Before you visit with your kids, it is important to know what to expect from a kid-friendly tea in London.
When Princess Catherine of Braganza found it difficult to stay satisfied until dinnertime, she started ordering snacks to her room in the afternoon. That turned into inviting her aristocratic friends to enjoy the afternoon refreshments with her, which in turn resulted in a trend for ladies of high class.
That trend has proven its longevity as teatime remains a popular way to spend an afternoon for Londoners of any class today. Think of it as a pause in the day that allows you to socialize and refresh your body for an active evening.
Tea became the beverage of choice for these afternoon periods of refreshments due to tax issues. Tea was heavily taxed for a period of time and soared in popularity with everyday people once those taxes were reduced.
Today, tea remains one of the most popular drinks in London, and an afternoon kid-friendly tea in London is a tradition that may never fall out of favor.
If you would like to experience a proper afternoon tea while visiting London, take a few minutes to read what you can expect when bringing the kids along. We’ve discussed some of the best kid-themed tea experiences before. Now it’s time to dig into what actually happens when you arrive at a restaurant, café, or diner for teatime in London.
Teatime is a Seated Event
Why are we pointing out the obvious here? It’s necessary because the relaxation that many adults find rewarding in the afternoon often leads to restlessness with young kids. Even if they really enjoy the tea and snacks, they may find it difficult to sit still for the full duration of a tea experience.
That’s why we recommend tea venues like The Orangery, which is located right next to the Kensington Palace. It’s conveniently located in Kensington Gardens, so you can follow teatime with some playtime in the park. It also features a spacious terrace with empty space between the tables. You can allow your child some freedom to stand up and move in that small space if sitting becomes too difficult.
Just sitting outdoors in the fresh air may make afternoon kid-friendly tea in London more enjoyable for kids, depending on the season of your visit.
Explain Expected Teatime Behavior First
If you have a little one experiencing teatime for the first time, it’s important to make your expectations clear before entering the restaurant or tearoom. Even young children can understand when they’re expected to be on their best behavior as long as they are told that in advance. Don’t expect them to walk in and behave perfectly if they don’t have a lot of teatime or dining out experience.
What exactly should you tell them about proper behavior during teatime? Here are some pointers to get your little one started on the right track:
- Use indoor voices. Children of all ages can get a bit rambunctious, especially if they’re excited about a new experience. Explain to your children that teatime is a calm environment, and you don’t want to disturb other people trying to enjoy their afternoon. Talking is okay but only with a lower volume.
- The teacups and plates on the table are breakable and delicate. Tea is poured from a breakable pot as well. Treat all items with great care so that nothing is broken and no safety hazards are created.
- Tea is often served quite hot, so you may need to wait to take the first sip. Parents should help children determine when it’s okay to start drinking. Sips are always better than large gulps when it comes to tea.
- Teatime comes with dedicated wait staff who will make sure your needs are met from start to finish. They always deserve respect and attention because they’re working hard to deliver delicious tea and treats for everyone in the dining room or tearoom.
- The treats that come with teatime are more like snacks than a meal. They’re intended to keep your tummy happy until dinnertime, but you may not have as many options as you would a full restaurant menu. In some cases, the food menu is set unless you have special dietary restrictions.
- Remain seated unless you have permission to get up from the table. A typical tea experience can last for an hour, possibly a bit longer. That may seem like an eternity to some children, but most can make it to the end if they know that you expect them to remain seated. There is no running through the dining room to blow off energy because you don’t want to disturb others relaxing with their tea.
Picking Tea for the Little Ones
One of the fun parts of going to a kid-friendly tea in London is selecting a tea from a menu. Some London restaurants have more options than others, but you should have at least a handful of options. Children may not know what to order, and you may not as a parent either if you don’t drink much tea. It’s acceptable to ask a member of staff to explain some of the teas and help you pick one suitable to your child’s age and taste preferences.
In general, non-caffeinated herbal teas are the best options for children. You can add a drop of honey or lemon if you think it will make the tea more enjoyable.
Limit Your Time for Kid-Friendly Tea in London in Needed
Are you uncertain how your child is going to handle teatime in London with the family? You can start them out with a shortened experience by ordering only part of the food options. For instance, some venues may allow you to skip the sandwiches and go straight to the scones, cakes, and other sweet treats. Still others will bring everything to the table at once so that you can leave whenever it is appropriate for your group.
If you see multiple teatime menu options, notice the number of courses in each. The longer courses are for full teatime events, which can take an hour or longer when fully savored. The shorter menus are great for popping in and out when you have a child eager to get back to the more fun things to do in London with kids.
Limit Distractions as Well
It’s common for parents to use handheld games, phones, tablets, and other electronic devices to keep their children entertained and avoid fussing. In most London tearooms and restaurants, the fewer distractions you have, the better the experience. That means putting down the electronic devices and staying tuned into the experience from start to finish of the kid-friendly tea in London.
Most upscale restaurants and hotel restaurants will expect limited use of electronics and will frown upon anything that transfers noise between tables. They want to create an enjoyable experience for everyone in the dining room, which is difficult when there are noisy games or videos playing from one table.
Of course, you also want your children to practice their manners and learn to respect the peace of others when in public. An activity such as teatime can be a great way to teach table manners as well as polite use of electronics at the table. Simple mindfulness is a great lesson as well because some of the simplest pleasures in life happen in the quiet moments.
Explore the Menu for Your Kid-Friendly Tea in London Online
You can look up most London restaurants and tearooms before visiting. It’s common for restaurants to include at least partial menus online, which gives you the chance to match your tea venue to the culinary interests of your family. That means you pick a restaurant that has options your child will love, increasing the chance that they will find the event enjoyable.
Finger sandwiches and scones are common foods for teatime in London, but that’s only the beginning of your options. There are endless variations on finger sandwiches, and many restaurants now serve a variety of cookies, cakes, and other finger foods. The trick is finding the venues that are in line with what your kids find appetizing.
You can also check the age restrictions or recommendations for specific venues when you look them up online. While many restaurants in London warmly welcome little visitors, others prefer not to have children under a certain age at teatime. When in doubt, you can always call the venue to ask about age restrictions.
Scheduling Teatime in London with Kids
Teatime is a great opportunity to relax your legs and mind in the midst of a long day of heavy sightseeing. London is full of museums, art galleries, theatres, and other attractions that mix education and history with fun and physical activity. Whether you walk the city or hop on and off a double-decker bus, you need time to rest up and prepare for the second half of your day.
That’s especially true with younger children. They need time to restore their energy and may not tolerate long periods of sightseeing. Teatime is perfect for relaxing, and the delicious assortment of finger sandwiches, cookies, and cakes, may feel like a reward after a great morning of exploration.
It makes sense to drop by for tea when your family needs an energy pick up or a moment to just relax. You may also use teatime as an opportunity to talk about everything you’ve seen and done in London. Your kids may provide insight on what they want to do with the rest of the day if you don’t have a tight itinerary.
When scheduled properly into the day, teatime can serve as a tool that keeps your kids happy and well-rested. You may go at different times each day, depending on where you’re sightseeing and what attractions are on the checklist. Keep it in your back pocket as another option for fun activity for the family while on vacation.
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