The Best Afternoon Teas In London For 2023
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The Best Afternoon Teas In London For 2023

Because you can never have enough finger sandwiches, tea and scones...

Afternoon tea is quite possibly the most British of all institutions. But once in a while, an egg and cress sandwich and a scone need a little jazzing up. These are the current best afternoon teas in London, from the traditional to the innovative to the quirky, served across the city’s most elegant hotels and restaurants.

The Best Afternoon Teas In London

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Fashion-inspired afternoon tea

The Malone Souliers X The Biltmore Mayfair Afternoon Tea

Getting ready for London Fashion Week? Dine in style with the new afternoon tea menu at The Biltmore, created in collaboration with designer footwear label Malone Souliers. Designed by the hotel’s new Executive Pastry Chef, Norihito Muranaka, diners can expect a traditional selection of sandwiches, scones and teas, alongside sweet treats inspired (and named) after signature Malone Souliers styles. There’s the Divine, an organic matcha buttercream and sponge topped with Yuzu and chocolate, the Audrey, an apple compote with lemon verbena and chocolate coating, the Gwyn, and vanilla-flavoured poached pear in a vanilla tart case topped with caramel and almond cream, the Uma, and bergamot marshmallow with orange part de fruit, and the Maureen, a dessert comprised of rose and vanilla cream, strawberry and raspberry confit, crumble and fresh fruit.

BOOK: Available until 30 September 2023, from £80 per person.

Afternoon tea setup

Summer Afternoon Tea at Bulgari Hotel

Soak up the last rays of sun with a visit to the Bulgari Hotel, where the team has crafted the ultimate summer send-off with its latest spin on afternoon tea. The menu, which brings together British traditions and Italian flavours, is enjoyed in the swanky Bulgari Lounge – surrounded by golden lighting, plush armchairs and display cases lined with overwhelmingly tempting chocolates and cakes.

In true Italian style, all elements of the afternoon tea are served on flower-patterned tableware by renowned porcelain maker Richard Ginori. The fun kicks off with a selection of savouries that celebrate the tastes of Italian summer, with ingredients like burrata, pecorino Romano and Umbrian truffle woven into classic sandwiches and crafted into bite-sized delicacies.

The team recommend taking cold drinks with your savouries (probably for the best, considering the weather), with the drinks menu luring the eye towards a bubbly glass of Ruinart Rose or the zesty Bulgari Cocktail (a sweeter take on the popular Aperol Spritz). Tea, on the other hand, come out alongside the scones and sweets, making a much more traditional pairing – and if you’re after a recommendation, the team are happy to share their favourites (we loved the Yunnan Golden Snail tea).

A round of warm scones breaks up the savoury and sweet courses. Fresh from the oven, make sure to slather them in lashes of jam and cream (in that order) and wash it down with that cup of tea you’ve been eagerly waiting for.

Those with a sweet tooth: here’s your main event. ‘Dolce’ comes in four parts and is inspired by the colourful florals of the season. There’s the Serenità, a combination of vanilla mousse and lemon biscuit, the Fior di Basilico, a savoury-sweet take that blends a tomato and raspberry ganache with basil, the Baba Rosa, a cocoa biscuit topped with strawberry and coconut ganache, and the Sambuco, a financier with mascarpone, Sambuco, pistachio and peach and vanilla cream. Delicious.

It’s not over yet, either. A final palette cleanser comes in the form of gelato; a homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream that refreshes as much as it soothes the tastebuds – getting you ready to brave the heat outside once more.

Review by Charlie Colville

BOOK: From £105 per person,

Afternoon tea

The Orchid Lounge Garden Afternoon Tea Collection at Pan Pacific London

British tradition meets an explosion of Southeast Asia flavours at Pan Pacific London, where the team in the Orchid Lounge have been fine tuning their latest afternoon tea menu.

When it comes to savouries, diners can choose between ‘classic’ (aka a selection of sandwiches) and ‘kopi tiam’. Paying homage to the hotel’s Singaporean roots, the name ‘kopi tiam’ translates to ‘coffee shop’ – indicating the hotel’s Singapore-themed take on British afternoon tea.

Those taking the ‘kopi tiam’ route will be treated a delicious selection Southeast Asian savouries, including a siu mai basket of prawn, beef, spinach and mushroom dumplings (decidedly NOT for sharing, as you’ll want them all for yourself), as well as pillowy steamed lotus buns stuffed with egg yolk and custard sauce and a steamed potato bun topped with coconut flakes.

The second part of the experience comes in the form of classic scones, both plain and chocolate flavoured, topped with lashings of cream, jam and (if you’d like to mix things up) lemon curd. Just make sure to pace yourself, as the excitement picks up with the patisserie selection.

Just before settling in for dessert, servers will whisk over a fruity ice lollie – the perfect palette cleanser during transeasonal weather.

And now for the final event. Four new sweet patisserie options end the experience on a fresh and zingy finish. There’s ‘Mint Breeze’, a blend of hand-cut mint, lime and rum housed in a bright green dome, ‘Basil Smash’, a marriage of British-grown basil and strawberries paired with a citrusy kalamansi, ‘Lemon Drop’, a pink creation infused with lemon verbena and topped with raspberry ‘soil’ and peach slices, and finally ‘Tropical Storm’, which brings together dulce blond chocolate, banana and mango for a creamy treat.

The accompanying tea selection comes courtesy of The Rare Tea Company – our recommendation is The Orchid Lounge’s Bespoke Blend, a tasty blend of loose leaf Indian and Malawian black tea, Chinese oolong tea and Indian rose petals. Celebrating? Then, of course, Nyetimber bubbles are in order.

Review by Charlie Colville

BOOK: Available until 31 October 2023. From £62pp,

Al Fresco Afternoon Tea at Number Sixteen

Enjoy afternoon tea surrounded by blooming hydrangeas and mulberry trees in The Orangery at Number Sixteen. In this serene South Kensington location, you can tuck into contemporary dishes like roast beef and watercress pesto sandwiches and an oscietra caviar and sour cream blini. Afterwards, try out pastries such as a blueberry and white chocolate éclair and a poached cherry and dark chocolate delice.

BOOK: Served from 1pm – 4pm daily. From £45pp.

Afternoon Tea with a Twist at Charlotte Street Hotel

For an alternative to bottomless brunch, why not go for a delightfully boozy afternoon tea? Head to Oscar at Charlotte Street Hotel and sample the Indulge menu for your chance to tuck into three miniature cocktails with your meal. The menu features all the classic bites, including smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches plus the all-important scones – and you can enjoy sweet treats like vanilla cupcakes or strawberry and prosecco mousse cake alongside your specially-selected drinks. What’s not to love?

BOOK: Served from 2:45pm – 4:45pm Wednesday and Thursday, and from 12 – 4:45pm Friday to Sunday. From £38pp.

Italian Afternoon Tea at Obicà

If you’re in the mood for something a little different, Obicà is serving up afternoon tea with an Italian twist in celebration of Afternoon Tea Week. This exclusive menu begins with bruschetta topped with fresh Italian tomatoes and oregano, as well as a vitello tonnato dish of veal, tuna sauce and fried caperberries. Warm bites include crispy fried mozzarella and black summer truffle arancini, while the desserts encompass tiramisu, authentic Italian chocolate and almond cake, and Obicà’s signature gelato. Pair this decadent meal with a glass of Prosecco and your choice of tea or coffee – or upgrade your experience with three Italian cocktails.

BOOK: Available at all of Obicà’s London locations (St Paul’s, Poland Street and Canary Wharf) from 7 until 13 August. From £45pp.

L'Oscar Afternoon Tea

Champagne Afternoon Tea at L’oscar London

The Champagne Afternoon Tea at L’Oscar London is nothing short of enchanting. This boutique hotel in Bloomsbury boasts elegant interiors – a sexy ambience, the space is lit only by low lamps and birds set in amber – which form the perfect backdrop for your finger sandwiches and snacking.

Once your culinary journey begins, expect to be approached by their expert staff to pick from a range of teas longer than the food menu. Our recommendation? Try an impressive special blend by the hotel.

Then follows an onslaught of the savoury and sweets, arriving in a steady stream on beautiful china plates. The sandwiches are the perfect bites, and all present a bit of a twist on the classic afternoon tea fare; an egg mimosa and black truffle sandwich on soft brown bread is a standout menu option, offering a burst of umami in one mouthful. The sugar rush that follows is as beautifully presented as it is tasty. Each of the little cakes are white, green and pink tributes to London’s cultural capital, from Oscar Wilde’s literary prowess to the exceptional dome at The Baptist. Finally, the scones are the perfect denouement to this spirited afternoon tea – fluffy, classic offerings to be lathered with raspberry jam and lemon curd and clotted cream.

This tea can be booze-free, or enjoyed with a light tipple (a refreshing flute of Michel Reybier Champagne).

A cooler-than-cool grown-up afternoon tea option.

Review by Tessa Dunthorne.

BOOK: Classic Afternoon Tea £49pp, Champagne Afternoon Tea £59pp,

Afternoon tea at the Mercer Roof Terrace atVintry & Mercer, with views of The Shard.

The Crown Afternoon Tea at Vintry & Mercer

If you’ve still got the Coronation on your mind, the Crown Afternoon Tea at Vintry & Mercer is most definitely the one for you. This regal culinary experience unfolds on the Mercer Roof Terrace, a radiant space at the crest of the gorgeous boutique hotel. Enjoy views of St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard as you tuck into an array of delights, each with charming royal influences.

Standout savoury offerings include the coronation chicken vol-au-von, complete with a perfectly spiced mango chutney, alongside the bitesize and ludicrously tasty Yorkshire pudding laden with roast beef and horseradish.  Meanwhile, the scones are wonderfully fluffy, and the addition of earl grey jelly alongside the classic clotted cream and strawberry jam is a delightful surprise.

The picture-perfect sweets and pastries are the centrepiece of this opulent menu, and they taste as lovely as they look: nibble on a chocolate sceptre, or sample a sovereign’s orb crafted from genoise sponge filled with raspberry and orange blossom mousse. Top off your afternoon with a glass of champagne, or try the exceptional teapot cocktails – the ‘King’s Blend’ is particularly divine, featuring apple eau de vie, St Germain liqueur, Lavender syrup and lemon juice. 

Review by Martha Davies

BOOK: From £49.50pp,

Afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea at Royal Lancaster London

For an intimate afternoon tea experience away from the busy central London crowds, pay a visit to this quiet corner of Paddington tucked away at the the top of Hyde Park. Taken in the Royal Lancaster London’s Hyde Café, afternoon tea is paired with soothing music, sleek marble furnishings and friendly staff who can cater to any allergy or dietary requirement.

This is an afternoon tea menu built around the traditional staples, so expect your classic (but still outrageously tasty) sandwiches – beef and horseradish, smoked salmon, cucumber and egg mayo – as well as freshly baked scones and sweet treats. The ‘sweet bites’ in question present a range of flavours, from florals and fruits to honey and chocolate. Pull up your napkin and tuck into the Lancaster Rose (a vibrant pink raspberry and lychee mousse with apple flowers), the Bee Hive (a creamy, honey-laced panna cotta), the Mango and Coconut Opera (a tropically flavoured pandan rice cake) or the Chocolate Ganache Cake (a rich, dark chocolate cake with Earl Grey ganache and jelly) for a tasty afternoon treat.

Once you’ve had your fill of warm scones and tea, diners can make their way out and over to nearby Hyde Park – where they can stroll away the rest of the afternoon (and walk off any lingering fullness).

Review by Charlie Colville

BOOK: Signature afternoon tea from £39pp,

Afternoon tea set up on table with mini hot air balloons

80 Days Around The World at The Kensington

A trip to The Kensington this spring will reward you with a globe-trotting afternoon tea experience, inspired by Jules Verne’s 1872 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Following the travels of protagonist Phileas Fogg on his explorations of the world, The Kensington’s new menu is the second instalment in the adventure series – and this time, we’re taking a trip to Asia.

This leg of the afternoon tea adventure will see diners led from the Middle East across Asia, stopping at Yemen, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. Take a seat in the pretty pastel tea lounge – a maximalist dream dressed up for spring with soft, sage green, couches, swirling floral wallpaper and pink wood panelling – and get ready for your journey with some bubbles, a cocktail (centred around Asian flavours) or a spot of tea. The team recommend starting with the Cloud Tea (a fragrant black tea harvested in the cloudy hills between Assam and Darjeeling – hence the name – with notes of rich caramel, malty note and apricot) as a savoury pairing, before moving on to the Jasmine Silver Tip Tea (a delicate white tea made using spring buds, which was originally intended for the Chinese Imperial family) for dessert. Both go down a treat while tucking into the international spread.

Savouries come in the form of amuse bouche and teatime sandwiches, starting in Yemen and ending in Singapore. Get your fill of Yemeni pitta breads lathered in hummus, an Indian twist on the classic cucumber sandwich, crispy bite-sized onion bhajis, miso and sweet potato tapioca balls from Hong Kong and Singaporean chicken satay. These set the tone with a burst of regional flavours that you wouldn’t first  place in an afternoon tea, but soon after couldn’t do without.

Now for the sweets: a mixture of cakes, puddings and pastries. Kick off the selection with the kheer pudding, which makes an excellent palette cleanser with the addition of raspberry compote and pistachio cream, before tucking into the cakes. You’ll be treated to traditional basbousa soaked in orange and rose water, a zingy pandan and mango delice (our personal favourite) and a black sesame and mandarin choux whose black exterior gives way to a vibrant orange inside.

We’re finally brough back to the Royal Borough of Kensington with a classic: scones. Served warm from the kitchen with lashings of homemade jam and clotted cream, the experience feels a little bit like coming back home. While the experience comes to an end here, it leaves us excited for what the next chapter entails. This is one story we’re not ready to put down just yet.

Review by Charlie Colville

BOOK: From £58pp.

Afternoon tea spread on a table

Covent Garden Crescendo Afternoon Tea at Middle Eight

Theatre-goers will know Covent Garden well, having spent many a day and night trekking up and down the West End to see some of the capital’s buzziest shows. If pre-theatre dining gives you itchy feet (there’s nothing worse than walking into a full theatre a few minutes late), then an earlier timed afternoon tea might be the more appealing choice. Cue Middle Eight’s new musically-inspired afternoon tea, which the team describe as ‘a symphony of sweet treats and sandwiches’.

Middle Eight is nestled right in the heart of theatreland, making it an ideal base to spend the afternoon before making your way to one of the many musicals and plays showing in the capital. Afternoon tea is served in The Balcony, tucked away from the hotel’s busy restaurant and check-in desk so that guests can enjoy their meal in a more relaxed (but no less refined) setting.

The current menu has been curated by Head Pastry Chef and former Bake Off: The Professionals semi-finalist, Clanny Rodrigues, and comes in the classic three stages of savouries, sweets and scones. But first thing’s first: tea. Middle Eight has partnered with British family business Novus Tea to put together a selection of soothing white, black, green and herbal teas. While an intimate selection of teas, the team can happily give suggestions based on your tastes. And if you have something to celebrate, you can dial things up with a glass of prosecco.

A selection of sweet and savoury treats come with a flourish of activity, set at your table on a four-tier cake stand (scones are served later on a separate plate, still warm from the oven). The team are brilliant when it comes to handling dietary requirements and allergies, with items prepared separately to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. To start, tuck into coronation chicken, grilled vegetable and smoked salmon sandwiches, as well as a warm and flaky sausage roll made with Londoner sausage meat and chopped herbs.

Cleanse the palette with something sweet; Middle Eight presents no less than five small desserts to try, all following a musical theme from name to decoration. Hazelnut eclairs come topped with piano keys, pistachio macarons are decorated with musical notes and bite-sized almond cakes come with miniature chocolate guitar in tow. The closing act of the afternoon tea experience comes in the form of two large scones – vanilla and fruit – which you can lather with jam and clotted cream, or take home with you if your belt is feeling a bit too tight. Now, with bellies full and spirits high, you can leisurely make your way to the next performance of the day.

Review by Charlie Colville

BOOK: From £44pp.

Afternoon tea spread

Meadow Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough

Those craving a breath of fresh air after a dreary winter can head down to The Lanesborough for a chance to try its decadent Meadow Afternoon Tea. Inspired by natural beauty of the hotel’s surrounding Royal Parks (Hyde Park being just a quick walk across the road), the menu is a beautiful curation of traditional sandwiches, floral pastries and warm scones.

Let yourself be led through to The Lanesborough Grill, a Regency-inspired lounge overseen by glittering chandeliers, detailed frescoes and a live pianist, where you’ll be served up a selection of classic and not-so-classic teas (we’re a big fan of the chocolate brownie black tea and white apricot green tea). If you’d prefer something a little stronger, stick to a glass of fizz or try the specially crafted elderflower and jasmine daisy cocktail, an aromatic blend with plenty of floral notes – perfect for spring.

Sandwiches and pastries are brought out on a classic afternoon tea stand, which is topped with a bright yellow chamomile daisy you can (but will not want to) share with your dining partner. Highlights include mini cheese quiches with an addictive crunch, classic cucumber sandwiches with a velvety cream cheese and chive spread, a vibrant green slice of cheesecake – the ‘Meadow Slice’ – with a zesty lime filling and topped with sugar flowers and crumb moss, as well as bumble bee-shaped pastry filled with white chocolate and honey.

The sugar rush continues with the final component of afternoon tea: the scones. Brought out fresh from the oven and wrapped in a napkin to keep warm, the scones are buttery soft and best enjoyed with lashings of jam and cream (in that order, thank you). Spend the last minutes of your dining experience sat back with your tea of choice as you nibble away at the remnants of your meal, relaxed, full and ready to nap away the rest of the afternoon.

Review by Charlie Colville

BOOK: From £68pp.

Jumeriah Carlton Afternoon Tea

A Tribute to Nature Afternoon Tea at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah

One of the world’s best pastry chefs, Jessica Prealpato, has crafted the afternoon tea offering at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah. Designed as a tribute to nature, and inspired by Kew Gardens, the menu celebrates seasonal ingredients, with twists on classic British dishes. Begin with sandwiches including lobster and caviar tartelette, and smoked salmon with wild garlic crème fraiche, followed by a selection of scones – nettle scones with strawberry marmalade, and a charcoal rosemary variety. Finish with a beautiful patisserie array: choux pastry with toasted hazelnuts and praline, a raspberry and tarragon shortbread, and a chestnut honey madeleine with puffed pumpkin seeds. Pair with one of the many teas on offer, from oolong to matcha and chamomile, or a glass of fizz from the extensive champagne menu.

BOOK: From £

Afternoon tea stand with champagne

Afternoon Tea at 11 Cadogan Gardens

Sit back and relax with a spot of afternoon tea at 11 Cadogan Gardens. Located just a stone’s throw from Sloane Square, the hotel is a peaceful oasis in the centre of London boasting quintessentially British charm. The afternoon tea experience upholds all of this character, served in a quirky sitting room with large windows, big, cushy chairs and historical-themed paintings covering the walls. The menu itself is nothing to scoff at either, boasting a spread of classic sandwiches (think coronation chicken, cucumber, and ham and mustard), scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of sweet treats (the banoffee slice is a must). Wash it all down with a piping hot cup of English Breakfast – or champagne, if you have something to celebrate – and cosy up by the fireplace.

BOOK: From £45pp.

Tipple Tea - afternoon tea spread with cocktails

Tipple Tea at Rockwell

A slice of calm in the buzzy streets of Trafalgar Square, Rockwell is known for its killer cocktail menu and tasty nosh. But this spring, the restaurant is pushing the boat out with a twist on the classic afternoon tea. If you can bear to part with the teapot, you’re in for a treat with the Tipple Tea menu, which serves up a selection of savoury and sweet treats alongside paired cocktails. Start things off with the Victoria (Earl Grey-infused Tanqueray 10, lemon-infused Mancino Rosso, Campari and teapot bitters), which is complemented by the smoky chipotle pulled beef sliders and baked camembert sourdough. This is balanced nicely with the sweeter flavours found in the Miranda (Ketel One, green chartreuse, Calvados, pressed bramley apple juice, bitter sweet apple and cardamom shrub and candy floss), which you can sip on as you tuck into mini choux buns and peach tartelettes. Delicious flavours are abundant here, and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling much merrier than when you came in.

BOOK: From £36pp.

Cakes and biscuits on tray by tea pot

Prêt-à-Portea: The Couture Cakewalk at The Berkeley

Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley features a collection of couture cakes inspired by designers, from Dolce & Gabbana to Jean Paul Gaultier. Highlights include a floral gown inspired by Christopher Kane reimagined as cheesecake, alongside a biscuit coat from Prada.

BOOK: From £80pp.

The Stage The Londoner

Afternoon Tea at The Londoner Hotel

Poised on Leicester Square, The Londoner, London’s most hyped new hotel, promises a chic afternoon tea. Whether it’s a pre-theatre indulgence (you’re spoilt for choice The West End) or a necessary energy boost post-National Gallery, head to the champagne bar of the lobby, known as The Stage, for an impressive spread. Expect all the traditional British favourites: on the savoury side, sandwich fillings include smoked salmon and Devon crab, and lemon-roasted chicken with truffle mayonnaise. Next up is freshly baked scones served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, followed by an array of beautifully crafted pastries, such as the English Rose, a blackcurrant and pear pudding with shortbread and almond detailing. The tea can be paired with champagne as well as fresh loose leaf teas from The East India Company. To top it off, the experience will be accompanied by live music on The Stage’s grand piano.

BOOK: From £55.

Great Scotland Yard Afternoon Tea

Floris Afternoon Tea at Great Scotland Yard

The Parlour at Great Scotland Yard have teamed up Floris London to serve a new multi-sensory afternoon tea experience. Inspired by flavours from Floris’ legendary fragrances, the experience is designed to take guests through a journey of scent, taste and stunning visuals. Alongside the usual offering of scones and sandwiches, guests can dine on an assortment of seasonal tea pastries and cakes – including a coconut and cardamom layered slice and a raspberry and violey tartlet. A selection of teas from the Rare Tea Company and Ruinart Champagne will also be available.


Petersham Nurseries Afternoon Tea

Garden Afternoon Tea at Petersham Nurseries

Set amongst a backdrop of lush garden foliage, Petersham Nurseries’ Garden Afternoon Tea celebrates the natural world with a seasonal take on classic teatime. Served on a Florentine style hand-blown glass cake stand, afternoon tea is a simple but delicious affair. The savoury selection consists of crispy sourdough with prosciutto, roasted red pepper tartlet, goat’s cheese on fruit loaf, and focaccia with fior de latte. Those with a keen sweet tooth can tuck into buttermilk scones with clotted cream and house-made preserves, as well as meringue with charred Petersham grapes and tarragon syrup, lemon polenta cake, and cherry and almond tart.

BOOK: From £45pp. To book, please call 020 8940 5230.

Afternoon Tea at The Langham

Afternoon Tea at The Langham

Afternoon Tea was thought up by one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting, Lady Bedford, and The Langham popularised the tradition by being the first hotel to feature the meal on its menu when it opened in 1865. The Langham introduces its modern spin on the tradition, tapping into the archives of Britain’s favourite biscuits and tarts, reimagining the classics to be perfectly paired with a JING tea (perfect for a biscuit dunk). Created by Chef Michel Roux Jr and Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Gravett, the biscuit-inspired tea menu is perfectly rounded off with a glass of English sparkling wine from Gusbourne for a thoroughly British treat.

BOOK: From £75pp.

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea The Shard

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard

Transport yourself to Neverland via aqua shard’s new afternoon tea, inspired by J.M Barrie’s legendary novel. Think Tinker Bell-shaped cookies and crocodile jellies served on a pirate ship-inspired tea stand, alongside Fairy Dust cocktails – all enjoyed alongside panoramic city views.

BOOK: From £61pp. A children’s version will also be served.

Afternoon Tea at The Connaught

An afternoon spent at Mayfair’s The Connaught is enough to brighten anyone’s day. Throw in a champagne-infused afternoon tea in the artsy Jean-Georges dining room and you won’t want to leave (partly due to being so gloriously full). Spoiled for choice, guests can choose from an assortment of 15 exotic teas, from a rare vintage Darjeeling Beauty to Fuji-yama, an earthy green tea grown near Mount Fuji. Finger sandwiches come in a range of five different flavours and fillings – think salt beef and turnip, cucumber and Greek yoghurt – but the moreish egg & truffle of fluffy white bread certainly tops them all. Sweet treats are just as delicious in appearance as they are to eat; a light bergamot and lime sponge cake adorned with candied ginger and whipped cream and an indulgent hazelnut praline and milk chocolate rocher with ‘The Connaught’ elegantly emblazoned on top were my pick of the beautiful bunch. The pièce de résistance however came in the form of two buttery penguin-shaped shortbread biscuits, ready to be dipped into a glass of warm chocolate fondue. Lest not forget the scones, plain and wholemeal raisin, both warm and to be served with lashing of home-made strawberry or pineapple jam, and of course Cornish clotted cream. For those looking to add a little glamour and grandeur to their experience, opt for a glass of Champagne Laurent-Perrier, which the warm and attentive staff are more than happy to top up if you so wish.

BOOK: From £75pp.

The Wolseley Best of British

Afternoon Tea at The Wolseley

You can’t help but feel that you’re a ‘someone’ from the moment you step inside the classic and timeless Wolseley, which is a British institution in itself. Where better, then, to enjoy a ‘Best of British’ Afternoon Tea? The Wolseley offers just that – featuring individual Victoria Sponges and Sherry Trifles alongside traditional scones with clotted cream and homemade jam. You won’t find jazzed-up finger sandwiches, either – they stick to the classics for a reason. Traditional fillings of Coronation Chicken, Beef and Horseradish, Cheddar and Pickle, and Smoked Salmon are delightfully nostalgic while being of unquestionably superior quality to what you grew up on. A place so good, AA Gill wrote a whole book about it – and this Afternoon Tea is another excellent (and delicious) chapter in The Wolseley’s ever-glorious repertoire.

BOOK: From £37.50pp, served

Fortnum & Mason Diamond Jubilee Salon

Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason

An institution since 1707 and still one of the best, Fortnum & Mason’s iconic afternoon tea is an absolute must-try. It’s finger sandwich, cake and scone heaven, with trademark eau de nil china and the biggest selection of fine teas you will ever see. Tea experts are on hand to help you choose – and be sure to pick up a pack to take home, too. They’re now offering afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason at The Royal Exchange, too.


The Savoy's afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea at The Savoy Hotel

Regarded as the heart of the The Savoy Hotel, the Thames Foyer has been serving its quintessentially British afternoon tea for over a century. An elegant menu pays homage to traditional classics with a modern twist, including a selection of open and closed sandwiches including English cucumber and green pea hummus on mint bread, and Berwick-upon-Tweed crab, caviar and dill on brioche bread. Alongside this, the expert pastry team – spearheaded by Simona Spennati – creates an array of signature Savoy cakes and pastries, such as a chocolate fudge cake made with 70 per cent chocolate buttercream. Guests can pick from a selection of champagne and sparkling wine, as well as an extensive collection of over 30 teas.

BOOK: Served daily.

The Goring Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at The Goring

Served since 1910, Afternoon Tea at The Goring in Victoria 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. The afternoon tea is classic in style, reflecting The Goring’s dedication to tradition as the only luxury hotel in London still owned and run by the family that built it. Why mess with perfection? Expect dainty and delicate finger sandwiches, homemade scones and pastries, and unparalleled service. Enjoy your tea in the garden during the summer months for a quintessentially English experience.

BOOK: From £60pp, every day.

Chesterfield Mayfair Sweet Afternoon Tea

Mr Simms Sweetshop Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair

If you’re looking for a child-friendly afternoon tea option in London, look no further than the Chesterfield Mayfair’s Mr Simms Sweetshop Afternoon Tea. With pastries and cakes the flavour of retro sweetshop favourites, delicious chocolate-chip scones and a host of savoury treats, it’s a must-try for both adults and children with a sweet tooth. Highlights include the Coca-Cola slice, the enormous peanut-butter cup and the fizzy apple mousse. And of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the retro sweet cart manned by the in-house Candyman who will help young guests fill a bag with old-school penny sweets and pick-and-mix favourites. Younger guests can enjoy the afternoon tea served alongside a milkshake or tea. Adults can opt to add a glass of something sparkling with the Champagne Tea, including a glass of brut, rosé or white label Lanson Champagne.

BOOK: From £65pp for adults and £35pp for children. 

The Landmark Afternoon Tea

High Palms High Tea at The Landmark

Afternoon tea at The Landmark is served in their Winter Garden, a beautifully light and airy glass-roofed atrium complete with palm trees. Sandwiches are traditional: think smoked Scottish salmon, organic egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, and coronation chicken on walnut bread, followed by a delectable selection of desserts – our top pick is the hazelnut and coffee opera cake.

BOOK: From £65pp.

Ten Trinity Square Afternoon Tea

The Crown Jewels Afternoon Tea at The Four Seasons, Trinity Square

Whilst you sit in the grand Rotunda in the company of London’s élite, the staff at The Four Seasons Trinity Square make it so you don’t have to lift a finger. From the moment you walk in the grand entrance you’re greeted by blissful live piano music, awe-inspiring architecture and highly attentive staff. The newly-launched Corwn Jewels Afternoon Tea is inspired by the treasures held within the Tower of London. The champagne is chilled, the tea is hot, and the decadent food served on themed crockery adds to the alluring journey. This classic London landmark is the height of elegance, and with its beautiful food (as pleasing on the eye as it is on the palate), Champagne buzz and light chitter-chatter in the background, it makes for a most soothing and comfortable afternoon that could easily turning into evening…

BOOK: Available Friday to Sunday.

Corinthia Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

Truffled egg mayo sandwiches? Rhubarb and tonka bean jam? Irish coffee éclair? All our favourites with a twist. Corinthia London recently launched their new afternoon tea menu, served amidst glorious fresh flowers and to the sound of the grand piano in the Crystal Moon Lounge. Make sure you keep a lookout for Nigel, the charming Crystal Moon Lounge Manager who can tell you the story behind the bespoke William Edwards teacups and the red crystal in the heart of the chandelier. The experience begins with the antique champagne trolley being wheeled over to your table, and continues in the same sumptuous style until the very end. Having gorged on sandwiches then scones with cream and jam, you probably won’t be able to fit in all of the cakes and delicacies. Luckily, your delightful waitress or waiter will box up any that you can’t finish and you can trot off, a Corinthia bag full of goodies swinging by your side.

BOOK: Traditional Afternoon Tea costs £65pp, Champagne Afternoon Tea costs £75pp, and Rosé Champagne Afternoon Tea costs £85pp.

Claridges' Hotel London.

Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

Is there any place as quintessentially English as Claridge’s? Over 150 years, the esteemed hotel has perfected the art of afternoon tea. None of the gimmicks, all of the flavour; you can expect excellent food and a faithful rendition of this English ritual. Choose from 24 loose leaf teas served in jade-and-white striped china. Raise a toast to tradition and tuck in to tiny treats.

BOOK: From £85pp.

Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Sanderson

Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson

For an afternoon tea with a difference, fall down the rabbit hole to Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. A little gimmicky, but in the best possible way, this fun afternoon tea offers delicious teas (which are also available to purchase) named after Lewis Carroll’s characters, from Alice to The Queen of Hearts; delicate patisseries and cakes; excellent savoury options with a difference (the parmesan croque-monsieur was a highlight) and lovely, crumbly scones. There’s also a host of themed cocktails and drinks to be enjoyed with your tea, in case you needed any further persuading.

BOOK: From £48pp (excluding service and dependent on choice of drink accompaniments). Available daily.

Featured image: The Bulgari Hotel