What do you get the mum who has everything? Time with you, of course! And what better way to spend time together than nibbling sandwiches, sipping bubbly and feeling terribly British, with one of London’s fabulous afternoon teas?
We’ve scoured London for some of the more unusual tea experiences, for something a little bit different. Our favourite part of the afternoon tea gift? It’s a present to you too…
Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Sanderson, W1
In the super-modern Sanderson in the city’s West End, afternoon tea is held in the gorgeous Courtyard Garden. An adventure fit for city girls who don’t like to get their Jimmy Choos dirty, the imagination is all in the presentation of this colourful culinary experience, with bespoke crockery, menus hidden in vintage books, ‘drink me’ concoctions and more. The sweet faire isn’t always what it seems either; try homemade marshmallow mushrooms and take a visit to Jelly Wonderland, where Victorian-esque jellies are presented on a Phillipe Starck cake trolley.
Chaya Teahouse, W11
If you’re in the mood for something a little Eastern following the Chinese New Year, why not take mum over to Notting Hill for a browse around the market and one of London’s more unusual afternoon tea experiences? In a quiet residential corner of the ‘Hill, tiny Chaya Teahouse sits in the living room of its owner, Pei Wang. Sip some of their extensive range of teas from traditional ceremonial sets as you tuck into a selection of handmade snacks both savoury and sweet. From savoury veggie dumplings and sweet pastries filled with lotus bean paste to charcoal macaroons with Yazu buttercream, this is an experience to savour – and is sure to restore your zen.
Sometimes a girl and her mum just need a bit of peace and quiet with their piece of cake. This secret tea room has done a marvellous job of staying ‘secret’ and quirky cool for a while now, even though it’s in the heart of bustling Soho. Tucked away above the historic Coach and Horses pub, you have to ask the barman to let you go behind the bar and up the hidden stairs to find this vintage-chic spot. With its delicate mismatched porcelain teacups and impressive gramophone whistling out jazz in the corner, this is the perfect spot for some tea and scone-related indulgence for a day out. Traditional, quirky and cool, all for about £18 per person.
The Landmark, NW1
We’re going to put it out there; The Landmark’s afternoon tea is dancing along the perimeters of pure perfection. Set in the startlingly beautiful Winter Garden, a majestically airy atrium complete with four storey-high palm trees and a glass ceiling, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world, rather than a hotel on the busy Marylebone Road. Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the hall, be prepared to take in the beauty of the three-tier cake stand. The perfectly cut finger sandwiches are rich and varied, the golden scones are just the right balance of crumbly and doughy and the cakes are almost too pretty to eat. Almost. And if that wasn’t enough, the secret of the Landmark afternoon tea is that it’s never ending (ish). Everything is replenished on request, so the dream goes on and on for the duration of your booking – or until someone has to roll you out. A luxury well worth the price at around £40 per person.
If mum’s a history buff, The Original Maids of Honour in Kew is just the ticket. Set on this spot for over 120 years, this extremely traditional afternoon tea was apparently a favourite of Henry VIII, “who so loved their ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ sensation, he took the recipe and kept it under lock and key at Richmond Palace!” Whether that’s true or not, the delectable fruit scones with clotted cream are undoubtedly sensational. Pare it with a trip to Kew Gardens, and you’ve got yourself one happy mum – and two happy tums.