There are indeed rules. It could make a person like me nervous at first - and it did. However I thoroughly enjoyed my visit! I came with my daughter and parents. We have been to tea all over the city and a little bit outside as well. The food was excellent. It certainly felt incredibly British. The decor is great as the previous review mentioned, with various British memorabilia. The young ladies who serve were so pleasant it puts you at ease. So while there is a no lingering policy (because they are usually so busy) I also did not feel rushed. We were given the time we needed to eat our food - even wrap up anything we couldn't finish (which I gobbled up almost as soon as I got home and got a second wind). Then there wasn't much lingering to do. You almost WANT to get out quickly to give other people a chance to try this place! And the store next door was such a treat! Candies and sweets that I haven't seen since I was in London. And I bought a special teapot for one as a gift.
I have been to tea at so many places - particularly in the city. This place boasts that every visit is a treat. Then why was I left sick from being so upset the last time I went there? This is not the usual tea experience at all. It was not a relaxing visit. The service was worse than being served by the nastiest person at your local diner. Whether or not the staff is knowledgeable I do not know because they were only rude, argumentative and went out of their way to make us feel unwelcome. The food was even prepared and served in a way that was almost as if the person serving us wanted us to know we were not welcome. We were then asked to leave just a few minutes after closing time. We had to leave our almost full pots of tea and pack our very poor excuse for dessert - which to be honest went in the trash as soon as I got home. I didn't even want a reminder of this horrible visit. I suppose their variety of tea is expensive but I have been to tea where there was only about 10 varieties. If the service, food and experience is horrible I don't care much about how many teas they sell. They boast 'the full 'Afternoon Tea' service' - I would hate to see where it was patterned after. And the last line 'All in all - everything you need to have a memorable Tea experience!' It was certainly memorable. For all the wrong reasons. I will never be returning here.