The best afternoon teas in the UK

Fancy a spot of char? We're compiling a list of our favourite tea rooms, from classic London experiences and non-traditional spreads, to hidden gems dotted around the country. We're just getting started so help us out with your suggestions...

There's nothing more British than a spot of afternoon tea, and following the runaway success of our guide to throwing your own, we decided to head out to the streets to discover the best places to go if you want to book yourself into somewhere special. Our ever-evolving list will give you ideas for places to book for Mother's Day, hen dos, special family occasions or just those times when you fancy partaking in an afternoon of decadent scone-sampling. We're always looking for ideas for inclusions we might have missed, especially outside of London, so please leave your suggestions in the comments below. 

Where to go for afternoon tea... 

Peacocks Tearoom, Ely, Cambridgeshire

At a glance:
Price£17 per person
Best forTea traditionalists
Star turnsPleine lune tea, warm homemade scones and lemon & lavender cake
Contact details 65 Waterside, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4AU, peacockstearoom.co.uk

View the menu

The full lowdown: Peacocks prides itself on offering teas from every continent, so you can explore what the world has to offer from this cosy converted kitchen that’s super popular with locals. After our traditional sandwiches and scones with rhubarb compote, owner George found the time to have a quick natter and we loved the family feel of the place. Peacocks doesn’t take bookings, and while there’s normally a small queue on weekends it moves quickly.

Review by: Georgina Kiely, digital assistant


Oxo Tower, London

At a glance:
Price…£35 per person for 'Not afternoon tea'
Best for... Booze lovers
Star turns... Portobello Road gin & rhubarb cocktail, rum and raisin pudding
Contact details... Barge House Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH, oxotower.co.uk

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The full lowdown: If you’re looking for something to finish off the perfect evening out or to perk you up post-lunch, the ‘not afternoon tea’ is for you. A plate of four desserts and a flavour paired cocktail from one of four sweet menus are on offer, with views of St Paul’s and the Thames served on the side. We highly recommend the rhubarb menu, which comes with a variety of crunchy meringue, punchy ginger and creamy cheesecake accompaniments.

Review by: Georgina Kiely, digital assistant


The Edgbaston, Birmingham

At a glance:
Price… £22
Best for… Fans of the theatrical
Star turns…Passion fruit curd amuse bouche with puffed wild rice and mojito sorbet, hazelnut praline macaroons
Contact details… 18 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3DU, theedgebaston.co.uk.  

The full lowdown:
Walking into The Edgbaston feels like stepping onto the set of a fabulously chic Great Gatsby remake. We chose a classic Earl Grey and a light Lemon Verbena tea, plus Champagne, before being treated to a particularly spectacular amuse bouche served on a platter of dry ice. With its blend of tart mojito sorbet, smooth passion fruit curd and puffed rice to add a sprinkling of texture, this was a standout course. Our sandwiches and sweets were served together on an art deco stand and we appreciated the range of breads used, from mini baguettes to tomato and basil ciabatta. The mini dessert tier of our tea was just enough to finish our meal, the mix of raspberry financier and heavier chocolate tarts balanced out nicely. The standout treat was the hazelnut praline macaroon; crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and with a subtle nutty caramel flavour we found irresistible. The exceptional experience of afternoon tea at The Edgbaston is not to be missed!

Review by: Georgina Kiely, digital assistant


The Langham, London

The Langham afternoon tea

At a glance:
Price... £49 per person
Best for... 
Tourists
Star turns... Truffled duck egg brioche, smoked salmon rye cracker and yuzu chocolate log
Contact details... 1C Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA, langhamhotels.com

View the menu

The full lowdown:
After our tea sommelier explained the menu clearly, an amuse bouche of silky panna cotta was served to cleanse our palates. Finger sandwiches were served from silver platters, and when we finally finished our seconds (and thirds) of sandwiches, warm scones were delivered and our pastry selection explained in detail. The scones were perfectly crumbly and soft and the selection of pastries had the wow factor. Aside from the attention to detail and stunning design on each, the flavour was great too. The yuzu chocolate log was really interesting and worked well; everything else was very classic, refined and executed perfectly. 

Review by: Chelsie Collins, cookery writer


Mr Fogg's Tavern and Gin Parlour, London

Mr Fogg's

At a glance:
Price… £38 per person, extra for Champagne
Best for… Mad hatters and gin lovers
Star turns… Cherry Bakewell cocktail and chai tea & almond butter-infused gin.
Contact details… 58 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4EA, mr-foggs.com 

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The full lowdown:
The aptly named ‘tipsy tea’ boasts an impressive list of pun-tastic champagne and gin cocktails, each infused with a specially selected tea. We ordered two varieties of teapot cocktails; the dry and delicate ‘Et chai, Brute?’ and the sweeter cherry Bakewell gin cocktail. There was certainly no skimping on the food portions. Our traditional sandwiches were filled to bursting and we were given dishes overflowing with jam and cream for our golden brown, raisin-filled scones. We particularly enjoyed the cream-filled brandy snaps and super squidgy brownies to finish off our afternoon tea. We weren’t left wanting for savoury pastries or sweet jellies and struggled to finish our top tier. Overall, our boozy, cocktail-filled tea was a relaxed, very enjoyable experience. Make sure to book in advance as the parlour is a snug fit, with limited space available for walk-ins. 

Review by: Georgina Kiely, digital assistant


The Modern Pantry, London

The Modern Pantry

At a glance:
Price... £25 per person, £30 with Lalani & Co tea pairing, £35 with craft beer pairing. 
Best for...
Twee tea haters, experimental flavour lovers and fans of craft beer. 
Star turns...
Gouchugara & spring onion scone with pulled pork, umeboshi mayonnaise & fennel kimchi and chocolate, peanut butter & miso caramel shortbread    
Contact details... The Modern Pantry Finsbury Square, 14 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1AH, themodernpantry.co.uk.

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The full lowdown: 
The menu at The Modern Pantry Finsbury Square reads like the afternoon tea of a modern foodie's dreams. Gone are the finger sandwiches, replaced with a series of fusion treats that playfully tease you with their sweet/savoury flavour combinations. You can choose a tea or craft beer flight to accompany each course. In the name of research we chose one of each. The tea was served at drinking temperature allowing you to fully appreciate the flavours. The beer pairing was a stroke of genius, alternating between lighter and darker craft beers that truly and unexpectedly complemented each course. Our particular favourite was the Partizan saison lemongrass beer with the lemon & ajowan scone. I can guarantee I'll be returning!

Review by: Sophie Godwin, cookery assistant.


The Flower Tea, Alexis Gauthier, London

The Flower Tea

At a glance:
Price… £40 per person, extra for Champagne
Best for… Flavour adventurers
Star turns: ‘Croque Giant Green’ toasted sandwich, Gruyere & Old Spot pork bun & onion brioche with grain mustard.
Contact details… Alexis Gaulthier, 11 Cadogan Gardens, London, SW3 2RK. flowerafternoontea.co.uk

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The full lowdown:
Afternoon tea at Cadogan Gardens consists of five courses including a delicate amuse bouche and an almond marshmallow to finish. It was obvious the greatest care and creativity went into the sandwich course. Twists on the ordinary, such as cucumber, thyme and lemon oil cream cheese and a hearty ‘giant green’ croque topped with aged Gruyere had our mouths watering. Courses were brought out at a relaxed pace, which was great as we struggled to imagine eating a whole plate of pastries, cakes and scones after our savoury sandwich feast. Dessert course saw some unexpected flavor combinations starting with a delicious pea and mint chocolate choux pastry and a Lovage Bloody Mary ‘pre-dessert’ with yogurt granita. The standout of the dessert plate was the matcha green tea sponge with lemon cream. Each course was presented beautifully and fans of traditional china won’t be disappointed.

Review by: Georgina Kiely, digital assistant


Flemings, London

Flemings

At a glance:
Price... £34.50 per person, £43.50 with Jacquart Champagne.
Best for...Treating mum or catching up with friends.

Star turns...Bottomless Bombay chai tea, Black Forest choux buns, strawberry macaron tree
Contact details...Flemings Hotel, 7-12 Half Moon Street
, Mayfair, 
London W1J 7BH, www.flemings-mayfair.co.uk

View the menu 

The full lowdown: 
Flemings is the quintessential afternoon tea for the modern traditionalist. The tea selection itself was explained to us by attentive staff, who were as knowledgeable as any sommelier worth their salt. Classic sandwich fillings including ham and mustard and egg were held in neat fingers of soft white and nutty wholemeal breadm and two dainty, warm scones came with generous portions of strawberry jam and thick clotted cream. A generous offering of four cakes per person, was visually striking. We started with the Black Forest choux buns, followed by chocolate and coffee Gateaux Opera. Sated, we admitted defeat and asked for a doggy bag for the chocolate orange sphere and strawberry macaroon tower. Generous staff, to-die-for patisserie and supremely scoffable sarnies in an intimate and stylish setting: Flemings gets big ticks all round.

Review by: Cassie Best, senior food editor


The Lancaster, London

The Lancaster afternoon tea

At a glance:
Price... £30 for afternoon tea, £40 with Champagne, £45 with rosé Champagne.
Best for... A couple's day out.
Star turns... Signature chocolate & honey lollipops, lemon macarons, raisin scones with homemade strawberry jam.
Contact details... The Lancaster Hotel, Lancaster Terrace, London, W2 2TY, lancasterlondon.com.

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The full lowdown: 
If you’re looking a traditional afternoon tea in luxe surroundings with unexpected homemade goodies thrown in, The Lancaster Hotel is for you. Each pot of tea comes with an infusion card to keep track of optimum brewing times. The selection of sandwiches ticked all the classic boxes, however, we were presented with a separate plate of sandwiches for our vegetarian guest with yummy, more adventurous alternatives such as piquillo red pepper and houmous to accompany the traditional cucumber and cream cheese. Accompanying the sandwiches were delectable warm tarts with caramelised red onion and goat’s cheese. Almond, plain and fruited scones, hot from the kitchen, were the highlight and came accompanied by homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. We were big fans of the chocolate truffle lollipops with honey centres, especially as the honey was made from beehives on the roof of the hotel itself!

Review by: Georgie Kiely, digital assistant.


The Bingham, Richmond-on-Thames

The Bingham afternoon tea

At a glance:
Price… £25 per person, £36 with Champagne
Best for… Traditionalists, elegant indulgence and arguably the best view in London.
Star turns… Secret recipe scones and chocolate and passion fruit meringue cones.
Contact details… 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond-on-Thames, TW10 6UT, thebingham.co.uk.

The full lowdown:
If, like us, you visit the Bingham Hotel on a sunny day, we recommend choosing the riverside balcony over the lounge bar  the view of the Thames is second to none. Classic Darjeeling and organic rosebud tea arrived swiftly, delicately infused in a clear teapot that was replenished at any sign of dwindling heat or supply. When our classic three tiers of treats arrived, the first floor presented classic crust-less slices with traditional fillings of salmon, ham, cheese and cucumber. Stepping up to tier two, the fruit scones were among the best we’ve ever tasted and were so light they could be gently persuaded apart with our hands. The pièce de résistance was the top layer, a veritable array of colour and perfection, from an accomplished coffee mousse tart to the moreish millefeuille and skilful passionfruit cone. We devoured everything, and were given extra to take home – we can’t wait to visit again!

Review by: Roxanne Fisher, editor bbcgoodfood.com.


Sketch, London

Sketch afternoon tea

At a glance:
Price... £45 per person, £57 with Champagne. 
Best for... Art and design lovers and chintz-phobes. 
Star turns... Comté cheese panini fingers, chocolate & mint gâteau, pistachio choux buns.
Contact details... Sketch, 9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG, sketch.london.

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The full lowdown: 
No rundown of afternoon tea is complete without a mention of the much-Instagrammed Sketch. The Mayfair restaurant’s unique selling point is its breath-taking décor; Martin Creed's velvet scalloped seating, low lighting and bronze back bar give the whole room a cushiony, soft-focus, marshmallowy feel. This combined with the warm service means it’s a good afternoon tea for people who loathe 'yes-m’lady' butler-style service. That’s not to say it’s not a glitzy affair. Champagne is served in chic coupes and the Anglo-French menu of classic English dishes – cucumber sandwiches, the fluffiest warm scones – with patisserie finery. The bottom tier of sandwiches is replenishable – we duly reordered the show-stealing toasted Comté finger – but by the time we’d ascended the stand and reached the cheesecake summit we had to throw in the napkin, in the throws of a sugar rush and dizzy from the heady mix of Assam tea and exclusive-to-Sketch pink champagne. All told, this is an immersive, sleek afternoon tea experience that strikes the perfect balance between high-end fanciness and warmingly comfortable dining.

Review by: Natalie Hardwick, features editor


The Savoy, London

The Savoy

At a glance:
Price…£52.50. Champagne pairings are also available for an extra charge.
Best for… Experiencing a great British tradition in all its grandeur in a world-famous setting.
Star turns…Strawberry and vanilla cream macaron, chocolate, passion fruit & mango éclair and lemon meringue & white chocolate domes.   
Contact details…The Savoy, Thames Foyer Afternoon tea, Strand, London, WC2R 0EU, fairmont.com/savoy-london

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The full lowdown:
When it comes to timeless elegance, the Savoy knows how to do it right. The selection of teas on offer is vast; we opted for the Savoy blend, which was pleasantly bitter and smoky. Classic sandwich fillings, including ham and mustard, egg mayonnaise and Coronation chicken, are served in fresh, soft bread, and are replenishable - but there’s lots more food to come! The oven-fresh scones were exceptional, and the buttery, sharp lemon curd served alongside was exquisite. The third course was a selection of French patisserie served tableside on a silver platter. You’re welcomed to try one or all five of the selection – which of course we did. The final course was a wedge of Thames Foyer signature cake – flourless chocolate or Victoria sponge. If you manage this, on top of the previous three courses, I salute you. To say this tea is generous is an exaggeration, but I can think of no better way to while away an afternoon.

Review by: Cassie Best, senior food editor


Fortnum & Mason, London

Fortnums

At a glance:
Price... £44-50 per person depending on tea selection. 
Best for... Traditionalists and lovers of classic, charming service. 
Star turns... Lobster scone with brandy cream cheese and caviar, brown crab muffin, coconut & passion fruit macaroon.
Contact details... Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER, fortnumandmason.com.

View the menu

The full lowdown: 
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon has to be one of the top locations for a classic afternoon tea. Service is seamless without being stuffy, and we found the waiting staff charming, relaxed and exceptionally well informed - but with 92 teas on offer they need to know their stuff. The sweet patisserie treats are an art form in their own right, and the lobster scone with cream cheese and caviar topping makes the savoury selection a must-try, especially if you're sharing. Fortnum & Mason is a classic afternoon tea experience, although what's on offer is subtly inventive. The care that goes into every aspect of the creation and presentation of the dishes, as well as the knowledge and charm of the staff, are what make this a truly special experience. 

Review by: Lily Barclay, family editor.


Bettys, various locations in Yorkshire

Bettys afternoon tea

At a glance:
Price... £18.95 per person
Best for... Experiencing a true northern institution and slice of local history.
Star turns... Gateau l'opera and Bettys' trademark Fat Rascal fruit scone.
Contact details... Bettys, various locations in Yorkshire, bettys.co.uk.

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The full lowdown: 
Tea at Bettys is an institution that’s become synonymous with the spa town of Harrogate. Steeped in tradition, Bettys, which now spans six sites, a cookery school, an extensive food range and online shop, is still a family run business. Be prepared to queue as they don’t take bookings for tea but the experience is worth the wait. Everything is present and correct, nothing overtly grandeur or contemporary, this is all about being comforted by classics done as well as possible with a dusting of nostalgia. Not too posh for kids but smart enough for a special occasion, Bettys manages to feel special without being formal. It's an ideal choice for Mother’s Day or a child experiencing their first formal tea. 

Review by: Barney Desmazery, food editor at large

More reviews coming soon... 

Our afternoon tea listing is an ever-evolving beast! While our team is out and about taste-testing, please send your suggestions either in the comments below or to goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

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Comments (21)

middy346's picture

'Oh Me Oh My' in Liverpool is excellent. A wide variety of unlimited teas and beautiful sandwiches and cakes.
They also do an equally lovely Gluten Free Afternoon Tea.

Samantha G's picture

I would recommend Amberley Castle in Sussex. Lovely food, friendly staff and held in a quiet, intimate room in a castle.

lizedmundson's picture

Try Wynyard Hall in County Durham for afternoon tea, if it hasn't already been suggested.

Lisa88mph's picture

Coombe Abbey Hotel in Warwickshire. They have an 'Abbot's Afternoon Tea' which is more traditional and a 'Knight's Afternoon Tea' which is a gentlemans or more savoury tea served on mini picnic benches! Devine!!

CJW's picture

The Angel, Abergavenny is well worth an afternoon of anyone's time.

cathskitchen's picture

London is not the UK! It does have some lovely pllaces for afternoon tea but what about the rest of the country ?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hey. We understand completely - the list is a work in progress but at the moment it features a disproportionate amount of afternoon teas in London. This is why we're asking for suggestions, which we'll add to the list over time. We're a London-based team made up of people from around the whole country and would never want to neglect the rest of the UK! Please check back as we have a Manchester tea coming up shortly, and there'll be many more to follow. Thanks, the Good Food team. 

shaz_howie's picture

Margo's in Gorleston Norfolk is pretty wicked. 1970's setting, standard lamps, and g-plan furniture, and live 70's LPs. Great afternoon tea, lots of tea or coffee, cakes, scones, cream and sandwiches. Oh and their lemon posset is to die for. Not everybody's 'cup of tea'! Perhaps, but it one of my favourite places for a coffee. Afternoon tea is approx £12 per person, we came out stuffed.

sarahofoxford's picture

Believe or not there is a whole country out there beyond London..... I can't believe this list is so London centric - but glad you are looking for suggestions of other places you could go! Our favourite for a treat is the Lords of the Manor, in Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds.

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for your suggestions Sarah – we are working hard to feature as many afternoon teas as possible and we want our list to be represenative of the whole of the UK. Please keep checking back as it's growing all the time. Thanks, the Good Food team

Sophieshand's picture

Mama Doreen's in Harrogate is the best x

caw100's picture

Very disappointed in this list BBCGoodFood. Apart from Betty's all the other establishments are London!

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. We're adding to the list all the time – it's by no means complete and we aim to cover as much of the UK as possible. Sorry to hear you're disappointed, but if you check back regularly you'll find updates. Please send us any suggestions you may have too. Thanks, the Good Food team. 

lynn1952's picture

Pity this guy doesn't venture out of London.
What about the real people in the country?
i.e. The vast majority of the population that pay his wages.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Lynn. We appreciate what you're saying. Our list is growing all the time, which is why we're asking for suggestions from our users so we can feature teas from around the whole country. We're a London-based team, which is why the list features lots of teas from the capital at the moment, but this will change – we'd never, ever want to neglect the rest of the UK. Please keep checking back, and we'd very much like to hear any ideas you might have. Thanks so much, the Good Food team. 

crolkuk's picture

Beckworth's Emporium near Sywell in Northamptonshire. Very imaginative and consistently good

_frogger_'s picture

The richmond tea rooms in Manchester

tomn22's picture

Dolls house in Harrow-on-the-hill!

hurra03's picture

Botham's in Whitby. A cold blustery day improved ten-fold by a traditional high-tea.

jaynekeeley's picture

The Castle Cottage Cafe/Tea Room in Oakham, Rutland is just wonderful. A pretty courtyard garden, complete with tiny summerhouse, perfect finger sandwiches and delicious cakes and scones.

http://www.castlecottagecafe.co.uk/gallery/

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philpye's picture

I also have to say that one establishment outside of London doesn't truly reflect the UK; please check out the Comfy Duck at the Oaklands Hall Hotel in Laceby nr Grimsby. It is £14.95 per head or 'two for one' if you are a member of their VIP club, and the food is excellent; particularly watch their Summer Afternoon Tea video on Youtube. I once watched a 30 minute BBC documentary about afternoon tea at the Sharrow Bay Hotel in Cumbria, when it was run by Francis Coulson, never seen a documentary about afternoon tea in London.