Afternoon Tea


The practice of the fancy three tiered plate of dainties and sandwiches, served along side loose-leaf tea in china cups, originated in the 1800’s when an early breakfast and late dinner was the custom. To stop from fainting, the Duchess of Bedford started having an afternoon snack in her room.  She began to share it with friends, and it evolved into the phenomena we see today.



Afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Afternoon tea in London used to mean the Ritz hotel, a tinkling piano, tail coated waiters and a hefty bill at the end of it.  That still exists and the bill has become even more eye watering. Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, Claridges are some of the many places who charge between £45-80 per person, but it is an experience you will savour.

They can be found everywhere, along with many quirky menus.  You can find a chocolate one, gluten free, organic, sushi, and more.

If you search online for ‘cheap afternoon teas’, you will find many for half that price.   The Tea Terrace on top of the House of Fraser on Oxford Street comes in around £15. The Orangery at Kensington Palace offers beautiful surroundings offers tea for £27.50. If you want luxury and value, St. Ermins Hotel, just around the corner from the Palace, offers a sitting for £30.


Kensington Palace Orangery

Kensington Palace Orangery


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If you want all the bells and whistles and can pay the bill, check online and you will find lists and comparisons of the many venues available to you. Check sites like ‘last’ for deals.  They offer 25-50% off on big name venues.  Most offer with or without Champagne.


Cream Tea

Cream tea is a form of afternoon tea, with 2 warm scones, clotted cream (which is cream warmed up so it thickens) and strawberry jam.  There is controversy as to whether to split the scone, spread the cream on top like thick butter, then glop jam on top of that/ or jam first and top with cream.  As long as you apply it thickly, and use all of your jam and cream, then it’s all good.

Quite often a cream tea is part of an Afternoon tea selection.