Top five posh places for high tea in London

By Megan Singleton

Fancy a fancy cup of tea? Photo / Thinkstock
Fancy a fancy cup of tea? Photo / Thinkstock

There's nothing quite as delightful as sipping high tea with your pinky out in the home of the high tea. Originally created by Anna, Duchess of Bedford in the early 1800s to ward off that "sinking feeling" while she waited for the traditionally late dinner, today it is more popular - and more lavish - than ever.

Berkeley, Knightsbridge

For afternoon tea with a twist, the Berkeley's Pret-a-Portea is all about fashion. Nibble on a Manolo Blahnik polka dot shoe, a miniature Yves Saint Laurent sponge handbag or a Fendi maple and ginger ankle boot biscuit. The menu includes catwalk photos that have inspired each exquisitely decorated cake. A must for the girls!

Sanctum, Soho

This one's for the blokes: an oyster with bloody mary relish, lamb and potato hot pot, a mini burger, rabbit pasty and a roast beef-stuffed Yorkshire pudding.

Followed by the twice cooked chocolate fudge cake with Jack Daniels ice cream, washed down with tea or coffee, then taste three varieties of Jack and top it off with a cigar. I can think of a few men who would fly to London just for this!

The Athenaeum Hotel, Green Park
This small family-run 5-star hotel has won the Oscar of the Afternoon Tea world by winning The Tea Guild award for 'Top London Afternoon Tea 2012'. Expect delicious finger sandwiches, macarons, fresh scones and crumpets with homemade jam and clotted cream and cakes including bird cookies, fairy cakes with sugar flowers and regular or herbal tea in the garden room.

The Goring, Victoria
Not only is the hotel frequented by royalty (the Middleton's took it over before Kate and Wills' wedding), but you'll find the rich and famous gathered in some nook or other. The hotel was recently stamped with a Royal Warrant for being the hotel the Queen prefers to send her guests to when the palace is full. Try the crayfish mousse in a shot glass, coronation chicken finger sandwiches and the warm scone with jam and clotted cream.

The Ritz, Picadilly

London's most famous afternoon tea is here at Ritz, and clearly a lot of people think so because it can take months to get in. Glide into the Palm Court in your finery (gentlemen are required to wear jacket and tie) and enjoy live music as you sip from the extensive tea menu and enjoy traditional finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam as well as cakes and pastries.

And if you've ever tried to find clotted cream in New Zealand but can't, here is a recipe to make it yourself.

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