Tea time in the capital

Cast aside that cappuccino. Leave the latte alone. Tea is brewing up a storm. Yes, the charming, relaxed ritual of afternoon tea is back in fashion. Underpinning this renaissance are the health benefits of tea, although it has always been considered something of a tonic: “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you”. So said Britain’s former prime minister, William Gladstone, back in 1865.

For a quintessential afternoon tea experience, head to one of the capital’s top hotels to indulge in the ritual of a formal tea. Claridges may have been named London’s finest venue for afternoon tea in The Tea Guild’s 2011 awards (dubbed the Oscars of the tea world), but for a fashionable twist on the mid afternoon meal try the following on for size. Just don’t expect to be able to eat supper and – for The Sanderson especially – book well in advance.

Room with a brew: the best spots for afternoon tea in town