The Best Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea originated with the wealthy in England in the early 1840s.  Occurring between 4 and 6 pm, this light meal was intended to bridge the gap between the midday meal and evening supper.  Typically, afternoon tea was accompanied by savouries (such as cucumber or egg sandwiches), bread and butter, and usually cakes and pastries.

Today, many luxury hotels around the world offer afternoon tea to their guests.  The food arrives on a tiered stand to enhance the presentation. In addition to (or in place of) tea sandwiches one may also enjoy scones, crumpets, and muffins.  The menu often includes champagne or cocktails, so one is not limited to strictly tea if that is their preference.

If you’d like to experience a traditional afternoon tea, we would like to recommend the following five places for a delightful tea time. You might also consider one of these locales to help you celebrate the upcoming wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry.

The Orangery at Kensington Gardens


The Best Afternoon High Tea
Photo courtesy of The Orangery at Kensington Gardens


The Orangery is  the only royal palace in London where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.  This setting is where Queen Anne would host sophisticated and luxurious get togethers.  Surrounded by beautiful formal gardens, the Orangery offers a magnificent setting for a classic afternoon tea.

The Grand Empress Hotel


The Best Afternoon High Tea
Photo courtesy of Fairmont


For over 100 years this famed hotel in Victoria, Canada, has served afternoon tea to visiting British royalty, as well as dignitaries and celebrities.  The Former Executive Chef to the Royals selects the menu which includes items that are favorites of the Royal Family.



The Best Afternoon High Tea
Photo courtesy of Sarabeth’s Restaurants


Sarabeth’s offers New York City’s take on afternoon tea.  The offerings include pastries as well as heartier selections like Maine lobster rolls, chicken salad, and Black Forest ham finger sandwiches.  The Bloody Mary and Bellini are the restaurant’s most popular cocktails.

Eastern and Oriental Hotel


The Best Afternoon High Tea
Photo courtesy of Eastern & Oriental Hotel


This classic hotel in Malaysia calls it’s dining room 1885.  Named for the year that the E&O Hotel was established, 1885 offers classical yet contemporary cuisine in an elegant environment in the finest traditions of colonial style dining. Enjoy a traditional high tea experience in a setting that offers crisp white tablecloths and porcelain tea sets.

The Getty Villa


The Best Afternoon High Tea
Photo courtesy of The Getty


This Mediteranean villa in Malibu, California, offers a twist on the traditional English afternoon tea.  Tea by the Sea, a special experience inspired by the herbs, vegetables, and fruits that grow in the Villa’s authentically re-created first-century Roman gardens. Tea takes place in the Founder’s Room, an elegant space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Villa.

Whichever continent you’re on, there is an option for afternoon tea!  Take some time each day to relax, unwind, and enjoy the afternoon with tea.

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The Best Afternoon Tea