Tea has been an English staple for centuries.
The ritual of afternoon tea dates back to 1840, when the custom was introduced to the country by the 7th Duchess of Bedford. Whether groups favor Earl Grey, green tea or otherwise, consider these London tearooms for your afternoon tea abroad.
The English Tea Room at Brown's Hotel
Original wood paneling and antique fireplaces surround groups while they relax among contemporary artwork and sip their afternoon tea—right where Queen Victoria did! Offering a slice of traditional London life, Brown's has over 17 teas for groups to choose from, including the hotel's own signature blend.
The Palm Court at The Ritz London
If groups are feeling especially glamorous, The Palm Court inside The Ritz London offers a Champagne Afternoon Tea that's truly unforgettable. Complimented by a pianist and harpist, the tea time includes a glass of champagne for each person in addition to their tea, along with freshly cut finger sandwiches and warmed baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, topped off with a selection of cakes. The Ritz London is also the only hotel in the United Kingdom to have a certified Tea Sommelier who travels around the world to various tea plantations to source teas for The Palm Court.
Fortnum & Mason
Serving tea since 1926, Fortnum & Mason is the definitive name in traditional afternoon tea. Groups can visit the famed Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, named in honor of Her Majesty's visit in 2012, where she formally opened the room along with their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge. While there, groups can enjoy famous and royal tea blends and even bring the fun home with Fortnum & Mason's international tea subscription service.
Voted as the Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK, Rosewood London offers groups a colorful collection of pastries, inspired by the artistic movements of cubism and pop art. Served in the Rosewood's elegant Mirror Room, the pop art-inspired afternoon tea includes a selection of mouth-watering finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and loose leaf teas accompanied by creative pastries that channel the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein—with an optional Dom Pérignon twist.
A relaxed and stylish environment for afternoon tea, Number Sixteen features a gorgeous private outdoor garden filled with lush greenery and charming bistro tables. Groups can indugle in a savory menu and sweet menu, along with gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan afternoon tea options upon request.
The Ampersand Hotel
Science-themed tea? You bet. The winner of Best Themed Afternoon Tea at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2018, located just down the road from London's Science Museum, the Ampersand Hotel's Science Afternoon Tea is a one-of-a-kind experience. Groups can expect a mix of exciting and curious dishes, from jams served in petri dishes to chocolate spacemen and dinosaur biscuits. Even add some champagne, if you're feeling extra bubbly.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.
Photo courtesy of Number Sixteen.