Few things are more quintessentially British than afternoon tea, which dates back more than 150 years. It was, after all, Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford that introduced afternoon tea. The Duchess would get so hungry waiting for dinner, which was typically served at 9pm, that she got in the habit of ordering tea, bread and butter, and cakes in the afternoon to stave off her hunger. With that, the tradition of “at home” afternoon tea was born. At Home tea has long since died off, but The Langham Hotel, high up at a prominent position on Regent Street, is the hotel credited with carrying on the tradition by starting a luxurious afternoon tea service over 140 years ago. Where else then would a chic Bond Girl like myself find herself one afternoon in London? At the famed afternoon tea at the Langham London, of course!
Afternoon tea at the Langham London is served in the hotel’s Palm Court. It feels incredibly posh as you enter through the handcrafted iron gates into the glamorous surroundings. You’d half expect to find modern day Duchess Kate sipping tea from the Wedgwood china while nibbling on the savory finger sandwiches. I’d have no such luck spotting any Royals, but I certainly felt like one myself as attentive servers ensured my teapot was always hot and my cup was always full.
The afternoon tea service begins with a palette cleanser and on my visit it was a hibiscus and black currant gelatin with fresh strawberries. We were presented with the extensive tea menu to make our selection and the option to enjoy afternoon tea with a glass of champagne.
The savory tea sandwiches arrived on a table-side three-tiered cart, which is fantastic because unlike the tiered serving trays usually put on the table, it doesn’t block your view of your afternoon tea companions. The selection included egg salad, poached salmon, prawn topped with black caviar, roast beef with tarragon, and chicken with sweet corn and dijon. No crusts, of course, as The Duchess of Bedford was insistent on being served sandwiches with the crusts removed! All were delicious, though I must admit that the chicken was my favorite and I happily accepted another when refills were offered.
The sweets were soon placed on the top tier and they were so beautiful and delicate, I almost didn’t want to dig in. Banana cakes were topped with tiny sugary bananas, edible pink pearls decorated sponge cakes, strawberry meringues were presented as pinwheels in a glass of sugary sand, and gold leaf glistened on chocolate tortes.
The final tier arrived as a generous basket of warm scones served alongside Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserves. Seconds were once again offered and as much as I would have liked another warm raisin scone, I simply didn’t have the room.
We sat taking our time and chatting away as a pianist tinkled the ivories of a Baby Grand. It was a truly luxurious afternoon and provided plenty of fuel before an afternoon of shopping on nearby Oxford Street! The Langham London, which has won the Oscar of the tea world, or The Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea, is truly the place to experience this British tradition.
Looking for other chic Bond Girl things to do in London? Check out the Bond Girl Guide to London!
Know Before You Go
- Seatings for afternoon tea at the Langham London are available at 1pm, 3:15pm, and 5:30pm. Reservations are required and can be booked online.
- There are several afternoon tea menus available and we enjoyed the Wonderland Afternoon Tea. It is £40 per person or £52 per person including a glass of champagne.
Thank you to Visit Britain for hosting us for the Wonderland Afternoon Tea at the Langham London in order to bring you this story. As always, all opinions are entirely our own.