London is the place to get high tea, so you better guess what I was going to splurge on. I tried to do some research on the best high tea rooms before the trip and I could only seem to find hotels with high tea. Hotels seem so touristy to me because in San Francisco there are many cute, privately owned tea rooms. But even when I started asking around, people were just recommending the hotels. When I told them how I wanted a small tea room, they told me about a tea shop where you could buy tea…why was everyone so confused by my request?! From what I finally gathered, hotels are the place to go in London, not just a tourist trap. I guess the tea rooms in the states are our own version of the great high teas that London does in hotels. Who knew? I guess it pays to get out in the world for some culture lessons, especially on something I thought I knew a thing or two about.
The concierge led me to a five star hotel, the Grosvenor House, for tea in the Park Room. Jon was off working, why not treat myself to a fancy pants high tea? Let’s call it a business research expense. The hostess sat me at a table by the window which couldn’t have been more perfect. I could sit and people watch the Hyde Park walkers with tea in hand. I decided on “Anna’s” Tea service and was very pleased with my decision.
To start, the waiter brought me a fruit salad in mango juice.
Then he brought me my three tiered beauty, filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and mini desserts.
And let’s not forget the English breakfast tea.
There was so much food and I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish so I devised a plan. I took one bite of everything so I could go back and just eat my favorites. I’ll pat myself on the back for this one since I wasn’t even able to finish some of the food I wanted to eat. My favorite part of the whole thing was the two scones with clotted cream with jam or honey.
I’m sure people were staring at me…the tourist sitting by herself taking pictures of everything before she even took a bite. Though, I enjoyed every minute of it and was nice to have the alone time, sans technology or chit chat to distract me from the delicious food and wonderful tradition. And just look at all the desserts! I was in heaven.
The next day after some shopping in Covent garden, I popped into the ritz to see if they had room for one for tea. I got a weird “ya right” look from the hostess and was told you need reservations two to three months in advance and no street clothes were allowed (as she gave me the once over.) The attitude wasn’t appreciated so I went on my merry little way. I ended my day with a final shopping trip to an insanely cheap and crowded Primark store, along with some fish and chips with Jon and his coworker at a local pub.
Overall, it was a great start to the trip, but it took a little toll on my overflowing suitcase.