The classic English afternoon tea – assorted sandwiches, scones and cream, cakes and tarts, and, of course, lashings of tea – is available all over London. The best venues are the capital’s top hotels and most fashionable department stores; a selection of the best is given here. To avoid disappointment it’s essential to book ahead. Expect to spend £20–40 a head, and bear in mind that most hotels will expect “smart casual attire”; only The Ritz insists on jacket and tie.

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