When my mom and I were in London, we really wanted to experience the British tradition of “afternoon tea.” The only problem was that it was Christmastime (which makes tea time book up even faster than usual) so pretty much every higher-end place for tea was booked solid. But we made it happen. And our tea adventure is kind of a funny story.
After checking into hotel #2 (Flemings Mayfair), we found ourselves standing directly across from The Ritz. We had made a lot of “oh yes, tea at The Ritz” jokes prior to seeing it since it’s just so fancy, and although I knew it was completely booked, I thought we should pop in anyway to see if there happened to be any last minute openings. And guess what? There was ONE table available for the next day (which also happened to be our last full day in London). Fate or what?!
Although we managed to snag a reservation, we had a dilemma. The Ritz London has a strict dress code for Tea (we were told in person when we made the reservation and also online) which includes no jeans or any kind of sporting attire for us ladies (and jackets + ties for the guys). Well, Mom and I weren’t planning for anything super fancy when we packed, so all we had in our suitcases were Uggs, Sorrel boots, and jeans. Fortunately, we each brought a pair of black jeans along so we decided our Sorrels and black jeans would be our best bet. We held our breath walking in hoping they wouldn’t say anything about our lack of fancy clothing and after a once/twice over from the host, we were seated (thank you host-man for not being super judge-y)!
We were seated smack dab in the center/front, right next to the Christmas tree. I felt very VIP, and also thought it was pretty funny that they didn’t hide us in a corner due to black jeans and hiking-looking boots.
After glancing over the tea menu, Mom and I chose our teas (she went with Chai, I went with Passionfruit), and opted for a glass of champagne. Of course the champagne is an additional cost/not included with the standard tea package, but we thought we deserved it!
We were each brought our own teapot for our flavors, and the staff came around every few minutes to pick up the pitcher and refill our cups. Talk about feeling like royalty!
I’m used to scooping flat sugar out at home, so I really enjoyed being able to use sugar cubes. I felt like it was easier to keep track of how much I was putting in my cup as well. Plus, this little set up was the cutest – a real life tea party! The covered jars held butter and jam – for the delicious food to come.
The food was AMAZING. Round one consisted of a plate of assorted sandwiches x 2 (so we could both try all of them) and a dessert plate.
When the waiter saw our sandwich plate dwindling, a full second plate filled with MORE was brought out, along with a new plate with scones (biscuits as we’d call them in the US). I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing the cheese sandwich + plain biscuits with scoops of jam were!
Here’s a more well-rounded glimpse at what things looked like sitting at the table.
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz London is definitely a splurge. But if you can do it, you definitely should! The food was filling (felt kind of like Thanksgiving dinner when we were finished) and delicious, and we also felt extremely fancy, because, well, it’s The Ritz!
And in case you were wondering what my (apparently) dress-code appropriate outfit looked like, here it is.
Have you had “afternoon tea” in London?