Thursday, May 3, 2012

London City Guide: Afternoon Tea

Rose tea at Harrods

What could be a more quintessentially British thing to do while in London than go to high tea? It is something fun, delicious, and unique that I believe is completely worth the costs. That said, be ready to shell out the big bucks if you want to go all out with this tradition. Many of the big, fancy hotels in London provide an afternoon or high tea service, most famously the Ritz, which tend to be around £35 to £40 a person, and require jackets and ties for men and equally elegant dress for the ladies. I've had afternoon tea at this type of hotel, although not the fanciest of the fancy, which was lovely and delicious, although not quite the entire experience I was hoping for. Therefore, if you decide to go for a hotel tea, my recommendation would be to go all out for the big names, including the Savoy, which recently renovated its tearoom and has been garnering a lot of talk ever since.

On my most recent visit, we decided we did not want to dedicate a couple hours to tea, as the trip was so short, and so we opted to enjoy tea at Harrods in their Tea Room on the second floor. The service included tea, two scones, jam, and clotted cream, for £12.50 a person. It was exactly what we were looking for, fancy without being fussy and delicious. I would highly recommend it for those who want a taste of what afternoon tea is like, without going all-out. Harrods also offers a more elegant tea in another of their eateries, The Georgian Restaurant, on the fourth floor.

The Londoners we met also recommended a couple cheaper, casual spots that are more likely to be filled with locals than tourist including the café at the Tate Modern and the Café in the Crypt at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square. Both of which are supposed to have excellent, no fuss afternoon teas. But no matter what level of service you decide upon, do your research, dress accordingly, and most importantly have an amazing time!

xx Molly

Plain and raisin scones, yum.

Jams and clotted cream.

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