As if a formal Afternoon Tea in London wasn’t ideal already, I got to bask in a Christmas Afternoon Tea! This was my one condition to visiting a friend in London, I MUST enjoy this formal British tradition. I wanted the classic afternoon tea, and I got it. A google search and a scroll through Pinterest later and I had my heart set… The Ritz Afternoon Tea it was.
Luckily for me this trip took place right before Christmas. I was visiting a friend studying abroad and we flew home together in time for the Holidays. I have always been a fan of tea, never coffee, and I love the formality that comes with an Afternoon Tea. A quick tube ride and a short walk brought us to the most elegant setting.
I felt like I was in the Beast’s Ballroom from Beauty and the Beast. We were greeted by the cheerful Christmas carols sung by a small choir and a pianist just feet from our table, swanky!!! Marble floors, sparkling mirrors, chandeliers, and the most ornate ceiling I have ever seen were just the start. A Christmas tree stood proudly in the center of the room, nearly every inch covered by the most beautiful ornaments and shining silver teapots. The garland around the pink marble beams even had china cups and saucers on them. The attention to detail was unreal.
We started off with a glass of champagne and a menu of loose leaf teas to choose from, 18 to be exact. My tea arrived moments later, silver tea pot and all. While an Afternoon Tea is all about the food, the Ritz experience was like no other. The waiters tuxedos and precise movements make the night even more fascinating. A parade of staff rolled out with the 3 tiered cake stand and plates of sandwiches and mini cakes for dessert (macarons too!). The Palm Court was full of eager diners but the servers are so attentive you feel as though you are the only ones in the room. The scones were delivered warm a few minutes later, baked to perfection, shiny tops, and fluffy insides. Served with nothing better than the classic clotted cream and strawberry preserve. I was in heaven.
Our tea time was 7:30 pm, and I was nervous about the small portions of sandwiches not being enough to feel satisfied. To my surprise the waiters do ask if you would like seconds if you finish off a tier of food. We thought we were done eating when a cake cart comes strolling through the dining room, christmas cake on top. How could I say no? I honestly don’t remember what type of cake it was, or what it tasted like.
This is the type of moment you sit back and just absorb the world around you. This is not your typical dining experience, it was a production hosted in a piece of art. Grab your coat from the coat room and hit the bathrooms on the lower level on your way out, you won’t be disappointed! While there is a dress code and a request to be discreet with cameras, the environment was very welcoming. I did not feel out of place at all. I can’t say enough about the experience at the Ritz. If you are in London and want to do something unforgettable, this is it.