Afternoon Tea in London

I will be in London for 3 days in September staying just off Kensington High Street area with my Mom and looking for recommendations for afternoon tea?

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
159 posts

The Orangery at Kensington Palace/Gardens is close and we enjoyed our tea there. However, if you're looking for an occasion to dress up and have tea on fine china, then it would be too casual for that. Lovely location though, and you can walk through the gardens and Hyde Park before or after.

Posted by Laurel
Arlington, WA
886 posts

Julie, If you're looking for someplace posh, any of the big hotels and department stores do wonderful afternoon teas. My husband likes The Savoy, I like Browns and my daughter likes The Ritz. She says they have the best scones but the sandwiches were still cold from the refrigerator. As for department stores, I like Liberty or F&M while the rest of my family likes Harrods. The Orangery is really nice too. Their scones a wonderful. Don't be sucked into the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields... Its a great place to visit and to stop for a little something during a day of sightseeing....but not for afternoon tea. Some of the hotels may need reservations. A great spot for a cream tea is the National Gallery.

Posted by LGATX
Austin, TX, USA
109 posts

Julie, Orangerie is lovely but check their website, they close at different times some days and are closed on Random days. But def worth a visit, sitting outside with the views of park and Kenisington Palace are spectacular! I went early and had the patio to myself for about 15 mins, it was great! Happy travels!

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

We loved the Orangery and were happy to find a place that didn't require us to dress up since we didn't pack anything too dressy.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1811 posts

Think about making reservations if you go to Kensington Palace Orangery...wanted to go for my birthday this summer but they were all booked up! Another place that hasn't been mentioned is Harrods. Pretty tea room that has been there for ages. Fortnum and Mason has lovely afternoon tea.
In Covent Garden we discovered Brown's this summer. Not super traditionally English but a very nice atmosphere and very reasonably priced afternoon tea. We wished we had discovered it earlier!

Posted by Julie
Rancho Cordova, CA, USA
2 posts

Thank you for all your recommendations..I have made reservations at the Orangery!

Posted by Jim
149 posts

I hope I'm not out of line by piggy-backing on this question, but I have a question associated with afternoon teas. Is it in jolly bad to prefer really good coffee to tea at places like the Orangerie? One of the highlights of our 2004 trip to Bath was tea in the Pump Room, where we drank coffee instead of tea. The coffee was accompanied by fine scones, strawberries and clotted cream, and a string quartet playing Mozart completed a fabulous ambience. And, while I'll Google it, what is a "cream tea?"

Posted by Jim
149 posts

A quick Google (i'm reluctantly adding that verb to my vocabulary) of "cream tea" indicates that our delightful experience in Bath was a cream tea, without, of course, the tea.

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
159 posts

Jim, If you look at The Orangery's menu (online) you'll see that coffee is one of the beverages included. Considering your experience at The Pump Room, I'm assuming many restaurants make a similar offer, so it's not improper at all.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13890 posts

I almost never have tea at tea. I am a coffee drinker. My wife usually has a pot of tea. 15 years ago that would have been difficult, but coffee - decent coffee - is much more available now. I've never been to the Orangerie, although it sounds pretty decent, so I don't know what type of coffee they do. I would expect it will be from an Italian coffee machine, like so many do these days. That will probably seem pretty familiar. If they offer you a cafetiere that is a narrow vertical glass container with the grounds suspended in hot water and a large plunger. When the coffee is ready in your mind you push down the plunger to contain most of the grounds below the plunger and then pour the coffee into your cup. Italian it is not. Some lesser places will provide instant coffee, usually Nescafe, if you order coffee. A cream tea varies somewhat from place to place and region to region, but generally comprises of one or two scones, of various amounts of fruitiness, cream, possibly clotted - especially for a Devon Cream Tea, and jam - often raspberry or strawberry. Beyond Cream Teas there are various other set teas available with yet more goodies.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3553 posts

I always have my Cream Tea with coffee... sometimes a cappuccino, but it is the scones (warm) clotted Devon Cream and the fresh Strawberry jam that make it great!
@Nigel... what you are talking about with the coffee is what we call a French Press. I have one at home and when I want to take the time to heat the water it makes the best coffee... can't figure out why its better than brewed coffee... maybe just that it had the 'French ambience' :)) so I think its better:)