Carrot Meringue and Other Curiosities at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
- The Sanderson Hotel in Central London offers a weekly Alice In Wonderland-inspired tea party from 2 PM to 5 PM daily.
- Between the local fruit preserves, decorative pea shoots, and the hotel’s signature carrot meringue, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party has become one of London’s finest garden-inspired activities for adults and children alike.
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel is on many Londoner’s bucket lists despite being relatively undiscovered by tourists (lucky for the locals!). Every day from 2 PM to 5 PM, the hotel hosts an Alice In Wonderland-inspired tea party in its Japanese-style courtyard garden, which many travel magazines consider to be the hotel’s best amenity– a “well-kept secret” in the urban oasis that is West London.
The garden features a lounge with a wooden deck set amid restored 1960’s mosaics and a compendium of decorative pea shoots, rhododendrons, magnolias, and a man-made canal filled with white water lilies.
Menus are hidden inside vintage books (mine was inside of a Nathanial Hawthorn storybook), while napkins are wrapped with riddles. The service begins with a local tea selection that patrons are invited to smell before they order (always a good idea with loose-leaf tea) and the food that accompanies the beverage couldn’t be cuter: there are “Queen of Hearts” chocolate cups filled with green tea-flavored mousse, “Tick-Tock” strawberry clock cakes, and fabulous “Drink Me” potions made of from passion fruit, coconut panna cotta, and sweet cream. The culinary team at the Sanderson also makes homemade strawberries and cream marshmellow mushrooms that directly reference the red polka dot mushrooms of Wonderland.
The plates used for the event feature birdcages, zoo animals, acrobats, and other whimsical muses that accompany several iconic teapots adorned with faces of kings and queens that are just cartoonish enough to feel friendly and inviting, like something out of a storybook. Savory finger sandwiches shaped into argyle patterns are made with local cucumber and other vegetables from English gardeners and purveyors. Scones with clotted cream and Victorian jelly molds are also provided in abundance.
Best of all, the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea has a seasonal menu, so the treats of this cycle won’t be around for long– but with options this adorable and a garden so seductive, how could anyone complain?