What makes a great afternoon tea, in your opinion? For us, it has to be in an elegant location, with outstanding food and ideally, a little something extra. The afternoon tea at the St James’s Hotel and Club definitely delivers all of this.

Victorian Champagne Afternoon Tea at St James’s Hotel

Their Champagne afternoon tea takes inspiration from the Victorian era. The hotel itself is set in the heart of St James’s, one of London’s most exclusive areas, and is an oasis of calm just a few minutes from Piccadilly.


Their afternoon tea is presented on a pretty cake stand laden with savoury and sweet treats. Designed by Executive Head Chef, William Drabble, it’s a real delight.

William has a Michelin star and has worked at some of the most famous London restaurants including Aubergine and Pied a Terre. We’ve long been fans of his cuisine and had an amazing lunch at Seven Park Place, his restaurant within the St James’s Hotel and Club.

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The game theme is very appropriate as many famous patrons have gathered here since the 1857 opening to play board games such as backgammon. The goodies here come in the form of edible dice…actually a gluten-free Battenberg sponge cake with apricot jam, marzipan and crispy white chocolate biscuit. 

As for the Scrabble, this Bramley apple mousse on a genoise sponge with white and dark chocolate scrabble pieces was almost too pretty to eat.

The Snakes and Ladders is a delectable concoction made of dark chocolate, filled with a milk chocolate mousse and topped with Kirsch cherries.


We began by choosing our tea – whilst I was tempted by the rosebud tea, our friendly waiter recommended the lemon verbena. It had a really fantastic citrus flavour.


The champagne version of this tea is served with Ruinart, one of the oldest champagne houses and the first to export. Our Ruinart Brut, NV was delicate and fruity with notes of pear and white flowers.

A selection of games is kindly provided, so you can while away the afternoon having a truly relaxing moment. Indeed, you won’t be hurried off your table, you’re encouraged to savour your time here.


The sandwiches are very dainty – I particularly liked the ham ones on brown bread and the egg mayonnaise with mustard cress on white bread. Of course, no afternoon tea would be complete without cucumber sandwiches and these ones with cream cheese were pretty tasty too! If you wish, they will bring you a second complimentary round and they can even prepare children’s sandwiches with Nutella and peanut butter with enough prior notice.

Yet the cakes were the real star of the show with a particularly unctuous dark chocolate Monopoly top hat. Filled with a blood orange mousse, on a gluten-free dark chocolate sponge base, it’s topped with blood orange jelly and a chocolate glaze.


There was a delicious chess board made of chocolate and vanilla shortbread with a ganache of caramelised white chocolate. Finally we tasted the dominoes, a rich all butter shortbread biscuit, topped with white chocolate cheesecake and a white chocolate jelly glaze, plus dark chocolate crispy biscuit pearls.


After our sweet treats, it was time to taste the scones. I’m quite fussy about them but these really exceeded expectations. There were two sorts, fruity and plain, served with a delicious strawberry jam and clotted cream. I preferred the fruity ones although both were golden on the outside and light and fluffy in the inside, so you don’t end up feeling heavy.


We sampled a glass of the Ruinart Rosé Brut, NV with our scones. It was well balanced and had non of the cloying sweetness that you associate with some rosé champagnes.

This was the perfect end to an idyllic afternoon stepping back in time to childhood memories and fun. We were even given popcorn as a souvenir, wrapped in the St James’s Hotel and Club’s very own printed paper.


The St James’s Hotel also offer a family package including a night’s stay, a VIP tour of Hamleys flagship store and an afternoon tea – sounds like fun! Afternoon Tea is served daily from 3.00pm to 5.30pm and starts at £40 without champagne or from £52 with a glass of champagne.

Are you a fan of themed afternoon teas?

St James’s Hotel and Club, 7-8 Park Place, London SW1A 1LS

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Source: luxurycolumnist.com