A brief history of afternoon tea

afternoon tea

No visit to London would be complete without experiencing a quintessentially British pastime, afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea has a rich history and has been part of British culture since it was first introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840. The evening meal in the Duchess of Bedford household wasn’t served until 8 pm. The Duchess found the gap between lunch and dinner gave her a sinking feeling, so she would take a pot of tea and light snack to her private quarters at 4 pm each day.

During this period, tea was gaining in popularity with a variety of blends making their way from all over the British Empire and so the occasion of afternoon tea was born.

This new trend soon took off thanks to ladies of fashion who wanted to emulate royalty. Many high-end hotels and establishments, as well as Victorian homes, started to enjoy the newly popular pastime.

In recent years, afternoon tea has seen a massive revival in London, with many people staying at luxury hotels in Chelsea making reservations to enjoy the most refined meal of the day.

So, if you’re staying at one of our 5-star hotels in Chelsea, where is the best place to enjoy an afternoon tea?

Luckily for our guests, there are several fantastic places serving an excellent afternoon tea just a short distance from our luxury hotels in Chelsea. Here’s a few of our favourites:

Sketch’s Rich Tea

Located near to our 5-star hotels in Chelsea, Sketch is perfect for a luxury rich tea fit for a queen! Featuring caviar, show-stopping cakes and champagne, the plush velvet sofas make this a great spot for a high-end afternoon tea with a difference.

Located in Mayfair, just take the Tube from our luxury hotels in Chelsea, and you’ll be enjoying some sweet treats in no time.

Alexis Gauthier’s Flower Tea

Created by award-winning chef Alexis Gauthier, the Flower Tea uses natural botanicals to provide a delicate and flavoursome experience without being overly sweet.

flower tea

Filled with savoury treats too, you can enjoy Alexis Gauthier’s Flower Tea in a beautiful Victorian Townhouse located within walking distance of our luxury hotels in Chelsea, so it’s a wonderful experience filled with finesse and a nod to the Victorian heritage of afternoon tea.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

For afternoon tea with a modern twist, then the Dominque Ansel Bakery is the place to be. Featuring an array of innovative treats such as cookie shots, a biscuit shaped as a shot glass and filled with warm milk, and the famous Cronut, a unique fusion of a croissant and a donut, this is by far one of the more inventive and quirky afternoon teas available in London. It is a must for foodies.

Due to the Bakery’s popularity, it’s advisable to book an afternoon tea slot in advance otherwise you may find yourself unable to get a table.