From delicate finger sandwiches to contemporary cakes, these Kensington hotels offer some of the best afternoon tea menus in the capital. Here are five to enjoy…
1. Royal Garden Hotel
Served in the rather beautiful Park Terrace Lounge, a room surrounded by tall glass windows looking out over Kensington Gardens, the Royal is ideal for a summer afternoon tea. The Kensington tea, priced at £26, gets you a filling spread of raisin and cinnamon scones, and pastries from the Royal Garden patisserie.
2 – 24 Kensington High Street W8 4PT, royalgardenhotel.co.uk
2. The Ampersand Hotel
One of the few modern hotels on the list, the Ampersand is a must for interior design lovers. The tea rooms are decorated in loud, mismatching chairs of bright blues and reds, complete with bird-motif upholstery. The Classic Afternoon Tea, priced at £27.50, features the mouth-watering chocolate brownie with peanut honey ganache.
10 Harrington Road SW7 3ER, ampersandhotel.com
3. Lancaster London
Afternoon tea at The Lancaster London hotel might not enjoy the same guidebook accolades as the likes of The Ritz or Claridge’s, but it’s always been a firm favourite of ours. Located just opposite Hyde Park’s Italian Gardens, it’s hard to find a better location to enjoy scones topped with Cornish clotted cream (just make sure you put the jam on fist). Like many London hotels, The Lancaster tries to keep the public interested with new themes, like its Thai afternoon tea, but you can’t go wrong with the classic option. For £30 per person (or £40 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne) Lancaster chef Ben Purton will put on a spread of fresh London smoked salmon, egg and cress, roast 28-day dry-aged British beef with horseradish, and cucumber sandwiches, with playful contemporary additions to the cake tier like the white chocolate truffle and strawberry lollipops (look out for the popping candy). Each guest is given their own sand timer to make sure their Novus tea leaves of choice are brewed for just the right length of time, which is a particularly classy touch.
Lancaster Terrace W2 2TY, lancasterlondon.com
4. The Milestone Hotel
This is one for traditional afternoon tea lovers. The tea rooms at The Milestone have a slightly stuffy Downton charm about them, with beautiful old furniture surrounded by enormous paintings in thick gold gilt frames. The tea is served quite literally on a silver tray, and although pricey (£38 per person) it is very filling.
The Milestone Hotel, 1 Kensington Court W8 5DL, milestonehotel.com
5. The Gore Hotel
One of the oldest hotels in London, The Gore Hotel has a dark, almost gothic glamour to it with sculpted ceilings and green Chesterfields. It’s close to the Royal Albert Hall, making it very popular, so be sure to book in advance. The Vintage Afternoon Tea served in the hotel’s Bistro One Ninety restaurant starts at £23.50 per person, with a good selection of desserts. 190 Queen’s Gate SW7 5EX, gorehotel.com