Afternoon tea first came about in the 19th century as a solution for those who got hungry between their lunch and a fashionably late dinner. Today, we like to have afternoon tea because it involves cake and scones, although the Instagrammable flowery teapots and cake stands probably factor in. Where better to partake in a spot of scone scoffing than in Richmond, among the Georgian buildings and with a good view of the river? Check out these five restaurants for afternoon tea before you go for a Sunday stroll around Richmond Park.
Why: The Bingham’s windows overlook its serene gardens and the majestic Thames making it one of the loveliest restaurants for miles around, although this golden-hued space has plenty more to like than just its views.
All the great classics can be found on the afternoon tea menu, such as egg mayonnaise sandwiches and freshly-baked fruit scones to name just a few. Salted caramel profiteroles and lemon meringue tart are not to be missed to indulge your sweet tooth. To wet your whistle, there is a decent selection of teas from British tea specialist Canton, including jasmine pearls, organic rosebud and of course English breakfast.
Where: 61-63 Petersham Road, TW10 6UT
When: Mon-Sat 3.30-5pm (Sun 4pm-)
Price: £30 per person (£42 with Champagne)
The Gate: Kitchen, Bar &Terrace
Why: The The Gate, Kitchen Bar & Terrace is conveniently located by one of Richmond Park’s entrances, making it an ideal starting post for any forays into the park. The restaurant itself is perfect for anyone interested in eating alfresco, with plenty of greenery inside the restaurant and a conservatory which leads out onto a garden terrace.
A reasonably priced afternoon tea awaits scone lovers of Richmond. It is the bread however, that makes the difference at this eatery, with smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread, ham and mustard on sourdough, cucumber and minted cream cheese on onion seed bread and truffled chicken in a brioche rolls. This is followed up by scones with clotted cream and jam, as well as a selection of homemade cakes.
Where: The Richmond Gate Hotel and Leisure Club, Richmond Hill, TW10 6RP
When: Mon-Sun 2.30-5.30pm
Price: £19.95 per person (£25.95 with Champagne)
The Ivy Café
Why: The Ivy is always a safe bet when it comes to dining, with plush interiors and polished service coming as standard. Those having afternoon tea in a group should head upstairs to the Isabella room which has a natural brightness complemented by a lovely colour scheme. Tables at this Ivy are always decorated with seasonal flowers and tea lights, which should add some sophistication to your afternoon tea.
For savouries, you’ll get marinated cucumber and dill finger sandwiches, smoked salmon on rye bread with cream cheese and chive, and because this is The Ivy, truffle works its way into the chicken brioche roll. From the sweets, scones, cheesecake and salted caramel mousse are the highlights.
Where: 9-11 Hill Street, TW9 1SX
When: Mon-Sun 3-5pm
Price: £18.95 per person (£26.50 with champagne)
Pembrokes at the Richmond Hill Hotel
Why: This hotel restaurant is another well located choice for pre- and post-afternoon tea walks around Richmond Park. The old, creaky and atmospheric Richmond Hill Hotel adds character to any meal. ‘Tea on the hill’ includes the usual smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, along with an egg mayonnaise or a honey-glazed ham with mustard option. This is followed by cakes and sweet treats from the restaurant’s patisserie chef. To quench your thirst, there are black teas, infusions, green teas and white teas on offer.
The Richmond Hill also offers the Countess of Mansfield afternoon tea which adds a glass of Chapel Down brut English sparkling wine. There’s also the option for hen parties and baby shower afternoon teas in the hotel’s private function areas.
Where: Richmond Hill Hotel, Richmond Hill, TW10 6RW
When: Mon-Sun 3-5.30pm
Price: £26 per person (£29.95 with champagne)
Restaurant at the Petersham
Why: The Restaurant at the Petersham boasts some great pastoral views over the river Thames, including grazing cows. Whilst the smiley staff are encouraging a more informal crowd, the restaurant is formal enough to please any afternoon tea devotees.
You’ll start off with the usual finger sandwiches, such as egg and cress with mayonnaise and Scottish salmon cream cheese, but it’s the sweet stuff that excites at this afternoon tea. Salted caramel tart, apple crumble with matcha cream, a strawberry yoghurt puzzle and Gâteau Opéra are the yummy delights on offer here. There is plenty of choice in the loose leaf teas as well, including Persian pomegranate and Dragonwell green, although if you’re feeling boozy you can order a glass of Joseph Perrier Champagne.
Where: Petersham Hotel, Nightingale Lane, TW10 6UZ
When: Mon-Sat 3-5.30pm (Sun 4pm-)
Price: £29.50 per person
Too hungry to wait until afternoon tea? Take a punt on our pick of the best brunches in Richmond instead.