A recent article in The Daily Mail, the UK’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper, reported that many English luxury hotels charge sky-high prices for the indulgence of afternoon tea. The Lanesborough Hotel, a five-star in Knightsbridge, charges 85 pounds for high tea ($134.74 American). London’s The Ritz charges patrons 64 pounds ($101.45 American).
As gasp-inducing as these prices may be, the answer for those who want to enjoy this English tradition without breaking the bank may be as simple as “shop around!” When I was abroad in London last year, a few of my lady friends and I decided to go for high tea at The Milestone Hotel, a five-star boutique hotel located at the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens.
On a beautiful April afternoon, we walked along Kensington High Street, clad in sundresses, espadrilles, wide-brimmed hats, and posh sunglasses. We entered The Milestone, and we were led into the tea room:
We enjoyed pots of tea of our choice, and several three-tiered trays filled with as many scones and finger sandwiches as we could eat. The scones, served with clotted cream, were beyond divine, and the classic cucumber sandwiches refreshed and provided a satisfying crunch.
The above experience, which lasted a few hours, cost each of us 31.50 pounds ($49.93 American), a much more reasonable price than those asked at more-mainstream luxury hotels. Cost notwithstanding, high tea is a uniquely English experience that I encourage all visitors to enjoy.