The Best Afternoon Tea in London: Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel

Afternoon tea is a quintessential English tradition of sitting down around 4 pm 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.

Going to a formal tea service is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. It’s an occasion that encourages conversation and companionship, away from the distractions of daily life. Picture this: sitting with your loved ones, sharing stories and laughs is such special family time. In our busy lives, we often forget to pause and relax. Afternoon tea serves as a reminder to take a break and unwind. The ritual itself — the pouring of tea, the dainty eating of sandwiches — encourages you to slow down and savour the moment.

The Best Afternoon Tea in London: Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel

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 Best Afternoon Tea in London with Kids

The ‘Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea’ is inspired by Hardys sweetshops, and their specialty 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’.

welcome drink at The Chesterfield hotel

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.

champagne at the chesterfield mayfair hotel - afternoon tea

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.

afternoon tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel

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. It’s important to note that your 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.

Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel tea

afternoon tea for children in london

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.

Afternoon tea for children in London

Afternoon tea for children in London

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.

Candy store after tea

Jars of candy

 

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.

The Best Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel

Here are a few common questions about the Mayfair Hotel’s tea service, and also about the tradition of afternoon tea in general.

  • What makes The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel’s afternoon tea special? Their “Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea” is quite a treat! Inspired by Hardys sweetshops, they offer an array of sweet-themed pastries and cupcakes that will tickle your taste buds. It’s a step into a nostalgic world of my childhood candy cravings, combined with the luxury of afternoon tea.
  • Can kids enjoy afternoon tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair, or is it more for adults? Kids will definitely have fun – tea is such a different and cultured experience! It’s a perfect experience to enjoy as a family. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the staff are really welcoming to children. Plus, kids get to pick a bag of sweets to take home — which, between you and me, is pretty cool no matter your age.
  • How do I choose the best tea to go with the treats? The Chesterfield Mayfair has an extensive tea menu to browse through. Don’t worry if you’re not a tea expert; the staff are super helpful and can guide you to the perfect tea to complement those delicious scones, sandwiches, and pastries.

Jars of candy, best tea in Mayfair

  • What’s the dress code for afternoon tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair? You’ll want to put on your Sunday best. It’s a fancy affair, so dressing smartly is part of the fun. No need to overdo it, but a nice dress or a shirt and trousers will fit right in with the elegant setting.
  • How long does afternoon tea last? You can make it quick, or if you’re having fun and enjoying deep conversation, stretch it out. Expect to be there from 45 minutes minimum to 2-3 hours on the longer end.
  • Are there any afternoon tea etiquette tips I should know before I go? Remember to stir your tea back and forth, not in circles, and always use a strainer with loose-leaf tea. Hold the cup with your thumb and index finger meeting in the handle. And here’s a big one: never lift the saucer from the table, and keep your pinkies down!

If you’re planning a trip to London and fancy treating yourself and your family to a spot of afternoon tea, The Chesterfield Mayfair could be the best choice, depending on availability. Indulge in the elegance, savour every bite, and soak up that quintessentially British experience.

Afternoon Tea is a beautiful event at The Chesterfield Mayfair.  The hotel was 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 Mayfair, to enjoy for yourselves this lovely English tradition.

What is YOUR favorite place for Afternoon Tea in London?

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*** This article is sponsored but all opinions are my own***

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active 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.

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