Afternoon tea is a quintessential English tradition of sitting down around 4pm for an afternoon treat of tea, sandwiches, scones, and cake. The taking of afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon since her evening meal was served around eight o’clock, leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.
Today afternoon tea in England is usually served in hotels. We put on our Sunday best and headed to The Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel, for a special afternoon of luxury and indulgence.
The doorman welcomed us to The Chesterfield Mayfair and guided us through the marble-floored lobby filled with beautiful leather furniture. We entered the elegant Butler’s Restaurant where afternoon tea is served. The Chesterfield Mayfield Hotel was originally three Georgian townhouses and is centrally located in the heart of Mayfair.
The ‘Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea’ is inspired by Hardys sweetshops; and their speciality is a selection of sweet themed pastries and cupcakes.
We were seated and realized we were in for an afternoon of delights when we were given a special welcome drink of homemade pink lemonade. It arrived mystically steaming in a beautiful round glass and was topped with an old-school ‘flying saucer’.
We immediately noticed the relaxed atmosphere and enjoyed the attentive service of the waitstaff. We were offered a glass of Lanson champagne as we browsed the extensive tea menu. Julian ordered the most delicious milkshake.
After selecting our tea, a lovely cake stand arrived. It was filled with traditional afternoon tea options that included fresh scones with delicate pots of clotted cream and jam, assorted finger sandwiches, and exquisite pastries and cakes.
After we were formally presented with a piping hot pot of Earl Grey tea, Julian was given an etiquette lesson. One must first eat the sandwiches, then the scones, and save those delicious cakes and pastries until the end. Important to note tea should be stirred back and forth, not in circular motions. Always use a strainer (which is placed over your tea cup and then removed before drinking) when pouring loose leaf tea from a tea pot. Cups should be held with one’s thumb and index finger meeting in the handle which rests on your middle finger. Fingers should NOT be hooked through, and horror of horrors, saucers are never lifted from the table.
We enjoyed nibbling on dainty sandwiches whilst soaking in this beautiful experience. I enjoyed glasses of crisp Lanson Rosé champagne, and I think my favorite sweet treat was the perfectly chewy rhubarb and custard macaroon.
At the front of the restaurant there’s a traditional sweet stall, filled with old fashioned sweets. Julian was thrilled to hear he was able to choose a bag of sweets to take home with him.
The afternoon felt simply luxurious, relaxing and quintessentially British and it’s perfect to enjoy with your children. From the starched white linens to the gleaming silverware, afternoon tea is about indulgence, and enjoying one’s company. Our experience felt extra special with the excellent service we received from all members of the hotel staff. Especially our waiters, who could not have been more attentive and friendly, and were careful to be sure they were compliant with the current government COVID-19 guidelines.
Afternoon Tea is a beautiful event at The Chesterfield Mayfair and they were recently recognized in the 2019 Afternoon Tea Awards and awarded OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award 2019. I’d highly recommend this Afternoon Tea on your next visit to London, to enjoy for yourselves this lovely English tradition.
*** This article is sponsored but all opinions are my own***
I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, family life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.