Claridge's Afternoon Tea is the second most search Afternoon Tea in London. I quite liked the Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, and reviews on the internet say that Claridge's Afternoon Tea might be even better.
Claridge's location, interior, and the magnificent Foyer, inspired by the 1930s' heyday of art deco, are all stunning, and on its own, make it worthwhile to stop by.
The size of the Afternoon Tea room in Claridge's is quite significant; thus, there is much less push to make you go after the two hours. That, combined with less strict dress code, creates a more relaxed atmosphere.
I loved the whole experience. The interior is beautiful. The location of the hotel is excellent. Live music is great.
The more relaxed dress code makes it a little bit easier to enjoy the Afternoon Tea. Although I am used to wearing a jacket at work, I am happier when I don’t need to eat in the jacket.
Because the tables are more spread, you don’t see waiters around you preparing tables as much as you can in The Ritz, which gives you a little bit less pressure to finish and leave. And also to hold the private conversation.
Another thing which significantly adds to the atmosphere in Claridge's is the live music. Pianist and double bassist were playing gentle music in the background the whole time.
Tea - A great selection of teas put together by world-renowned tea connoisseur. I went for the classic, the delicious Claridge’s Blend tea (black tea), and later some Jasmine Tea. They were excellent.
Sandwiches - A very traditional selection of sandwiches. Smoked salmon, chicken, ham, egg mayonnaise, cucumber, and chef’s seasonal savory, which in our case was mackerel. There is not much to say. They were well prepared, with delicious and rich flavors.
Scones - For me, the scones were a little bit on the dry side. I like my scones moister. However, we’ve got a nice full cup of clotted cream and a spectacular tea blend jam, which was unique and delicious!
Pastries - Pastries are always my most favorite part of the afternoon tea experience. And Claridge’s got it right. A little bit of everything. A refreshing fruit pastry, a chocolate pastry, their own version of Victoria sponge cake, and something extra. In my case, a choux pastry with an excellent fruity filling. I was told that they change the cake selection weekly, which, (un)fortunately, is another thing making me want to visit again.
Extra cakes - It doesn’t look like Claridge's Afternoon Tea contains any additional cake selection.
Staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about their tea offering. They will also pack leftovers for you.
Prices start from £70 per person. There is also a 12.5% service charge included in the final bill.
They also make seasonal Afternoon Tea (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day), which starts at £90 per person.
The dress code is relaxed. A jacket for men is not required, but the shirt and trousers are a must. As usual, with afternoon teas, even if the dress code is less strict, you will definitely feel much better nicely dressed.
The booking is for two hours. However, as The Foyer & Reading Room offers very generous space waiters are not in a rush to move people.
They are both excellent. If you never experienced traditional Afternoon Tea, then I would recommend you to go to the Ritz first. I think it's a little bit more captivating experience for the first-timers and tourists.
But, if you prefer a little bit more casual and relaxed atmosphere then definitely go to Claridge's.
Food-wise they are both extraordinarily good. However, one more thing I noticed, which is worth mentioning, is that even if the amount of the food you will get is absolutely enough, in the Ritz, they replenish everything for you without asking (more sandwiches, more cakes, more scones). Given that both afternoon teas are advertised for £60, you will, purely quantitatively, get a little bit more for your buck in the Ritz.
You can book Afternoon Tea here.
Afternoon Tea is served daily between 2.45 pm and 5.30 pm. It is one of the busiest Afternoon Teas in London, and especially for the weekend days, you might need to book at least two months ahead. For the weekdays you should be able to make bookings as close as a week ahead.