A five-star hotel, a science-inspired afternoon tea and a children’s afternoon tea were among the winners at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2018.

Held this week at Hotel Café Royal, London, the awards celebrated all aspects of afternoon tea.

They were judged by industry experts including pastry chefs Joanne Todd and Helen Vass, food writer Emma Sturgess and international pastry consultant Martin Chiffers, and look at the afternoon tea experience from booking to departure, with a strong focus on the food, drink and service.

The winners in the five categories are:

  • Best Traditional Afternoon Tea – Coworth Park, Ascot: This afternoon tea features classically British flavour combinations inspired by the seasons. It was described by the judges as “faultless, with an ambience that was lovely and intimate” as they also praised its “exquisite pastries”.
  • Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea – Rosewood, London (see photo below): This is the second year in a row Rosewood has won this award. Its Art Afternoon Tea is inspired by a British Museum exhibition, Rodin and the art of Ancient Greece, and puts a quirky spin on this mid-afternoon British tradition.
  • Best Tea Service – The Langham, London: Commenting on The Langham’s tea service, the judges said: “There is an impressive selection of high-quality tea blends, paired with food. The tea sommelier was superb; passionate and knowledgeable, offering personalised recommendations and explanation throughout the experience.”
  • Best Children’s Afternoon Tea – Fortnum & Mason, London: Aimed at children aged 4-10 years, the judge’s described the Children’s Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason as “just the right size for a child” and looked “very pretty and appetising, but not too serious”. Hot chocolate, fruit juice or milk are offered as alternatives to tea.
  • Best Themed Afternoon Tea – The Ampersand Hotel ‘Science Tea’, London: This one-of-a-kind afternoon tea is inspired by its South Kensington neighbour, The Science Museum. The interactive tea serves up a mix of curious dishes, from jams served in petri dishes, to chocolate spacemen and dinosaur biscuits. The judges described the Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel as “a creative feast” that “made having afternoon tea a really fun experience, executed really well, being both jovial and luxurious at the same time”.

“This year our team of judges have visited venues in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and were impressed by the high standard of Afternoon Tea being served across the country,” said Keith Newton, managing director of AfternoonTea.co.uk, host of the Afternoon Tea Awards.

“Over the past year chefs have demonstrated flair and creativity with their Afternoon Tea menus. Combine this with high levels of service and Afternoon Tea continues to be the perfect experience for all occasions.”