Young Ladies About Town

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Tea of champions

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Thursday, 26 July 2012

The wait is well and truly over. After seven years of meticulous planning, painstaking construction and only the tiniest bit of apprehension, the Olympics are finally upon us. Our fine capital is getting busier by the second.

For the most part, I love the hustle and bustle. Yesterday a young man decked out in Venezuela tracksuit asked me for directions to Chinatown and I was thrilled by the sheer globalness of it all. Sometimes, though, it is nice to escape the crowds, and what better British way to do that than nip off for a spot of afternoon tea?

horseguards exterior

The Royal Horseguards near Westminster is one of my favourite hotels here in London. It is steeped in history, with portraits galore, intriguing passageways and the most beautiful staircase (yes, really) you will ever see. They also put on a mighty fine tea, courtesy of Head Pastry Chef, Joanne Todd, and her talented team.

horseguards lounge

Joanne has created a SporTea, which includes a number of bite-size delicacies inspired by the cuisine of all sporting nations. Sitting in their elegantly appointed lounge, the tea is served in the traditional manner with a tiered stand. Starting off with classic crustless sandwiches, you move up to scones and then to the top tier of athletics-inspired pastries.

Sampling each confection is like taking a whistle-stop tour of the world: from an American whoopie pie (much scrummier than it sounds) to Asian coconut rice pudding, the treats certainly give you Olympian levels of energy. And very happy taste buds.

horseguards tea

I must also take a few words to express my awe at Joanne’s scones. The Royal Horseguards belong to the prestigious UK Tea Guild due to the quality of their afternoon tea, and I think their scones alone may have won them the coveted membership. They are light yet hearty, buttery without being cloying, and the ideal vehicle for lashings of clotted cream. In other words: perfection.

horseguards toptier

Of course, no afternoon tea is complete without an exceptional selection of teas, and The Royal Horseguards does not disappoint. I sampled the Strawberries &Cream tea, available exclusively at the hotel, which is basically British summertime in a cup.

Joanne popped up to say hello, and revealed that creating the specially-themed afternoon teas is her favourite part of her job. It certainly shows.

For more information and to make a reservation, visit

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