20 Afternoon Tea Experiences You will Love in London
If you haven’t guessed already, I have strong a adoration for London. I think it’s because it is a getaway; or perhaps because it is a hub for all things adventure, history, or my favourite – gastronomic. Mind you, I do have what you call the “Heathrow Injection” thanks to eating so well in the British capital while living abroad for nearly 2 years. Thanks a lot London! You were so close to breaking up our beautiful relationship by plunking newfound rolls to my back and love handles for my husband to grab… I fully exaggerate on the weight-gain, but believe me my friends, I did. One of the reason I did, was because of my newest culinary addiction famous to the UK. A spot of tea with a lump or two of sugar, then mixed with a dash or milk; add a couple of scones with clotted cream, an iced fancy or two, and if in one of the swankier places, a slice of sponge from the dessert cart. Hips plug your ears, but this is so the epitome of divine. This is a brief description of the most dangerous, and addicting meal you can have in Britain -afternoon tea.
When I say sinful addiction, to this I am not exaggerating. I wanted to enjoy a new experience almost every week. I just could not get enough of the scones, cream, and jam. I mean, back in Canada I think there are places serving this beautiful meal, but they are very scarce. So in order to satisfy this very fattening craving that throws most people’s willpower out the window, I made it a mission to discover beautiful places of all budgets to enjoy such a treat. Here are 20 places in London that you can enjoy afternoon tea. Perhaps save this delightful repast for an enjoyable break from ticking off my 150 suggestions 😉
So here is the List.
(Pro-Tip: if you do decide to move/travel to the UK and partake in this delicious meal and enjoy a few of these places, bring along 2-3 pairs of elasticized-waist pants. You will be happy you did…)
1- Tale as Old as Time- Beauty and the Beast Themed Afternoon Tea
I am happy and sad about this tea experience. Happy as I am excited as hell to see the upcoming movie (even though Emma Watson as Belle is taking a bit of convincing), but sad that I will not be in London to try this. Head on over to the Townhouse @Kensington Hotel and enjoy a themed tea experience! Join Cogsworth, Lumiere, Belle, and Beast for a spectacular spread of tea sandwiches and fancies all depicting the delightful Disney movie. Have your tea served by Mrs. Potts into your official Chip cup as you hum “Be Our Guest” with every sip. Hurry to enjoy this experience as it will only be available until November 2017!
2- Tea At the Ritz
Now it’s time to get very posh or pardon the pun- ritzy! Since 1906, The Ritz has been serving this beautiful and traditional meal ensuring everyone feels like royalty. Enjoy afternoon tea in their luxurious dining room with bone china, impeccable service, and music perfectly complementing the already-incredible ambiance. Indulge in homemade sandwiches you just cannot have tea without (smoked salmon anyone!? oh yes please!), freshly baked scones with an array of preserves, and beautifully ornate fancies. Prices start at £54.
3- The Afternoon Tea Bus at BB Bakery!
So this one is my favourite. Imagine being in a vintage double-decker bus with a coffee or tea in hand, munching on a cupcake and seeing Big Ben, Notting Hill, Tower Bridge, and many other iconic London landmarks out the window. A guided tour of London with brownies, fancies, and scones? Couldn’t ask for more. Plus, blankets are provided for added comfort in the colder months. Prices start at £45 per person depending on which day and seats you choose, but c’mon guys – you will never experience anything like it! It’s a perfect trip for a hen party, birthday, anniversary, or even a baby shower!
4- Fortnum & Mason
Now, this is the place you need to go if you want to emulate royalty. As this shop is Queen Elizabeth II’s chosen market, you are sure to enjoy a taste of the posh. Enjoy High Tea in the beautifully redecorated tea room that was ceremonially opened by the royal family. An afternoon pianist plays beautiful tunes in the background as you select your tea from their 80+ flavours.
Here you have the choice of the full tea menu of a hot meal, scones, savouries, fancies, and a slice of cake/pie from the dessert cart, or a smaller meal which includes sandwiches, scones, and fancies. For a celebratory meal, add a glass of champagne to toast the occasion.
This experience is on the pricey side of afternoon tea. Prepare for a minimum of £45 which does not include champagne. It is definitely worth it if you are a tea snob and love living life to the fullest while on vacation.
5- Have Some “Scandal Water”
The title does sound strange, but seriously, if you are more into the boozy side of the afternoon tea experience, than this one is for you. Located at the London Edition hotel, enjoy a boozy brunch-style tea in a beautifully vintage tavern atmosphere.
As an homage to the 19th century slang for tea (yea did you know that tea was called “Scandal Water!?) the hotel founders created this experience to booze up its patrons and bring a piece of history to their palates. Here enjoy five amuse-bouche offerings complemented by bespoke boozy punch and the cuppa tea of choice. For this delectably unique experience, expect to spend a minimum of £35 per person.
6- A Uniquely different Sushi Afternoon Tea @ Ichi
For those out there who aren’t attached to tradition tooooo much, the Ichi sushi afternoon tea just may find space on their itineraries. Enjoy a satisfying cuppa Japanese tea mixed with several courses of this delectable Asian fare. Bonus is the beautiful views of London’s iconic parliament as you feast on homemade rolls and sushimi served with wasabi made in-house. Sushi made in heaven.
7- Atop the Shard at Shangri-la
Why not ascend to the top of the tallest building in Europe? Enjoy a classic afternoon tea complete with sandwiches, scones, and fancies, washed down with your favourite tea. Although the views are spectacular, you sadly will need to pay the hefty £3o pp for the ride to the top, as well as the cost of your meals at £56 each. This one is wonderful, but the price is not. For an alternative, Asian style afternoon tea is also available.
8- For the Fashionista – The Berkeley Hotel
The beautiful presentation here is inspired by latest trends in fashion. Current designer collections are featured within the tailored menu of pastries and savouries. Located in Knightsbridge, The Berkeley has charmed visitors with their stylish tea for 10 years . Enjoy posh afternoon tea with an anniversary twist this year with sandwiches, scones, and fashionably beautiful fancies. For added posh, enjoy a glass of champagne while munching on the latest Jimmy Choo stiletto biscuit.
9- Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s
Time for a perfect “blend” of tea and cakes! This cute little bakery serves up a fun afternoon tea for the informal and brings it together with charm and kitsch. At £26.50 pp, enjoy homemade bespoke flavoured cakes, classic savoury sandwiches, and a beautifully blended cuppa tea with all the cream and sugar you need. Although this cute little eatery boasts no-frill afternoon tea, you will beg to differ after a slice of one of their perfectly frosted concoctions.
10- Alice’s Mad Tea Party at the Sanderson
If you like themed afternoon teas as much as I do, you will love this one. Alice in Wonderland is a classic story that has been retold numerous times and still after 150 years of Lewis Carroll’s imagination in the world, it gets the recognition and admiration it deserves. Here at the Sanderson, everything is themed for Alice’s adventures. Enjoy “Eat Me” iced biscuits, and “Drink me” labelled fancies. The teapot too has the face of the Queen of Hearts. You would be truly “Mad” not to try it.
11- The Tower Hotel with Unlimited Champagne
I truly loved this afternoon tea experience. Not because I could have unlimited champagne to make it a truly boozy meal, but because the hotel is perfectly positioned for impeccable views of the iconic Tower Bridge. Bring your camera along and capture the incredible backdrop of your dining experience.
The afternoon tea here is a great selection of sandwiches, scones, and delicate pastries perfectly suited for a day out in the city.
12 – Have an Exotic Variation at the Sketch
Ever fancied quails eggs or caviar upon toast, washed down with a cuppa tea? If so, than Sketch is the venue for you. Bring these delicacies to the palate, then finish it off with the sweets of macarons and pastries, the Sketch has everything for the posh or the posh British tea lover at heart.
13- The Palm Court, Langdon Hotel
This luxurious spread for the traditional afternoon tea meal is a perfect marriage of loose-leaf blends and homemade desserts. Since 1865 this swanky London hotel has been pleasing tea drinkers with its sophisticated selection of flavours and fancies. Enjoy the classic tea sandwiches, scones, preserves, and sinful clotted cream. Add on a glass of sparking wine for an additional charge. Pure luxury.
14- The Hotel Royal
Want to try age-old favourite British Sweets? Than the Hotel Royal’s tea is for you! Complete with battenburgs, mini Victoria sponges, and slices of Genoa cake, this tea will please anyone who wants a true slice of traditional British confection. Choose from a variety of loose-leaf teas to complement these delicious little delights.
15- Dining Amidst London’s Biggest Fans
Now, if you like quirky things to do (even beyond my large list) than you must visit the Fan Museum in Greenwich that houses hundreds of uniquely designed fans to keep even the hottest of foreheads cool. What is really nice about this museum, besides the fact that the admission is reasonable, is that you can enjoy a lovely afternoon tea amidst the incredible collection.
Enjoy a fusion of flavours with a selection teas and complementing sandwiches. Conclude your experience with their freshly baked pastries that will roll off the palate and melt in your mouth.
16- Laduree at Harrods
I love this little patisserie. It reminds me so much of my time in Paris as it serves up some of the best pastries and phyllo favourites you could ask for. What they are most famous for are of course, their perfect macarons that just melt in your mouth. Enjoy a box of 6-12 macarons hand-selected from their large variety of flavours with a deliciously steeped cuppa tea. For more details on our wonderful experience, check our review here.
17- Pay Tribute to Willy Wonka at the Aldwych
For a sweeter tea experience, head on over to the Aldwych for a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” inspired afternoon tea presentation. Enjoy such treats as cotton candy, golden eggs, brioche, and more. Roald Dahl would certainly be impressed by this homage to his classic story filling audiences with joy for decades. Pure Imagination.
18- From the Quirky to the Quaint at Hummingbird Bakery
Not a traditional Afternoon tea venue, and a chain bakery, the Hummingbird still made my list as they had such delicious cupcakes and treats. Enjoy a barista-crafted beverage with a slice of some of the moistest cakes in London. We truly loved the Rainbow layered Vanilla creation. 6 layers of rainbow-coloured sponge with thick indulgent frosting between layers, made a perfect treat after attending a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Prices are quite reasonable compared to traditional afternoon tea and locations are scattered across the city.
19- Tea at Kew Gardens
Enjoy your pot o’ tea amidst gorgeous botanical gardens at the nearby Maid of Honour restaurant. Reasonably priced fares of sandwiches, sweets and drinks, welcome you amidst Perfectly manicured British gardens.
20 – The Delauney
What I love about this delectable tea room is the fact that it is themed Viennese in honour of the glorious Austrian capital. Read more about why we love Vienna and its delicious cuisine here. Start with Viennese style sandwiches, scones, cakes and coffees. In particular, do indulge with a piece of the world famous Sacher Torte! One of the few places outside of Austria boasting a delicious variation of the original recipe 🙂 Enjoy this experience for £19.75 pp.
So have many a swig of tea, many a glass of bubbly, and many a bite of sweetness through this list of perfectly poised London tearooms. Just seriously take my advice and wear loose clothing and leave your calorie-counting guilt at the door. I did and am damn happy I did.