We’ve rounded up the some of London’s best afternoon teas for those who want to experience something special and keep it classy on their hen do…
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
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.
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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 quintessentially British… 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.
Fom £49 per person
Best afternoon tea for children… St Ermin’s Hotel
The St. Ermin’s Tea Lounge and library offers guests the perfect environment to relax and indulge in the delights of afternoon tea whether it’s the afternoon tea with unlimited prosecco, the gluten-free offering or the ‘Mini Gardener’ afternoon tea selection, created especially for children.
Inspired by the St. Ermin’s rooftop kitchen garden, the Mini Gardener tea was introduced to encourage little fingers to become green fingers. The younger members of the family can enjoy their very own summer tea and go on an adventure to the see the Hotel’s 350,000 Buckfast Honey bees hard at work on the third floor Bee Terrace!
Beelicious treats from the kid’s menu include Nutella sandwiches, an apple mousse and chocolate and caramel pot, as well as a vanilla sponge. Each child also receives a special gardening pack from Mud & Bloom including organic seeds to take home.
Summer afternoon tea is served daily in the pretty and intimate Tea Lounge, with children’s tea available during the school holidays and at weekends.
From £15 per child
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 afternoon tea on a budget… Café Rouge
For an afternoon tea that doesn’t break the bank, the offering at Café Rouge makes for a charming lunchtime treat. There are 18 restaurants within the capital from which to choose, and if the option is there (and the weather is behaving itself), dining al fresco really adds to the experience.
The tea selection here is limited in comparison to more upmarket places – only English Breakfast is on offer – but those happy to spend a few more pennies can enjoy the refreshing fizz of a pink gin and tonic for just £5 extra.
Choose between croque monsieur or croque portobello mushroom for your first course, loaded with creamy béchamel sauce and flavoursome cuts of ham or mushroom, and topped with a large helping of melted cheese. You’ll receive a hefty portion, too, so be sure to pace yourself.
A feast of sweet treats and classic afternoon tea staples is served up next, including fresh scones with cream and strawberries, a selection of delectable frosting-topped cakes, and a brilliantly rich mousse au chocolat.
The experience overall is less decadent than others in the capital, but for the price and the service, you certainly get more than your money’s worth.
From £25 for two people
Best for a celebration… The Savoy
If you’re looking for somewhere special to celebrate, there’s not many places fancier than The Savoy. Located just off the Strand overlooking the Thames, afternoon tea is taken in the Thames Foyer, a breathtaking space at the heart of the luxury hotel.
At the centre of the room, a glass dome floods the space with natural light, beneath which sits a grand piano encased in an intricate ‘winter garden’ gazebo – if you’re lucky enough, a musician will take to the ivories to score your tea with sweet classical sounds.
Beginning with a glass of champagne – either brut or rosé – you then have the choice between a Traditional Afternoon Tea or High Tea. Much the same, High Tea includes a poached egg and asparagus creation, and a signature chocolate cake in place of a selection of delicate pastries.
Choose from a wide selection of loose leaf teas, from fruit blends to classics, and your waiter will attentively refill your pot with hot water as you eat. Both afternoon tea menus include five delectable finger sandwiches, followed by plain and raisin scones to be enjoyed with Cornish clotted cream, homemade lemon curd and strawberry jam, all served in the most courteous fashion on beautiful floral chinaware.
From £75 per person
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.
£28 per person, or £38 with a glass of champagne