Afternoon tea at the Savoy

If visiting Highgate Cemetery is probably not what most people would think of as a birthday treat, then afternoon tea might be and so that’s exactly what I spent a Sunday afternoon doing with my mum the other weekend. While thousands of others were running around the streets of London for the Marathon we headed over to The Savoy for afternoon tea in The Thames Foyer, a gorgeous light-filled space containing a gazebo and tiered centrepiece of hydrangeas and roses.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London

We were led across to a table in the gazebo where we had a great view of the room (we love a bit of people watching) and we were handed menus from which to select our tea – a traditional high tea (savoury) or traditional afternoon tea (sweet) and also our tea selection. Both of us having a sweet tooth, we went with the traditional afternoon tea and chose The Savoy Afternoon Tea Blend to accompany it.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London

Our cake plate stand quickly arrived loaded up with sandwiches and scones. Our sandwiches were an assortment including ham and mustard, coronation chicken, smoked salmon, egg and cress and mozzarella and tomato on pesto bread. Although we were told that the sandwiches were unlimited and we could have more if we wanted, we knew that with afternoon tea the key is pacing – there’s always so much more food to come.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London sandwiches

The scones were both plain and raisin and came accompanied by both clotted cream, strawberry jam and, slightly more unusually, lemon curd.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London sconesAfternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London scones

Cream first, jam second!

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London scones

Unlike many afternoon teas when one layer of the cake stand is devoted to tiny pastries, at The Savoy they come over with a whole platter of beautiful little morsels from which you can select as many as you like to try. We started with three each – a blackberry mousse, a strawberry macaron and a passionfruit eclair. We both agreed that the eclair was our favourite, although they were all delicious.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London pastries

Part way through dinner a pianist had struck up in the corner of the room and was playing a variety of tunes, in particular a nod to Bowie’s recent death with a few of his songs, including one of my favourites (from Labyrinth) As the World Falls Down. It was lovely.

At the time I booked I noted that we were going for my mum’s birthday and asked whether they might be able to stick a candle in something and when we arrived our waitress had checked casually whether we were there to celebrate something special, at which point my mum told her it was for both of our birthdays, so when the pianist struck up with happy birthdays and cake plates and candles came out, ours came with two. A lovely touch, thanks Savoy.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London happy birthday plate

As if that wasn’t enough cake, we still had more to come – a choice of either a Victoria Sponge cake or a chocolate cake. As our little birthday cakes had been chocolate we went with the Victoria Sponge. Light, fluffy and topped with fresh cream and a strawberry. Exactly what we needed as a dessert course.

Afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel Thames Foyer London Victoria Sponge

We waddled out of The Savoy onto the street and back to Temple tube station where the London Marathon runners were still going. I almost felt guilty that they were running for hours for charity and we were just eating cake, but I was mostly too full of good food to care.

London is full of afternoon tea options and it’s difficult to know which one to choose for a special occasion, afternoon tea at the Savoy is fantastic and I’ll definitely return at some point, now, what’s my next excuse for visiting?

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  • Ooooooooooh

  • It’s been so long since my last afternoon tea, this a great reminder what a treat they are! Definitely need to get one booked in soon. Sounds like you had a lovely birthday! x

  • Ohhh sounds good!! I’ve had the savoy on my list for ageeees, so I really need to get there for my next fancy afternoon tea!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  • Well this looks very fancy indeed! That Victoria Sponge looks delicious

  • This looks so fancy pants and so delicious! I would love to have afternoon tea here one day! I am loving the look of the strawberry macaroon with an actual strawberry on there!

    Sarah 🙂

    Saloca in Wonderland

  • Afternoon tea is so lovely – The Savoy one looks brilliant. I’ve seen it being served before, but never had the opportunity to go – I think I’ll have to make the opportunity myself, it looks so yummy.

  • That floral centrepiece is amazing and the 2 birthday cakes are a nice touch

  • Yvonne

    I Need to have tea at the savoy next visit to London!
    xo Yvonne

  • The best thing about fancy afternoon tea is the all-you-can-eat bit – which often results in me displaying some very unfancy behaviour (namely trouser unbuttoning or dress unzipping!) I haven’t yet learnt the art of pacing so I’m impressed you made it all the way through to the end! My cakes always end up coming home with me haha xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

  • Cara E

    Oh wow these photos are gorgeous! I’m dying to do afternoon tea and the Savoy has always been top of my list xx

  • merel

    This looks heavenly! Have to go there!

    X Merel

  • Oh my gosh I have to go there for afternoon tea. It looks and sounds perfect! I really like the idea of lemon curd on a scone as well, that’s definitely happening next time I get scones. So glad you had a great birthday weekend.

    Rachel x

    The Inelegant Wench

  • Jeffrey Gevant

    I already booked for December 22. I was planning to book at The Ritz but they don’t accept reservations on-line for December. They have 15% discount though until November 25. Conde Nast rates The Savoy as #1 Best High Tea in London. The Ritz placed at #2 though. I’m excited and not bad at all for 52 UK pounds per person. I’ll visit The Ritz hotel just to check the architecture and interiors. Awesome blog and review Lisa.