London’s best afternoon teas – CNN.com

There’s no better place to try this English tradition than in London, which serves up some of the world’s most well-regarded versions.

Reputedly spawned when an English duchess made a simple request for cake and tea before dinner time in the mid-1800’s, afternoon tea has since become a more decadent occasion.

Plush baked scones, assorted finger sandwiches and desserts with a generous pot of tea is now the modern standard.

While London’s traditional luxury offerings could easily monopolize this list, we’ve included quirky, novel options for those seeking teas with a twist, including one set on a vintage double-decker bus and a fanciful version inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

Fortnum & Mason

No one knows tea like Fortnum & Mason, London’s premier tea and assorted goods emporium since 1707.

Visitors can sample their famous teas and much more in the airy, elegant Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which is often filled with music from a live pianist.

“Walking into the tea room felt as if I was walking onto a set for a BBC series set in the 19th Century,” says That Adventurer blogger Hannah Kacary.

Tea sommeliers ask guests for taste preferences and recommend the perfect sip from an extensive menu.

Also on hand are traditional sommeliers who assist in champagne pairings.

Save room for dessert, however.

Fortnum’s signature cake cart allows guests to choose a slice from a range of choices.

Best For: Ultimate tea lovers

Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London; +44 207 734 8040

Sketch

Sketch’s Gallery room — enshrouded in pink and full of artsy flair — is perhaps the city’s most striking venue for afternoon tea.
“You feel like you’re in a candy shop, with the bubblegum pink seats and little cheesy messages at the bottom of your cups and plates,” says Fresh and Fearless blogger Aftab Pathan.

Tea comes with finger sandwiches, such as the addictive comte cheese panini, warm scones and sweets such as cassis cheesecake and citrus…

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