All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of March 2020 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team attended these establishments as guests.
Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the country they are travelling to.
Where to go for afternoon tea in London
Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maître Choux
At a glance…
Price: £84 tasting menu for two people
Best for: indulgent special occasions
Contact details: Maître Choux, 60 Dean St, London W1D 6AW
Attention pastry lovers – this afternoon tea is for you. Maître Choux is the epicentre of all things sweet, offering an alternative to the traditional sandwiches. Imagine tiers upon tiers of choux pastry, The Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea is a glorious celebration of French patisserie. Three Michelin star-experienced chef Joakim Prat has created a two-person tasting menu, including a selection of chouquettes, éclairs and choux buns, with a hot drink and a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée and Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé each. We enjoyed the chouquettes – light as air choux buns which break up the more decadent treats. We also sampled the raspberry choux, filled to the brim with vanilla cream and tart raspberry purée. Our favourite éclairs included the Paris-brest, filled with nougatine, praline, hazelnut, whipped cream and topped off with caramelised almonds. But the stand-out was the very dark multi-origin chocolate éclair, filled with a super-rich chocolate cream. With a bright, airy interior and pastel trimmings, Maître Choux is a glamourous setting to experience the ultimate indulgence. Other services include smaller pairings with a variety of pricing options.
At a glance…
Price: £52 per person/£68 with a glass of champagne
Best for: whimsical bites and literary luxury
Contact details: Aqua Shard, The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London, SE1 9RY
Get transported to Neverland with magical views, as if you’re Peter Pan flying over the rooftops of London. Children and adults alike will love the nostalgic treats and artistic touches included in this afternoon tea. From the custom crafted ship that holds the food, to the story behind each component (the cod brandade is in the shape of a hook, as Peter calls him a ‘codfish’, for example), everything is meticulously designed and pure magic. Choose from either ‘darling tea’, which has delicious floral notes, or ‘adventure tea’, made from black tea with citrus, mango and ginger. The perfectly cut sandwiches are light, soft and fluffy, with flavoursome fillings of chicken, bacon and mustard, along with the standout truffle egg mayo (more vegetarian options are available). Your next course, after a fresh round of specially designed plates with Peter Pan characters on them, are freshly baked scones served with delicious apple jam and coconut clotted cream. The magic continues into the desserts. The ‘Peter’s secret never tree entrance’ is particularly noteworthy – a soft chocolate sponge with chocolate mousse, ganache and raspberry jam. Like the waitress spraying the Tinkerbell biscuit with edible gold glitter, the thought behind each element brought so much joy. From start to finish, this afternoon tea is a display of enchanting storybook delicacies in a stunning, picturesque setting.
Momo afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £34 per person / £44 with a glass of champagne
Best for: relaxing atmosphere and new flavours
Contact details: Momo, 23-25 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BH
The North African-inspired afternoon tea menu at Momo offers a unique take on the tradition. The restaurant’s newly extended terrace is decked out in mimosa plants, traditional rattan furniture and Moorish lanterns, and the food fuses classic favourites with North African flavours. Savouries include lemon grill chicken, cucumber with labneh & mint and Tunisian fricassée with egg and tuna – but our favourite was the halloumi croque with tomato and basil. The sweet selection features muhalabiya – a Middle Eastern milk pudding flavoured with strawberries and rosewater – lemon tartlettes, and stunning chocolate & chilli choux pastries. Plus, you don’t want to miss the date scones with quince & prickly pear jam and clotted cream. The final course is truly indulgent, and includes a layered caramel cake and a rhubarb & basil cheesecake. But the true star of the show is the fresh Moroccan mint tea – varieties include fragrant cardamom, saffron, rosewater and more. The service is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Momo is the perfect place to sink into a gorgeous sofa and unwind.
Hotel Café Royal afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £55 per person / £65 with a glass of Veuve Cliquot brut champagne
Best for: historic surroundings and excellent service, ideal for special occasions
Contact details: Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, London W1B 4DY
Offering a luxury afternoon tea experience in stunning surroundings, Hotel Café Royal will be one to remember. Tea is served in a gilded mirrored tea room dating back to 1865, set to the sound of a live pianist, with a choice of more than 25 tea infusions and three champagnes. The menu is a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth and features some of her favourite flavours and techniques fashionable during her reign, plus a tea blend created especially for the occasion. Each element of the tea has its own story, told by the waiter as it arrives at your table, and it’s evident a lot of time and love has gone into the creation of the menu. Our savoury standout was the ham hock galantine with pistachios and truffles, with the cheshire cheese and asparagus tart in close second. In the patisserie section, we particularly loved the vanilla blancmange with apricot glaze and Brussel biscuit. There were extra sandwiches and cakes on offer, and we were encouraged to change from a black tea to a lighter infusion after we finished our savouries. We were also encouraged to take away our leftovers, which arrived boxed with a giant jammy dodger – apparently Queen Victoria’s favourite biscuit!
Flemings afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £34.50 per person / £48 with a glass of Devaux champagne
Best for: treating mum or catching up with friends
Contact details: Flemings Hotel, 7-12 Half Moon Street , London W1J 7BH
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. The menu is seasonal – for us, it started with classic sandwich fillings including ham & mustard and egg mayonnaise in neat fingers of soft white and nutty wholemeal bread, followed by two dainty, warm scones with large portions of strawberry jam and thick clotted cream. The generous offering of four cakes per person was visually striking. We began with the Black Forest choux buns followed by chocolate and coffee gateau opera. Sated, we admitted defeat and asked for a doggy bag for the chocolate orange sphere and strawberry macaron tower. Generous staff, to-die-for patisserie and supremely scoffable sarnies in an intimate and stylish setting – Flemings gets big ticks all round.
Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £60 per person
Best for: traditionalists and lovers of classic, charming service
Contact details: Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason 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 – 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 with an ever-evolving menu that’s 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, make this a truly special experience.
The Goring afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £50 per person / £62 with a glass of Bollinger champagne
Best for: sumptuous surroundings and attentive service
Contact details: The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW
For anyone in search of a quintessentially traditional English afternoon tea, The Goring tops the list. Aside from the replenishable plates of fresh sandwiches, light scones and perfectly presented patisserie, the true standout feature is without a doubt the service. You won’t have to lift a finger in your opulent surroundings, not even to pour yourself a cup of The Goring’s very own blend. We certainly felt like ladies of leisure on our visit. The heavily draped lounge could easily feel oppressive, but there’s a relaxed atmosphere and a nice buzz without being intrusive. Between sips of Earl Grey and chunks of bite-sized scones with dollops of homemade raspberry jam, take a moment to spot the sheep secreted in the room (the iconic symbol of The Goring). The crowning glory of the tea is undoubtedly the pastry plate – delicate macarons, squidgy cakes and light choux bites are on offer for hungry patrons. Save some space, as you’ll be wanting to replenish this selection to your heart’s content.
The Langham afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £62 per person / £74 with a glass of Perrier-Jouët champagne
Best for: tourists
Contact details: The Langham, 1c Portland Place, London W1B 1JA
Just off Regent Street, the Langham has been serving afternoon tea since 1865. After our tea sommelier guided us through the menu, 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 options explained in depth. 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. The yuzu chocolate log was interesting and worked well, and everything else was very classic, refined and executed perfectly. It’s worth noting the menu uses seasonal ingredients and changes regularly.
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour G&Tea afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £44 per person with a gin teapot to share between two
Best for: mad hatters and gin lovers
Contact details: Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour, 1 New Row, London WC2N 4EA
The aptly named ‘G&Tea’ at Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour boasts an impressive list of pun-tastic champagne and gin cocktails, each infused with a specially selected tea. The list changes regularly; on our visit 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 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, this 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.
One Aldwych Charlie & the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £45 per person / £56 with a glass of Lallier Grande Réserve champagne or a cocktail
Best for: a whimsical treat for both big and little kids
Contact details: One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych starts with a magical opener – a chocolate, whisky & cherry cocktail complete with dry ice smoke and poured from a glass teapot. There’s also a non-alcoholic version so everyone can enjoy the drama. We opted for the chocolate tea (it seemed only right) which had a delicious cocoa aroma. Three finger sandwiches, a savoury scone served with bacon jam, and a warm quiche went down nicely alongside our drinks. The attentive staff offered to refill the savoury plate, but we were saving space for the main event.
Scones arrived in baskets; they were okay, but not as light and buttery as we had hoped. However, as a vehicle for lemon curd, blackberry jam and clotted cream, they did the job. Everyone around the room was busily snapping photos of their sweets displays, and when ours arrived, we could see why. It’s a sweet tooth’s dream: rainbow layers of bubblegum-flavoured panna cotta, mysteriously flavoured candy floss and honeycomb cake pops take centre stage, but our favourite was a chocolate egg filled with vanilla cheesecake and fruit purée. A bottle of chocolate milk washes it all down. This makes for a special afternoon that kids will remember forever, or an excuse not to act your age – whatever your reason for visiting, it’s a sweet treat not to be missed.
Ting at the Shangri-La Hotel afternoon tea
At a glance
Price: from £59 per person / £69 with a cocktail or mocktail
Best for: wonderful views, tourists, treat for friends
Contact details: Ting, Level 35, Shangri-La Hotel, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU
We visited Ting in the run up to the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby, so the theme was Royal High Tea. The team of thoughtful pastry chefs created recipes using their mother’s and grandmother’s recipes, with some humorous nods to the guessing of the gender of the royal baby – such as pink and blue cocktails and cakes and little pram-shaped sandwich biscuits. This theme ran until 31 May 2019, when it changed over to a summer theme.
The themes here are taken very seriously, and there is excellent attention to detail, but never at the expense of flavour. The selection of cakes we tried were beautifully balanced in terms of sweetness, sharpness and richness (which made it even easier to try the whole range!). This is a generous afternoon tea and the waiting staff were extremely knowledgeable about their extensive list of teas on offer. Some could even predict instinctively which ones we would enjoy – with great success! Go for the views, stay for the scones.
Oxo Tower not afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £22 per person including a bespoke cocktail / £33 with a bespoke cocktail and a glass of champagne
Best for: booze lovers
Contact details: Oxo Tower, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH
If you’re looking for something to finish off an afternoon stroll on the South Bank or to perk you up post-lunch, the Oxo Tower’s ‘not afternoon tea’ menu 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 tried the rhubarb menu, which comes with a variety of crunchy meringue, punchy ginger and creamy cheesecake accompaniments, but the menus change seasonally.
Wizard afternoon tea at Georgian House Hotel
At a glance…
Price: £30 per person
Best for: A family treat or fans of Halloween
Contact details: Georgian House hotel, Pimlico, London SW1.
This fun and imaginative afternoon tea is one that’ll delight kids and adults alike, upon entering the smart Georgian house hotel you’ll be led to the basement where your spooky afternoon tea awaits. Expect plenty of surprises with overflowing cauldrons, salmon sandwiches served from a smoking box, bubbling cocktails and mocktails and golden chocolate wizard hats. The afternoon tea is served in a gothic looking bird cage and is a very generous affair with a variety of delicate savoury treats from tiny tarts to a selection of open and closed sandwiches. Freshly baked eye of newt scones are served with curdled cream and crushed strawberries after which a fresh bird cage is brought out with an abundance of sweet treats, a favourite had to be the web topped passion fruit jelly which almost looked too good to eat. The staff were attentive, relaxed and fun and there’s plenty of quirky decorations and spooky music for an authentically ghostly experience. There is also the option of a vegan version as well as bottomless prosecco for an extra £20.
Royal Garden Hotel afternoon tea
At a glance
Price: £38 per person / £48 with a cocktail or champagne
Best for: a royal reception with top tipples
Contact details: Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, London W8 4PT
The Royal Garden hotel is a stone’s throw from Kensington Palace, the perfect setting for an afternoon tea fit for a queen. This monarch-modelled spread is a balance of tried-and-true Victorian favourites, such as bites of bread and butter pudding and extravagant opera cakes with rich chocolate ganache. Choose your tea from the extensive array on offer, then sit back, relax and indulge.
You’ll sample an umami cup of beef tea to whet your appetite. It pairs beautifully with the boozy Queen Victoria tipple. This surprising mix of sweet whisky and bold merlot is deliciously fruity, and is one for sipping between bites of patisserie. The savoury plate is full of rich and delicate flavours, from the punchy seasonal game tart to the elegant smoked salmon & whisky cream sandwich. Then, cleanse your palate with a selection of Victoria’s favourite fruits. Plus, learn some historical titbits while you enjoy scones slathered in mixed berry jam – did you know Queen Victoria was a whisky fan? Or that she was partial to a chicken curry for Sunday lunch? Take your time and enjoy a sovereign supper at leisure.
The Rosebery Lounge at Mandarin Oriental afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: £56 per person for traditional afternoon tea / £75 for sake afternoon tea
Best for: special occasions and dessert gourmands
Contact details: The Rosebery Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
If you want to feel like you’ve stepped into a film, a trip to Knightsbridge and the acclaimed Mandarin Oriental is one for your bucket list. The Rosebery Lounge, where the service is sleek yet never stuffy, is accessed via the hotel’s grand staircase. On our visit in December, we warmed ourselves in front of an open fire and chose the festive afternoon tea, although we were more than tempted by the evergreen teas, including sake and beer.
Our first bites were six mini sandwiches, and as soon as we started eating we realised why the portions were controlled. Delectable fillings (egg & black truffle, lemon bread with Portland crab, and short rib beef were among our favourites) were small but mighty, with rich, satisfying and complex flavours. Round two’s tiered tower was hung from a beautifully designed metal tree stand, from which we could peck at Paul Thiéblemont’s perfect pastry creations. We managed to sample everything, from the chocolate delicacies and cakes given a festive spin (Santa’s hat, caramel & chocolate log, festive Battenberg) to the light and fluffy scones complete with homemade lemon curd and rose petal jelly. With pink champagne and cups of smooth green tea – which were never empty, thanks to attentive but never invasive service – this was an afternoon to remember.
Royal Lancaster London afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £35 per person / £45 with a glass of Moët & Chandon brut champagne
Best for: a couple’s day out
Contact details: Royal Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY
If you’re looking for a traditional afternoon tea in luxe surroundings with unexpected homemade goodies thrown in, the Royal Lancaster London 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, and we were presented with a separate plate of sandwiches for our vegetarian guest, including more adventurous alternatives such as piquillo red pepper & hummus to accompany the traditional cucumber & 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 with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. The menu changes seasonally – on our visit, 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.
The Savoy afternoon tea
At a glance…
Price: from £65 per person / £75 with a glass of Louis Roederer champagne
Best for: traditional grandeur in a world-famous setting
Contact details: The Savoy, The Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
When it comes to timeless elegance, The Savoy knows how to do it right. The selection of teas on offer in the glass-domed Thames Foyer is vast; we opted for The Savoy blend, which was pleasantly bitter and smoky. Classic sandwich fillings, including ham & mustard, egg mayonnaise and coronation chicken, are served in fresh, soft bread, and are replenishable, but there’s plenty of other bites to enjoy. 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, which of course we did. To say this tea is generous is an exaggeration, but we can think of no better way to while away an afternoon.
Afternoon tea recipes, tips and advice
What’s your favourite afternoon tea in London? Leave a comment below…