Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea is amongst the top 5 searched Afternoon Teas in London on Google.
Fortnum & Mason is an upmarket department store in Picadilly. It was established in 1707 by grocer William Fortnum and his landlord Hugh Mason. It was founded as a grocery store, and its reputation was built on supplying quality food. Fortnum & Mason experienced rapid growth throughout the Victorian era and developed into a department store with a continued focus on stocking a variety of exotic, specialty, and also ‘basic’ provisions.
It also has a tea shop and several restaurants. Afternoon Tea is served in the relaxed and elegant surroundings of The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon opened in 2012 by HM the Queen, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which opened in 2012 by HM the Queen is elegant, and its size offers functional space where you can hold a private conversation easily. However, the interior is not as stylish as interiors of other traditional Afternoon Teas offered by famous hotels.
The live piano music was beautiful, but the pianist is located in the reception area, so you are not really able to enjoy the music while you are eating.
The slot for the Afternoon Tea is, as in most cases, two hours. However, the space is quite generous, and the staff is much more relaxed about letting you stay a little bit longer.
Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea is a little bit different. You can choose from two options: Afternoon Tea and Savoury Afternoon Tea.
The main difference is that there are no sweets served in the savoury version. Even scones are savoury.
In this review, I am focusing on the Afternoon Tea version with sweets. However, you can check the full menu here.
Tea - Fortnum & Mason sells more than 100 rare and exotic teas from all around the world. The basic Afternoon Tea selection is very decent, but you can also pick teas from the rare tea selection, which will add £3 to your final bill.
Sandwiches - You will get five different finger sandwiches with pretty traditional flavors: Egg Mayonnaise, Cucumber with Cream Cheese, Ham with Mustard, Smoked Salmon, and Coronation Chicken. The quality of the sandwiches is on par with other big names on my list like The Ritz, Savoy, or Claridge’s.
Scones - Good quality of plain and raisin scones with clotted cream, excellent lemon curd, and strawberry preserve, which you can buy downstairs in the tea shop.
Pastries - On the top of the tree tiered stand is an excellent selection of individual patisseries. As a considerable dessert enthusiast, I found the range well balanced — some fruity but also the chocolaty type of desserts.
Extra cakes - In the end, you can also pick a cake from the cake stand close to the bar. When I visited, there were four types of cakes. However, the selection and quality of the cakes were not as exciting as I would expect. Compared to the excellent variety of the trolley cakes from The Ritz, Fortnum & Mason has something to catch up on.
You can try as many teas as you like and they will gladly serve you more sandwiches and scones as well.
Everyone was amicable and knowledgeable about their tea offerings. We’ve also got an excellent package of leftovers.
Prices start from £60 with the usual champagne version going higher. The interesting quirk was an extra £3 for the rare tea selection when I visited Fortnum & Mason the last time. However, it seems that this option is not separate anymore.
Keep in mind that there is a service charge of 12.5% included in your final bill. That means you should expect to pay almost £68 per person.
There is no specific dress code in Fortnum and Mason, but smart casual is preferred. Apparently they are ok with shorts in the summer as well, but I, personally, wouldn't go that far. I always advise people to dress up for the occasion as it makes the experience much more delightful.
The booking is for two hours. However, as The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon offers very generous space waiters are not in a rush to move people.
You can book Afternoon Tea here.
Although Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason is very popular, because they have quite a few tables, it is relatively easy to get the booking even in the same week. You might be a little bit more flexible if you want to book during the weekend, but usually, you find some available slots.