It has finally arrived… AFTERNOON TEA AT THE RITZ!  I am so excited to share my experience with you because if you don’t know me already you should know that I love cake, and I never need a reason to eat some.

We booked The Ritz months ago and the only space available was to dine at 11.30am. So, we were up bright and early (I woke up at 6 to get my glad rags on) still slightly sleepy and very much freezing cold (it was -6.5 in the car at 8.15am!) but ready to experience one of the best hotels in the UK. We got to the nearest train station and the train was cancelled, nightmare! So, I drove us girlies to the next station where trains to London run frequently. The next thing to go wrong or should I say not as planned (oh god, was this a sign of things to come?!) was our train to London Paddington was delayed – bearing in mind we were all dressed up, absolutely freezing waiting for the train. But finally, all was well, when we hopped on the train and it began to move yay! I think we all sighed a relief as The Ritz are fairly strict with being late or not even turning up even if this is caused by Sunday transport (basically they charge your card the price of the afternoon tea – for the five of us it was a very large amount!) 

In the lead up to the afternoon tea I had to decide what to wear (HELP). It took me about a week to decide what was suitable, as I had read reviews that people have been turned away in the past for their attire. The panic of what to wear was setting in fast! Unlike when I went to The Shard, back in the summer for afternoon tea, there was no strict dress code. At The Ritz, they say no jeans, no trainers and men must wear suits and a tie. I understand some of the reasons behind this, as The Ritz is deemed as an institution and a British one at that, as of course it is a place where the riches dine and stay. It’s the traditional quintessential hotel that represents all things British.  However, it would be nice to just be able to put on a nice pair of black jeans, a blouse or shirt and still look as smart and well-dressed. For me, I just wanted to be able to wear something that stretched as my stomach got bigger with the amount of cake and scones I would be consuming. I wasn’t the only one panicking though, but in the end I finally decided to wear a pair of Miss Selfridge leather skinny trousers that I have had for years, a Zara Basics white blouse and my beloved Marks & Spencer’s ombre fur coat. I wore a pair of authentic style Vans up as we were on/off the trains and tubes but changed into a pair of Boohoo peep-toe suede shoes once we arrived at the hotel. Bearing in mind this decision was made was after buying a shed load of clothes from H&M and Asos, all of which didn’t look right and weren’t that special – not saying a Zara Basics shirt is anything special in terms of glitz and glamour but it suited and I felt comfortable yet smart in what I was wearing.

Anyway, enough of what I was wearing (I did feel pretty cool in my leather trousers, fur coat and Vans, I must admit!) We came out at Green Park toddled up the steep hill, looked to our right and there was the infamous sign glitzing away in the fresh morning sun – The Ritz. After all the luck with the train (oh, and the jubilee line was close) we were so ready for a glass of bubbles! On arrival, we quickly dashed to the toilet also known as ‘the powder room’ (of course), to change our shoes and freshen up. The toilet was so traditional and incredibly lady-like, something you would imagine maybe the Queen to have – as you entered the drawn velvet curtain and down the stairs which were carpeted in a dusky shade of pink with a rope-like trim. We entered the powder room which was decorated with pink walls, paintings, pink sinks, towels to wipe your hands, plenty of seats to perch ones bottom, and walls covered in ceiling height mirrors! Not to mention the array of magazines you could read whilst waiting for your best girlfriends to go to the loo. It was so lavish!

Little me in the ‘Powder Room’ not being posh by taking a selfie

After we handed in our coats to the lady in the cloakroom we were seated at our table in spectacular Palm Court. This room oozed elegance, sophistication, tradition and of course wealth. The décor was fabulous, I mean slightly over the top to have in your living room, but it was so right for the hotel. Gold statues, chandeliers hanging from the featured ceiling, marble plinths, a pedestal with the most beautiful lilies, roses and palm leaves you have ever seen. We were all wowed by the rooms beauty and I would’ve loved to have seen what the rest of the hotel was like – but maybe next time! We sat down at our beautiful presented table, covered in luxury cotton tablet cloths, with the finest of china engraved with The Ritz logo, crystal glass for our champagne and the most exquisite of silver wear we would be pouring our tea from – even the tea strainer weighed an absolute tonne!

Palm Court, The Ritz

Palm Court, The Ritz. Sourced from The Ritz website

Our waiter was the most charismatic guy I have ever met; he was pretty cheeky with things as we were a bunch of girls who I guess he could tell straight away that were up for a laugh. We got him to take a few pictures of us girls around the table, I passed him my phone where he took the picture and then he took a selfie with me – it was pretty amusing. He added a real fun and personal factor to the whole experience, just wish I got his name so I could give him a shout out haha!

Our trays (yes plural) of cakes and sandwiches came out with our champagne and teas. The Ritz offer a wide selection of teas from The Ritz own Royal English tea to early grey tea to chocolate mint rooibos tea to lemon verbena tea which I had. The selection of sandwiches were also vast, something for everyone – ham with mustard mayonnaise on sliced brioche, cheddar cheese with chutney on tomato bread (had about three of these), cucumber with cream cheese on granary bread, chicken breast with parsley cream on malt bread, Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter on sourdough bread and finally egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots and watercress on white bread. We started with savoury first, I think I had about eight sandwiches – this is not the time to judge ok? Haha!

Our stands with cakes and sandwiches to start

On the top tier of the stand we had a selection of cakes, blackberry macaron, a black cheery and dark chocolate mousse, lemon and treacle tart (I think) and something with rhubarb in – I literally can’t remember them as they weren’t replenished and I didn’t really rate them, I only had one but wished I got my little hands on the macaron as it looked and I heard it was delicious.

Beautiful cakes – sorry about the picture quality of this one

I think we were all preparing ourselves for the scones – fluffy, warm, moist scones (my mouth is watering right now thinking of how good they were). We had a mix of plain and fruit scones – again I had about four maybe five, with lashings of thick clotted cream (I’m sure it was probably Cornish) and homemade strawberry jam. Towards the end of the dining experience, a cake trolley as they called it came around asking if each guest would like a tea cake off the trolley – a hazelnut cake with chocolate ganache or a pear tart, one of the girls had the hazelnut cake but didn’t eat it all as it wasn’t to her taste, I just had more scones! In comparison to our afternoon tea at The Shard, the scones, service and atmosphere were better at The Ritz, but the cakes at The Shard were more of my cup of tea – a bit more contemporary and modern, and with more of a selection, plus the cakes were replenished.

Selection of cakes, scones and sandwiches (nearly all gone!)

I must admit, I didn’t eat as half as much as I did when we dined at The Shard. I felt full and I could’ve done with a nap in one of their rooms as we all had about a thousand cups of tea which didn’t help. But the experience was one I would never forget – it was everything that I thought, even with the strict dress code, it definitely makes The Ritz a real hub for the finer things in life, it is a real icon in London. I wouldn’t necessarily go back, because we have done it, its ticked off the list and I am doubtful it will change in terms of what it offers, but I am extremely glad that I have experienced it and it made me feel like a part of that world that some of us could only dream of living.

Hope you have enjoyed my honest review of my experience having afternoon tea at The Ritz, please do comment below and let me know if you have been or if there is anywhere else you recommend in London.