Royal Lancaster Festive Afternoon Tea

The Blurb

There’s nothing quite like Christmas in London. It’s no secret that the lights, trees, and glittering ambience all make up the magic in the capital but why not complete the experience with a quintessentially elegant pastime? Enter the festive afternoon tea.

What is it about afternoon tea that has kept it in style for so many years? While this afternoon indulgence was first introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in the year 1840, it has not lost any of its charms throughout the years, and still, today attracts tea enthusiasts in their droves. 

I was invited to dine in style at Royal Lancaster Hotel, just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park. If style, glamorous dining, and exquisite interiors are your thing, then read on…

The Style 

On entering the Royal Lancaster Hotel, their twinkling tree takes centre stage in the reception and of course, is the first pit stop for photo ops galore. The glitz and baubles and the sheer size of it were enough to stop anyone in their tracks and were accented with large red bows and gold lights.

For the dining area, my friend and I headed straight to the hotel’s Hyde Cafe, directly behind the tree where they host their classic afternoon teas. 

With panelled mirror walls and sumptuous pastel seats, you will certainly have a front-row view of all that is going on around you at this refreshing dining destination.

The Crowd

There’s one pet peeve of mine, and that is when tables are too close together. You know the kind, where there’s an inch or so between guests, you can hear all the details of their conversation and you’re almost playing footsy with a complete stranger next to you. Thankfully, Royal Lancaster has strategically placed theirs with ample room to relax in, and not another knee or foot in sight.

The crowd consisted of lunchtime diners, couples, and visitors to London, and I am pleased to report we weren’t the only one’s indulging in the festive feast (’tis the season after all).

The Food & Drink

Our lovely waitress, Gin, recommended starting with a cool glass of champagne while deciding on our tea (who were we to argue?) and she explained the different flavours and tones of their extensive tea menu.

My friend and I opted for the classic afternoon tea blend, also known as the ‘High Noon’ tea, which has a lovely aromatic, flowery taste. There were also so many other teas that we thought looked delicious, which ranged from herbal, to spicey, to the classic ones that we all know and love. Let’s just say we had a hard time deciding and will need a round two for those!

When the spread arrived, we were excited to try the dainty delights and started with a selection of festive sandwiches, including roast turkey and cranberry, classic egg, as well as cucumber and cream cheese and Scottish salmon to satisfy our savoury cravings.

The cakes looked almost too good to eat (we did say almost) like mini works of art and consisted of a vanilla bauble, a marzipan Christmas tree cake, a cherry mousse wrapped present, and a Santa’s hat Bakewell tart. 

Although we had a lot to catch up on, everything stopped when the warm scones arrived lavished with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

In a nutshell

Having walked past Royal Lancaster many times, I now think it is one of London’s glamorous jewels. It’s clear that luxury is high on their list, and the afternoon tea, with its cleverly crafted creations, was no exception. 

The Hyde Cafe is also not so loud that you can’t hear your company without raising your voice, but instead is tranquil, and relaxing, and has an opulent feel without being the least bit stuffy.

The good news is the hotel offers the entire festive menu in vegan as well as a great selection of drinks including champagne, and cocktails, and you can even mix and match what teas you would like to try.

It was the perfect way to wind down after a busy week and made me feel like I had been transported away to a place of chic old-style charm. And besides, where else could you find such an inviting ideal place to hide away from the December cold? 

Royal Lancaster, we are sold!


Festive Afternoon Tea is from £45

Royal Lancaster, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY

020 7551 6000

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