We round up the some of London’s best afternoon teas for those who want to experience something special and keep it classy at their hen or bridal shower, or just any excuse to celebrate.
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 a fashion-forward bride: Christian Dior Designer of Dreams Culinary Experience
For the fashion conscious brides-to-be, book into this sartorially savvy afternoon tea and experience a hen party or bridal shower with the chic-factor. Bespoke wedding and event planning company, La Fete, created this culinary fashion experience inspired by the V&A Dior Designer of Dreams exhibit.
Found at the opulent Knightsbridge Franklin Hotel, the Christian Dior Designer of Dreams Culinary Experience is just as luxurious as it sounds.
From the delicate details on the sandwiches and cakes, to the chocolate cream served with vaporised Calvados housed in a Dior-inspired perfume bottle, the experience is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds. Pair it with the delicious cocktail menu or some pre-wedding bubbles.
From £40 per person.
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 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 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 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
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
Best Festive Afternoon Teas in London Christmas 2019
With Christmas fast approaching it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in some sweet treats and sparkling champagne. Some of our top afternoon tea spots in London have been given a festive upgrade, so here’s a round up of the best Christmas and winter-themed afternoon teas in London.
Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea at The Waldorf Hilton
The Nutcracker is the epitome of Christmas and so it seems fitting that The Waldorf Hilton would choose to theme their festive afternoon tea offering on the classic ballet. Add a magical Christmas twist to their classic tea, guests will be treated to an assortment of theatrical foodie delights, including The Waldorf’s very own sugar plum jam to accompany he clotted cream and freshly baked scones.
The Sugar Plum Fairy Tea at The Waldorf runs from Monday 25 November to Monday 2 February.
From £39 per person.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
This Christmas, the iconic tea at The Promenade at The Dorchester has been given a magical twist with spectacular decorations inspired by ‘A Letter to Father Christmas’created by designer florist Philip Hammond.
Complete with a glass of Champagne, the Afternoon Tea features an impressive assortment of homemade finger sandwiches, cranberry scones, and seasonal pastries prepared by head pastry chef Daniel Texter, including a spiced fig and honey cake, a roasted apple and marzipan gift, salted caramel and Williams pear, as well as gingerbread with hazelnut. Alongside the Champagne will be a selection of rare teas, including a Spiced Caramel Tea reminiscent of a Christmas pudding.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester starts at £85 per adult and £35 for children.
Christmas Afternoon Tea at Sketch London
Perhaps London’s coolest take on on tea, Sketch’s famous egg pod toilets and millennial pink Gallery are the stuff of Instagram legend. This year, the Mayfair townhouse’s quirky take on tea is getting a Christmas overhaul with deliciously festive foodie offerings and performances from a string trio.
The Christmas Tea runs from Tuesday 12 November until Sunday 5 January.
Sketch Christmas Tea starts at £85.
Festive Afternoon Tea at 11 Cadogan Gardens
After a spot of Christmas shopping on the King’s Road, stop by 11 Cadogan Gardens to sample their wonderfully festive afternoon tea. The classic tea has been given a Christmassy twist, with festive spiced scones, Gingerbread men and Turkey, cranberry and stuffing finger sandwiches.
Festive Afternoon Tea at 11 Cadogan Gardens from £35.
Halfeti Christmas Tea at The Curtain
Members club and swanky Shoreditch hotel, The Curtain, is serving up a Christmas afternoon tea with an edge. They’re teamed with Penhaligon’s, the oldest perfumery in London for the Halfeti Christmas tea. The pastry team has crafted each sweet on the new menu to pay homage to the head, heart and base notes found in the new Penhaligon’s fragrance, Halfeti, which you’ll also find in the in-room toiletries.
To add to the experience, lucky guests will receive Halfeti scented handkerchiefs and invitation to a fragrance profiling at Penhaligon’s nearest store.
The Halfeti Christmas Tea at The Curtain starts at £35pp. Available Thursday-Sunday 1pm-5pm from 21 November- 4 January
Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz
For the festive season The Palm Court at The Ritz has been transformed into a truly opulent winter wonderland, complete will all the red and gold trimmings.
Each adult will receive a glass of Ritz Champagne and each child a Ritz teddy bear, apart from on Christmas Day, when Father Christmas himself will be stopping by with gifts for the little ones.
Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz runs from Saturday 23 November to Monday 30 December.
£80 for adults and £50 for children.