By Holly Barry (@HJBarry)
Afternoon tea is a famous British tradition – who doesn’t enjoy dainty sandwiches, scones and cakes with a lovely cup of tea?
Put the kettle on and take a look at these gems that will make your mouth water.
The best themed afternoon tea
Themed afternoon teas are all the rage – there’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sherlock Holmes and modern art themed…there is even a trendy ‘brunch’ themed afternoon tea out there.
One of the most imaginative afternoon teas is the science themed afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel in London.
Jams are served in petri dishes, you can squeeze test tubes of toppings onto your scones, there are chocolate spacemen and there are biscuit ‘fossils’ to dig up from chocolate soil – all to be enjoyed with champagne.
For a fun evening out, try their spectacular science ‘Tea Pot-Tails’ where you will be able to sip on some fun science influenced cocktails along with your ‘afternoon’ tea delicacies.
The most luxurious afternoon tea
For a celebrity experience, The London Helicopter have teamed up with the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew for the ultimate afternoon tea package.
You can soar over London in a helicopter James Bond style, spotting iconic landmarks along the way. After landing, you will then travel in luxury to Kew Gardens for a spot of afternoon tea.
This afternoon tea experience includes a helicopter ride, car transfer from the helicopter landing pad to Kew Gardens, entrance to Kew and the afternoon tea in The Botanical Restaurant.
Prices start at £575 for a shared flight or £1,175 for private hire.
The best traditional afternoon tea
No afternoon tea list can be without the grandest of all – The Ritz London.
Not only will you be sitting in the most ornate and decadent palatial surroundings, but you will be be eating and drinking the finest delicacies.
The Ritz is the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Sommelier – Giandomenico Scanu – who scours the world visiting tea plantations to find the very best teas.
The best afternoon tea with a river view
On a summer’s day there is nothing better than sitting alongside a river, listening to the sound of water cascading over the weir, watching the boats, rowers and the river wildlife. The Compleat Angler in Marlow offers a riverside afternoon tea.
If you have read ‘Three Men in a Boat’ by Jerome K Jerome you will have read about the charms of The Compleat Angler hotel.
Sit underneath the covered terrace sipping your champagne, eating your afternoon tea and enjoy this idyllic British spot.
The best afternoon tea for a vegan
Veganism is simply skyrocketing – according to a survey by comparethemarket.com there are now 3.5 million British people who identify as vegan – that’s 7% of the British population.
That is also a large number of people who want to enjoy an afternoon tea – who doesn’t? – but are looking for vegan alternatives.
Afternoon tea locations are coming to the rescue. Mimi’s Bakehouse in Edinburgh offers a wholly vegan afternoon tea so that vegans can relax and enjoy a treat. This tea is also perfect for those who are dairy-free.
The best afternoon tea for a fashionista
For the fashionista, The Berkeley showcases a designer afternoon tea called Prêt-à-Portea. One of the most Instagrammable displays, this afternoon tea tastes as good as it looks.
Naturally, fashion changes with the seasons, so why wouldn’t an afternoon tea? For spring/summer 2018 Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat has sent out a new collection of delicacies taking inspiration from the catwalk.
This afternoon tea will see you delicately eating from tiny spoons and biting exquisite little morsels of flavour.
The best afternoon tea for a celebration
For a special celebration take a look at The Royal Crescent hotel, Bath located at numbers 15 and 16 on the Grade I-listed Royal Crescent.
The Royal Crescent was built in the 1770s and is a stunning arc of 30 houses designed by John Wood the Younger – one of the greatest Georgian legacies in the UK.
There are little touches of Bath in the afternoon tea menus such as kaffir lime leaf panna cotta with Bath gin gel and Juniper Crescent and famous Bath Buns with Devon clotted cream.
For a celebration make sure you have some Taittinger champagne (and Prestige Taittinger champagne by the bottle for a very special celebration!).
The best afternoon tea for a chocoholic
Chocoholics have to try the chocolate afternoon tea at Cocoa Wonderland in Sheffield.
Chocolate infuses everything in this afternoon tea. Sandwiches with chocolate, chocolate scones, shots of liquid chocolate, chocolate dipped strawberries… and even chocolate tea!
The most quirky afternoon tea
For afternoon tea with a difference, you can enjoy afternoon tea on a vintage Routemaster bus.
The B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus will take you on a tour of London’s famous landmarks while you indulge in a delicious afternoon tea. The afternoon tea is traditional with dainty sandwiches and chic Parisian style pastries and cakes. The tour lasts approximately one and a half hours.
Just because the bus is moving doesn’t mean that the afternoon tea is any less attractive. Pretty cake stands are set out, garlands of flowers adorn the ceiling and pretty rose cover plates are in place.
Stylish bus themed travel cups in cup holders will make sure that your tea doesn’t budge an inch while the bus travels around corners.