I was recently lucky enough to be given the opportunity to study abroad in London, England this past summer for a month from July to August. To say it was the best month of my life would be an understatement, but I would also have to say that the reputation of British cuisine was not what had me applying that spring. However, every little girl dreams of fancy tea parties and the posh life of royalty... and afternoon tea at Harrod's restaurant, The Georgian, gave me the Best London Food Experience! And an experience it was!

Third-Wheeling The Honeymoon

Abby Swatts

The week prior to studying abroad an entirely different fairytale was taking place in Montreal, Canada. My sister married her best friend in the most beautiful destination wedding. After the opportunity to be her maid of honor I got the opportunity to start my trip abroad a little early! With the honeymooners by my side, we tackled the finer side of London, England before hunkering down for a month living on a students' budget. 

LGW To High Tea

With reservations for the afternoon at The Georgian, my itinerary led me straight from the airport, to a quick change of clothes, some powder on my nose and a flick of mascara, and finally to the tea room. While I might have hoped to look a little more polished, the tail-end of the afternoon gave us the opportunity for an emptying dining room and personal service. After our order had been taken, and the Georgian Afternoon Champagne Tea (£42 per person) on the way, we spotted a somewhat-famous Instagram model in the corner enjoying his spot of tea in the privacy of the unsuspecting room. (@whoiselijah). Casual.

The Novelty

By picking Harrods and The Georgian as our choice of afternoon tea... we experienced THE WORKS. As our server, in black tie, brought us our tower of treats, fragrant teas, and bubbling flutes of champagne, we were immersed in the most lavish rendition of a British tradition. Aesthetically and sensory pleasing, the ornate towers boasted a variety of yummy treats and the delicate china held our steaming liquids.

This restaurant within Harrods, the timeless and iconic department store, is one of many elaborate businesses under one roof. During our weeks of studying abroad Harrods became a playground for my roommate, Heather, and I, as we had heard they carried everything "from cradle to grave" and were on a mission to find these supposed caskets. The Georgian sits upon the fourth floor with its' sparkling dinnerware, doting waitstaff in uniform, and delicious treats as they serve the experience of a lifetime. The Best London Food Experience is not a title I was prepared to give lightly, so rest assured this tea comes with all of the bells and whistles. 


Living in the U.K. taught me one very important lesson about myself and the foods I had grown accustomed to in the U.S., and that was that bland foods were a comfort to my stomach. While British food did not often excite me or leave me stuffing myself for more, there was a natural and wholesome food selection that left my stomach feeling satisfied and comfortable. The food throughout the country is served fresher and with considerably fewer preservatives, which I had not even realized were agitating me at home.

The Georgian gave me the experience of foods being yummy, wholesome, AND exciting. With different finger sandwiches made of cucumber and salmon, egg, roast beef, and my favorite: Coronation Chicken. The mixture of perfectly cut, sized, and seasoned savories were accompanied with tarts, scones, fruits, jellies, creams, and trifles. The tea was not an afterthought, but a fragrant rose fluid that warmed me and coated my stomach between bites of another coronation chicken sandwich. The fruit was in season, and accompanied by an unsweet, but decadent cream that only made sense to imagine snacking on as if at a Wimbledon match. 

I loved London, and I loved Harrods. I pre-gamed my trip abroad by watching James Corden filming in Harrods. My expectations were far exceeded by this posh shop that carries and serves everything you could imagine. The lights on the building, the architecture, the tea towers, and the clotted cream are a national monument in my eyes- and this traditional afternoon with everything but the queen was spectacular. I know I'll be back and that this is an experience I will not forget, but I am nevertheless thankful for the people and opportunities that got me there in the first place.