Travel Weekly executive editor Donna Tunney is by nature a tea
drinker (though not a teetotaler). Agency clients looking to
indulge in a fun British tradition might take advantage of these
LONDON -- There are few things as pleasant as sitting down to
afternoon tea somewhere
in Britain -- at least in my book.
And there are all sorts of ways clients can do this.
They can dress up and head to the elegant Palm Court in London's
Ritz Hotel -- with a reservation, please.
They can stop in at Fortnum and Mason, the department store on
Piccadilly (get there by 2:45 p.m. to be assured of a table).
Or, they can drop in
at a cozy tea room in virtually any town during late afternoon and
stand a good chance of getting a pleasant window seat overlooking
High Street (Main Street to us Yanks).
For those unfamiliar with the routine, afternoon tea
traditionally comes with a pot of tea, naturally; finger sandwiches
of salmon, tuna or cucumbers and watercress with cheese; scones
with clotted cream, and, sometimes, cookies. The tidbits are
virtually always served on fine china, making afternoon tea an
elegant repast even in rural tea shops.
I've got a short list of my favorite teatime places in London,
which are listed here, along with a few additional recommendations
culled from the British Tourist Authority's Web site, at www.visitbritain.com.
Prices are approximate and per person.
• Browns Hotel, Albermarle Street; (011) 44-207 493-6020. Two
sittings are bookable at 3 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. $28.
• Claridge's, Brook Street, Mayfair; (011) 44-207 629-8860.
Daily from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. $30.
• Harrods, Knightsbridge; (011) 44-207 730-1234. Monday to
Saturday from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the fourth floor Georgian
Restaurant, with live music. $28.
• The Ritz, Piccadilly; (011) 44-207 493-8181. Daily from 2 p.m.
to 6 p.m. Sittings at 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. require bookings. Tea is
served in the Palm Court with music from the resident pianist.
• The Savoy Hotel, The Strand; (011) 44-207 836-4343. Daily from
3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Thames Foyer, with a pianist. $29. On
Sundays, a tea dance usually is offered from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Outside the capital city, clients will find that tea rooms are
abundant in small towns and villages. They lack five-star fanfare
but often provide something that might be more important -- fellow
tea drinkers are more likely to be locals than tourists.