Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


June 22, 2014

Afternoon Tea Tips from an Experienced Pinkie Raiser

As an experienced Pinkie Raiser i.e. I have consumed a lot of Afternoon Tea and I have a belly to prove it; I thought I would pass on some Afternoon Tea Tips to take the stress out of your first Afternoon Tea experience.

Do I need to wear a Party Frock or a Dicky Bow

The dress code for Afternoon tea can throw the most well dressed into a tizz.  It’s pretty easy actually, The Ritz have a very precise dress code (read more here) – smart for the ladies i.e. dress / skirt etc and suit and ties for the gentlemen while the other hotels in London have a slightly more relaxed approach to the dress code.

Ripped Jeans, shorts, trainers, tshirts, jandals etc are a big no no.  Remember it’s nice to get dressed up for the afternoon but smart casual is allowed and you can get away with a smart pair of jeans if you dress them up with a nice top and fancy shoes.  Ladies, if you want to get dressed up and dripping in diamonds and pearls; go for it!

And if in doubt then John Lewis it!

No Tea Please

You don’t have to be a tea drinker to partake in this great British past time of Afternoon Tea.  Coffee, Soft Drinks and Juices will be provided as an alternative at most of the hotels; you just need to ask.

If you fall in love with your tea, ask the hotel if you can purchase that particular variety that you are drinking.  A perfect momento of your Afternoon Tea adventure and then you can invite your friends over for a posh cup of tea and name drop the posh hotel (perfectly acceptable darling!)

80 pairs of shoes afternoon tea grande bretagne tea

Allergy Central

Well folks you have come to the right blog; I have numerous gluten free afternoon tea reviews for you to check out including my big round up of the best gluten free afternoon tea’s that I tried last year right here for you!  You can find vegan, lactose and diabetic afternoon teas are available but you need to shop around – Fortnum and Mason have a really great allergy menu range and cater for many different allergies.

fortnum and mason afternoon tea gluten free pastries around the world in 80 pairs of shoes 1


The standard Afternoon Tea doesn’t come with champagne, you will normally need to pay an extra £10pp (approx) for a glass on top of the Standard Afternoon Tea charge (it will be shown in the menu) however there are some hotels that offer complimentary and free flowing Champagne!  Check out the Intercontinental Hotel in Westminster for this and you can read my review here from my last visit.

80 pairs of shoes gluten free afternoon tea intercontinental westminster free champagne

I don’t have time to see the sights and to take tea!

Yes I totally get you – you are short of time and need to take some photos of London to show off to your loved ones but all you really want to do is scoff scones!  Never fret, you have to love London for it’s quirkiness, there’s a perfect alternative – a sightseeing tour on a Routemaster Bus where they serve you Afternoon Tea while taking you past all the famous London sights all thanks to BB Bakery.  You don’t need to thank me – save your feet, put on your highest heels and see London from the comfort off a bus with a selection of dainty pastries in front of you!


Can I have some more please Sir

Trust me you won’t leave hungry.  The tip here is to book one of the more expensive Afternoon Teas as they offer lots and lots of refills.  I normally leave looking like I’m 6 months pregnant and call my food baby either Charles or Camilla but any royal name will do!  If you book a cheaper version around the £20-30 pp mark you won’t normally end up with any refills, what you see on the cake stand is normally all you are going to get.

Eyes bigger than your belly

It’s totally acceptable to ask for a doggy bag for any left over treats still left on the cake stand.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask, just do it and most of the hotels have cute little boxes to store all your nibbles in!  There is no shame eating scones for breakfast the following day either; just remember to eat them on the other side of the bed so you don’t have to deal with scone crumbs on your side!

x the berkeley afternoon tea doggie bag

Book in advance

Yes there are some London establishments where you need to book well in advance and if you are looking at trying to get into Claridges then you may need to sell a kidney or one of your kids to get a booking.  Book at least 6-10 weeks in advance so that you can get the date and time slot that you want.

Timing is everything

Most hotels have a number of sittings during the day normally starting from 1pm through to about 5pm.  You will find you will get pushed out after 1.5 hours if you get a rather early time slot so if you leave it till 4pm you won’t feel so rushed and there are more refills offered – they can be extremely tight on refills on the earlier sittings.

Girly Afternoon Teas

You want to have a girly Afternoon Tea then I highly recommend booking The Berkeley or The Royal Horseguards.  The Berkeley (read my review here) offers a fashion themed Afternoon Tea which changes with each fashion season and The Royal Horseguards (read my review here) offers pretty pink china with butterflies and flowers.

80 pairs of shoes royal horseguards afternoon tea three teapots china

Quintessentially English Afternoon Teas

Looking for that Afternoon Tea experience that combines great food and that quintessentially English decor, then I suggest booking Browns Hotel (read my review here), Claridges (am reviewing in July), The Goring (read my review here) or The Langham (yet to be reviewed).

The goring hotel afternoon tea lounge

I hope this helps take some of the stress out of what to wear and what to expect from your first Afternoon Tea experience.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will answer them for you.

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