12/06/2012 11:10:00 AM

Five Festive Afternoon Teas in London

Tea drinking in Britain is a quotidian thing, taken lightly and often. But afternoon tea is more of an occasion, a treat for someone special or a place to take visitors from abroad looking for their Englishness fix. The Ritz, The Savoy, The Dorchester are perhaps the best known, but many will quite rightly baulk at the eyewatering prices charged for what is essentially hot water, tea leaves and cake. A few other Zagat alternatives that are lighter on tourists and easier on the wallet:

The Wolseley: Next to the Ritz on the Strand, The Wolseley might not have its neighbour's history and upper crust pedigree, but it is nevertheless an elegant hotel in one of the capital's most desirable locations, and a full Afternoon Tea of sandwiches, cakes, pastries, scones with cream and tea is a reasonable £22.50 (Monday-Friday 3 PM-6:30 PM; Saturday 3:30 PM-5:30 PM; Sunday 3:30 PM-6:30 PM).

Capital Hotel: Kensington's Capital Hotel is a short walk from Hyde Park and Harrods, and its afternoon tea offering at £25 is sufficiently superior to have been awarded the Tea Guild's Award of Excellence 2012 (daily 2:30 PM-5:30 PM).

The Orangery at Kensington Palace: In the heart of Kensington west of Hyde Park, the Orangery restaurant also serves an afternoon tea that includes orange-scented scones for £19.95 (daily 2 PM-5 PM).

Georgian Tea Rooms at Harrods: This Knightsbridge institution also boasts a tea room buried among the store's Egyptian kitsch, offering a full range of the delights from the store's patisserie, for £29 (Monday-Saturday noon-6 PM, Sun until 5 PM).

The Great Court Restaurant at the British Museum: Lunch under the magnificent glass dome of the British Museum's Great Court, or just take tea, with prices starting at £22.50 (daily 3 PM-5.30 PM).


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