Want to know the best thing to do in London? Afternoon tea in the capital is one of those must-dos for tourists and city dwellers alike. After all, what's not to like about partaking in that most quintissential of British traditions: taking tea.
Nowadays every decent restaurant and hotel across London offers some sort of afternoon tea so we went on a hunt to find three of the best new offerings for the summer. Grab your friends, take the kids or treat your mum and sample one of these top three tea experiences.
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych
The decadent feast features golden eggs, blueberry brioche and candy floss as well as tarts, smoked salmon sandwiches and pastries for those fearing a sugar overload. A guaranteed hit with the kids, the tea starts from £29.50 per person or £38 with an added glass of champagne or a specially created Cocktail Charlie for the adults. For reservations call 020 7300 1070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Tea in the Pugin Room at the Houses of Parliament
Weekday guided tours of the Houses of Parliament begin again from the 31 July, this time with an added bonus: guests can opt to take tea after the tour in the Pugin Room. Follow the route taken by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, through to the Members' Lobby and Commons Chamber before ending in the historic Westminster Hall and rounding off your official state visit with high tea overlooking the Thames. Order (order!) by calling 0844 847 1672.
Afternoon tea will run as an optional extra on Saturdays between 1 June - 24 August and Thursdays and Fridays from 1-23 August. The tour costs £16.50 for adults and £14 concessions with afternoon tea £19.95 extra.
The height of high tea at Paramount, Centre Point
Centre Point has taken the idea of "high tea" to a whole new level this summer with the launch of its highest teas in London, being served at the top floor Paramount Restaurant. The restaurant is 32 floors up and comes with some pretty spectacular views of London as well as some delectable morsels from Paramount's new head chef Mark Kay, who previously worked at the Michelin-starred restaurants Chez Bruce and Wild Honey. There's a standard high tea on offer priced at £28 or a champagne version for £42. Reservations can be made through Paramount's website paramount.uk.net.
If all this talk of of high tea has made you hungry and a sandwich and mini cake won't cover it, have a look at our gallery of London's best restaurants for some inspiration.
Top ten London restaurants
Take three: Afternoon teas in London
Tucked away in south west London, Bruce Pool's one-star Michelin restaurant is slightly off the beaten tourist track - but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked, say reviewers. The £35 prix fixe three-course Sunday lunch menu is "fantastic". Visit chezbruce.co.uk
This tapas restaurant in Soho is "as close as you'll get" to a Spanish bar. It's praised by reviewers for its laid-back atmosphere and fresh produce: many recommend the gambas al ajilla and tortilla. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, so arrive early or expect to wait (preferably with a glass of cava at the bar). Prices vary depending on how much you indulge - but for a full meal they average at £46 per person. Visit barrafina.co.uk.
Owned by Nigel Platts-Martin and Bruce Pool, La Trompette prides itself on its informal but stylish dining venue and creative menu. Based in Chiswick, it's a particular favourite with west Londoners. Early evening menu starts from £17.50 for two courses. "The foie gras and brioche is to die for" says one reviewer. Visit latrompette.co.uk
With two Michelin stars to its name, this restaurant has gained many accolades, and ead chef Brett Graham is praised for his creativity, not least with his puddings: "Our pannacotta with blood orange bienets was out of the is world," says one reviewer. Average lunch price range: starters around £15, mains for £30, desert £10. Visit theledbury.com
A British steakhouse in the heart of Covent Garden, this gem has an atmosphere that is "part Ivy, part gentleman's club" says one reviewer. "The food brings a smile to your face and warms your soul", says another, while several rave about cornflake milkshakes. Price range: £42-£62. Visit thehawksmoor.com.
With three Michelin stars to its name, you'll spend anything from £50 to £180 plus for a meal here. Ducasse is known for his French cuisine and has been widely decorated for his achievements: in 2003, he was named as the Finest Chef in the World by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. "The £55 menu affords an unbelievably high standard of food and service in a beautiful setting," raves one reviewer. Visit alainducasse-dorchester.com
With its low-key decor and subdued lighting, Goodman prides itself on bringing the New York Steakhouse to London, with prime cuts from grain fed herds which are matured in the restaurant's own dry-ageing room. Prices range from £26 to £40. "It's not cheap but blinking heck it's more or less Bond Street and possibly the best steakhouse in London" says one reviewer. Visit goodmanrestaurants.com
Singled out for its "wonderful combination of quality, inventive cooking and good value," Moro has become a central London institution since it opened in 1997, specialising in Moorish cuisine and serves tapas throughout the day. Try the sherries and wood roasted chicken. Price range: £18-£30. Visit moro.co.uk.
Gordon Ramsay's Knightsbridge institution now offers popular chef master classes with head chef Sean Burbidge . The a la carte lunch menu starts at £30 for three courses and you're served "delightful" amuse bouches. Visit gordonramsay.com/petrus
Top of the list of London's eateries, Michel Roux's two-star Michelin restaurant is also the favourite restaurant in Europe, according to Tripadvisor. Set price lunch: £52, including three courses and half a bottle of wine. Reviewers recommend it for the first class service ("attentive without being annoying") and the eight-course 'menu exceptionel' with matching wines. Visit le-gavroche.co.uk.