Afternoon tea dates back to the early 1800s, during a period where two meals a day, breakfast and supper, were de rigueur. But one Duchess of Bedford, Anna, must have had a high metabolism, as she suffered from this schedule and proposed a break of tea time in the middle of the afternoon. Since then, tea with a snack has been a staple of the English timetable.
Fortunately for you, tea time is now a classic pastime and easily found on any trip to London. It’s impossible to list them all, but here are a few of our more quirky favorites:
Looking for a side of quirky to go with your Earl Grey? Afternoon tea at the Ampersand includes creative delights such as planet mousse with clouds of dry ice, and a chocolate dinosaur fossil. There are also loads of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
£39.50 per person, £49.50 with a glass of champagne.
10 Harrington Rd, Kensington.
Award-winning bar Dandelyan offers adorable confections like blackcurrant and verbena Battenberg cakes, and lager-braised bacon jam. This one tends to draw the crowds looking for kooky cocktails.
Full Wyld Tea £58 (including four botanical cocktails), Champagne Wyld Tea £48 (includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne), Boozeless Wyld Tea £38.
20 Upper Ground.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Portland foodies may be familiar with Dominique Ansel, the creator of the cronut, but did you know that his London location also offers a curious afternoon tea? We’re talking squid ink black chow pastry, and mini financier cake topped with rose petals.
£42 signature, £55 sparkling, £80 splendid.
17-21 Elizabeth St.
The Lalit London
For something a little different, try the Indian High Chai at the Lalit’s Gallery. Grandiose blue chandeliers are paired with delicate spins on Indian street food—samosas, bhel puri with pomegranate, cardamom-spiced shrikhand and a refreshing glass of milky chai.
£47 per person.
181 Tooley St.