We round up the some of the best afternoon teas in London and beyond guaranteed to get in you in your mother-in-law’s good books and perfect for a classy bridal shower or hen party.
The Best Afternoon Teas to Impress Your Mother-in-Law
Responsible for showing you all the cute baby pictures and the source of all of the embarrassing stories, your mother-in-law is the best friend you never knew you needed. If you were looking for a way to bond even further – or just want a long-overdue catch-up – you can never go wrong with afternoon tea.
We asked DesignMyNight for their top picks across the UK and with rooftop views and award-winning sweet shop themed bites to look forward to, it’s safe to say you’re both in for a tea-riffic time
Grand Pacific – Manchester
Manchester is a goldmine when it comes to afternoon tea but Grand Pacific is a notch above the rest. This opulent 19th century restaurant is a showstopper in the looks department with inspiration coming from colonial-style bars, and their high tea is the perfect excuse to pay a visit. Savouries include crumpets with lobster butter and forbidden rice arancini with goat’s cheese, with white chocolate fudge macaroons and coconut rum trifle waving the flag high in the sweet department. A memorable day out with your mother-in-law, this way.
Hush Mayfair – London
If you’re out to impress your mother-in-law, make a booking for Hush Mayfair. This West London snug boasts a flower-filled outdoor courtyard, two dining spaces, a cosy cocktail lounge and a private dining room that’s the perfect excuse to gather your nearest and dearest. Wedding day reunion, anyone? Amongst the toasty scones, cheesecake bites and macaroons, you’ll also have dainty sandwiches to look forward to, including one that’s infused with gin and tonic. Chin chin.
The Coral Room – London
If heaven were a place on earth, you’d probably find it on Great Russell Street. The Coral Room is one of London’s most beautiful hotel bars boasting tall ceilings, striking interiors and buckets of old school glamour. A great place for a celebratory drink after spending all your money on Oxford Street, it’s also a fantastic place for afternoon tea. Salivate over their sweet and savoury bites and if you and your mother-in-law were after some sparkle with your scones, you can add on a glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne for just £10 extra.
The Chesterfield Hotel – London
Penny sweets may no longer cost 1p but if you were looking to take your mother-in-law on a trip down memory lane, Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel is a pretty good place to start. The original sweetshop afternoon tea has won many awards and it’s really not hard to see why. Pull up a seat in their conservatory and get ready for the sugar rush of a lifetime with rhubarb and custard macarons, apple drops, Coca-Cola slices and a life-changing liquorice allsorts lemon cheesecake.
Little Nan’s – London
As far as unusual bars go, Little Nan’s is up there with the weirdest and wildest. Inspired by a mishmash of the noughties and the soap opera Eastenders, this Deptford gem is hiding a whole myriad of knick knacks. Needless to say, their afternoon tea is a great shout if you want to let your hair down. Plated up on a three-tier stand with vintage china, you and your partner’s mumma will be scoffing seasonal treats, freshly baked scones, Victoria sponge cake and all the brilliant sandwiches that afternoon tea is known for.
Vintry & Mercer – London
Vintry & Mercer is one of the newest additions to London’s luxury hotel scene and although we’re sure you’d love to spend the night in one of their boutique rooms with your mother-in-law, you can skip the sleepover and head straight to the roof terrace for afternoon tea. Themed around the historic trades and the Great Fire of London, this unique take on the classic involves mini chocolate barrels and feather-light sponges, and if you fancy something a little stronger than tea, visit their New York-inspired speakeasy for a cocktail or five afterwards.
Cinnamon Bazaar – London
If someone from Bake Off is involved in the creation of an afternoon tea, you know you’re in for something special. Cinnamon Bazaar is home to an Indian-inspired afternoon tea that’s been designed by none other than Tamal Ray and the restaurant’s head chef Vivek Singh. The unlimited (yes, unlimited) offering will see you and your partner’s mum feasting your eyes on fish finger sandwiches with tomato chutney and pistachio cake with rosewater marshmallow amongst many more tantalizing bites.
Roast – London
Roast is one of the newest additions to London Bridge’s flourishing restaurant scene and if you love fun facts, you’ll be pleased to know it’s only a stone’s throw away from Bridget Jones’ fictional London flat. It’s got a relaxed setting and it boasts great views of Borough Market but you won’t be paying much attention to the window if you order their afternoon tea. It comes with lots of British favourites, including blood orange drizzle cake, current scones and mini sausage rolls.
The Varsity Hotel – Cambridge
The Varsity Hotel is a boutique hotel in the beating heart of Cambridge and it’s one of the best places for panoramic views of the city. The rooftop is located on the sixth floor and between the gorgeous vistas and their traditional afternoon tea, an evening here is a big thumbs up for a relaxed outing with your in-laws. Their quintessential British offering comes in the form of coronation chicken and cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches, with jam-smothered scones and sweet cakes.
Oh Me Oh My – Liverpool
You can find Oh Me, Oh My on the 8th floor of West Africa House and it’s the perfect spot for afternoon tea with a view. Head skyward and enjoy the rooftop sights of the Royal Liver Building and other iconic landmarks as you make your way through their mini carb city of seasonal nibbles, rectangular sandwiches and buttery scones. Like any good afternoon tea, you can ditch a pot of tea for prosecco, Champagne or a cocktail, if clinking teacups isn’t in you and your mother-in-law’s catch up agenda.
Searcys At The Gherkin – London
Afternoon tea has been brought to brand new heights in London, and that’s all thanks to Searcys. Sitting pretty atop the Gherkin, you and your mother in law can enjoy the quintessentially British treat with a stunning panoramic view of the capital. A variety of crust-less finger sandwiches and fluffy cakes will take centre stage as your eye line makes its way across the city’s iconic landmarks and in true Searcys’ style, you can add on limitless sparkling wine if English Breakfast won’t cut it on the day.
More of the Best Afternoon Teas in London…
Best for traditional afternoon tea: The Ritz
The Ritz has been serving afternoon tea since it opened its doors in 1906, and that sense of heritage is just one of the reasons the Mayfair hotel has continued to attract guests from far and wide – and remains the best of the best.
Served in the hotel’s ornate Palm Court, complete with glittering chandeliers and elegant mirrors, the tea includes a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and a mouthwatering range of exquisitely presented pastries and teacakes that are constantly replenished.
What’s more, The Ritz London is the only hotel in the UK to have a certified tea sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu, who travels around the world to various tea plantations to source their selection of teas.
As well as 18 different types of loose-leaf tea to choose from, guests can also sip a glass of champagne to add some extra sparkle to the occasion.
The last seating of the day, commencing at 7.30pm, feels particularly elegant and romantic as the tea is accompanied by an opera singer and pianist or live band, which makes for a perfect alternative to an evening dinner. The service is sublime as is the overall ambience.
Prices from £57 for adults and from £35 for children
A taste of History: The Royal Horseguards Hotel
A quintessentially British institution such as afternoon tea calls for a setting that radiates warmth and sophistication and the Royal Horseguards afternoon tea is the perfect example. The Lounge at the heart of the hotel steeped in history is the ideal spot in which to experience a treasured tradition.
It is said that afternoon tea was invented in 1841, by Anna Maria, the wife of the Duke of Bedford. The long gap between lunch and dinner proved too much for her, and so she began to enjoy a pot of tea and a bite to eat in the mid-afternoon. Her fellow aristocrats were quick to develop the idea into a social occasion, and it is this tradition that is embraced at the Royal Horseguards Hotel afternoon tea.
Choose from the traditional Royal Horseguards afternoon tea menu, featuring a bespoke house blend of loose-leaf tea, Strawberries & Cream.
From £39 per person.
Best of British: The Amba Grosvenor
Best for tea selection: Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason’s Tea Salon, opened by HM The Queen herself to mark her Diamond Jubilee, represents delicious proof of the department store’s endless obsession with extraordinary tea.
Epitomising the sophistication of Afternoon and High Tea in all its splendour, Fortnum’s Tea Salon is finger sandwich, cake and scone heaven, with trademark eau de nil china and the biggest selection of fine teas you will ever see.
They sell over 100 rare and exotic teas from India, China, Nepal, Japan, Ceylon, along with their own traditional blends and a new range of green teas.
Tea experts are also on hand to help you choose your perfect blend – and be sure to pick up some tea to take home, too.
A children’s afternoon tea is also available featuring light finger sandwiches, plain and fruit scones and a selection of cakes including jammy dodgers served with your choice of hot chocolate, classic blend tea, fruit juice or a glass of milk.
From £49 per person
Best for tea with a French twist: The Rose Lounge
‘Le Tea en Rose’ at The Rose Lounge in the Sofitel Hotel, St James, is a traditional, elegant afternoon tea with a fun French twist.
There’s a real cosy, feminine warmth to the place, with shades of cream, pink and red entwined with floral prints throughout its decor, as a harpist plays softly in the background (music is played there from Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 6pm).
The afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches – replenishment is optional – plus plain and raisin scones accompanied by clotted cream, lemon curd and strawberry jam with hints of rose petals.
The French element is showcased in the form of four mouthwatering Parisienne pastries to share, with the option to experience a glass of Moet & Chandon Imperial, free-flowing champagne or an Edgerton pink gin signature cocktail.
The Rose Lounge also offers a child-friendly afternoon tea, with a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and fresh fruit served in an art box, with a colouring kit to keep them entertained as you feast together.
From £32 per person
Best for a quintessentially English experience: The Goring
Afternoon tea at The Goring is a world-renowned affair which celebrates the much-loved English tradition in all its quintessential splendour.
The Goring has been perfecting the art of afternoon tea since it opened its doors over a century ago. Complete with delicate pastries, scones and sandwiches, served with the finest blended and first-flush teas from around the world, and topped off with a glass of Bollinger champagne, the afternoon tea service is reason alone to visit The Goring.
Afternoon tea is served in the luxurious, five-star surroundings of the Bar & Lounge every day and also in The Dining Room on Saturdays.
The Goring Bar and Lounge feature designer décor inspired by Chateau de Mal Maison, Napoleon’s wife Empress Josephine’s home, and an impressive list of Champagnes, wines, spirits and cocktails.
The inviting ambience and comfortable furnishings make it the perfect location for enjoying a working lunch, an indulgent afternoon tea or a relaxed evening drink. And designed by David Linley, The Dining Room is bathed in natural light by day and sumptuously aglow with Swarovski chandeliers at night.
Served since 1910, afternoon tea at The Goring is particularly special. As the only hotel to hold a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen for hospitality services, you can be absolutely certain that everything upon your visit will be impeccable.
From £49 per person
Best for an Instagrammable afternoon tea: Berners Tavern
You won’t need filters when you upload photos of Berners Tavern’s stylish afternoon tea to your Instagram grid – everything on the menu, from the rhubarb and ginger macarons, to the Loch Duart salmon tartare is brilliantly colourful and beautifully designed – not to mention delicious.
This iconic London restaurant, which takes residence in the capital’s ultra-sleek London EDITION Hotel, serves afternoon tea on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm, and it’s certainly the ideal spot for a special celebration.
Diners here are treated to a small yet tempting menu of teas, including a rare afternoon blend and a refreshing Sri Lankan lemon infusion. A trolley of crisp champagnes, served by the restaurant’s sommelier, is also served by the glass – the Dom Pérignon 2008 naturally comes highly recommended.
Savoury bites in this afternoon tea span from a sunflower and poppy seed scone, served with goats curd and apple salad (a truly fantastic explosion of flavours), as well as a poached chicken and truffle baguette, topped with pickled mushroom.
It’s the sweet treats that are truly grid-worthy, however – be sure to take a quick snap of the meringue and pink peppercorn raspberry mousse before you dig your fork in. The chocolate and sesame tart with yuzu curd is equally palate-pleasing.
Scones can be replenished upon request, too, which – if you aren’t already too full at this point – is definitely worth doing. With fruit and plain flavours to enjoy, topped with a generous helping of cream and raspberry jam, you’re sure to leave this hip London hotel feeling truly satisfied.
From £39.50 per person
The coolest afternoon tea in London: Sketch
Perhaps London’s coolest take on on tea, Sketch’s famous egg-shaped pod toilets and millennial pink Gallery room are the stuff of Instagram legend. Having mastered the art of molecular dining and quirky cocktails, the Mayfair townhouse has also become the home of chic afternoon tea.
From £75 per person
Best for dessert selection: The Connaught
Afternoon tea at this exquisitely lavish hotel in Mayfair fulfils every expectation and then some. Your experience begins as you walk through The Connaught’s ornate revolving doors, through the marble foyer and into the restaurant, where detailed stained-glass windows bring warmth to the cool, stylish interiors.
On the menu, you’ll find a wide selection of black and herbal teas, with more pots provided should you wish to top up or try more than one flavour. A glass of champagne is included, too, with a choice of either crisp white or refreshing rosé, plus a buttery brioche amuse-bouche before the main event arrives.
On you go to the range of homemade finger sandwiches created by gourmet chef Jean-Georges, serving up a feast of chipotle smoked salmon, ham and cheese with miso mustard and coronation chicken. And never ones to stray from tradition, next up comes a serving of classic English scones, warm and beautifully glazed with pots of Cornish clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd served on the side.
The picture-perfect desserts, however, truly are the stars of the show – a cake stand of gorgeously decorated pastries packed with flavour, from strawberry pavlovas to the hotel’s signature chocolate and hazelnut rocher. You’ll receive two helpings of candy floss, too, as well as a rich chocolate fondue with two charming vanilla shortbread biscuits. What a treat!
From £50 per person
Best for a celebration: The Savoy
The Savoy’s iconic afternoon tea is nostalgic, glamorous and refined. One ‘takes tea’ in the heart of the hotel, under a huge glass art deco dome, complete with pianist and grand piano, so you can indulge while listening to soft classical music.
The tea starts with a glass of champagne, brut or rosé, followed by an extensive loose-leaf tea menu with a wide variety of teas from black, to oolong to beautifully infused teas such as pineapple with Osmanthus.
Delicate finger sandwiches are served on exquisite china, with vegetarian options too, such as roasted red pepper and artichoke, and all are happily replenished by the staff, followed by freshly baked warm scones, served with homemade lemon curd, clotted cream and of course strawberry jam.
To celebrate the summer season, six light, floral pastries made with the finest ingredients of the season, such as strawberry and Mirabelle, are a highlight of the menu. The service is as delectable as the tea itself, and with the stunning interiors and a glamorous atmosphere, this is one of the best afternoon tea experiences in London.
From £65 per person for the Summer Seasonal Traditional Afternoon Tea
Best for history lovers: The Chelsea Harbour Hotel
An afternoon tea with a story to tell, The Chelsea Harbour Hotel’s ‘Travel Through Time’ experience is an idyllic treat for history fanatics and cake lovers alike. From the first mouthful, you’ll embark on a culinary journey through the history of afternoon tea, from its advent in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford through to the present day.
In partnership with Whittard of Chelsea, here you’ll find all the key ingredients for a satisfying hour or two – pretty location, check; delectable savoury and sweet treats, check; and, pretty china for those all-important insta-snaps, check.
As you sip on a selection of teas available and graze your way through the afternoon tea classics, pay homage to Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who in the early 1800s became annoyed by hunger caused by only having two meals a day. She then decided to schedule time to take tea and enjoy a snack in the afternoon – hear, hear Anna.
The specially designed menu includes finger sandwiches filled with classic and contemporary delights, such as salmon and cucumber, coronation chicken, and the more unusual brie and purple piccalilli. As to be expected, there’s a wide variety of teas for you to enjoy, as well as sweet treats including chocolate rainbow cake, pear and caramel mousse and lemon tart.
From £28 per person, or £38 with a glass of champagne
Best for tourists: Town House Kensington
Town House at The Kensington have just launched their new London Landmarks Afternoon Tea. Following the success of their record breaking Tale As Old As Time offering, the new Afternoon Tea takes inspiration from London’s most recognisable and historic landmarks, taking diners on a tour of the capital’s most famed structures.
Tributes featured on the landmark inspired menu include architectural triumphs such as The Gherkin crafted from White Chocolate with a Dark Chocolate Ganache and The Shard made of Carrot Cake & Milk Chocolate.
Alongside an iconic London Telephone Box imagined in Rhubarb Mousse and Big Ben-inspired Lemon Curd Tart, the new London Landmarks Afternoon Tea menu is complete with London’s quintessential treat, Scones served with Heather Hills Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream.
Paying homage to the capital’s iconic buildings, London Landmarks is presented on a London Eye-inspired tea stand. The Afternoon Tea is served alongside a bespoke map of London illustrated by Eleni Sofroniou. Guests are able to keep the map, which highlights landmarks including Kensington Palace and The Tower of London as well as archetypal spots such as Covent Garden and Big Ben.
The entire new menu at Town House is a celebration of London, with guests also able to enjoy a selection of savouries: a cockney staple Steak & London Ale Pie and a Colston Bassett Stilton & Broccoli Quiche alongside a bite-size Crab Cake with Tartare Sauce & Caperberries.
Highlights of the sandwich selection include Smoked Salmon, Lovage Pesto & Cream Cheese on Brown Bread, Egg and Cress Bridge Roll using eggs from Heritage breed Copper Marans hens, Coronation Chicken Sandwich on Brown Loaf.
From £42 per person
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