Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


February 9, 2015

Afternoon Tea: Claridge's vs The Ritz

If there is a question that I get asked often it’s which hotel offers the better afternoon tea; Claridge’s or The Ritz.  So to help you make a decision I’ve covered all the points that you need to know about both hotels and their afternoon tea; from the dress code to the food and the service.  So come and join my heavy weight contenders in the ring and find out who offers the better afternoon tea – Claridge’s vs The Ritz!



The Ritz – located on Piccadilly with easy access to Green Park Station tube station it’s super easy to find.


Claridge’s – located in Mayfair, you have an option of using the Green Park or Oxford Street tube stations.  You will need a little map to find Claridge’s if you don’t know London well however the hotel is not far away from Regent Street or you can jump in a black cab so you can wear your pretty sit down shoes to afternoon tea instead.


Winner: The Ritz


The Ritz – you need to book well in advance, turning up on the day is a no go!  In the low season i.e. the diet season, January and February you will be able to get a booking if you’re not fussy on times.  I booked less than two weeks in advance and managed to nab a 7.30pm booking slot last week.

Claridge’s – like The Ritz you need to book well in advance to get a booking to Claridge’s.  Make sure you stalk their website to see when they are releasing their next set of dates; you will seriously need to stalk their website.

Winner: It’s a Tie

Dress Code

The Ritz – the hotel has a pretty strict dress code however on Friday evening I was shocked on how badly the ladies were dressed (no jeans but a few weren’t really dressed up to The Ritz dress code).  For men, a jacket and tie are compulsory – so if you’re travelling around Europe for a few weeks this can be a pain in the bum to carry around clothes that you’re only going to use once.

The dress code stated on website for The Ritz is as follows – gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie for afternoon tea in The Palm Court.  Please note that trainers or sportswear are not permitted in any of the hotel.

Claridge’s – the dress sense is smart casual however most folks dress up but men don’t need to wear a jacket and tie.  It’s a bit more of a casual affair and a lot more relaxed.  Jeans are still a no no but smart trousers and a shirt will do for men and a dress / smart trousers will do for women.

The dress code stated on the Claridge’s website is as follows – elegant smart casual; no shorts, vest, sportswear, flip flops, ripped jeans or baseball caps.

Winner: Claridge’s


The Ritz – I felt let down by the service at The Ritz last week, it wasn’t up to the standard that I expected from a hotel of that calibre.  Small things just weren’t right including an empty dirty plate that was on our table the whole way through Afternoon Tea which was never cleared and having to ask twice for my frozen scones to be taken away.

Claridge’s – I find the service at Claridge’s is their number one selling point, I’ve never had a bad experience at Claridge’s (I’ve dined there on 5 different occasions).  Nothing is too big or small for the staff and they will go above and beyond when required.

Winner: Claridge’s


The Ritz – the hotel popped my afternoon tea cherry a number of years ago and I remember being wide eyed at how gorgeous everything was.  Roll on a few years and a number of afternoon tea outings since (40+) and I have to say the food was a rather let down.  I’m gluten free and I was served frozen scones and very dry sandwiches and my gluten eating monster wasn’t impressed either.  The food is replenished throughout the afternoon tea.  The full afternoon tea menu can be found here.


Claridges – the food is definitely the best of all the afternoon teas that I’ve tried.  My other half says that Claridge’s makes the best scones in London and I rate their gluten free afternoon tea as the best in the world.  The food is replenished throughout the afternoon tea.  The full afternoon tea menu can be found here.


Winner: Claridge’s

Tea Selection

The Ritz – the hotel has 16 teas to choose from however the menu doesn’t state how to take the tea which for a novice can be slightly overwhelming when you’re having your first afternoon tea experience.

Claridge’s – there is a great selection of teas to choose from (23 in fact!) and comes with a description of how to drink the tea (black, milk or with lemon) and also the history of the tea.

Winner: Claridge’s

The Doggy Bag

The Ritz – apparently due to the dairy products in the afternoon tea you can’t take any of your goodies home with you to finish off your afternoon tea – Health and Safety gone made at The Ritz – yes and this is the first time I’ve encountered this craziness and stupidity!  I’m assuming if you order a dairy free afternoon tea you could take that home in a doggy bag?!

Claridge’s – the hotel is more than happy for you to take home your left overs so you can enjoy them the following day.  I rate eating the scones in bed the following morning for breakfast.  Plus we received a tiny gift to take home; the attention to detail is the winner here!


WInner: Claridge’s


The Ritz – the Palm Court is pure over the top hedonism at its best but also feels a bit fake.  The tables are quite close together depending on the area that you’re sitting in making it feel at times that people are intruding into your conversation.


Claridge’s – the Tea Room is more relaxed than The Ritz and has an Art Deco twist.  The tables are more spaced leaving you some breathing space to relax in.

Winner: Tied – it really depends on what you’re looking for in your afternoon tea experience!

Time Allocation

The Ritz – the hotel allocates 1.5 – 1.75 hours to each afternoon tea booking.  You’re expected to leave within this time frame – it’s like a conveyor belt of folks having afternoon tea.  We had our afternoon tea at 7.30pm and we had the waiters approaching us constantly after 9pm (we were the only ones left in the Palm Court), they should have just turned off the lights to get us to leave!

Claridge’s – while the hotel has a similar time allocation for afternoon tea you don’t feel pressured to leave.  I’ve had a late afternoon tea reservation and managed to relax for over four hours without been pushed out the door and they kept replinshing our afternoon tea.

Winner: Claridge’s


The Ritz – the afternoon tea at The Ritz starts at £50 pp – you can make a booking via The Ritz website here.

Claridge’s – the afternoon tea at Claridge’s starts at £50 pp (doesn’t include the 12.5% service charge) – you can make a booking via the Claridge’s website here.

Winner: It’s a Tie


For me the overall winner is Claridge’s; while The Ritz is the hotel that everyone knows about there are much better hotels to visit for afternoon tea in London including Brown’s Hotel, The Goring and obviously Claridge’s when it comes to food and service.


What is your favourite place to have afternoon tea: Claridge’s or The Ritz?


If you liked this post on Afternoon Tea: Claridge’s vs The Ritz then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.