It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to celebrate than with some tea and cake? Many of London’s finest restaurants have given their afternoon teas a festive shake-up, with seasonal sandwiches, mince pies and mulled wine being thrown into the mix. So enjoy some festive feasting and toast your teacups to a very merry Christmas at some of the best spots in town…
Lock & Co.’s Festive Afternoon Tea is on offer from November 19 – January 4. Enjoy free-flowing Chapel Down, elegantly accompanying the selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and pastries and seasonal jams, all in the glorious and grand setting of The Palm Court in Mayfair. £42 or £50 per person, with a tea selection or Chapel Down. Book now at palmcourtlondon.co.uk
With its plush upholstery, emerald green columns and high ceiling perfect for towering Christmas trees, former banking hall The Ned was built for Christmas. As part of its festive makeover, one of its eight restaurants, Millie’s Lounge, has given their traditional afternoon tea a seasonal twist. Guests can enjoy mince pies, gingerbread reindeer, vanilla choux snowballs and other festive cakes, plus scones with seasonal jam and clotted cream, and a selection of sandwiches – all served on a bespoke Burleigh china tea sets. £40 per person or £50 per person with a glass of Perrier-Jouët NV champagne
This year One Aldwych has teamed up with Canton Tea to create an indulgent menu exclusively for the holiday season. Gingerbread and white chocolate cake pops, cinnamon glazed brioche, mulled wine jelly with custard and decadent golden eggs will all feature, alongside a selection of loose-leaf teas from Canton Tea. Served in Indigo and The Lobby Bar from 19 November-31 December 2018. £46 per person or £57 with a glass of Champagne or a cocktail
With its show-stopping tree and glittering decorations, Claridge’s shines brightest at Christmas time – as does its legendary afternoon tea. Begin by dining on a selection of their traditional sandwiches: the delightfully festive malt bread turkey sandwich, complete with pork, chestnut & sage stuffing and cranberry is a must-try. Sweeter delights include freshly baked raisin scones with Cornish clotted cream, a winter spiced pear pastry with white chocolate mousse and ginger sablé and the Claridge’s Christmas Pudding, served with brandy sauce. A range of teas from around the world are available, which have been carefully selected to complement the food. £85 per person or £95 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé £95 or £110 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle NV £110
Raise a glass to the festive season in The Dorchester’s beautiful Promenade restaurant. Guests can dine on a selection of festive-inspired finger sandwiches and pastries such as the ‘Santa’s Hat’: a gingerbread panna cotta with mulled wine jelly and the ‘Christmas Bauble’: cinnamon spiced apple compote, streusel crumble and vanilla custard. Wash it down with a glass of Laurent-Perrier. £85 per adult including a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée NV Champagne, and from £45 per child aged 5-12
Sushi may not scream festive, but Nobu have pulled out all the stops to create a unique seasonal afternoon tea. Served in Nobu Cafe in the hotel’s elegant Lobby Lounge, diners can begin with a range of savoury bites including snow crab tempura, tofu buns with truffle tofu cream and pickled tomato and a beef tenderloin on multigrain, doused in shichimi miso mustard. You can then satisfy your sweet tooth with desserts such as a Maraschino cherry & chocolate Christmas tree, Santa Claus whisky macaroon and a snow flake yuzu tart. Top it all off with your choice of tea, coffee, or a glass of prosecco. Perfect if you’re after something a little different! Available daily from 12pm-5pm, £30 per person
Gorge on pastries while a choir belts out Christmas carols at The Ritz’ Palm Court, which transforms into an Edwardian winter wonderland for the jolly season. Choose from a big selection of fine teas specially selected by the Ritz Tea Master – the ‘Ritz Christmas Spice’ featuring orange peel, juicy apple and Christmas spices gets our vote. Indulge in mince pies and freshly baked feather-light pastries as you admire the huge Christmas tree. You’ll leave feeing warm and fuzzy (and full). £80 per adult, £50 per child (up t0 15 years old)
Afternoon tea at The Savoy is a real treat, particularly during the festive season. This year the iconic venue has been given a fairground-themed festive makeover, complete with a 15ft interactive flower-adorned Helter Skelter created by The Savoy’s carpentry and floristry teams. Afternoon tea is served in the Thames Foyer, where the central gazebo has become a beautiful carousel featuring a red and gold ‘circus top’, bespoke horses and festive lighting. Food-wise, you’ll be spoilt for choice: think salted caramel pastries, hazelnut macarons and sherry soaked fruit cake, plus a number of seasonal sandwiches and optional fizz. Sit back, dine, drink and enjoy the ride! £68 per person/£85 with a glass of Louis Roederer Brut/£95 with a glass of Deutz Rose/£145 with a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal
Head to Hotel Café Royal’s Oscar Wilde Lounge for an afternoon tea inspired by some of diptyque’s most iconic scents. From the sandwiches to the cakes to the teas, everything has been carefully selected to create a sensory experience for guests. Menu highlights include a stilton mousse, walnut and pickled pear muffin, a spiced plum tart and a number of tasty sandwiches, from salmon and fennel to prawn cocktail in a brioche bun. While you’re there be sure to check out the hotel’s two exclusively designed Christmas trees, complete with a collection of beautifully-wrapped diptyque gifts at the base. Sittings from 11.30am to 7.30pm daily, from £55
With its Baccarat crystal chandelier, piano melodies and Richard Brendon hand-painted china, you’ll struggle to find a prettier afternoon tea setting than The Corinthia Hotel. Cakes are appetisingly presented on a trolley which is wheeled from table to table, with festive highlights including a mandarin and chestnut mousse with hazelnut sponge, traditional Christmas loaf cake and vanilla and white chocolate cranberry snowball. The savoury side is equally impressive – king of the sandwiches is the bronze turkey with caramelised apple and chestnut stuffing, with many tasty vegetarian options on offer too including one filled with caramelised butternut squash, yoghurt and pomegranate. Until 31 December, £55 per person, £65pp with Champagne
The Goring Hotel’s award-winning afternoon tea, usually served in their lavish lounge, has been given a seasonal makeover for the Christmas season. Sweet festive upgrades include a raspberry and yoghurt Christmas present; caramelised apple snowman; Jivara chocolate gingerbread cake; almond praline choux bun and a bitter mandarin and white chocolate macaron. A whole host of sandwiches filled with suitably festive filings are also on offer, with the option of fizzing things up with a glass of Bollinger. £49pp or £59pp with a glass of Bollinger, served daily in the Bar & Lounge between 3pm – 4pm and in the Dining Room on Saturdays from 1pm – 4pm
Situated in the heart of Knightsbridge inside a restored 1920s townhouse is The Wellesley, a gem of a hotel. Throughout the jolly season, their afternoon tea will be accompanied by live piano music playing Christmas classics, alongside a festive menu to match. Guests can expect a Christmas tree dessert made with Gingerbread sponge and topped with pistachio ganache; chocolate and hazelnut praline Christmas tree decorations and a Marron Glacé Tartelette. These sweet treats can be enjoyed alongside year-round staples, including macaroons, scones, handmade sandwiches and the hotel’s signature chocolate cigars made with filo pastry and chocolate mousse – a nod to the hotel’s extensive cigar collection. 2pm to 6pm daily at £35pp or £50pp including Champagne.
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