Afternoon tea, is a quintessentially English tradition. Its introduction into society was born out of practical necessity. During the 18th century it became increasingly fashionable for the evening meal to be served at a late hour. What this meant was that people would go hungry from the long gap between luncheon and dinner.
Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, who was becoming increasingly peckish and perhaps frustrated at this time gap decided to have a "light refreshment" of tea and cakes or sandwiches to satisfy her hunger before the evening meal. This ritual quickly gained popularity as she invited her friends to join her.
London has a wonderful array of venues from department stores and hotels to specialist tea houses that carter to every possible taste for afternoon tea.
Here is a list of some of our personal favourites. Just remember our number one rule; don't dunk biscuits in your tea unless in an informal setting, and don't slurp - even if it's piping hot.
One Aldwych Hotel - The menu here is designed around Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Everything here is quite decandent and playful. Look out for the candy floss on the dessert board which really is a treat to look at and taste. The secret ingredient in the candy floss is... i'll let you guess that one
The Gilbert Scott - The Gilbert Scott is housed in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and the view of the spectacular gothic building is the perfect backdrop to this afternoon tea. We opted for the Champagne Afternoon Tea option at £41. This is a more relaxed affair as there isn't a strict dress code.
Lobby Lounge (Corinthia Hotel) - This is a really delightful hotel. Just minutes away from Trafalgar Square, its the ideal haven to enjoy afternoon tea. We had afternoon tea during the Wimbledon Championship and as we're tennis fanatics at Grin & Bear, this was the perfect way to enjoy the championships. The menu as you imagine was designed around the Wimbledon theme. It was truly delightful and quirky, there were desserts shaped like rackets and tennis balls to the innovative and creative floral centre piece. Get, set and match