London is one of the cities I find myself going back to again and again. And while it obviously has plenty of things to recommend it, one of my very favorite ones is the abundance of afternoon teas the city offers. Yes, you can get afternoon tea all over the world but, for my money, there’s nothing quite like having it in London. It just feels right. And on my last trip, I chased that feeling. Hard.
I had the first tea of my visit at The Ned, a hotel located in a converted old bank building in the heart of London’s financial district, The City. I was at the Ned just a few days after Christmas and was delighted to find that they were still offering their festive holiday tea, complete with a meringue snowman and a gingerbread man. The tea treats were adorable and the green patterned china swoon-worthy, but I have to say the atmosphere was not quite what I expect from a tea. The tea lounge is just one part of The Ned’s sprawling main floor, which is filled with many different restaurants and bars; by the time my tea was winding down, the space was hopping – and loud.
Tea at The Goring – also known as the hotel where Kate Middleton spent the night before her wedding – felt like quintessential elegance. The tea room is filled with luxurious fabrics and plush leather seats, the sandwiches and pastries are classics, and the service is top notch. I opted for full luxury here, adding champagne and strawberries and cream to my tea. It was perfect.
The day I visited Zetter Townhouse was bitterly – and I mean bitterly – cold, so popping indoors for tea could not have been more welcome. And, luckily, everything about Zetter feels cozy, from the tininess of the parlour where tea is served to the eclectic, whimsical decor. A good book and warm scones – what more do you need on a winter’s afternoon?
I booked my tea at Brown’s Hotel on something of a whim, and I was glad I did: this wound up being one of my favorite London tea experiences (which is really saying something!). The parlour at Brown’s is light and airy, and the live pianist adds to the elegant atmosphere. The tea itself was lovely, and the china it came served on…. well, let’s just say I was fairly obsessed with the floral pattern.
The best thing about afternoon tea in London? There are still many, more I have yet to try. I cannot wait for the next go-round.