I recently went for afternoon tea at The Ritz London and wow, it’s really set the bar for any future afternoon tea experiences! Afternoon tea at The Ritz has been on my bucket list for forever, so there was no better excuse to visit than for a special occasion, my mum’s birthday. We set off for London for the day, packed our finery, and got ready for the most wonderful, iconic experience. I’m conscious I was very lucky to be able to visit The Ritz with my family, and it’s certainly not the cheapest experience in the world. For this reason, I thought I’d share my review and experience so that you can decide if you too would like to book in for afternoon tea at The Ritz.
Quick tips for visiting The Ritz
Get this: a Heathrow Express pass, which offers speedy train transfers to and from Heathrow Airport to central London, without the need for expensive taxis
Don’t miss: an open top hop-on, hop-off bus tour to see London’s best bits, including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye
Bucket list experience: a take a tour of London’s iconic Christmas lights by heritage bus for a truly magical festive experience
Flights: Find the cheapest flights to London with Skyscanner
Stay: Find the most affordable hotels in London on Booking.com
Where is afternoon tea at The Ritz?
The Ritz is quite possibly one of London’s most famous glamorous 5* star hotels. It has a rich heritage, and it is so closely associated with luxury and splendour that the word ‘ritzy’ was even entered into the English dictionary. The Ritz was opened back in 1906 by Swiss hotelier, César Ritz, a few years after he established the equally glamorous Hôtel Ritz Paris. The Ritz London is set at 150 Piccadilly in St. James’s, London. It’s right next to Green Park. Sittings for afternoon tea are usually set in the incredible Palm Court. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an impressive room. When I visited, we were relocated to the former Ballroom for afternoon tea due to renovations, but I did get to take a peak in a few of the rooms while I was there.
When is afternoon tea at The Ritz?
There are a few sittings for afternoon tea throughout the day – each lasts around 1.5 – 1.75 hours.
We opted for the 1.30pm sitting, which was perfect as we pretty much didn’t need to eat again for the day – we were so full!
Heading to the Cotswolds instead? Check out my guide to the best afternoon tea spots in the Cotswolds.
What to Expect for Afternoon tea at The Ritz
I LOVED afternoon tea at The Ritz, and it truly is an iconic, British experience – especially if it’s your first visit to London. You arrive at The Ritz and are greeted by their dapper doormen for an afternoon of luxury. Inside, you’ve never seen anything so opulent. Gold leaf, exquisite drapes, and chandeliers are pretty much everywhere you look.
You can opt for either British tea for your afternoon tea, or upgrade to a champagne celebration. Even the champagne coupes are carefully adorned with The Ritz logo – the attention to detail is second to none. We were seen to our table in the Ballroom, and the service begins. We were treated to harp players and pianists, and a smartly dressed team of waiters couldn’t do any more for us.
What’s included in afternoon tea at The Ritz?
The food does not stop coming, I was pleasantly surprised! We started off with drinks. You can choose from an impressive 18 different types of loose-leaf tea, or filter coffee or hot chocolate if you prefer. The Ritz London is the UK’s only hotel to have a certified Tea Master (Giandomenico Scanu), so I’d highly recommend sampling the tea for yourself.Of course, you can upgrade with a glass of champagne if you fancy pushing the boat out. Drinks are pretty much unlimited, and you can request top ups if you need.
We were then served the most incredible towers of afternoon tea. The Ritz caters really well for any allergies you might have (they actually emailed me a few days in advance to check). For afternoon tea, you’ll be served a range of the following finely cut sandwiches to share:
- Ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on brioche bread
- Cheddar cheese with chutney on tomato bread
- Cucumber with cream cheese, dill, and mint on granary bread
- Chicken breast with tarragon creamed mayonnaise on malt bread
- Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter on sourdough bread
- Egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots and watercress on brioche roll
I was genuinely really impressed with the quantities of everything. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free Afternoon Tea menus are also available upon request should you prefer. Moving past the savoury part of the afternoon tea, you’re also served freshly baked plain and fruit scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam. There’s also an incredibly range of beautifully presented seasonal pastries and cakes. All of these will be replenished if you fancy – we were so full, we didn’t actually need to.
As if this wasn’t enough, the servers will pass through afterwards with a choice of freshly baked cakes which change each day. We were given the choice of a chocolate mousse cake and an Earl Grey and lemon poppy seed cake. I had the latter, which was delicious. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, and if you need anything refilled, I’ve no doubt they would. They’ll also provide The Ritz goodie bags for you to take home any leftovers.
The air of opulence is completed by musical renditions and classical favourites from The Ritz’s resident pianist. When we visited, there was a harpist too. It truly was an amazing experience.
What is the cost of afternoon tea at The Ritz?
Afternoon tea at The Ritz London costs £72 per adult, or £94 for a champagne afternoon tea. Children’s afternoon tea is priced at £50 per child.
Is afternoon tea at The Ritz worth it?
100%. It’s not the cheapest experience, but we treated my mum for her birthday and she loved it. Compared to other afternoon teas I’ve had, I genuinely think it’s really good value for the quality and quantity that you receive. It’s a really special experience, and one I certainly won’t forget.
Is afternoon tea unlimited at The Ritz?
While afternoon tea at The Ritz is not strictly unlimited, they are more than happy to replenish anything you might need – be it pots of tea, additional scones with clotted cream, or freshly baked cakes and pastries.
How strict is The Ritz dress code?
The Ritz London is one of the city’s finest establishments. For this reason, you’ll need to dress accordingly. The dress code is slightly different, depending on which parts of the hotel you’re visiting. For afternoon tea in the Palm Court, gentlemen will be expected to wear a jacket and tie. Do note that jeans, sportswear, trainers, and shorts are not permitted anywhere in the hotel.
what do ladies wear for afternoon tea at the ritz?
Smart casual attire is advised. My mum and I chose to wear dresses which suited the occasion – most other women were dressed similarly, in long skirts or dresses.
How do you book afternoon tea at The Ritz?
Booking afternoon tea at The Ritz is super easy. You can either book directly via their website, or give them a call on +44 (0) 20 7300 2345 to book your afternoon tea.
How far in advance do you have to book afternoon tea at The Ritz?
This is a good question. As our afternoon tea at The Ritz was to celebrate a special birthday for my mum, I booked several months ahead. I’d recommend doing the same to ensure you secure the time you want (we had wanted to go to a theatre show afterwards), and to avoid any disappointment.
Does The Ritz serve afternoon tea for children?
Yes! The Ritz believes that afternoon tea is an experience for families to enjoy together. For a reduced price, the Children’s Afternoon Tea features smaller portions of finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. Their Tea Master has also selected a carefully blended decaffeinated tea for them to enjoy with their families. Children under 16 are not required to follow The Ritz’s afternoon tea dress code.
afternoon tea at the ritz voucher
Thinking of treating someone special to an experience they won’t forget? A voucher for afternoon tea at The Ritz is a great idea, and something I’m sure everyone would gladly receive. You can purchase vouchers an afternoon tea or champagne afternoon tea for two or four for a treat for your loved ones.
What is Christmas afternoon tea at The Ritz?
Perhaps you’re looking ahead to the festive season, and want to do something extra special to celebrate. Christmas afternoon tea at The Ritz might be just the ticket. Set in the festively decorated Palm Court, you can get yourself into the Christmas spirit at The Ritz. Choose from a selection of 18 carefully chosen loose leaf teas, delicate finger sandwiches, Christmas cakes, mince pies, and freshly baked scones. Each adult is greeted with a glass of champagne, while children are gifted a Ritz teddy bear. You can also enjoy The Ritz’s choir singing Christmas carols.
Christmas afternoon tea at The Ritz kicks off from Saturday 18th November 2023, and runs until Monday 1st January 2024. There are multiple sittings at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm, and 7.30pm. You can experience the festive magic of afternoon tea at The Ritz for £105 per adult, and £65 per child (aged up to 15).
What is the most expensive afternoon tea in the UK?
Although you might be mistaken for thinking that The Ritz London offers the most expensive afternoon tea in the UK, this isn’t the case. Hyde Park’s luxuriously iconic The Dorchester has an afternoon tea that trumps the price of The Ritz, at £95 per person. Served in the hotel’s newly renovated and opulent Promenade Restaurant, afternoon tea at The Dorchester is traditionally English. Get things started with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne, poured for you by a tail-coated waiter. You’ll then be served dainty crust-free finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream, and beautiful French pastries carefully crafted by pastry chef, Michael Kwan. You’re also treated to pistachio and apricot Swiss roll, and raspberry Bakewell tart to finish. The experience is one to remember, and children can also enjoy an afternoon tea for £70 each.
That’s my guide to afternoon tea at The Ritz. Where do you recommend heading for afternoon tea in London? Let me know in the comments below.