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Afternoon Tea in London

Afternoon Tea in London

Afternoon Tea in London

It seems that everywhere I look at the moment i'm seeing articles, tweets and Facebook posts about people enjoying Afternoon Tea in London.
It's a very current thing to do for both foreigners and Brits and I can’t say I blame them.

There are lots of different stories about how afternoon tea came to be, but essentially it's roots date way back to the 17th century when it became a light meal for the upper classes that was eaten between 4 and 6pm. 
The table was laid with the best china and loose tea was brewed in a pot and served with sugar and milk, not cream as many think. Remember that the tea trade in the UK was predominant during that era.
Small "finger" sized sandwiches were served first and then cake and scones along with more tea.

For the lower classes, tea soon became popular and was drunk at every occasion during the day. 
It was thought that the combination of caffeine and sugar served as good protection from the doldrums often suffered by the lower classes.

Tea is still the drink of choice in the UK and in most houses the first thing you will be offered is a cup of tea.
In fact the answer to most things in the UK is to have a cup of tea, makes all bad things go away!

Afternoon Tea in London

Loose tea is served in traditional teapots during Afternoon tea

Traditional Afternoon Tea should include the following:

Loose Leaf Tea - brewed in a pot and served with milk and sugar - there will be a tea menu with descriptions of each tea for you to choose from and today there are many other teas such as herbal or fruit infusions in addition to regular black tea

Finger Sandwiches with fillings of cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham and smoked salmon

Fruit and Plain Scones served with jam and clotted cream

Cakes and Pastries - Battenberg and Victoria Sponge were traditionally served and today they will be on the menu but along with other beautiful creations made by the pastry chef

Champagne is an additional option if desired

 

Afternoon tea has been around for a very long time and is widely available in many well known establishments in England's capitol.
Although it's not just the food that you go to Afternoon Tea in London for, it's the experience, from the building architecture to the tea room furniture to the outstanding service and the history.
Afternoon tea in London is a special indulgent treat (for most) and should be on everyone's "to do" list when in London.

The other week I was one of those lucky enough to get a taste of quintessential Great Britain.   
The occasion was my sister-in-law's birthday and knowing that she loves a spot of afternoon tea I took her and the family off to Browns in Mayfair.

You can get afternoon tea all over the UK but London is where it's at in my opinion.
Famous grand, period buildings with tall ornate ceilings, beautifully maintained authentic furniture and delicate china service ware placed on starched white table cloths surrounded by immaculately upholstered "drawing room" chairs.
All that and a grand piano being tinkled away in the corner are par for the course.

There are loads of places to go in London and the choices are many for afternoon tea which is now served from 12 noon until 7pm.
You should to book in advance and you will be allowed your table for 90 minutes which is plenty of time to enjoy yourself.

Afternoon Tea in London

My Sister-in-law enjoying a very special day on her birthday.

Afternoon Tea in London

Super tasty sandwich selection
You can eat and drink as much as you can handle so bring your appetite.

Afternoon Tea in London

These are my 3 tips for Afternoon Tea in London:

The Ritz
The Ritz is probably the most famous place to have tea.
It doesn't disappoint either delivering everything you expect with style and precision.
I took my mum for tea there and it was a wonderful experience.
The decor is very luxurious with huge beautiful floral displays and one THE most ornate bathrooms I have ever seen! 
We all felt very special and spoilt. The food and service were incredible. 
Book well in advance though as it's really really busy.

Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum and Mason have a great Afternoon Tea with all the china and plates in the matching Fortnum colour.
The Fortnum building is iconic and less busy than Harrods so you can actually enjoy the experience.
The food selection is just as good and the ambience very "Fortnum's darling".
Fortnum make a fish paste called "Patum Peperium" or "Gentleman's Relish" which is an anchovy paste that is supposed to be superb on hot toast.
I don't do fish so i'll just take their word for it.
The paste doesn't show up in the sandwiches which were fantastic but if you go you can find it in their food court.

Brown's
Brown's Hotel was my choice this time.
I'm not a huge fan of being in the tourist scrum around famous places so try to find the less touristy but better quality places to go.
Browns Hotel is that such place.
Located in Mayfair down a side street, Browns has discreet elegance that oozes quality from the minute the immaculately groomed doorman opens your car door to the minute you walk back outside via the line of well tailored staff wishing you a good afternoon.
Despite my intention of finding a "quiet" place, Brown's was completely full but we never felt rushed, crowded or pressured to move on.
The service was impeccable, the decor a mix of traditional and modern and the food completely traditional with everything a traditional afternoon tea should have. 
All our needs were catered to quickly and professionally and we felt like royalty as we ate our sandwiches listening to the piano player tinkling the ivories.
I won't prattle on about the minor details but after all my afternoon tea experiences Browns takes it....for now!

Prices for Afternoon Tea in London will run anywhere from £35 - £50 per person which is expensive but well worth it for the experience. 
Booking - you can book directly with the venue and all have the ability to book online. 
There's also www.afternoontea.co.uk which has a selection of venues all over the UK. I booked with them.

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