Shortly after booking our flights to London we instantly thought of the iconic tradition of afternoon tea, and how we wanted to be sure we set aside an afternoon to partake during our time there. We started doing our research, and as one would guess, London offers a seemingly endless number of options. And it certainly didn’t make things easier that we were going to be there during the Chelsea Flower Show, meaning a lot of the most popular and highly rated locations for afternoon tea either had an expensive specialty menu or were sold out. Since we were staying at the London Marriott County Hall we decided to make it easy on us and enjoy afternoon tea at the Library Lounge. We made our reservation about 5 weeks in advance and liked that the price point of this tea was lower than a lot of the other ‘highly recommended’ teas to choose from.
The Library Lounge, which is connected to the London Marriott Hotel County Hall
The Afternoon Tea at the Library Lounge has three different price points to choose from:
- Traditional Afternoon Tea – £36 per person
- Traditional Tea w/ glass of Bubbles (Champagne) – £38 per person
- Traditional Tea w/ unlimited Bubbles (Champagne) – £41 per person
Given what we felt was a rather small incremental up charge, we decided to do the Traditional Tea with free-flowing bubbles. Don’t worry if you don’t know which option you want when making the reservation since they let everyone decide after arriving.
The initial place setting at our table with the glass of bubbles
Our reservation was during the first time slot offered, 2 pm, even though the website states seating’s are between 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm. We arrived slightly ahead of time and they promptly sat us at a table with a view of Big Ben. The table reservation is for an hour and a half so there is no rush and plenty of time to simply enjoy your tea and relax. This is also the length of time they will keep the unlimited bubbles flowing, if you so choose this option. They went on to explain the details of our afternoon tea package before bringing out a large wooden sample box for us to choose our tea from.
The personal teapot provided plenty of hot water for multiple cups of tea
We both chose a loose-leaf berry tea that was provided in our own personal teapots. The aroma was wonderful, and while the delightful combination of new smells filled our noses they continued to refill our glasses of champagne, even though we had only taken a sip. At this point we couldn’t contain our excitement as we knew we were in for a treat.
If only every meal we ate on the trip was served in this form
We were waited on by a group of three different servers, all of which were excellent and helped in providing us with tea, refilling champagne, answering questions, and explaining the variety of foods on our 3-tiered platter. When the food was delivered to the table they explained every tier, including which jams and spreads tasted best on the pastries. It was more than enough food to fill us up and included a selection of sandwiches, scones, and pastries. They will even provide a to-go box for any leftovers.
Enjoying tea and champagne with views of Big Ben and the River Thames
We spent our time enjoying the food — working our way from the bottom up — and sipping on tea and champagne in the laid back, yet sophisticated atmosphere of the Library Lounge. We also made sure to take advantage of the great opportunity to get a photo of one of us posing in front of Big Ben with our tea and champagne in hand. We were having a great time but unfortunately all great things come to an end and after an hour and a half they topped off our champagne glasses one last time before we asked for the bill.
We had an absolutely fantastic time at the Library Lounge and would recommend it to anyone looking to partake in the tradition of afternoon tea, especially if you are looking for the boozy option. We have never attended afternoon tea at one of the famous places like Claridge’s, so we cannot make a comparison to that. But as first time afternoon tea goers this fit the bill perfectly. I would say the Library Lounge option is more of a budget friendly one and we would definitely do it again without even looking to go somewhere else. Plus the views of Big Ben and history behind the Library Lounge certainly doesn’t hurt either 🙂 A reservation can be made on their website here. If you do end making this part of your next trip to London, let us know what you think!