The Claridge’s London afternoon tea has been on my want-to-go list for years, being wholeheartedly recommended by my relatives up in Derbyshire. It is extremely popular so you’ll have to book at least a few weeks ahead, even more so if you wish to go on a weekend.
The Setting ★★★★★
The hotel is located in the heart of Mayfair, at the corner of Brook Street and Davies Street. The first hotel was founded in 1812 as the Minart hotel until it was bought by the Claridge couple, who combined it with their own and renamed it “Claridge’s”.
The Claridge’s rose to prominence, establishing ties with royalty and the nobility. Theatrical impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte, who founded and owned the Savoy hotel, purchased the Claridge’s in 1894 and had it demolished. The hotel reopened in its present form in 1897 and is now a Grade II-listed building.
The hotel switched hands a few times since 1998 and is now owned by the Maybourne hotel group (formerly the Savoy hotel group), an Irish-Qatari-owned hospitality company. They also own and operate Connaught and the Berkeley hotels, both of which serve excellent afternoon teas 😉
The Foyer ★★★★★
Afternoon tea is served on the ground floor’s Foyer & Drawing Room.
The Foyer is gorgeous with some amazing flower arrangements in the centre of the room and an even more impressive duet (Cellist & Pianist) for atmosphere.
Fair warning: the Claridge’s afternoon tea being the institution that it is, the venue is usually fairly crowded and will get quite noisy.
The Reading Room ★★★★☆
The reading room offers more privacy and a more atmospheric feeling. You may prefer this area if you’d rather be away from the live music and the noise in general.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The tea is supplied by the Rare Tea Company, one of the best British suppliers. There are 28 teas and infusions on offer, more than enough to accommodate everyone. There are also choices of coffee, as well as ice brews.
The beverage selection is excellent and it may even be the best in London, especially for black tea lovers as they make up half of the teas on offer. There are a few rarities such as the Malawi Antler white tea and the Waikato Black (New Zealand), which I strongly encourage you to sample. My one qualm is that the only Oolong tea on offer was the Milky Oolong, which never (and most likely never will) agreed with me.
The brewing method is loose-leaf, done by the staff straight at the table and the service is exemplary. The afternoon tea menu also features some pairing suggestions for each course, though the staff will also be happy to help you choose.
28 teas (14 black, 4 green, 3 white, 1 oolong & 6 infusions); 4 coffees, 3 ice teas, 3 ice coffees.
Tea brewing method: At the table
Tea & coffee refills: yes
The Savouries ★★★★☆
The afternoon tea starts with five sandwiches and one tart (selection may vary):
- Smoked Scottish salmon with lemon cream and sorrel on rye bread
- Breast of Norfolk chicken with tarragon mayonnaise on malt bread
- Dorrington ham with Heritage tomato and truffle mayonnaise on white bread
- Burford Brown hen’s egg with watercress on white bread
- English cucumber with poppy seeds and parsley cream cheese on white bread
- Fresh beetroot and goat cheese tart
The savouries are solid but a tad run-of-the-mill which is why I won’t mark any as a favourite. I still ordered an extra serving of course!
The Scones ★★★★★♥
I’ll say it straight away; these are the best scones I ever had at a London hotel. They were perfectly baked and served warm, with the obligatory clotted cream.
The Marco Polo gelée (made with the eponymous tea from Mariage Frères, lemon and spices) is the nicest homemade jam I have ever tasted, so it’s a stunning combo!
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★☆
The Claridge’s cakes are very tasty and beautifully presented. I recommend pairing them with one of the many excellent black teas that are on offer, such as the Moriuchi Koucha.
- Rhubarb crumble tart ♥
- Milk chocolate and passion fruit Saint-Honoré
- Grapefruit macaron
- Opéra Finger (coffee and dark chocolate cake)
Every cake is tasty but the Rhubarb Crumble tart was out of this world!
The Service ★★★★★
The Claridge’s London staff is exemplary, as expected of a hotel of this calibre. The venue was extremely busy when I visited and yet the staff was quick, efficient and always within reach.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
The Claridge’s London afternoon tea is solid and you should definitely try it if you can afford to book at least a few weeks in advance. It shines brightest with its selection of rare teas (served at no extra charge!) and its perfect scones (best In London IMHO).
If you can’t book ahead, remember that its sister hotels serve fantastic afternoon teas of their own: I’d even argue that the Connaught and the Berkeley surpass the Claridge’s afternoon tea on several aspects, despite being less popular.
+: The Claridge’s
+: The live music duet
+: The tea selection
+: The Scones
+: The Marco Polo jelly
+: Excellent service
-: Slightly noisy venue
-: Ordinary savouries
-: Pricy ($75 per person)
-: Requires advance booking
Email: +44 20 7107 8886
Address: Claridge’s, Brook St, London W1K 4HR, United Kingdom