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  Afternoon Tea in London 2011-01-11  
Tea in a pot, scones with cream and jam, finger sandwiches and dainty cakes... nothing could be more British than afternoon tea in London. At these top London restaurants, advance booking is often essential and smart dress codes may apply.

The Ritz
Tea at The Ritz is nothing less than an institution. It has become so popular that there are now five sittings every day at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Booking at least four weeks in advance is essential. Afternoon tea is served in the elegant Palm Court with music by a pianist or a harpist.

The Savoy
The Savoy's tea is served in the historic and elegant Thames Foyer, accompanied by a pianist playing on one of the hotel's traditional white pianos. Expect a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked raisin and plain scones, french pastries and Thames Foyer signature cakes, plus a huge selection of teas.

Fortnum & Mason
In Fortnum & Mason's St James's restaurant you can enjoy a range of teas selected by Fortnum's tea taster. The afternoon tea menu includes sandwiches, scones and pastries. There's also a Champagne Afternoon Tea; a Birthday Afternoon Tea; and a range of afternoon teas for special dietary requirements, including vegetarian, gluten free and diabetic.

The Berkeley

If you're a fan of fashion, head to the Berkeley's Caramel Room for the Pret-a-Portea tea. The eclairs, cakes and fancies are all inspired by the latest fashion collections, and are served in miniature mouthfuls for the figure-conscious. Madonna, Gwynneth Paltrow and the Beckhams have all been spotted here.
The Lanesborough
Afternoon tea at The Langham has been a tradition since 1865. In the luxurious surroundings of the hotel's Palm Court, you can enjoy finger sandwiches, fresh scones with jam and cream, French pastries, mini cakes and specialist teas. The Langham's afternoon tea is so good, it was named the Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea in 2010.

The Dorchester

Afternoon tea is served at 2.30pm and 4.45pm in The Dorchester's famous marble and gilt Promenade. Treat yourself to the Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne Tea, or enjoy the classic Dorchester Afternoon Tea. For something more substantial, opt for the Dorchester High Tea, which is served until 8pm and is the perfect pre-theatre meal.
The Waldorf Hilton
Traditional afternoon tea at the Waldorf Hilton is served daily in Homage Patisserie between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Expect a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, homemade tartlets and other Homage specialties. There's also a champagne option.

Swissotel The Howard
You can eat your way around London at Swissotel The Howard. Their TLSee (tea-london-sightseeing) menu features teatime treats in the shape of London attractions like Tower Bridge and the London Eye, plus finger sandwiches and home-baked scones with clotted cream.

The Metropolitan

The Metropolitan has reinvented afternoon tea with a touch of waist-friendly chic. Their guilt-free Afternoon Delight tea is served in the exclusive Met Bar. The menu has a hearts and flowers theme and includes cakes, cupcakes, macaroons and breadless sandwiches, plus a selection of fruit teas and Eco-tini cocktails.
The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Queen Anne built the idyllic Orangery in the grounds of Kensington Palace in 1705. Fresh strawberries and double cream are a seasonal speciality. Or try the Tregothnan English Tea, which comes with a glass of English Pinot Noir. Tea is served between 2.30pm and 5pm. Booking is not necessary.

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