Attend a Proper British Afternoon Tea in London

Attend a Proper British Afternoon Tea in London

A proper Afternoon Tea in London is a British tradition that I had no intention of missing out on. I like tea. And tiny little sandwiches.

Little did I know, there are various tea times; Cream Tea, Low/Afternoon Tea, Elevensies, Royal Tea and High Tea.

Cream Tea is a simpler version of the Afternoon Tea, Elevensies is the morning coffee hour, you drink champagne or sherry at Royal Tea and High Tea is served around 6pm, traditionally when the miners and laborers come home.

The Royal Garden Hotel set up a traditional Afternoon Tea in Lodnon for Peter and myself at their Park Terrace restaurant at 3:00pm. We were prompt. I did not want to start this dining event with poor etiquette.

My beautiful tea cup awaited…
Tea cup at Afternoon Tea in London

The British Afternoon Tea is a small meal which typically includes sandwiches, sweets, scones and curd.

We started by making our tea selection. Pear Caramel for the table. This blend was a loose leaf by Mighty Leaf Tea. This is the same brand that I use, in tea bag form, at my restaurant. Looks like my little Italian restaurant has something in common with the British.

The Pear Caramel tea was smooth and slightly fruity. The perfect  mixture, which I sucked down before the food arrived. Poor etiquette I am sure.

I decided to order the Chocolate Chip Truffle for my next pot of tea, even though the server attempted to steer me in a different direction. I am an afternoon tea party rebel.

It only to one sip of the chocolate blend to realize that he was right. Note to self: you are not fond of chocolate in your tea. Do not order it at your next afternoon tea in London.
Tea Pot at Afternoon Tea in London

There were several rules about "tea etiquette" that I studied prior to arriving; put the sugar in first, milk goes in last, always split scones horizontally and never put your pinky up.

Never put your pinky up? Really? Holding my pinky up has been something that I've been practicing since my childhood tea parties. This was going to be a hard habit to break.

We each received our own dish filled with a variety of dainty finger sandwiches. It was plated so beautifully I had to hesitate before removing anything. Besides there were too many to choose from; smoked salmon, eggplant, cucumber and egg. I started at the top of the mound and worked my way down.
Tea Sandwiches at Afternoon Tea in London

After devouring tea sandwiches and scones, the sweets arrived.

All I can say is "chocolate raspberry mousse".

I will be dreaming about it.
Sweets at Afternoon Tea in London Dessert at Afternoon Tea in London

This fancy Afternoon Tea in London was much different than my High Tea at Samavor in San Francisco. This was much more of an affair and I loved every minute of it. There are plans to recreate this event for my girlfriends back home. But, we will be holding our pinkies up.

Have you ever been to an Afternoon Tea in London? What is your favorite tea?

Disclosure: My Afternoon Tea in London was sponsored by the Royal Garden Hotel, but all the words I write come straight from my, sometimes distorted, mind. Just as it should be.

29 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. John says:

    There is a hotel near my house that holds a British tea ceremony each afternoon. I've always been curious about it. I never knew there were so many etiquette guidelines for taking tea, but it sounds fun nonetheless. 

  2. I’m from a small wine country town, with not such strict dining rules. As long as you don’t snap your fingers at you server, your good. So, proper etiquette is sometimes hard for me ;)

  3. Cassie says:

    I saw your other post, I was just at Samovar on Tuesday night and had their coconut rice pudding! It was amazing. And I didn't realize you had a restaurant. I'll have to check it out next time I'm in Petaluma–I'll expect a good cup of tea :)

  4. I love Samovar! What a cool place and their coconut rice pudding is delish! If you come to Petaluma, stop in and say “hi”. We have tea, but no tiny little finger sandwiches ;)

  5. ava apollo says:

    I love sitting down to tea! Mostly because of the desserts  and little finger sandwiches that accompany said tea. 

  6. CeCe says:

    I can't put my pinky up?  I unconsciously do that even when I'm drinking wine!  The China is beautiful, makes me wish I didn't have just plain boring white plates.

  7. No pinky :(
    I have plain white plates too. At least they match everything :)

  8. Heather says:

    I just went to tea in London for the first time last weekend :-) Two of my three English friends were experienced with tea, and I'm sure they were amused by all of my questions. I didn't want to stuff it up!

  9. Ha Ha! I’d be the same way if I was with experienced tea drinkers.

  10. Bailey says:

    The sandwhiches look delicious. I actually don't like tea, but I drink it anyways just so I can feel fancy. ;)

  11. I'm a HUGE fan of tea set!!! Never done it in England though. I did it almost every day I was in Hong Kong in March.

  12. Now I’ll have to go to Hong Kong one day to assess the similarities and differences!

  13. Ruth2Day says:

    what I wouldn't do to have tea like that today!  
    must admit High Tea is one of my favourite things to do, but I do like a glass of bubbly with it :)

  14. Next time I will definitely have to add the bubbly to my afternoon tea :)

  15. AdventureRob says:

    I didn't realise there was so many tea times, I never heard of elevensies before?
    Unfortunately it's quite hard to find a tea room these days, as coffee shops seem to have taken over the world, in chains and small boutique places.
    I went to a lovely place in Chichester called St Martins tea room which was small, quaint and brilliant. Very nice relaxed atmosphere with old architecture (read: a little squashed and a lot of wood) and a contrast difference from a coffee shop which seems full of people on laptops, a book or having some sort of meeting.

  16. Both times I have went to tea houses not one person was on a laptop or cell phone, they were enjoying the tea and each other :)

  17. Ayngelina says:

    I went for high tea in Toronto and just had Earl Grey but the afternoon was so much fun.

  18. Earl Grey is classic goodness :)

  19. Alexis says:

    This looks absolutely delightful!  I want to have afternoon tea now :).  Thanks for visiting and leaving a sweet comment on blog :).

  20. Robin says:

    You might like to try afternoon tea at the restaurant at The National Gallery next time.  Only £15, views over Trafalgar Sq & delicious.  I've tried all the hotels too but this is the best place.

  21. Thanks for the tea tip!

  22. Sofie says:

    Looks wonderful!
    I’ll be having my first Londn afternoon tea next month.
    SO looking forward to that!

  23. The afternoon tea was so much fun, especially those little sandwiches :)

  24. Gloria Lewis says:

    Have done this!
    Had ‘Tea at The Ritz (London) on my 50th Birthday last year. It was a fantastic experience. I had wanted to do this ever since I was 16 years old!!!!

  25. What a great 50th birthday memory that would be!

  26. Kerry says:

    The only tea I ever had in the form of any sort of a party has been one with my three-year-old niece and I couldn’t see if she had her pinky in the air or not. :-) I only know of Elevensies from The Lord of the Rings books. :-)

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