Top Five Afternoon Teas in London

20 11 2009

I recently had afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason during a visit from my fashionista friend from Chicago. Despite our trips to various markets, whisking her off to France for a day, hitting Maze and the Bluebird, nights out in Shoreditch and Soho, I think we would all agree that our wonderful afternoon tea experience was at the top of the list.

It started me thinking about what I would rate as  the Top 5 Afternoon Tea locations London.

At number 5: Fortnum and Mason

This tea experience was an absolute treat, with a full vegetarian menu served easily alongside the regular tea. Dress is dressy casual, and families dined among gossiping gaggles of girls, businessmen and groups of tourists.  The price varies but runs between £30 and £40.

Number 4: Tea at the Berkeley

The Berkeley (pronounced Barkley, as in Charles, for you Americans out there) does a Fashionista tea, designing the treats to match Jimmy Choos, Gucci bags, and hits the spot for those looking for a change from ‘regular’ afternoon tea elsewhere.

Number 3: The Landmark London

The Landmark Hotel does a proper Afternoon Tea, as well as a full-on Chocolate Tea as well as a Gluten Free Tea. The former includes chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate brownies, white chocolate cheesecake, chocolate and banana pot au chocolat, and chocolate chip scones with hazelnut chocolate spread. The Gluten-Free Tea has less of that, but is a great way to include those normally left out of Afternoon Tea due to allergies.

Price £30-40

Number 2: Tart @ 40 WINKS

Technically this is not afternoon tea. This is about discovering your inner starlet. Unformed waitresses serve you cucumber sandwiches, cakes and chocolates while vintage beauty and make up experts transform you into your true vintage starlet self.  This is a perfect day out with the girls- and no boys are allowed here!  Tart takes place on Saturdays, but not every Saturday, so check for more info. This one’s a bit pricier at £60 per person.

Number 1: The Gore Hotel‘s Rock-n-Roll Afternoon Tea

You get your own Jack and Coke. Nuff said.

A more complete description might be: Guests can indulge in music shaped cookies or mini custard pies,  chocolate éclairs, spicy chicken sandwiches and Jack Daniel muffins at this afternoon tea at Bar 190, The Gore’s star-studded bar.  The menu is priced at £22.50 per person, plus celebrity spotting is destined to ensue, as everyone from Take That to Leona Lewis have been spotted at the Gore in the last few weeks.

Runner Up: The Hoxton Pony in Shoreditch. See my article at Swell City Guide for more on this great east London tea experience.


The Sexiest Small Hotel in the World – 40 Winks

2 09 2009

Post on Carnival this year Na, don’t reallly have anything to say. Caught the parade right at the end with the amazing costumes and enthusiastic party goers, but most of the time there were too many people, too much garbage and little too much Run for Cover than I’d like to comment on.

That said – I would like talk about a place I only just ‘discovered’ last week mentioned in Le Cool London, that was featured yesterday in Daily Candy that is definitely about to pop!

40 Winks. 40 Winks

40 Winks prides itself on being the most beautiful, sexy small hotel in the world. After doing a bit of research and knowing a bit about hotels and a lot about sexy, I’d definitely have to agree.


There are only 2 very affordable, very creative rooms, each costing £80 a night. This is such a good rate, I shouldn’t even be telling anyone about this. Except the Evening Standard, Le Cool, Daily Candy and German Vogue already did. Among others.

40 Winks Rooms

Then you’ve got  their  KINK INK sketching classes. You’re provided with the materials, inspired by the sexy interior design and each of the seductive models will be imagining themselves to be a former inhabitant of this creatively kinky house. For £25 a head and free nibbles, half of London will be their faster than you can say sexy aristocrat!

How about their weird and wonderful bedtime stories, a collaborative effort with online audio storytellers Spoken Ink.  The good people at 40 Winks are offering “Tales of ghosts, ghouls and gothic horror” where a dresscode of pyjamas, nighties and
dressing gowns will be rigorously enforced.

40 Winks the evening standard

I’m sure they’ll be coming up with more creative activities that the community can get involved in, and of course, as the nearest tube station is Stepney Green, we can be sure there is no dearth of creative types drooling over this as much as I am.

What I respect the most is not their great prices or their creativity, or even the fact that they have managed to create exactly the world they had in their heads. What I love is the way this hotel is a community-based project. So many hotels and accommodation providers do not give back to the community in which they sit. Tourists come and they go, and the community is there, unaffected and not benefitting in any immediate way. 40 Winks is glamorous, creative, and invites everyone and anyone to share in their world.

Hooray for 40 Winks!