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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 21 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

An aristocratic habit started by the Duchess of Bedford in 1840, pausing for tea, cakes and sandwiches at three or four in the afternoon is a good old-fashioned English treat.

Although there are afternoon teas offered across the city (and just about everywhere and anywhere these days), for the authentic, traditional afternoon tea – as the Duchess would have expected it – you need to attend one of London’s historic, grand dame hotels.

The great and the good have been flocking to the grand salons of Claridges, the Savoy and the Ritz (among others) for over a century. Settle in among the glamorous surroundings for miniature sandwiches and cakes served on gleaming silver stands, with tea poured by elegantly-livered waiters. In most cases, you can up the ante just a little further by adding a glass of champagne to the package.

Recommendations

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Claridge’s

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Aerial view of a three level stand full of cakes

This royal-favourite Mayfair hotel has one of the most traditionally British afternoon tea menus, available with a champagne option and served on its signature striped china.

Adult price: £50

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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Fortnum & Mason

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Close up of cream cakes on a stand

Official Grocers to the Queen, F&M have been offering afternoon tea for 314 years. Tuck into exquisite sandwiches and pastries in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, named in 2012 after having been officially opened by the Queen.

Adult price: £30

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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The Corinthia

London, United Kingdom (UK)

The Corinthia

Under a chandelier sparkling with a thousand Baccarat crystals, the Corinthia Hotel’s upmarket afternoon tea comes with a large choice of champagnes or teas, or in festive themed versions.

Adult price: £45

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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The Goring

London, United Kingdom (UK)

The Goring

This hundred-year-old Belgravia hotel has its afternoon tea down pat: traditional finger sandwiches, cream-slathered scones and prim cakes, served with or without champagne.

Adult price: £30

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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The Langham

London, United Kingdom (UK)

The Langham

One of the most historic spots for tea, the Langham’s Palm Court is a grand setting, with jewellery-box mirrored interiors and dainty patisserie treats overseen by Michel Roux Jr.

Adult price: £30

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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The Ritz

London, United Kingdom (UK)

close up of a sign entrance to the hotel

In the palatial surroundings of the Ritz’s white-and-gold Palm Court, this is London’s only afternoon tea to have a certified tea sommelier on hand to help you with your choices.

Adult price: £60

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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The Savoy

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Aerial view of a three level stand full of cakes

Taken in this iconic hotel’s light-flooded Thames Foyer, under a glass dome, this top-quality afternoon tea can be booked with or without champagne.

Adult price: £65

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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The Wolseley

London, United Kingdom (UK)

People dining in a tearoom

This esteemed St James’s tearoom’s moody, marbled interior offers a more modern atmosphere for its still-traditional afternoon tea, which is more affordable than many of the hotel versions.

Adult price: £33

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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Logistics

Price from: £20
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 1-3 hours

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London

Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

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