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.

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Where to go for afternoon tea in London

Dominique Ansel afternoon tea stand with cakes and open sandwiches

Dominique Ansel floral afternoon tea 

At a glance...
Price: £42 per person / £55 with a glass of fizz 
Best for: non-traditionalists and flower fans
Contact details: Dominique Ansel Bakery London, 17-21 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP

View the menu

Renowned pastry chef Dominique Ansel shot to fame after inventing croissant-doughnut hybrid the cronut at his New York bakery. His London branch, not far from Victoria station, sells sweet and savoury treats including, of course, the cronut, but the afternoon tea is something really special. Served in a beautiful flower-filled garden, the tea has a theme to match, with a menu that traces the path of a flower from seed to full bloom. The ‘seed’ element cleverly features earthy wild mushrooms with confit garlic in a squid ink choux bun, and fresher-tasting savoury dishes include the standout ‘young leaf’ bun filled with smoked salmon, yuzu & dill cream cheese, and Japanese cucumber. But it’s the next course where the magic really happens. A basket of warm, golden scones comes with strawberries made from carefully shaped and decorated white chocolate, which are filled with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. Squash one onto your scone and the chocolate melts to leave a sweet, jammy, creamy concoction that perfectly complements the slightly salty scones. The next course continues to wow, with an impressive range of delicious, intricately designed sweets, including a brown butter financier with strawberry jam, rose ganache and rose petals, and a stunning lavender meringue with coconut ganache, passionfruit gelle and white chocolate petals. To wash it all down, the house blend's delicate floral taste pairs with the food perfectly – and for a little extra, you can have a glass of fizz too. 

Momo afternoon tea on stand

Momo afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: from £32 per person / £42 with a glass of champagne 
Best for: relaxing atmosphere and new flavours 
Contact details: Momo, 23-25 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BH 

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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.

Cafe royal traditional afternoon tea

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

View the menu

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

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

View the menu 

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.

 

Fortnums

Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: from £55 to £58 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

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 

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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. 

 


The Langham afternoon tea

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

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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 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

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

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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 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.

 

Charlie afternoon tea

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

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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 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.

Shangri La Hotel afternoon tea spread

Ting at the Shangri-La Hotel afternoon tea

At a glance
Price: from £52 per person / £62 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

View the menu
 
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

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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 the menus change seasonally.

Royal Garden Hotel afternoon tea laid out on a table

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
 
Learn more

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.  

 

Festive afternoon tea

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 

View the menu

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.

 

The Lancaster afternoon tea

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

View the menu

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

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

View the menu

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.
 

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of July 2019 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. Our team attended these establishments as guests. 

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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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