Scones with clotted cream and jam, crustless finger sandwiches, tea served in bone china…there are few things more quintessentially British than afternoon tea. London is full of places to tuck into tea and cakes, from the traditional teas at the city’s famous hotels to quirkier takes on the occasion. If you need to fill the gap between lunch and dinner or you’ve got guests in town and you want to show off, these are the best afternoon teas in London
Afternoon tea doesn’t come more traditional than at The Ritz. Served in the opulent Palm Court, the tea features classic finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and pastries, with a trolley featuring larger cakes being wheeled through for you to sample slices of too. Get the Ritz Royal Blend Tea in your cups and your pinkies in the air.
150 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9BR
British Pullman, A Belmond Train, England
Journey back in time as well as through London and the countryside of the South East whilst indulging in a special afternoon tea on board British Pullman. The train, made up of beautifully restored, elegant carriages (one of the vintage cars has even been designed by Wes Anderson) harks back to the golden era of rail travel and it’s luxury all the way. Throughout 2022, social enterprise Luminary Bakery is partnering with pastry chef Claire Clark MBE and her Pretty Sweet team on the afternoon tea, which includes half a bottle of Veuve Clicquot per person, a choice of tea or coffee (they even have a tea from Tregothnan of Cornwall, which is grown right here in the UK), finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese tarts, seasonal scones from Luminary, and four decadent sweet treats from Luminary and Pretty Sweet. You even get a copy of Luminary Bakery’s Rising Hope cookbook to take home after the journey and Belmond make a contribution to Luminary for each ticket sold.
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley
The Berkeley makes sure its afternoon tea is always on trend by updating the offering to reflect the latest designs that have stomped down the catwalk at fashion week. Regular scones and tarts are out, Gucci tuxedo sponges and Lanvin platform biscuits are in.
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RL
Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London
Rosewood London has taken inspo from the Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition at the Tate Modern – and the NFT craze – for its latest afternoon tea. Feast on edible works of art based on those of renowned surrealist Salvador Dali, including the ‘Queen of Hearts’ and ‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus’, and be in with a chance of winning fantastic prizes. The tea’s ‘Butterfly Windmill’ cake will act as a portal into an alternative reality, where guests can scan a QR code and use their phones to capture virtual butterflies. Winning guests will not only bag such rewards as a glass of Ruinart Rose Champagne for everyone at the table, or a complimentary art afternoon tea and overnight stay, but will also go home with an ‘NFTea’, one of 2500 exclusive tokens up for grabs.
252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
Afternoon tea at Sketch is held in the newly revamped Gallery – the pink decor and David Shrigley art has been replaced by a yellow colour scheme and works by Yinka Shonibare. The menu remains the same though so you can expect the likes of egg gougere and coronation chicken finger sarnies, scones and sweet treats like exotic tarts, strawberry battenburgs and cranberry & coconut marshmallows. Don’t leave without snapping at least one selfie in the famous egg pod loos.
9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG
High Tea at Farmacy
There’s High Tea and then there’s High Tea – well not quite high because there’s no THC but you get the idea. Farmacy has put a CBD twist on afternoon tea with hemp tea, CBD-infused chocolates, and a vegan, refined sugar-free menu including smoked carrot lox sandwiches, tropical chocolate parfait and mini red velvet cupcakes.
74-76 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH
Van Gogh Afternoon Tea at Hotel Cafe Royal
Not only is the Oscar Wilde Lounge at the Hotel Cafe Royal a very impressive looking room, the afternoon tea that gets served in there is too. It’s Van Gogh-themed so as well as sandwiches and scones, you can tuck into sweets based on some his most famous artworks, like the sunflower seed praline & salted caramel Vase With Twelve Sunflowers and pink grapefruit compote & orange marmalade The Starry Night.
10 Air St, London W1B 4DY