One of my favourite places to visit in London is the British Museum where you can travel the world and see its history in one glorious building. But it is also a huge and tiring place, so what you need is somewhere close by to dive into for a bit of peace and quiet and a wonderful afternoon tea.
I recently tested the 'Classic Afternoon Tea' at the Bloomsbury Hotel and really enjoyed it so wanted to share this recommendation, as the hotel is just five minutes’ walk from the British Museum. Tea is served in the Lutyens Lobby Lounge in a quiet and spacious side section, and is definitely not a snack; rather it's a seriously big, preferably leisurely meal, for which you should be hungry and not at all rushed. Let me take you through our experience....
First choose your tea, from the nine varieties on offer here. We went for Earl Grey and we pleased to find that the very helpful staff did not just top up our tea pots with hot water now and again but brought fresh pots whenever needed, and we needed a lot!
Soon after, the food arrived – three courses basically on a classic cake stand, so we took a deep breath and dived in, starting with the sandwiches on layer one, at the bottom of the cake stand. We especially enjoyed the smoked salmon pyramids on Guinness bread, which had a great texture to go with the salmon.
Moving up a layer, we embarked on the scones, both plain and with currants, along with 2 pots of clotted cream and jam, which prompted the usual debate: should you put the jam or the cream on the scone first? I’m a jam first person without any hesitation, which is the Cornish way; the reverse is the Devon method, but both taste equally great. My companion is a bit of scone connoisseur and gave them a definite thumbs-up.
Finally we tackled the cake level – a mix of fruit cakes, lemon meringues, strawberry tarts and a sponge with flaked nuts, which had the full flavour and texture of the very best home baking.
This classic tea costs £25 per head, and you can add in a glass of lovely sparkling English wine for an additional £5 – well worth it in our view. Afternoon tea should be a leisurely experience, and at no point did we feel rushed, emerging after a couple of hours feeling wonderfully rested – and also very full!
Sue runs It’s Your London, a tour company offering tailor-made tours for small groups who want a personalised experience of London. She also eats out a lot (!) and shares her latest restaurant visits on a regular basis with Cool Places.