A colleague carrying a tray of tea to a table at The Rosebery tea room at Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

The best afternoon teas to book now

Destination

The ritual of afternoon tea started in Britain in the 1800s but has since been exported around the world. Here, we dive into some of the most delicious interpretations from across the continents for your delectation.


Afternoon tea is thought to have first become fashionable in the 1840s thanks to the Duchess of Bedford, who requested light refreshment each day at 4pm to bridge the gap between breakfast and dinner. The idea took off and it’s now regarded as a proud British tradition as well as finding its way on to menus in other parts of the world. We explore five of the most delicious examples from across the globe, from classic tea and scones to more contemporary reinventions of the format, all of which make for truly special dining occasions.