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A Royal (Family-Friendly) High Tea in London

By Holly Rosen Fink, GoGirlfriend Contributor

The post-lunch, pre-dinner British institution

Our recent visit to family-friendly London took us to spots we love, as well as few we haven’t yet explored. Each time we visit, which happens to be annually due to the fact that it’s my husband’s birth country, we see more of this historical, beautiful city and I leave loving it even more than I had before. My kids are lucky to go as often as they do and we take advantage of our time there, soaking in the sights while visiting family and friends.

Dukes Hotel, LondonThis time we decided to do something completely new and different – Traditional High Tea. Not just the typical High Tea, rather a truly royal, fancy High Tea. We were invited to the Dukes Hotel in the gorgeous St. James Place area of London. The Dukes is a quiet, traditional hotel tucked away on a side street called Jermyn. It’s close to Piccadilly and West End and there’s a hidden short cut to Green Park from the hotel. My kids had not experienced high tea in London – nor had my husband – and the Dukes was truly the perfect place to indulge in my family’s tea obsession (with milk, of course!).

There is much history to enjoy in this hotel and you feel it as soon as you enter. Dukes has been central to the St. James/Mayfair area for many years and its famous Dukes Bar was the inspiration for James Bond’s infamous martini (fact #1). The history of the Dukes courtyard can be traced back to 1532 when King Henry VIII bought a convent at the bottom of the hill and replaced it with St James’s Palace (fact #2).

champagne at the Dukes HotelThe Dukes Hotel serves Afternoon Tea in their elegant Drawing Room & Conservatory. We were positioned near a Christmas tree and were served tea and scores of English delicacies in beautiful china, including delicate finger sandwiches, fresh bakes scones, hot toasted crumpets and a selection of cream cakes…and yes, my favorite, champagne (swoon), much to my delight.

Tea is served

High Tea at the Dukes HotelWhile we sat back comfortably on the sofa and side chairs and indulged in the beautiful food, served on traditional High Tea trays, our cups were filled endlessly. And yes, our champagne glasses were double and triple filled as well while we took in the experience. Our selection of sandwiches included smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, chicken and cucumber and for picky eaters, peanut butter & jelly. When the waiter discovered we don’t eat pork, he immediately offered different sandwiches in place of the ham and tomato. When he established that my son isn’t a sandwich fan, he brought us over a plate of smoked salmon.

High Tea treatsWe were also given two kinds of scones, beautiful cinnamon jam donuts and delicious cakes including mini carrot cakes, chocolate cakes, biscuits, panna cotta with seasonal fruits and mini pies.

My kids were enamored by the elegance of the room and were thrilled to be offered their own tray of kid’s food including chocolate cupcakes, plain scones, cheese & jelly sandwiches, as well as chocolate milk. As we were separated from the main lounge, I didn’t have to worry about them making noise. We were also dressed casually from our day out in London and that wasn’t an issue in the slightest either. Yes, it was life changing for this mom.

If you go, this is what you can expect your afternoon adventure to cost:

  • a british tradition ~ High TeaHigh Tea is served from 1-6 pm daily. Cost is £35.00 (approx. $45 US) per person; £45.00 (approx. $60 US) per person with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Brut Champagne.
  • Gin & Tea Time comes with gin infusions and is £48.00 (approx. $60 US) per person.
  • Junior Afternoon Tea includes jam sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, chocolate milkshake, home-made scones, chocolate brownies and cupcakes and is £9.50 (approx. $15 US) per child (up to 15 years old).

Tea at the Dukes Hotel was the ultimate British experience, complete with UK noshes served on traditional china, beautiful service (our waiter was exceptional) and, as an added bonus, bubbly.  It was also a new special London memory for my kids, something they will genuinely remember.

Visit the Dukes Hotel online or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Read travel reviews on TripAdvisor.

Have you had the pleasure to experience London's High Tea? Where did you experience this historic tradition? Drop a comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter ... we'd love to know!

Disclosure: Holly and her family were guests of the Dukes Hotel to facilitate this review but all opinions are her own.

About Holly Rosen Fink

Holly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyChroniclesHolly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyRosenFink

Holly Rosen Fink is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Branding and Social Media expert with over 15 years’ experience increasing brand awareness and sales at leading publishing houses and media companies. She is the founder of theculturemom.com and is a current contributor to This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Family Vacation Critic, The Broad Side, BlogHer and Women & Hollywood.

Last year she edited Come Closer: How Tourism is Shaping the Future of Nations and associate produced the off-off-Broadway hit The Best of Everything and the NYC production of Listen to Your Mother

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Sounds like you got the star treatment there Holly! And there's no better city to enjoy it in! A definite must do for anyone visiting London I'd say!

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