Where can you participate in a traditional English tea tasting session?

Imagine spending a peaceful afternoon in an exquisite tea room, savoring a range of delectable teas while munching on an array of finger sandwiches, scones, and salads. Envision being a part of an elegant tea party where refined service and an enchanting view elevate your experience. Yes, this is no ordinary visit, but an event that infuses your day with the distinct charm of an English tea tasting session. Read on to discover some of the best places for this unique experience.

The Ritz Carlton, London

No list of tea tasting venues would be complete without a mention of the epitome of luxury - The Ritz Carlton in London. The Palm Court, an exquisite Edwardian room known for its magnificent glass ceiling and grand chandeliers, serves as the setting for this elegant event.

Here, tea is not just a beverage, but an integral part of British culture. The afternoon tea service at the Ritz boasts a wide variety of teas, including classic English Breakfast, aromatic Earl Grey, and exotic blends like Jasmine and Oolong. Freshly cut finger sandwiches, buttery scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of delectable pastries enhance the menu.

It is advisable to make a reservation well in advance, as the afternoon tea service at the Ritz is often fully booked days ahead. The experience is indeed a memorable one, making the effort and anticipation entirely worth it.

The Pump Room, Bath

Another equally stunning venue for a traditional English tea tasting session is the Pump Room in the historic city of Bath. Known for its elegant Georgian architecture and grand interior, the Pump Room offers an exceptional view of the Roman Baths and the Abbey, thereby adding a touch of historical charm to your visit.

The afternoon tea at the Pump Room is a delightful affair, featuring a lavish spread of mini sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a selection of pastries. The tea offerings are just as impressive, with options ranging from traditional English Breakfast to the more unique flavours of green and herbal teas.

Reservations are suggested, although not compulsory for the afternoon tea service. However, it is recommended for a party of more than six persons.

Bettys Tea Room, York

Bettys Tea Room in York is more than just a tea room; it's a century-old institution synonymous with Yorkshire's tea culture. The ambience of the house is something out of a fairy tale, with beautiful interiors, gleaming silverware, and fine china creating an unforgettable setting for your afternoon tea experience.

The menu here takes you on a culinary journey of Britain, featuring a variety of classic and contemporary sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and homemade jam, and a selection of handcrafted cakes. The tea list is equally extensive, offering a choice of traditional, rare, and specialty teas.

Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and during holiday seasons.

Fortnum & Mason, London

Fortnum & Mason, a renowned London department store, houses a grand tea room called the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Known for its tradition of impeccable service, it is a popular venue for a genteel afternoon tea.

The event offers an unparalleled tea tasting experience, with a vast range of teas to choose from. These include classic blends, single-estate teas, and rare infusions, ensuring that every person gets their preferred brew. Accompanying the teas is a delightful menu featuring an array of finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire clotted cream, and a selection of Fortnum's famous cakes.

Making a reservation is crucial as Fortnum & Mason's afternoon tea is a highly sought-after experience.

The Tea House Theatre, London

If you want to enjoy a classic afternoon tea in a more relaxed and informal setting, the Tea House Theatre in London's Vauxhall is worth a visit. This quaint house exudes a cosy and comfortable vibe, making it an ideal spot for a casual day out.

The afternoon tea at the Tea House Theatre is a simple yet satisfying affair. The menu features a range of sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and a selection of cakes and pastries. The tea selection, however, is anything but simple. With a wide range of teas from all over the world, it offers a unique tea tasting experience.

Reservations aren't always necessary at the Tea House Theatre, but they are recommended for larger parties.

To summarise, whether you are a tea connoisseur or simply someone who appreciates the finer things in life, these venues offer an exceptional afternoon tea experience. With their impressive tea selections, delectable food, and stunning settings, they are ideal for those who wish to experience a classic English tea tasting session.

Harney & Sons, Soho, New York

While not in England, Harney & Sons in Soho, New York, offers a noteworthy afternoon tea experience that mirrors a traditional English tea party. Known for their wide range of high-quality loose leaf teas, this family-run business has gained worldwide recognition for their commitment to delivering an exceptional tea service.

In their charming tea room, you are invited to sit back and savour the flavours of their exceptional teas, served beautifully in a glass teapot. The afternoon tea menu is designed by their in-house pastry chef, who curates a selection of sandwiches and pastries that complement their tea offerings perfectly. A popular choice is the smoked salmon and chicken salad sandwich, served with a side of lightly salted crisps.

An Instagram post shared by a satisfied customer captures the essence of their high tea experience, with a picture of a table laden with sandwiches, scones, pastries, and a steaming teapot, accompanied by the text: "Harney & Sons - A taste of England in the heart of New York".

No reservations are required for their afternoon tea service, but it's recommended for parties of more than six people. The post shared on Instagram sums up the delight of visitors and the tantalising experience you can expect at Harney & Sons.


To conclude, taking part in a traditional English tea tasting session can be an enlightening and enjoyable experience. It offers a chance to slow down, savour the moment, and indulge in a rich blend of culture, tradition, and exquisite flavours. The venues listed above, from the grandeur of The Ritz Carlton in London to the cosy charm of the Tea House Theatre in London, and even the American reflection of this British tradition at Harney & Sons in New York, offer an authentic and diverse range of experiences.

Whether you prefer your tea with a view, served alongside delectable finger sandwiches and scones topped with clotted cream, or you are interested in tasting unique blends from around the world, these venues have something to suit every palate. Remember to make a reservation for larger groups and during busy periods, so you can fully relish this quintessential English tradition.

So why not discover the delight of an afternoon tea experience? It's time to steep yourself in tradition, sip on some world-class teas, and nibble on little delicacies. Because, after all, as the English say, "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."