Afternoon tea is practically a national sport for the British and nowhere is there more choice than in London. No trip to the capital would be complete without gorging on scones and sandwiches, washed down with your favourite herbal refreshment. We’ve done the leg work for you and found the best places for afternoon tea in London. From fancy hotels to off-the-beaten-track secrets, there will be an afternoon tea to suit every budget and taste. Pinky fingers at the ready.
A bucket list activity for lots of people, taking tea at The Ritz is quite an experience. Whilst dining in Palms Court you’ll feel like English aristocracy (and you might even be seated next to some). You’ll be served delicious sandwiches, scones with Cornish clotted cream and lots of cakes and pastries which will all be replenished upon request. There are 18 flavours of loose leaf tea to choose from or you could have your afternoon tea with a glass of champagne. This is the sort of place to take mum for her birthday if you want to impress.
Source: The Ritz
Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly is one of London’s most famous shops and is basically the world’s poshest supermarket. On the top floor they have a very regal cafe that serves a stellar afternoon tea that gets booked up weeks in advance. In the diamond jubilee tea salon you’ll be served delicate finger sandwiches with classic fillings like cucumber and egg mayonnaise followed by scones and cakes. This is afternoon tea as the British invented it. Elegant, classic flavours and sophisticated surroundings.
Source: Fortnum and Mason
If you want something a little more contemporary for afternoon tea in London then Michelin starred Sketch is one of the most stylish options. The gallery at Sketch is perhaps one of the most Instagrammed rooms in London. The pink interiors are begging to be photographed and the kitsch crockery with cute instructions add even more character. The actual afternoon tea offers a slight twist on the classic menu with sandwich fillings such as quails egg and caviar taking centre stage.
Source: Sketch London
The Dorchester in Mayfair reportedly serves over 3,000 meals a day but none of them receive more attention than their esteemed afternoon tea. Served in the Promenade on the ground floor, you’ll be surrounded by grand fountains and marble columns and kept comfortable with plush sofas and plenty of cushions. It’s all about tradition here when it comes to the food so don’t come here if you’re looking for innovation. But if you want the best afternoon tea in London, lots of people would suggest the Dorchester.
Source: Dorchester Collection
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Away from the West End, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel at King’s Cross is a fabulous option for afternoon tea. The gothic masterpiece is one of the city’s most arresting landmarks and the interiors are just as jaw-dropping. Take your tea in the Hansom Lounge and relax into the experience as the food takes you on a journey across Europe with salmon Dutch pancakes and jambon blanc flume.
Source: London Town
Shangri-La at the Shard
If you like your afternoon tea with a side of vertigo, then journey 128 meters up to Ting at Shangri-La where you’ll have stunning views across London, taking in The River Thames, Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge. The actual food is very traditional, with the usual sandwiches, scones and cakes but the view will make this an experience you’ll never forget.
If all the pomp and fan-fair surrounding afternoon tea is not really your thing, then you’ll appreciate the more relaxed atmosphere at Hoi Palloi. In the basement of the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, this is a hipster hangout where the trendiest residents go to have their afternoon tea. The single-tier display serves up all the regulars for a fraction of the price at some of the more well-known establishments. This is low-key, understated luxury.
Source: Hoi Palloi
If fashion is your vice then you will LOVE the Pret-A-Portea afternoon tea at The Berkley Hotel. This fashion-themed feast changes every six months to reflect the changing catwalk trends so that the couture cakes never go out of style. Expect Victoria Beckham biscuits and Peter Pilotto pastries. There’s also sandwiches, skewers and taster spoons to enjoy.
Source: The Berkley
The Landmark London
Afternoon tea in the winter garden at the Landmark Hotel feels more like you’re in Dubai than London. The incredibly grand surroundings won’t fail to make you feel glamorous. Indulge in an irresistible selection of afternoon tea classics and admire the towering palm trees as you get comfy on the arm chairs.
Source: Landmark London
The Modern Pantry
The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is an unpretentious place to take your afternoon tea but it still feels like a treat. The sandwiches and cakes are all vegetarian and use interesting and unexpected flavours like miso and pesto. We love the light, airy feeling of the dining space and feel like we could stay for hours once we’ve finished all our food.
Source: Olive Magazine
When you think afternoon tea, you don’t necessarily think healthy. That’s because you’ve never had afternoon tea at Farmacy before. This plant-based restaurant in Notting Hill is a favourite of Gwenyth Paltrow when she’s in town (so we’ve heard) and they do an afternoon tea with a difference. Decorated with foliage, their high tea is free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals. Upon arrival you’ll receive a CBD infused cocktail, followed by a selection of sweet and savoury treats, including CBD home-made infused chocolates and a pot of hemp leaf tea.
Source: The Handbook