The atmosphere at The Ritz is lovely — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
There's something so refined and indulgent about a proper afternoon tea that’s complete with fine china, a selection of fine teas, finger sandwiches, scones and an array of delectable sweet treats. When we think of The Ritz London, opulence, luxury and historical relevance to London's social scene come to mind, making it an enviable venue in which to enjoy afternoon tea. With the hotel's formal dress code in effect, it’s the perfect excuse for ladies to splurge on a new frock and put on some lipstick. (Men are required to wear a jacket and tie, whilst jeans are not allowed).
Tea at The Ritz can fill up quickly, so it’s best to make a reservation as far in advance as possible. There are a few different times for you to choose from and you should allow about two hours to enjoy the full afternoon tea experience.
If you’re celebrating something special, you can pre-order a cake to celebrate: they just need 72 hours advance notice. Do you have vegetarians in your group? Let them know at the time of your booking and they'll make sure to provide vegetarian options. Our group of seven booked two months in advance and didn’t have any trouble getting the time that we wanted.
If you're staying at a hotel in central London, a taxi isn't too expensive and is a better bet than driving so that you don't have to worry about parking. However, valet is available.
Only the best china at The Ritz — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
The Ritz London's signature blue awnings and well-dressed doormen can’t be missed, and just pulling up to the hotel evokes feelings of excitement. These twinges of glee become wonderfully exaggerated when walking through the doors into a beautiful lobby, where more doormen greet you and open each door as you make your way through to the waiting area. You should arrive about fifteen minutes early as it will allow time to explore the lobby prior to be seated.
You'll be brought into The Palm Court, where designated Fine china and beautifully printed menus welcome you as you take a seat. Soak up the gilded trellis and statues, birdcage chandeliers, a stone fountain and spectacular floral arrangements. Conversations fill the room with a gentle hum, while rhythmic tunes coming from the piano set the stage for servers to come by for taking tea orders. (You'll have a choice of 17 to choose from: don't be afraid to ask for guidance if you're unsure which to select).
Finger sandwiches! — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
Keep an eye out for the silver three-tiered tray bursting with finger sandwiches, scones and sweets, all accompanied by clotted cream and jam. Plan on a light dinner: treats are served repeatedly until you say 'thanks but no more.' In addition to the sweets on the tiered tray, staff brings around more desserts on wheeled serving trays. The individual trifle is a hit! One doorman sometimes remarks, “I hope you haven’t eaten today.” He certainly has a point; you will not leave hungry!
Sweet endings at The Ritz — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is an unforgettable experience for your next ultimate girls’ trip. And, an added bonus is that there’s plenty of great shopping nearby where you can burn off a few calories afterward.
Afternoon Tea prices start from £45 per adult and from £30 for children. Note a change to £47 per adult as of 1st April 2014.
Sittings for Afternoon Tea take place at: 11:30am - 1:30pm - 3:30pm - 5:30pm - 7:30pm