotel. Here, Sachertorte (and other delectable pastries) have replaced sponge cake and scones. The space is interesting—it was first a car shown room, then a bank—and so is the crowd—Clive Owen is reportedly a regular.
Fortnum and Mason
181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
Tea with the Queen may be a pipe dream for most of us, but the centrally located Fortnum and Mason makes that (almost) a reality. Recently refurbished to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the tea salon was re-opened by the royal trifecta: Camilla, Kate, and Lizzy herself. If walking on such sacred ground—I mean, Kate’s L.K. Bennett-ed feet have touched this carpeting, guys—wasn’t reason enough, the food should be reason enough. This department store is famous for it’s jams, teas, and storied food hall, after all.
49 Brook St, London W1K 4HR
Posher than Posh spice is the afternoon tea service at Claridge’s. Consistently voted the best afternoon tea by the Tea Guild (which, we gather, is the governing body of all things tea), this tea service has left no stone unturned—from the tea-infused jam to the striped china to the impeccably dressed crowd. This is afternoon tea 101: buttery scones, dainty tea sandwiches, pleeenty of clotted cream. The tea selection is vast ranging from the boring to the not-so-boring. Case in point: the Royal White-Silver Needles tea, which is picked at dawn on only two days of the year!
Wilton Pl, London SW1X 7RL
If you’re in the mood for the unconventional, why not try The Berkeley’s Prêt-à-Portea? Cringe-worthy name aside, the tea is totally rad; the menu changes every six months according to the current season’s trends (think: Vivienne Westwood and Gucci edible prints). Finally, that Burberry trench can be yours! In cookie form, though, duh!