Claridges in London has been given an award from the Tea Guild for the top place to eat afternoon tea in London.

They have seen a shift in afternoon tea clientèle recently as the restaurant fills with business men and women from top fashion houses and media, who have an ‘afternoon tea’ meeting rather than a lunch or a breakfast meeting.

To win the prize a team of experts from the Tea Guild take tea in disguise in the hotels and tea rooms of London and across Britain. Claridges was voted into the top spot after it’s tea room ‘The Foyer’, gained a near perfect score from the Tea Guild’s experts.

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The Country’s first tea shop was opened in 1864 by the Manageress of the Aerated Bread Company.

The company directors allowed the manageress to serve refreshments to favoured customers.

Then, demand for her service grew, which then sparked a new trend for similar shops across the UK. Within two years the Aerated Bread Company had opened 250 of it’s self service tea shops.

These also helped to liberate the lives of women, as it was considered ‘perfectly proper’ and acceptable for a woman to meet her friends in a tea shop without needing a escort and without risk to her reputation.

J. Lyons & Co opened their first Lyons tea shop in 1894 at 213 Piccadilly. It was the forerunner of some 250 white and gold fronted tea shops which occupied prominent positions in many of London’s high streets.

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