Over the past 10 years Henrietta Lovell’s Rare Tea Company has built a world-class reputation for tea, not to mention an impressive client list (chefs Fergus Henderson, David Chang, and René Redzepi are all fans). Which made her a good person to ask for tips on where to enjoy an excellent afternoon tea in London (and no, before you ask, she doesn’t supply all of them).
49-50 St. John's Square, EC1V 4JJ
"An elegant and eccentric Georgian drawing room where you can enjoy a very good cup of tea with a slice of cake and rather than get slow and sleepy and full with too much cream and sugar from a full Afternoon Tea, you can indulge in an uplifting tea-cocktail."
Riding House Café
43-51 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7PQ
"It is hard to choose from the sumptuous array of beautiful cakes adorning the counters at this central London spot. An ideal location for a tea break in the afternoon, or indeed at any time of the day, after exploring the delights of Fitzrovia. Keep an eye out for the stuffed squirrels."
49 Brook St, W1K 4HR
"For the Ultimate English Afternoon Tea in London there really is no competition. It has to be Claridge's. Every guest is treated like royalty; the tea is given the same respect as fine wine and the food is everything you could hope for - and far more."
The Wharf at the Tower of London, EC3N 4AB
"Situated right on the Thames looking out over the Tower of London and across to Tower Bridge - the view is utterly captivating. The afternoon tea is just as good. This restaurant is re-invigorating English afternoon Tea with fresh ideas, without pomposity."
St John Bread and Wine
94-96 Commercial St, E1 6LZ
"The St John sibling in Spitalfields isn’t all about offal. You can while away an afternoon with a cup of St John bespoke Rare Tea blend (made especially for Fergus Henderson), and a plate of freshly made madeleines still warm from the oven."
St Pancras Renaissance Booking Office
Euston Road, NW1 2AR
"A perfect stop for the weary Eurostar traveller much in need of tea. In this glorious Victorian Hotel you can find loose-leaf tea of the quality we were once truly proud of. They take care to infuse the tea perfectly- getting the right leaf to water ratio rather than letting the tea stew in large pots."
Ham Yard Hotel
1 Ham Yard, London W1D 7DT
"My favourite place to take Afternoon Tea in Soho, Ham Yard Hotel really is a treat. Not only can you enjoy delicious tea and food in the stylish and modern surroundings of the hotel; Kit Kemp has designed wonderful bespoke teaware too. A feast for all the senses."
Wellington Court, 116 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PJ
"If you’ve never had Russian Afternoon Tea, this friendly Knightsbridge restaurant is a good start. The food is rich and delicious and utterly unlike the usual, and often rather tired, standards we are often fobbed off with. The tea is served in glass and can be sweetened with jam just as it is in Russia."