If you're an Agatha Christie fan then i'd say Brown's is well worth a visit. The Miss Marple story At Bertram's Hotel was based there - very old fashioned, very english.
I've been to The Ritz a few times and that is a great experience. The decor is beautiful and the food and service are excellent.
I find afternoon tea is quite a feast so i'd normally go for the latest sitting (around 5pm) and skip dinner that evening.
Highly recommend the Lanesborough. 3:30 seemed like a good time.
The Orangery is a lovely setting for taking tea but more informal.
In the search box, type in "tea, artgirl" and you'll find all the write-ups of the tea gatherings that many of the forumites have participated in during the past year or so. There will be links to pictures too.
Wherever you choose to go, enjoy!
You'll need a reservation at any of the high end places, between 3 and 5 is usual time for tea.
The Lanesborough got the best reviews recently in Metro for afternoon tea.
The Caramel Room at the Berkeley is lovely and famous for its Pret a Portea (fashionable cakes) tel +44(0)20 7201 1699
Harrods do it very well as do also Fortnum & Mason (the Queen's grocers).
Enjoy your tea!!
I recently went to the Lanesborough, and the tea there is excellent. I don't think they start to serve until 4 pm, but you would need to check. You should also book, which can be done when you get to the UK. It is £28 a head (or £35 for a tea with strawberries and champagne), but it is a proper meal in a very pleasant setting near Hyde Park Corner. They even have a tea sommelier who recommends different types of tea according to your tastes and needs. Less expensive, more cool and stylish, but less completely wonderful from the tea-drinking point of view is the Wolseley on Piccadilly.
We tried to have tea at The Wolseley In December. I admit we didn't book ahead as it was a spur of the moment thing. Upon entering Husband waited for 10 minutes to try to get somebody's attention, whilst obviously regular wealthy patrons were hurried past him to be seated. In the end he gave up and walked out. Terrible service! We went to StMartins-in-the-field instead. More informal but great afternoon tea!
P.S. We were dressed nicely if anyone is wondering!
Having been to and experienced several 'afternoon teas' I cannot recommend The Dorchester enough. It is simlpy the best quality, servie and they just keep bringing out the snadwiches, cakes and tea tea and more tea, they will also do coffee or hot choc if you ask.
It is a bit more pricey and further away than the others, but you really feel like you experience the formality and grandeur of a 'proper' afternoon tea, not jsut the 'for the tourists' ones.
The Wolseley is ok too, without booking ahead, but in comparison, is really measly, you just cant beat the Dorchester Hotel. Hieght of Posh, porper manners and maiing you feel like a proper grown up lady of circumstance or whatever the proper term is.
Browns and the orangery do not do it properly!!
Please, please go there.
St martin in the fields is a church - they mean 'thecrypt' which is under it.
it is a lovely place and I have had many lovely meetings and chats here, but certainly not an 'afternoon tea' place at all.
You want the little cucumber sandwiches and the scones and clotted cream etc, you will only get soup, bread and butter pudding or a lunch meal at the crypt.
Nice place though, esp if yo are cold and in trafalgar square....
Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I have a couple of weeks before we leave in which to decide. I know wherever we end up it will definitely be an exciting experience.