Our guide to London’s best afternoon tea

When a builder’s tea and a digestive won’t cut it, treat yourself to a tiered taste of English eccentricity and history. From iconic settings for afternoon tea purists to quirky newcomers, take your next tea experience to new heights with our pick of London‘s best afternoon tea venues.

Image courtesy of Sanderson Hotel

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson Hotel

A true institution on London’s afternoon tea scene, Sanderson Hotel’s Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea is as ravishingly quirky as it gets, from the menus tucked away in vintage books straight through to Alice’s famous “drink me” potion. Fun luxury is high on the menu, and treats include Tweedle Dee’s lemon curd financier, smoked salmon quails’ eggs with caviar and cream cheese, and China black tea infused with blackcurrant, vanilla, bergamot, caramel and vanilla.

Served Monday to Saturday (12.30-4pm) and Sunday (1-5pm)
Address: 50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NG

Image courtesy of Rosewood London

Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London

To sample creativity at its finest, you’ll find fewer more perfect places than Rosewood London’s elegant Mirror Room, which plays host to an artfully-crafted tea voted Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK in 2017. Featuring gorgeous creations by expert Executive Pastry Chef Mark Perkins, this tea looks almost too good to eat – from the Banksy-inspired choux cube with lashings of chocolate to the Jackson Pollock cherry brownie with vanilla cream, all a reflection of London’s rich art scene.

Served Monday to Friday (2-6pm), Saturday (12-7pm) and Sunday (12-6pm)
Address: 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN

Image courtesy of Brigit’s Bakery

Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea, Brigit’s Bakery

If you’re an afternoon tea aficionado seeking something a little different, make a beeline for a B Bakery Bus Tour – a one-of-a-kind experience that will see you hopping on board a vintage bus, and kicking back on a plush booth to take in some of the capital’s best sights while you eat. Served with seasonal Hayman’s Gin cocktails, the Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea is truly divine, with a spread of gin-infused pastel-hued cakes, berry-topped pastries and mouth-wateringly fresh sandwiches. Nab yourself a top-deck seat for the ultimate sightseeing treat.

Served Friday at 5.30pm
Address: Departs from London Victoria Coach station

Afternoon Tea at The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

The Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone is well known amongst locals for its generously-portioned and highly praised teatime treat, served in the comfort of its eccentric Seymour’s Parlour. Its Clerkenwell venue offers a newer but no less impressive feast in the intriguing ZTH Cocktail Lounge – opt for Aunt Wilhelmina’s thinly-sliced finger sandwiches or Uncle Seymour’s heartier alternatives (devilled eggs, mini croque-monsieurs and truffled sausage rolls), coupled with freshly-baked scones, red velvet cupcakes, Greek yoghurt and Acacia honey mousse, and more.

Served Monday to Sunday (2-5pm)
Address: 49-50 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ

Image courtesy of The Lanesborough

Alexander Hamilton Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough

Shining bright with its well-earned five stars, The Lanesborough offers a quintessentially British stay just a short walk from Harrods and Harvey Nichols – and its exclusive location goes hand-in-hand with its sought-after afternoon tea, served daily in either Michelin-starred restaurant Céleste, or the sophisticated Withdrawing Room. The hotel’s latest themed tea offering puts the spotlight on Alexander Hamilton, tying in with the hit musical’s opening at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Expect a dazzling three-tiered display of pastry creations, including a grapefruit religieuse and blackberry cheesecake, plus warm scones and finger sandwiches.

Served Monday to Friday (2.30-4.30pm), and weekends (3-4.30pm)
Address: Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA

Wyld Afternoon Tea Mondrian London at Sea Containers

Notoriously design-forward, the Tom Dixon-designed masterpiece that is the Mondrian London hotel doesn’t disappoint on the tea front, with its stylish and unique, 1970s-themed Wyld Afternoon Tea. Taken from the comfort of a plush pink seat at the hotel’s award-winning cocktail bar, Dandelyan, this tea is served Thursday to Sunday and piles on the playful retro cakes, botanical-inspired cocktails and hand-blended loose-leaf beverages. You’ll have marvellous city views to soak up while you eat, too.

Served Thursday to Sunday (12-5pm)
Address: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD

Image courtesy of The Berkeley

Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley

Fashion and flavour combine in Knightsbridge with The Berkeley’s trendsetting Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea. The menu changes every six months to reflect the latest catwalk trends from the likes of Miu Miu, Burberry, Balenciaga and more, yet you’ll never cease to be amazed by each colourful display of carefully-crafted biscuits, bakes and fancies. Savoury skewers, canapés, taster spoons and small sandwiches add a savoury touch to the mix, while loose leaf tea options include Ceylon and rose, Assam breakfast, white peony and chamomile flowers.

Served Monday to Sunday (1-5.30pm)
Address: Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL

Image courtesy of MAP Maison

Afternoon Tea at MAP Maison

The chic MAP Maison makes a lush venue for nighttime drinks, but head here a little earlier in the day on Fridays and weekends to sample an indulgent yet fairly-priced afternoon tea menu. The savoury features here are just as irresistible as the sweet ones, and include dry-aged beef, herb-smoked salmon and burrata and avocado melba, alongside lemon meringue tarts, raspberry and cream choux, and more – all served, of course, with a cold glass of prosecco or cocktail.

Served Friday to Sunday (1-5pm)
Address: 321 Kingsland Road, London E8 4DL

Image courtesy of The London EDITION

Scandal Water at The London EDITION

Head into the heart of London’s Soho to sample Scandal Water, a recently-launched afternoon tea concept at The London EDITION’s sleek and intimate Punch Room. Inspired by 19th-century London’s high society, this innovative spin on traditional afternoon tea tingles palates with a series of five tea, punch and food pairings – from almond, lemon and rosewater cake served with peppermint tea and Toledo punch, to the hotel’s own classic punch paired with Cornish mackerel tartare, yoghurt dressing and sesame pastry. You’ll not want to miss the devilishly delicious Scandal Water Special Brew Tea punch, served with a salted caramel chocolate tart.

Served Friday to Sunday (3-5pm)
Address: 10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NP

Image courtesy of Hotel Café Royal

Diptyque Afternoon Tea Hotel Café Royal

Fans of French perfumer Diptyque will relish a chance to try the themed tea at Hotel Café Royal, a five-star abode on London’s Regent Street. Offered within the historic and majestic confines of the Oscar Wilde Lounge or the Domino room, this award-winning tea pays homage to the brand’s most memorable scents, with a menu of scones, sandwiches, fancies and 30 teas served to the sound of live piano music. Seal the deal with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne or, better yet, opt to take a Diptyque candle home with you to prolong the experience.

Served Monday to Sunday (11.30am-7.30pm)
Address: 68 Regent St, Soho, London W1B 4DY

Image courtesy of The Connaught

Afternoon Tea at The Connaught

Mayfair’s Connaught hotel sets the bar high for high-end afternoon tea experiences: served in its marvellous restaurant Jean-Georges at The Connaught, it offers stellar service and a refined yet refreshing take filled with finger sandwiches, freshly-baked scones, beautifully-created cakes and fancies, and a unique, show-stealing chocolate fondue with seasonally-changing dipping ingredients. On the tea front, you’ll find a range of options catering for all tastes, including flowery rooibos red, and green teas sourced from artisan plantations in Japan and China.

Served Monday to Sunday (two sittings at 2.30pm & 4.30pm)
Address: Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

Afternoon Tea Inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Children and children at heart alike are in for a treat at the five-star One Aldwych, where the award-winning afternoon tea offers a wonderful take on Roald Dahl’s much-loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The home-made candyfloss is an adorable sight, while the golden chocolate eggs are almost too pretty to crack into. Chocolate caramel milk bottles, cheese scones, cake pops and bubble-gum panna cotta with meringue are just a few more items to grace the cinematic menu, which also features a flavour-packed tea selection, including mango noir, chocolate tea, and winter berry with hibiscus.

Served Monday to Saturday (12.30-3.30pm) and Sunday (12.30-5.30pm)
Address: 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ

Image courtesy of Mr Fogg’s of Mayfair

Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg’s of Mayfair

Lovers of a whimsical afternoon tea will not be disappointed by Mr Fogg’s of Mayfair’s offering: Tipsy Tea, widely known and lauded by locals for its old-world menu featuring pretty-as-a-picture cakes, scones, sandwiches and wraps, alongside spirited or champagne tea – try the Ladies That Lapsang with Martini Rosso vermouth and Hendrick’s gin, or The Drunken Duchess with Reyka vodka, cranberry juice and crème de mûre, and go bottomless for even more indulgence.

Served Saturday (four sittings during select hours between 2-6.45pm) and Sunday (3-5pm)
Address: 15 Bruton Ln, Mayfair, London W1J 6JD

Image courtesy of The Delaunay

Viennese Afternoon Tea at The Delaunay

The Delaunay offers classic European brasserie dining in an elegant, Grand Café-style space. Its Viennese-inspired afternoon tea follows suit, and comes piled with assorted sandwiches, poppy seed Gugelhupf cake with apricot jam, and a selection of sumptuous, home-made Viennese cakes and pastries – the sachertorte is a divine, syrupy chocolate affair that begs to be tasted. If you’re planning a group visit, take your teatime a step further and book the Private Dining Room to escape the crowd.

Served Monday to Sunday (3-6.30pm)
Address: 55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB

Image courtesy of The Dorchester

Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

Sophistication is the order of the day at The Dorchester, another five-star stay where the afternoon tea is just as fantastic as the hotel’s location on the edge of Hyde Park. Taken in The Promenade, the tea here is all about honouring British tradition, with finger sandwiches on artisan bread, a selection of pretty pastries, and warm raisin and plain scones with strawberry jam, another seasonal jam and Cornish clotted cream. Treat yourself to a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne for an added touch of splendour.

Served Monday to Friday (six sittings between 1-6pm)
Address: 53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA

Image courtesy of Claridge’s

Claridge’s

Claridge’s needs little introduction as one of the capital’s most established five-star hotels, and its afternoon tea is just as exquisite, with freshly-baked scones, delicate sandwiches, opera cakes, frangipane tarts, vanilla eclairs and a selection of 24 loose leaf teas to choose from (try the house Claridge’s Blend) – all coupled with a grand Art Deco setting, fine striped china and stellar service. You’ll even find a child-friendly menu of fairy cakes, tartlets and cornets.

Served Monday to Sunday (eight sittings between 2.45-5.30pm)
Address: Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

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