Since the end of the 19th century, when taking afternoon tea became the done thing in British high society, the opulent surrounds of Claridge’s Foyer and the more secluded Reading Room have done a roaring trade in the ritual of London tea rooms (served 3-5.30pm). It is obvious why – just sitting in the high-ceilinged, chandelier-festooned Art Deco grandiosity makes you feel as starry as the many silver screen stars who have done the same over the years. A choice of over 30 teas including the Royal White Needles (a champagne among teas since the needles can only be picked at dawn on two days in the year) is served in elegant mint-and-white Bernardaud porcelain and accompanied by dainty finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and (tea-flavoured) Marco Polo jelly, while nostalgic tunes are tinkled out of the grand pianoforte. Socialites, industrialists and A-listers congregate here for power-breakfasts, bruncheons, luncheons, afternoon tea and end-of-day meetings (any excuse, see?) for what is a less obvious and tourist-ridden indulgence than The Ritz (booking advised). The smart casual dress code is loosely adhered to and little fingers are kept erect at all times.