When in London this summer do not miss the English ritual of afternoon tea. It originated amongst the wealthy classes in England in the 1840s. By the end of the 19th century, afternoon tea, also called low tea, had developed into its current form, observed by the upper and middle classes.

So, where should you go for an afternoon of scones, sandwiches, pastries and tea in London?

The Ritz is perhaps the first afternoon tea place in London that comes to mind. The hotel serves traditional afternoon tea, with an assortment of six finger sandwiches, raisin and plain scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and pastries.

The “Vintage Afternoon Tea” at The Dorchester lets you choose slices from a cake trolley full of Victoria Sponge cake, Sacher Torte, Lemon Drizzle and English Fruit cake. Along with the regular afternoon tea you also get to select from a variety of seasonal afternoon teas like the Summer “Ice Cream Tea” and the Winter “Festive Afternoon Tea.”

The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason won the 2013 “Tea Guild Award for Excellence”. You get gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic and dairy-free afternoon tea options along with their regular and children’s afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at Park Room at Grosvenor House comes with live piano music and cushy chairs. You get finger sandwiches, plain and raisin buttermilk scones, homemade cakes, a choice of tea, and an additional option of Piper Heidsieck or Taittinger Rose Champagne. Got kids with you? Then “Grover’s Tea Time,” includes a fruit salad, ice cream, French pastries and a Grover stuffed animal for home.

For a sweet afternoon make your way to Claridge’s Hotel’s Foyer and Reading Room. You get classic afternoon tea, champagne afternoon tea, and the seasonal afternoon tea, all with over forty teas to choose from. However, afternoon tea service is extremely popular here so be sure to make reservations at least three months in advance!

Ah, The Savoy! Listen to a live pianist as you sit for The Savoy’s afternoon tea in The Thames Foyer. Approved by the Tea Guild, enjoy The Thames Foyer signature cakes: the chocolate fudge, Savoy fruitcake, and Victoria sponge cake. You can order rare teas like the Darjeeling Tresor or the Wazuka Sencha here.

There are even more options for afternoon tea in London. To find out about them call Lighthouse on (0) 9818905024 or email theworld@golighthouse.in.

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