Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


October 30, 2013

Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum

After receiving a recommendation for my next Afternoon Tea adventure I was pretty darn excited about visiting The Athenaeum.  The luxury 5 star hotel on Piccadilly was last years winner of the Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea award aka the Afternoon Tea Oscars.

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum hotel london luxury travel hotel

Funnily enough I had just made the Afternoon Tea booking when an email popped into my inbox from Secret Escapes about a special offer at The Athenaeum and you can’t beat a serendipity moment.  What more can a girl want – Afternoon Tea, a stay in a swish hotel on Piccadilly and a trip to Liberty to stock up on Ren products, check out the twinkling Christmas Shop and have heart palpitations in the Shoe Department!

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum afternoon tea london


The gluten free sandwiches were served on lovely toasted white bread with the normal variety of fillings which included Egg, Salmon, Ham, Cucumber and as it was Chocolate Week one of the fillings was chocolate; hey when it’s Chocolate week you must consume as much chocolate as you can – those are the rules!

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum gluten free afternoon tea sandwiches london


The scones did pass my test – they were easy to cut into, they left all my teeth in tact (you can break a tooth eating some gluten free scones!) and the one scone I did eat was nice.

My only issue with the scones was that they were slightly under cooked; another couple of minutes in the oven and they would have been perfect.  Gluten free scones are cheeky little buggers; getting them perfect is a nightmare!

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum gluten free scones gluten free afternoon tea london


The pastries looked incredible and obviously they were all chocolate inspired as it was Chocolate Week as you can see from the photo. I did like the variety on offer gluten free wise however in the rush of getting served I wasn’t told what exactly each item was (I am guessing that red item is a strawberry in disguise!)

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum gluten free afternoon tea pastries chocolate week

These are G’s gluten loaded pastries and then as he was extremely lucky he had a piece of lemon drizzle cake from the cake trolley.  Why can’t there be a gluten free option on the cake trolley?

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum afternoon tea pastries


I loved the Tea Menu, you get to see the tea leaves with a brief description of each tea which is a quirky alternative to the usual Tea Menu; we went for our normal white tea.

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum afternoon tea tea menu london

We did have an issue with the tea, the staff forgot to take our order so we got served all our food however we had no tea.  It took over 30 minutes for this to be rectified unfortunately.


The lounge is a lovely area for taking tea and would be perfect if you have a group booking for Afternoon Tea however when there is just two of you taking tea you do feel a bit lost within a large 6 seater area.

80 pairs of shoes the athenaeum afternoon tea lounge


Unfortunately we didn’t encounter the best service; everything seemed a bit rushed and the staff seemed a bit flustered when we were finally seated.  I’m guessing the previous sitting had overrun and this had caused the delay with our sitting (not a problem with this, it happens) however our tea order not getting taken does show the staff weren’t attentive and unfortunately this is what was missing for the whole experience – attentive staff!

We did get an apology in the way of a free drink however the service did cast a dark cloud over the Afternoon Tea experience at The Athenaeum as I did expect more especially after visiting past winners of the Tea Guild award like Claridges and The Goring Hotel.

Would I go back – to be honest I’m not sure; I think this could be a lovely place to have Afternoon Tea if you were in a large group and the service was good on the day.

Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum starts at £29.50 pp and can be booked via this link.

Would love to hear your feedback on the Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum, what did you think of the service and the food?


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