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Afternoon Tea at the Ritz
Antonio Busiello

Is afternoon tea at The Ritz just for tourists?

The Ritz is a London icon, but is the hotel’s fancy afternoon tea worth the price?

Written by
Phoebe Trimingham

We look at London’s most popular landmarks and decide if they’re worth the cost and the crowds. This week, we scoffed scones at The Ritz. (It’s a hard life.)

They say
Indulge in one of the finest British traditions in one of the world’s most iconic hotels.

We say
Pick (or fake) an occasion, dress up, eat lots of cake and drink posh tea in a setting fit for royalty.

The set-up
The extravagant Palm Court hosts five sittings a day, each lasting two hours. Eighteen types of loose-leaf tea, finger sarnies, scones, pastries and cakes are piled high in front of giddy guests in their ‘smart dress-code’ finest. The sense of occasion is palatable. It’s old-school glamour: the waiters call you ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ and there’s even a dessert trolley.

What’s the sweetest thing?
Er, the cakes. And the charm of Ian Gomes (the resident pianist) tinkling away on the keys – he takes Beyoncé requests.

Did you learn anything?
No, we were too deep into a sugar coma. But we did overhear that they make 1,500 scones every day. Oh, and that The Ritz is the only UK hotel with a tea sommelier.

Is it worth the money?
At £54 each, it’s special-occasion territory. You do get heaps of everything (hi, unlimited sarnies) and the service is faultless.

Insider’s tip
They don’t let you take anything home, so pace your cake-stuffing-face. Oh, and the toilets (sorry, ‘powder rooms’) are absolutely amazing.

Just for tourists?
Nope. Sure, there are less obvious places for a celebratory cuppa, but this is The Ritz, darling. It’s an institution. An icon. Just try not to steal that fancy napkin.

Love tea and cake? Here’s our pick of the best afternoon teas in London

Find out more about The Ritz

Eating at The Ritz
  • Restaurants
  • Haute cuisine
  • Piccadilly

The Ritz dining room’s Louis XVI-inspired decor, with its pink marble, gilt ornamentation and rows of chandeliers, is unforgettable. 

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