I don’t know about you but afternoon tea is a decadent pleasure that I love to indulge in once in a while. Well I am British! There’s something quite lovely about sitting down for a selection of sweet treats, sandwiches and coffee in opulent surroundings. Afternoon tea is definitely something I love to splurge on along with a good bottomless brunch and no where does afternoon tea like London. Afternoon teas in London are one of those things that should be relished, experienced and adored.
In this post I’ve rounded up my favourite afternoon tea locations in the capital. From budget to luxury, there’s something for everyone in this list. Which one will you try?
Afternoon Teas in London
Claridges has a long tradition of serving afternoon tea and the 5-star hotel is synonymous with exquisite splendor, high quality and British glamour. The afternoon tea here is iconic and there’s no better place for afternoon teas in London. It truly is an authentic experience and even the queen has eaten here. This place is a real treat for the eyes and the tastebuds.
Afternoon tea is served in the hotel’s grand foyer and the staff are all perfectly styled and provide a very warm welcome for everyone. The customer service here is second to none. Not only is the food amazing but also the entertainment on offer. It really adds to the ambience. Prohibition-era tunes can be heard performed by the Claridge’s in-house pianist.
Tea afficianado’s are well taken care of here. With a vast selection on offer. But for a truly authentic experience opt for a clasic Earl Grey. If you can’t select from the vast range ask your server. They are well trained and know everything about the teas on offer.
The food itself consists of an almost endless supply of sandwiches – with such wonderful taste combinations like smoked salmon and cucumber. Followed by a truly British cake – the beloved scone which is of course served with jam and cream. Then to cap it all off you’ll be presented with a selection of cakes.
Address: Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1
Telephone: +44 20 7629 8860
Price: From £70 per person
Fortnum & Mason
Fortum and Mason’s is a London institution but while it’s known for it’s up market food stuffs it really excels with it’s afternoon tea. It has a comfortable old fashioned-feel to it. It’s current iteration was opened by the queen 7 years ago. If you are after a truly traditional experience. Make your way up to the 4th floor in the store’s wood lined lift and be greeted by an oasis of calm in the midst of a truly busy city.
Like Claridges it is full of wonderful teas. 45 of them to be precise. Some great ones to try include Jasmine Dragon Pearls and Hattalli. How ethereal and adorable are those names. Having trouble choosing? Seek the knowledge of the baristas on hand (what do you call them if it’s tea not coffee?)
You have all the usual afternoon tea favourites here too – delicious finger sandwiches, homemade warm scones filled with cream and a selection of delicious jams such as wild blueberry. The cake selection is the star of the show with a vast selection that would be at home on the streets of Paris.
Address: Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1
Telephone: +44 20 7734 8040
Price: Fortnum’s Afternoon Tea £52.50
Sketch is the brainchild of Mourad Mazouz and Pierre Gannaire, It is renowned for it’s decor and is an instagram favourite precisely because of this. Afternoon tea is served in its very pink gallery room. A room that is adorably kitsch in a sugary sweet way. If you love pink then this is the place for you. It is girly decadence at its best.
But it isn’t just the room itself that makes this place so quirky and cute. Even the toilets are unusual – oval shaped loos like an egg anyone?
But you come here for the food! Of which the selection is a little unusual – foie-gras savoury tarts and cheese puffs are the order of the day here alongside traditional favourites such as cucumber sandwiches. But save room for cake – battenberg, eclairs and cheesecake are the order of the day followed by scones and a fluffy decadent victoria sponge. You won’t find cakes like these in your local Greggs. If you have a luxe palette you can even feast on caviar by the spoonful.
Out of all the afternoon tea’s this one offers the widest variety and the most dishes. Couple this with the saccharine sweet surroundings and they’ll deliver an experience you’ll never forget.
Address: Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG
Telephone: +44 20 7659 4500
Price: From £59 per person
Ham Yard Hotel
Ham Yard Hotel is the lesser known of the selection of afternoon tea in London here but don’t let that put you off. This colourful afternoon tea destination is situated in Soho and the hotel itself benefits from it’s own cinema and bowling alley.
Take yourself over to The Orangery which is the room in the hotel where they serve afternoon tea.The room has an amazing glass ceiling and a bold decor which is a sight for the senses.
The food is changed on a regular basis but when I visited we enjoyed classics like cucumber and basil sandwiches, beetroot tarts as our savoury course. Warm scones are then served – with homemade conserve and lashings of cream. The sweetness is supplied by way of coffee macarons, carrot cake and pumpkin pie.
Address: Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, London W1
Telephone: +44 20 3642 1007
Prices: From £24
A French brasserie, based in London that originally opened in New York. Could it be more international? The original Balthazar opened in New York City in 1997. Balthazar London can be found at the intersection of Russell Street and Wellington Street in Covent Garden. The brasserie itself offers all-day dining and serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, as well as an American whiskey bar.
Afternoon tea is served between Monday to Saturday 3-5pm and Sunday 3pm-6.30pm.
At under £30 per person this is one of the cheapest afternoon teas in London. The savoury courses include some amazing sandwiches – New York Style Pastrami & Egg Roll, Cucumber, Mint & Homemade Hummus, Smoked Salmon & Lemon Crème Fraîche, Egg Mayonnaise & Watercress and Coronation Chicken & Apricot.
Whilst it doesn’t offer as many tea flavours as others on the list. They still have a decent selection – Earl Grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Chai, Assam, Jasmine, Sencha, Chamomile and Fresh Mint or Ginger.
The cakes on offer are ‘Liberty’ PBJ Eclair, Peanut butter filling with vanilla infused apricot Jam, ‘Spring Sweet’ Cheesecake, Our original New York recipe, Key Lime Pie, Coconut crumble, soft meringue swirl & white chocolate, The Famous Pecan Pie
with Bourbon & chocolate marmalade chantilly, Cookies ‘n’ Cream Tart and White chocolate cookies with coconut mousse & lemon curd.
Address: 4-6 Russell Street, Covent Garden, London WC2
Telephone: +44 20 3301 1155
Price: From £29.95
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a registered charity with the aim of promoting the arts and preserving this historic building.
The world’s leading figures in music, dance, sport and politics have appeared on it’s stage . The Royal Albert Hall is the UK’s most famous performance venue; there’s not many buildings in London more historically British. Queen Victoria had the hall built 150 years ago. Served 1pm – 4.30pm Tuesday to Sunday with sittings at 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, and 3.30pm, afternoon tea here is a truly regal affair.
At the Royal Albert Hall, they’ve been observing the tradition of Afternoon Tea for over 100 years, and they have even served royalty itself after Queen Elizabeth II attended afternoon tea here for the 100th anniversary of the WI (Women’s Institute).
The current menu takes this regal history and adds in some Royal Albert Hall luxury. Their menu includes classic finger sandwiches, freshly baked warm scones and musically-inspired cakes which nod to its history of hosting some of the world’s biggest musical stars. There are 11 tea blends on offer.
Address: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP
Telephone: +44 20 7589 8212
Price: From £30 per person
So there you have it, the best places to enjoy afternoon teas in London.