Finest Afternoon Teas in London

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The ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. As a young women in the early 1800s she lived during a time when it was common to eat only two main meals a day, with breakfast scheduled early in the morning and dinner occurring late in the evening. Routinely weakened and irritated by hunger pangs, she decided to schedule time to take tea and snack each afternoon. This private ceremony was firstly done furtively in her bedroom, but over time well-heeled acquaintances joined her and the practice was perpetuated. Nowadays tea rooms and hotels in London and throughout the country offer permutations of this centuries-old tradition. Plenty are pretty much indistinguishable but quite a few offer something unique. Below are some of the capital’s best afternoon teas for those who want to experience something special.

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Best for traditional afternoon tea: The Ritz

Best for healthy indulgence: Brown’s Hotel’s Tea-Tox

Best boozy tea: Scandal Water at The London Edition

Best for setting: Sketch afternoon tea

Best for tea selection: Fortnum & Mason

Best non-traditional afternoon tea: Ichi Sushi afternoon tea

Best for a celebration: Claridge’s afternoon tea

Best for views: Ting restaurant, Shangri-La at the Shard

Best London-themed tea: London Royal Tea; Hotel Café Royal

Best newly launched tea: Wyld Tea at Mondrian London