Bea’s of Bloomsbury 44 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8NW pTelehone (020) 7242 8330
The selection of teas is sourced from Jing, a very well-esteemed supplier. The impeccably-decorated cakes and very good-looking cookies are all made in-house so the fragrance on the air makes the experience even sweeter. Small but perfectly formed, Bea’s of Bloomsbury is a most affordable treat at tea-time. On weekdays, there is no need to book a table.
Brown’s Hotel Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BP Telephone (020) 7518 4155
Agatha Christie would stay at Brown’s, said to have inspired her novel, At Bertam’s Hotel. Traditional Afternoon Tea offers a choice of 17 teas, including Brown’s own blend. Finger sandwiches, pastries, freshly-baked cakes, plain and fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve are served to a piano accompaniment in the English Tea Room between 3 and 6pm on weekdays, from 1 to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Online reservations or telephone (see above)
The Langham Hotel 1 Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1B 1JA Telephone 020 7637 1000
This 5-star hotel claims to be the place where the tradition was born, in 1865. In 2010, The Langham Hotel won the prestigious ‘best place in London to enjoy a sumptuous Afternoon Tea’ awarded by the Tea Guild. Served in the tranquil, elegant surroundings of Palm Court, afternoon tea comprises sandwiches, pastries, scones with cream and delicious organic strawberry preserve with any one of a wide range of teas or, indeed, coffee. Booking is essential.
London Review Cake Shop 14 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL
The London Review Cake Shop describes itself as ‘the modern literary London coffee-house’. A selection of specialist teas from Jing and Mariage Frères, freshly-made sandwiches on artisanal breads, delicious salads and cakes make it a great place to savour afternoon tea surrounded by books and magazines. Using ingredients sourced from independent producers, the constantly-evolving menu promises “traditional with a twist”. The cake shop is connected to the bookshop by a passage in the History section.
Mo Café 25 Heddon Street , London, W1B 4BH
It may be far from the English tradition but Mo Café is well-loved by Londoners. Jewel-coloured lantern-light glisters over silverwares wrought into delicate filigree and glows across the brass tops of low-slung tables. Sink into banquettes laden with plump cushions, nibble on delicious Moroccan snacks and sip refreshing mint tea. Staff members are charming and the music is groovy. Kick back, relax and savour the flavour of the Maghreb in Mayfair.
The Wallace Hertford House, Manchester Square,London, W1U 3BN
This gorgeous Georgian town house is home to the renowned fine art collection. From 2.30 to 4.30pm daily, a French-style afternoon tea is served in the light-filled conservatory. Wrought iron garden furniture contributes to the al fresco feel, with plump cushions to make it comfortable and you sit, surrounded by sculpture. As well as cakes and tartlets, you must try the delicious pâté, made on the premises.