Afternoon Tea in London is such a wonderful tradition, it makes you feel rather British, not to mention it satisfies that 3 O’Clock craving for tea and cake. I’ve been meaning to try the beautifully looking Afternoon Tea at the equally beautiful Sanderson Hotel for some time, and on a recent trip into Central London with my Niece we decided to ‘tumble down the rabbit hole’ into the quirky and wonderfully themed Mad Hatters Tea Party to sample its delights.
As a child Alice in Wonderland was one of my favourite movies, I remember a time I would watch the Disney movie almost daily, reciting the film line by line and reenacting the scenes pretending to be Alice. I’ve always loved the story so the theming of this Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel has had me feeling curiouser and curiouser about it and I was more than a little excited to see it all in action.
On arrival you are shown to your marble top table in the courtyard of the hotel. As it’s November it was sheltered with plenty of indoor heaters plus a blanket on each chair, but despite the fact that it was an Autumn day we didn’t feel cold there or need to use the blankets provided. They often dress the courtyard for the Summer months (there were flamingos dotted around this past Summer) and for Christmas time too, plus there is a swing which you have to stop by for a photo moment (definitely one for the Instagram).
Back to the tables though, which were beautifully set, with the Afternoon Tea Menu details in a vintage red hardback book, and a music box full of sugar cubes complete with a ballerina that once wound up twirls to the tinkering sounds of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. The afternoon tea is in collaboration with Luna and Curious and each table is set with a different design of ‘Zebras, Carousels, Clocks, Circus Acts or Birdcages’ crockery.
Your waiter or waitress with come to ‘deal out the cards’ on the table with each card listing each tea’s infusion ingredients, you also get to sample the scent of each tea to help your decision which are presented in little glass bottles on a tray.
There are five teas to choose from:
- White Rabbit
- Mad Hatter
- Queen of Hearts
- Cheshire Cat.
We chose the Queen of Hearts tea which included a combination of red rose congu, infused with red rose petals and a hint of vanilla and chocolate and it was delicious, so delicious I pretty much drank the entire pot of tea for two by myself. The tea is served in the most adorably designed tea pot complete with the Queen’s Crown.
If your tastes are a little more traditional you can also order regular English tea or coffee, plus there are champagne and cocktail options too if you fancy a little tipple with your afternoon treats.
Savoury – The 3 tiered selection of food is served with sweet and savoury offerings (the waitress did ask about any allergies as we sat down and as both myself and my niece are allergic to avocado they catered around this which was really appreciated). Starting bottom upwards, the lower tier hosts the savoury white rabbit cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on pesto bread, Cornish crab brioche roll (ours was served without avocado) and the very yummy stack of King of Hearts ham and parmesan croque-monsieur. Another intriguing savoury offering was the smoked salmon scotch quail egg with caviar and cream cheese which I found to be so delicious.
Sweet – There are plenty of sweet offerings moving up the tiers including the most adorable vanilla pocket-watch macaroon, a mocha chessboard gateau topped with a sprayed chocolate chess piece, plus the Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry jammy dodger, amongst many other equally delicious and intricately made sweet treats.
Scones – On the side you are also served fluffy warm Scones with clotted-cream and a preserve, although to be honest we were so full from the other food we struggled to eat them (although we gave it a good try).
We found the food to be really filling but you can restock the sandwich section if you are still hungry at any time. There is also the most adorable little bottle with a ‘drink me’ label containing a pineapple and orange taster. It’s these little touches that help to make the overall experience so much fun and it was really exciting trying and tasting each option as we worked our way through each tier.
At £48 per person, £35 per child aged 4-11 years, (although look out for discounts and offers, I found a 30% discount online that we used). I honestly think its very reasonably priced for a London Afternoon Tea compared to many others. The staff were really friendly, the service was good and we didn’t feel rushed at all. At the end we were given a little honeycomb ice-cream in a pot adorned with a flower petal, but we were so full at that point we just couldn’t face eating it, still it was a lovely touch though. I would always advise prior booking, you can book online directly with the Sanderson Hotel and at other online Afternoon Tea sites such as Open Table or Afternoon Tea UK amongst others.
Overall this was such a fun and exciting way to do afternoon tea, the attention to detail and beautifully designed food to match the Alice in Wonderland theming made it feel extra special. I think this is such a great way to spend an hour or two in London, especially if you are celebrating ‘a very important date’ such as a birthday or anniversary and it’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
The Sanderson Hotel is located just off Oxford Street so its an ideal location if you are visiting the sights and shops of Central London, plus they also offer a ‘Tipsy Tea Party’ in the evenings where they switch the infused tea with infused cocktails which I would love to try sometime soon.
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