The Queen turned 90 on 21 April but the real birthday celebrations take place from 12-15 May. Not been invited to the party? Us neither. Why not celebrate with one of these specially designed afternoon teas instead.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
Jumeirah has come up with ‘brilliantly British’ afternoon tea, which takes a look back at the culinary trends of the last 90 years (the length of time the Queen has been alive, duh). Finger sandwiches are filled with watercress and shrimp, coronation chicken buns, and mini quiche Lorraine tarts. Pastries include a strawberry ham sponge 'penny' (apparently a favourite of the Queen as a child), mini bread and butter puddings topped with gold leaf, Battenberg and black forest gateaux.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Cadogan Place, SW1X 9PY. The tea is available now, starting at £45 pp.
The Goring serves an award-winning afternoon tea and has designed a special one for the Queen’s birthday which includes sandwich fillings like cucumber and mint, and smoked salmon and horseradish, followed by scones and the Queen's favourite fruit cake. There's also some fancy pants patisserie including an opera cake – a layered number with pistachio sponge and chocolate ganache. The Goring is only a nine-minute walk from Buckingham Palace — perhaps the Queen might sneak over for a quick snack?
The Goring, Beeston Place, SW1W 0JW. The tea is available now, starting at £42.50.
The Royal Horseguards Hotel
Great British Bake Off winner John Waite has created an afternoon tea especially for the royal event. There will be traditional finger sandwiches and scones, but we have a feeling this one is all about the cakes. Expect hazelnut and chocolate tarts, raspberry and rose crumble choux buns, lemon macarons, Victoria sponge triangles, and yuzu and coconut blondies.
The Royal Horseguards Hotel, 2 Whitehall Court, SW1A. The tea is available now, starting at £39 pp.
Dorsett Shepherd's Bush
The Dorsett is also be serving a tea especially designed for the Queen, with a very British line-up of finger sandwiches including cream cheese and cucumber, smoked salmon and coronation chicken, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and of course, cakes. Battenberg will feature, alongside macarons. A range of teas include Imperial Earl Grey — Bergamot blended with cornflowers.
The Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush, 58 Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8QE. The tea is available from 12 May, starting at £24 pp.
Wringer and Mangle
Not designed with the Queen in mind, this one, but it does sound good so we’ve included it — plus it's nice to have afternoon tea somewhere other than a hotel occasionally. Wringer and Mangle’s tea is inspired by the East End and alongside a selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries will be a range of gin cocktails, served in teacups. We're sure Her Majesty would approve.
Wringer and Mangle, The Laundry Building, 13-18 Sidworth Street, E8 3SD. The tea is available now starting from £18 pp.
The Arch London
This five-star hotel has designed a patriotic tea featuring savouries such as chicken liver parfait with spiced fig chutney and rare roast beef, watercress and horseradish. Sweet things include Eton mess, Victoria sponge, Battenberg and strawberry tart.
The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, W1H 7FD. The tea is available now, starting at £25 pp.
11 Cadogan Gardens
This is another tea that, while not designed with the Queen in mind, just looks too good to leave out. The Flower Tea by Alexis Gauthier is based around — all together now — flowers, and it's stunning. Savouries include sandwiches filled with cucumber and lemon oil, smoked salmon, bergamot and cream cheese and Gloucester Old Spot, broken broad beans and grain mustard. Scones follow, then patisserie, including dill réligieuse, made with 73% dark chocolate, dill and fennel cream and finished with a flower honey glaze. Teas include classics plus special infusions such as jasmine silver orchid and Japanese sencha.
11 Cadogan Gardens, SW3 2RJ. The tea is available now, starting at £40 pp.
The Lanesborough has designed a joint celebratory tea in honour of the Queen’s 90th and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge’s first birthday, called The Pink Princess Afternoon Tea. If you can get past the sickly name, then you can enjoy sandwiches including ham and cheddar and coronation chicken, scones and pink patisseries that are covered with pink, gold, and silver. Iced butterflies, flowers and petals also feature.
The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, SW1X 7TA. The tea is available now, starting at £48 pp.
Not one for the traditionalists, the Ma' Plucker afternoon tea features mini chicken burgers and sweets like mini doughnuts and a chocolate and cornflake scotch egg, served with fizz or alcoholic iced tea. Children under 10 can have the Mini Pluckers Afternoon Tea.
Ma Plucker, 75 Beak Street, W1F 9SS. The tea is available now, starting at £16.50 pp, £5 per child.
St. Ermin's Hotel
The St. Ermin's tea includes sandwiches filled with Cornish lobster, ham with London piccalilli and Orkney salmon. Sweet things include custard set with poached rhubarb and royal meringue. A children's tea is also available, featuring jam pennies and a Buckingham palace roll — whatever that is.
St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton St, SW1H 0QW. The tea is available now, starting at £35 pp (with a welcome ‘Going Strong at 90’ drink. £15 per child.