An afternoon tea experience is almost a rite of passage for travelers visiting London and the rest of England—when women and the occasional man gather to relax and indulge. Served with tea are savory finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and sometimes champagne. And don’t forget the clotted cream and raspberry jam to slather on top of those freshly baked scones.
The elaborate and indulgent tradition of afternoon tea began in the 1800s. In those days, the English ate breakfast early in the morning and a hearty dinner in the late evening around 8:00 p.m. Among the upper classes, afternoon tea became popular not just to stave off hunger pains before dinner but also as a social gathering for women of high society.
Today, afternoon tea can be found widely in hotels, restaurants, and bakeries around London. Some venues are more fancy and traditional, such as Claridge’s or The Ritz London. Others, like BB Bakery, do twists on the experience that allow you to have your afternoon tea while riding a bus around the most iconic parts of the city. I adore the whimsy of the Mad Hatter–themed tea at Sanderson.
And others offer the most practical twist of all: afternoon tea on a budget like at Bea’s Cake Boutique of Bloomsbury that I feature in this video. Watch and join me for a spot of tea, won’t you?
What foodie experiences would you travel for?