On our recent trip to London, we decided to do something completely different. On our annual visits, we typically experience everything London has to offer – castles, bridges, museums, restaurants and theater. Yet there was one thing even my British-born husband had not experienced – traditional High Tea…and not just your typical High Tea, rather a truly royal, fancy High Tea.
We were invited to the Dukes Hotel in the gorgeous St. James Place part of London. The Dukes is a quiet, unassuming and completely traditional hotel tucked away on a side street called Jermyn. It’s close to Piccadilly and West End and there’s a hidden short cut to Green Park from the hotel. The Dukes was truly the perfect place to indulge in my family’s already existing tea obsession.
My kids were enamored by the elegance of the room and they were very pleased they were offered their own tray of kid’s food including chocolate cupcakes, plain scones, cheese & jelly sandwiches, as well as chocolate milk. We were certainly all pleased. The atmosphere is simply lovely and we were separated from the main lounge so I didn’t have to worry about them making noise. We were also dressed casually from our day out in London, and that wasn’t an issue in the slightest.
The Dukes Hotel serves Afternoon Tea in their elegant Drawing Room and Conservatory. We were positioned right near a beautiful Christmas tree and were served cups of tea and scores of English delicacies in beautiful china, including delicate finger sandwiches, fresh bakes scones, hot toasted crumpets and a selection of cream cakes…and yes, my favorite, champagne (swoon), much to my delight.
First we were served hot, pressed tea. Our pots were refilled endlessly while we sat back comfortably on the sofa and side chairs and indulged in the beautiful food, served on traditional High Tea trays. My husband and I were also offered champagne, our glasses double or triple filled while we took in the experience, making it ever so nice.
Our selection of sandwiches included smoke salmon, egg mayonnaise, chicken and cucumber and for picky eaters, peanut butter & jelly. When the waiter discovered we don’t eat pork, he immediately offered new sandwiches in place of the ham and tomato. When he established that my son isn’t a sandwich fan, he brought us over a plate of smoked salmon on its own. We were also given two kinds of scones, beautiful cinnamon jam donuts and delicious cakes including mini carrot cakes, chocolate cakes, biscuits, panna cotta with seasonal fruits and mini pies.
High tea is served from 1-6pm daily. Cost is £29.50 per person; £39.50 per person with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Brut Champagne. Gin & Tea Time comes with gin infusions and is £35.00 per person. Junior Afternoon Tea includes Jam sandwiches, Cheese sandwiches, Chocolate milkshake, Home-made Scones, Chocolate Brownies and Cup cakes and runs £9.50 per child (up to 15 years old).
Tea at the Dukes Hotel was the ultimate British experience, complete with UK noshes served on traditional china, beautiful service (our waiter was exceptional) and, as an added bonus, bubbly. It was also a new special London memory for my kids, something they will genuinely remember.
Disclosure: Holly and her family were guests of the Dukes Hotel but all opinions are her own.