Afternoon tea, or high tea as it’s known, is a favorite pastime for many people in London. From scones and sandwiches, it is fun to indulge on a weekly basis. This blog will go over a few spots where you can truly indulge in some high tea. You will find high teas in all the posh London hotels as well as department stores and even places that serve vegan afternoon tea, but deciding where to stick your pinky out and sip your tea can be a bit difficult. Read on to learn more about high tea in London!
A Brief History of High Tea
High tea is known throughout the world as one of the most quintessential English customers. Surprisingly, it is a somewhat new tradition. While people have been drinking tea since the third millennium in China, its popularity only occurred in the 1660s, all thanks to King Charles II and his wife Catherine de Braganza, who was from Portugal. The concept of high tea appeared during the mid-19th century. Eventually it became a real social custom, where food was also enjoyed with tea and those in the upper class would dress nicely for afternoon tea, which would usually be served around 4 and 5 p.m.
What is Today’s Afternoon Tea Like?
Afternoon tea is a lot more than a quick sip. It is a meal in the afternoon where people enjoy sandwiches, typically cut in small sections, as well as scones, pastries, and cakes. Scones are a new addition to high tea. In Britain and specifically in London today, high tea is enjoyed as a fun, occasional indulgence or to celebrate an event, like bridal and baby showers, birthdays, or social events with close friends.
High Tea at the Sanderson
One great afternoon tea spot in London is the Mad Hatter’s high tea at the Sanderson Hotel located in Fitzrovia. This is a high tea spot where the pastries taste as good as they look, and where the Courtyard Garden setting feels a lot like Alice’s Wonderland.
High Tea at Sketch
If you have ever had afternoon tea at Sketch, then you’ll know why we’re including it in the list. Not only does the Mayfair restaurant have excellent pastries with flavors that live up to their appearances, but the Gallery is also one of the most beautiful places in all of London. Consider visiting here if you want a classic high tea experience.
High Tea at Fait Maison
While a lot of you might have heard of the afternoon teas at Sketch and Sanderson, the one at Fait Maison in South Kensington is a bit of a hidden gem. This neighborhood secret serves lovely pastries and teas in one of the most beautiful tearooms in all of London. Ornate enough to make you feel like you are taking tea with Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, but casual enough to come in without breaching their tea etiquette, it offers a beautiful balance.
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