Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s London (in Pictures)

Ah, Claridge’s in London for afternoon tea – this is the epitome of “old school” British elegance, sophistication and style. Claridge’s has been in operation at this location since 1812, and I don’t think that I’d be going out on a limb in saying that afternoon tea at Claridge’s is an institution in and of itself.

The main entrance to the hotel is on Brook Street, in London’s Mayfair district …

Claridges Hotel Entrance in London Mayfair on Brook St

Claridges Hotel Entrance

As you enter the hotel, you come upon this spectacular lobby.

Claridge's-lobby-London-Mayfair

Image courtesy of Claridge’s

And just beyond the lobby is the Foyer, designed by Thierry Despont in a 1930’s art deco style. This is a bright and airy space themed with Roman stone and jazz moderne mirrored walls. Claridge’s serves afternoon tea here in the Foyer and in the adjacent Reading Room as well.

The Foyer at Claridges for Afternoon Tea in London Mayfair

The Foyer at Claridge’s Afternoon Tea

Clardige’s uses a distinctive pale green, striped china pattern made by Bernardaud, France.  For my afternoon tea, I chose a full leaf, medium-bodied black tea – grown locally in the Tregothnan area of Cornwall / Southwest England.

Teacup at Claridges Bernardaud china for Afternoon Tea in London Mayfair

Bernardaud Teacup at Claridge’s

Another unique feature of Claridge’s afternoon tea is that the classic three-tier cake stand rests on the floor, not on your table, so you don’t have to play peek-a-boo with your guests.

Claridges Table Setting for Afternoon Tea London Mayfair

Claridge’s Table Setting for Afternoon Tea

The first “course” in Claridge’s afternoon tea is the finger sandwiches.  You’ll be presented with all of the classic and traditional choices for afternoon tea sandwiches – starting from the left (below) are smoked salmon, egg & cress, chicken, cucumber and ham. What can I say, except that these are exceptionally delicious sandwiches made with only the freshest and often organic ingredients, and it shows.

Finger sandwiches at Claridges Afternoon Tea in London Mayfair

Finger sandwiches at Claridge’s

Claridge’s is among the rare few that hold back the scones until you have had an opportunity to sample the tea sandwiches, so they can serve them as warm as possible.  That’s a raisin scone on the left (below) and an apple scone on the right. You can’t really see it very well in the picture, but the condiment on the left is Marco Polo jam, a unique tea jelly from Claridge’s that is sourced from Mariage Freres, a French gourmet tea company. At this point, I switched my tea selection to a Ceylon Orange Pekoe for the scones and pastries.

Scones at Claridges for Afternoon Tea with Marco Polo jam in London Mayfair

Scones at Claridge’s for Afternoon Tea

The floor standing, three-tier cake stand is helpful in keeping your table uncluttered and, for example, can keep the teapot and hot water close, but not too close.

Cake stand Claridges afternoon tea in London Mayfair

The Reading Room at Claridge’s

Finally, and last but not least, are the sweets and pastries. These can of course change, but here is an example of the sweets presentation on the day I visited Claridge’s. They include a Dundee Cake, a chocolate-hazelnut brownie and a vanilla Mille-feuille.

Sweets and pastries for afternoon tea at Claridge's London Mayfair

Sweets and pastries at Claridge’s

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Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the Dale Chihuly, Gilded Dawn glass chandelier, magnificently presiding 18 feet over the Foyer at Claridge’s.

Dale Chihuly chandelier in The Foyer at Claridges London Mayfair

Dale Chihuly chandelier in The Foyer

 

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