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The best places in the world for afternoon tea

Afternoon tea is a regal and delectable way to while away the afternoon, where you will be waited on hand and foot and treated to some delicious cuisine. Once reserved for society’s elite, afternoon tea is now a treat to be enjoyed by all. Although synonymous with England, afternoon tea is a concept now adopted by many countries around the world. We’ve created a list of the best places for afternoon tea, ensuring you’re never far away from luxury no matter where you are in the world. The Ritz, London This five star hotel in London has been serving afternoon tea for years, and hasn’t waned in popularity at all. If you are in search of an authentic high tea experience then you need look no further than The Ritz. Serving delicious sandwiches, scones and pastries, accompanied by a wide selection of loose leaf teas, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable culinary experience here. The Ritz also serves champagne afternoon tea and celebration afternoon tea, ideal for those wishing to commemorate a special occasion. Ritz London afternoon tea Mount Nelson Hotel, South Africa Although South Africa may not immediately jump to mind when you picture quintessential afternoon teas, the Mount Nelson Hotel’s high tea is world renowned. Enjoy a delectable selection of freshly made sandwiches, filled with a variety of delicious fillings including rare roast beef, and sweet pastries. The dining room’s airy windows provide views of South Africa, providing the perfect backdrop to this fine meal. The hotel also offers a morning tea, which is a light version of their afternoon teas; the perfect option for those who want to get their day off to the right start. Mount Nelson Hotel afternoon tea Raffles Hotel, Singapore The Raffles Hotel in Singapore is dedicated to all things decadent, including their high teas. Served in the hotel’s historic Tiffin Room, you will be able to enjoy all the standard delights of an afternoon tea, plus a buffet of mouth-watering goodies. From fresh dim sum to extra cakes, tartlets and fresh fruit, you’ll surely leave the Tiffin Room fit to burst at the seams! Oh, and don’t forget to sample the array of fragrant loose teas which accompany the hotel’s menu. The Strand, Myanmar (Burma) Located in the historical Yangon, The Strand hotel is an example of colonial decadence, with an afternoon tea menu to match. Enjoy your sumptuous afternoon tea as you take in the hotel café’s interiors, from its teak furnishings to the striking black and white photographs of the country’s monks. Savour homemade pastries and a selection of loose leaf teas which comprise the hotel’s afternoon tea menu, with attentive staff on hand to cater your every whim. Tea & Sympathy, New York Situated in the heart of Greenwich Village, this authentic English shop serves classically English dishes, including an authentic afternoon tea. Featuring delicate finger sandwiches, pastries and scones, you’ll find that everything on the menu is homemade – including the delectable strawberry and raspberry jams! Their scones are particularly popular with both locals and tourists, having gained a reputation as being extra fluffy and flavoursome! Tea & Sympathy Matthew Coe is Online Marketing Manager for Wanderforth.

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  1. Love the sound of the all of these suggestions, from the splendour of the Ritz to the charm of Tea & Sympathy. While I’ve never been to any of these I can highly recommend the Pump Rooms in Bath or Fortnum & Masons, London.

  2. Great suggestions and I especially like the photos from South Africa and Tea & Sympathy. Over 20 years ago I went to the Ritz for afternoon tea, and it was a wonderful experience.

  3. Paris has also 2 great places for afternoon teas, the Shangri-La Paris and the Royal Monceau. Anyway I also agree with your post, the Ritz-London is definitely a must-see for a luxury afternoon tea !

  4. I took my wife to England in 1995. We used a travel package from Trafalgar Tours that included airfare and hotel, but everything else was on our own. Except that the package included a “cream tea” at the caffeteria at one of the big stores, Selfridges I think.
    We didn’t know much about the customs at the time but we “knew” that English people had tea in the afternoons. When we went for our tea, we got a cup of tea and a scone with clotted cream. It was all very impersonal and disappointing.
    Since then I have seen things written about various tea experiences at some of the hotels in London which were much different than what we experienced. What you have described here is the epitome of what it means to have afternoon tea.
    It looks like it would be worthwhile to try this at least once, even if it is expensive.

  5. This article has mentionned great places to experience the traditional afternoon tea and I totally approve though I would also have mentionned The Dorchester, which is for me one of the best places to have afternoon tea. On a different level it also features the one and only Spatisserie…@Lee May I suggest this wonderful place the next time you are in London ? I am sure your wife will appreciate.

  6. Hi Sarah… thanks for commenting. I have been to the Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate (not the one in York) and, whilst I enjoyed it, I also kind of wondered what all the fuss was about and why it had people queueing out of the door…

  7. Great suggestions! I’d love to read a follow up post about the kinds of tea you might find at some of the more exotic places. Tea seems to be becoming more and more local – It’s not hard to find a regional/national specialty in many places around the world. Cheers!

  8. the first time I went to Europe, in the summer of 1969, I was traveling with my great-aunt, Irene. We stayed at the Mayfair in London, where an incredible tea was served every afternoon – cucumber sandwiches, whipped cream-filled pastries, the whole nine yards. All while we relaxed in the most elegant fire-side lounge I’ve ever seen. I’ll remember that tea forever!
    I hope it’s still being offered there.

  9. Great list. I love afternoon tea, an elegant treat that is delicious :). The scones must be homemade with jam and clotted cream, a great selection of tea and finger sandwiches, as well as a nice platter of desserts. All served in lovely fine china. Sounds like the perfect afternoon tea to me”

  10. Lovel selection of afternoon teas! It’s a shame The Savoy in London hasn’t made it onto the list as it’s as good, if not better than The Ritz (in my humble opinion!)

  11. Some good ones there and other’s I haven’t seen. F&M in London is indeed ace, but I’d also recommend the Dorchester – they just keep filling up your plates!

    If you want something fun in London we’ve just come back from Science afternoon tea at The Ampersand hotel which was great fun!

    Re Raffles though – I’ve heard really mixed reviews about it, and still undecided about visiting while there. Any other peeps been and what did you think?

  12. I have recently returned from a trip in Cape Town and would highly recommend the mount Nelson impeccable service and everything is made on the premises. In tranquil gardens very pleasant afternoon spent in Cape Town. I would also recommend the eastern and oriental in Penang Malaysia for old world colonial charm.

  13. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. Tested back in 2001 and will never forget. Sofitel Hua Hin the same year had a nice Asian twist.

  14. The Raffles is atrocious. Or, I might say, if you have never been to a high tea, it might be ok for the experience alone. But as for quality, it is truly third-rate. I would suggest the writer if this article may have never been to a high tea, let alone any if these places.

  15. William, can you recommend somewhere else in Singapore for afternoon tea? I feel like I *should* experience Raffles but keep hearing so many bad things! Would love to know of some better places to experience!

  16. I agree with the comments about Raffles Singapore – awful! The Fullerton is better there. As for London the Ritz is lovely but very touristy better would be Claridges, Dorchester or the Langham. However I agree with Mount Nelson and the best of all – Mandarin Oriental Bangkok!

  17. My wife & I had the pleasure of afternoon tea at The Ritz last year for our first wedding anniversary. Unfortunately the restoration works at the front of the & the impersonal service didn’t quite allow tea here to live up to our regular expectations. As Expats living in Dubai, the epitome of high-class & luxury when it comes to afternoon tea, I’m afraid the Locals (or indeed the hotels) have supassed the standards of English Tea in England. Maybe with a different name, High Tea in Dubai should be a must for every tourist. The “7*” Burj al Arab offers a pricey tea in the Skybar (good – but not that good – one of the cheapest ways to get a reservation in the hotel) but in my opinion, the number one High Tea really is just that. So high up in the sky, At.mosphere at the top of Burj Khalifa (the worlds tallest building) serves high tea which is just delicious. Topped by the fact that it so well priced, this has to be number one. Service, food, views, luxury… Try it!

  18. The best is the wonderful tea at the Nellie in Cape Town. Just stunning. Raffles is incredibly over rated and, frankly, second rate. The Ritz comes closest to the Mt Nelson but the Nellie wins out because everything is made on the premises including a tea made from the rose petals taken from their own gardens and the amazing wide selection. Try the ”melktert(milk tart). I’ve tried the Oriental in Bangkok but disappointing both times.

  19. Wherever we have gone in the world, my wife and I go for afternoon tea. Last year we went to London and went to the Ritz for our afternoon tea. The service, the food, the pianist accompaniment, the elegance and formality of the tea room with all of the servers wearing white gloves and tuxedos, contributed to our belief that the Ritz in London was the finest afternoon tea experience that we have ever seen in the world. It was so great that we are considering going back again this year this year to London, as part of our vacation just to have afternoon tea one more time at the place that we consider to be the finest tea in the world-the LONDON RITZ.

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