My quirkiest afternoon tea experience has to be when I went along to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel in London, where I tumbled down the rabbit hole to experience an Alice in Wonderland inspired afternoon tea.
The Sanderson is a bright and modern looking hotel, with lots of light, white walls and modern art pieces to catch your eye. After walking past reception you head over to the dining area which has an enclosed section and in its middle a wonderful open courtyard with a fountain and plants, already allowing you to feel that you’ve left the hustle and bustle of London behind. For me it wasn’t just the afternoon tea that was special, it was the entire experience, which was fun, with little touches that made this so much more than your average sandwich and scone affair.
Experiencing the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel
This started straight away with the menu, which we discovered was hidden inside the pages of the Alice in Wonderland book left on our table. Once we’d decided which to go for (champagne, pink champagne or tea only) our waitress came over with our tea options which came over in beautiful little decanters for us to check out. But don’t expect Jasmine or Earl Grey at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – the choices were mint choc chip, apple pie, rhubarb and custard and strawberries and cream. How unique! My friend and I both chose the mint choc chip which we loved – it was a light flavour in the tea, which was surprisingly tasty.
When our food arrived the waitress came over and ran through the food with us, explaining what everything was. There’s nothing ‘normal’ on the menu, instead you’re treated to some taste sensations that even a picky eater like myself really enjoyed. Some of my savoury highlights included the smoked ham on sun dried tomato bread and the cucumber on spinach bread, but the best bits were, of course, the sweets.
Where do I start, as I loved them all! All freshly made, the sweets consisted of strawberries and cream flavoured homemade marshmallow mushrooms, a tick tock traditional Victoria sponge, a matcha green tea and white chocolate mousse served in a chocolate tea cup and a drink me potion made up of three different layers of jelly, smoothie etc with completely different flavours including coconut and sherbet. These were all topped off with a carrot meringue served on a bed of pea shoots, that although made of carrot and ginger tasted sweet and delicious!
You won’t leave the ‘Party hungry either – as well as the sandwiches and sweets you’re offered sweet and savoury scones and at the side of the dining areas there’s a section dedicated to a wide of selection of weird and wonderful jellies called Jelly Wonderland – what else!
An Alice in Wonderland inspired afternoon tea
The food was wonderful and the entire experience a joy – everything had been given thought – from the crockery your food was served on (we loved the king/queen tea pot) to the condiment containers. I fell in love with the sugar pot which was in fact one of those old fashioned jewellery boxes which had the musical dancing ballerina inside.
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party isn’t the cheapest afternoon tea experience in London, clocking in at between £38-58, but it is definitely something special, and one day I do hope to go back. I think it’s a great choice for visitors, for special occasions and also a wonderful option for families with children. We had a family sitting near us and the waiting staff were friendly and more than happy to change some of the menu to suit the kids tastes.
If, like me you love afternoon tea, or you just like to find something different to do in the cities you visit then do check this out!
Find out more about the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party at the Sanderson.