Best afternoon teas in London

We're compiling a list of our very favourite tea rooms in the capital, from classic experiences to innovative spreads. Help us out with your suggestions...

Where to go for afternoon tea in London

The Dorchester afternoon tea (Mayfair)

At a glance...
Price:
 From £60 per person / £70 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne
Best for: Stunning surroundings and excellent service, perfect for special occasions
Contact details: The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, London W1K 1QA

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If you're looking for an iconic afternoon tea for a memorable celebration, The Dorchester won’t disappoint. Known as ‘the drawing room of Mayfair’, the luxurious marbled lobby with impressive flower displays and live classical piano music is the perfect place for people watching. The service is warm, attentive and discreet, and the waiters are incredibly knowledgeable about all of the 30 teas on offer. Try the Dorchester seasonal flower tea, created to complement the hotel's floral displays. The patisserie selection changes seasonally and the combination of flavours on offer is clearly taken very seriously – we fell in love with the strawberry and champagne tart and raspberry lychee rose mousse. The quality of the ingredients is evident in everything that's served, and even the finger sandwiches look like a work of art, sprinkled with edible flowers. Both the sandwiches and cakes will be replenished as much as you like and the original servings are more than generous. You’re bound to leave full and very, very happy.


Flemings afternoon tea (Mayfair)

Flemings

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

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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. The menu changes by season – for us it started with classic sandwich fillings including ham & mustard and egg mayonnaise, held in neat fingers of soft white and nutty wholemeal bread, then 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 (Piccadilly)

Fortnums

At a glance...
Price: From £49 to £53 per person, depending on tea selection 
Best for: Traditionalists and lovers of classic, charming service 
Contact details: Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER

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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 (Belgravia)

The Goring afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: From £49 per person / £59 with a glass of Bollinger champagne
Best for: Sumptuous surroundings and attentive service
Contact details: The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW 

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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. 


Hotel Café Royal afternoon tea in partnership with Diptyque (Soho)

Hotel Cafe Royal
At a glance...
Price: From £45 for afternoon tea / £55 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne / £60 with a Diptyque candle to take home / £70 with a Diptyque candle and a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne
Best for: Celebrations, birthdays or Mother’s Day
Contact details: Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, London W1B 5AB

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For a classic afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings, the Hotel Café Royal is sure to impress. Take a seat in the dramatic Oscar Wilde Lounge, a gilded room dating back to 1865 which has played host to a number of legendary names throughout the years, from the eponymous Wilde to David Bowie. Opulence is central not only to the décor but also to the menu itself, inspired by French perfumer Diptyque – floral flavours are the real star of the show, particularly when it comes to the patisserie offering. We started with a miniature savoury muffin as an amuse-bouche, before moving onto the sandwich selection – a classic medley of cucumber and cream cheese, egg and tarragon mayonnaise, honey roast ham, smoked salmon and coronation chicken. The scones were warm and fresh, and served with generous helpings of clotted cream and jam. It was the final sweet selection that was the real showstopper – we loved the rose-infused choux pastry and the orange blossom cake. Throughout, our knowledgeable server recommended tea pairings from the extensive list to complement the menu – we tried the refreshing green tea ‘Jade Tips’ and the rich ‘Celestine’, a black tea blended with vanilla pods and roasted cocoa nibs for a real depth of flavour.


The Langham afternoon tea with Wedgwood (Marylebone)

The Langham afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: From £55 per person / £74 with a glass of Perrier-Jouët champagne
Best for: Tourists
Contact details: The Langham, 1c Portland Place, London W1B 1JA

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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 really interesting and worked well; 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 (Covent Garden)

Mr Fogg's

At a glance...
Price: From £40 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

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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 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, 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 and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea (Covent Garden)

Charlie afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: From £45 per person / £56 with a glass of Lallier Grande Réserve champagne or a Cocktail Charlie
Best for: A whimsical treat for both big and little kids 
Contact details: One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ

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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, 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 OK, not as light and buttery as we were hoping for, but as a vehicle for the lemon curd, blackberry jam and clotted cream they were served with, they did the job. Everyone around the room was busily snapping photos of their sweets display, and when ours arrived, we could see why. It’s a sweet tooth’s dream: rainbow layers of bubblegum-flavoured panna cotta, candy floss (guess the mystery flavour) 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. A special afternoon which 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.


Oxo Tower not afternoon tea (South Bank)

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, Barge House Street, London SE1 9PH

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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 other seasonal menus include summer berries, ice cream and chocolate.


The Rosebery Lounge at Mandarin Oriental (Knightsbridge)

Festive afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: From £56 for a seasonal offering to £75 for a sake afternoon tea
Best for: Special occasions and dessert gourmands
Contact details: The Rosebery Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA *PLEASE NOTE: The Mandarin Oriental is closed until further notice following a fire in June 2018*

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If you want to feel like you’ve stepped into movie-land London, a trip to Knightsbridge and the acclaimed Mandarin Oriental is one for your bucket list. The Rosebery Lounge is accessed by ascending the hotel’s grand staircase into awaiting luxury, where the service is super-sleek yet never stuffy. 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 other evergreen offerings of sake, beer and the classic afternoon feasts. Our first bites came from six mini sandwiches, and as soon as we started eating we realised why the portions were controlled. Delectable fillings (egg and black truffle, lemon bread with Portland crab and short rib beef 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 Thieblemont’s perfect pastry creations like greedy birds. We managed to sample everything, from the chocolate delicacies and cakes with 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. Completed by the fizz of pink champagne and cups of smooth green tea – never empty, thanks to attentive yet never invasive service – this was an afternoon to remember.


Royal Lancaster London afternoon tea (Hyde Park)

The Lancaster 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

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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 and hummus 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. 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 (Covent Garden)

The Savoy

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 0EU

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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 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. To say this tea is generous is an exaggeration, but we can think of no better way to while away an afternoon.
 

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of August 2018 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 goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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What's your favourite afternoon tea in London? Leave a comment below...
 

Comments, questions and tips

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goosegirl123's picture
goosegirl123
29th Jun, 2018
We like the Wolsley because the vegetarian sandwiches are lovely. We don't have much of a sweet tooth so rarely finish the cakes etc. Beautiful teapots at the Wolsley too.
EdeG
17th Aug, 2018
Do you know of any establishments who offer a gluten free high tea?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
19th Aug, 2018
Thanks for your question. How about this one? https://london.b-bakery.com/afternoon-tea-london/gluten-free-afternoon-tea-london/
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