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The Ritz Palm Court

Best afternoon teas in London

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Published: November 19, 2021 at 11:00 am
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Celebrating a special occasion? See our afternoon tea reviews including classic establishments like The Ritz, Fortnum & Mason, The Savoy and more.

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of November 2021 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 If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide, please email us at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.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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Treat yourself and a loved one to special afternoon tea in the capital city with our top afternoon tea in London recommendations. Find everything from classic British menus to more unique options and servings for kids. There's no better way to celebrate a birthday, holiday or special occasion.

We've carefully reviewed a selection of offerings around London and considered the price against the service, quality of food and drink and atmosphere. Especially for Christmas, we've added the best festive afternoon teas and limited menus for extra special Christmas experiences.

Discover even more teas with the best afternoon teas in the UK for cities around England and Wales. For more travel ideas, see the best luxury family hotels in the UK. To make your own dishes at home, see our afternoon tea recipes for all things scones and sandwiches.

Best afternoon teas in London

Christmas afternoon teas in London

21.10.15_Pan_Pacific_Festive_Menu_0828 (6)

Pan Pacific London Festive & Kopi Tiam afternoon tea

At a glance…
Price: £72 per person, £82 per person with sparkling wine, £114 with champagne
Best for: afternoon tea with a Singapore twist
Contact details: Pan Pacific London, 80 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7AB

View the menu

At Pan Pacific London you can find both a traditional festive afternoon tea menu and the Kopi Tiam afternoon tea, a Singapore-inspired version reflecting traditional Singaporean dishes. If visiting as a two, we’d recommend opting for one of each so that you can try the most dishes and experience a top-quality classic afternoon tea, as well as a unique Asian version you won’t find elsewhere. The teas both share the same final festive patisserie course, but have different savouries and extras in the middle. The setting in the Orchid Lounge in the lobby of the hotel is plush and serene, an oasis from the bustling city outside. The service is impeccable and friendly, delivering each item with a flourish while talking you through every course and the story behind each item.

The savouries had some standout hits and a couple of misses on both menus – although not entirely convinced by the cold dim sum of the Kopi Tiam tea, the char siu sou (a BBQ pork pastry) was crisp and moreish. The ‘Taste of Umami’ was an unexpected highlight of the Kopi Team tea: a buttery sesame shortbread sandwiched with soy caramel for a winning combination of nutty, sweet and savoury in one delicate mouthful. On the traditional afternoon tea, a flaky turkey sausage roll was a perfectly executed nod to Christmas, and a tiny gingerbread hot chocolate was silky smooth. Both menus come with scones and clotted cream – the traditional with a cranberry scone and jam, the Kopi Tiam with a matcha scone and intensely coconutty kaya jam.

As well as the classic three-course afternoon tea (savouries, scones, patisserie), there are extras tucked within the experience – we won’t spoil the surprise of the intriguing amuse-bouche illusion that kicks it all off. The final course of the patisserie is where the tea comes into its own, with four stunningly intricate creations. From a pistachio Christmas tree to a decadent chocolate bauble, it’s the perfect end to a luxurious experience. Our favourite was the ‘Gift from Santa’ with a refreshing creamy clementine mousse. Overall, a unique and luxurious afternoon tea experience to try something new this Christmas.

Classic afternoon teas in London

The Ritz afternoon tea

The Ritz afternoon tea

At a glance…
Price: £60 per person/ £81 with glass of Barons de Rothschild Champagne
Best for: timeless luxury
Contact details: The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR

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Afternoon tea at The Ritz is one of the most timeless experiences in London for a reason. Attention to detail and fantastic service make this afternoon tea well worth the splurge. Step into the glamorous Palm Court salon with mirrored surfaces, gold detailing and leafy palms. The luxurious atmosphere is complete with a live pianist and harpist. The food is traditional with classic British flavours and generous servings; savoury sandwiches include Scottish smoked salmon, chicken with tarragon creamed mayonnaise, cheddar cheese with chutney, and more. Fresh plain and fruit scones come with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and the pastries and cakes, which are the real stars of the show, have delicate details and stunning finishes. We enjoyed a selection of light choux buns, tart raspberry pastries and creamy lemon mousses. There are 18 luxury teas to choose from, including everything from passion fruit and orange to chocolate mint rooibos and more. We chose the classic Ritz Royal English - a breakfast tea with a blend of Golden Kenyan, Assam and Orange Pekoe. Consider upgrading with a glass of champagne for £21 for a well balanced Barons de Rothschild, 'Réserve Ritz', Brut NV. Overall, the service is a fantastic option for a special occasion with friendly and attentive staff and a gorgeous ambiance.

Afternoon tea with champagne

Peter Pan afternoon tea at Aqua Shard

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.

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

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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 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.

Sweetshop afternoon tea

Sweetshop afternoon tea at Chesterfield Hotel

At a glance…
Price: from £47 per person/ £54 with glass of Lanson Champagne/ £31 per child
Best for: a family day out
Contact details: The Chesterfield Hotel, Mayfair, London W1J 5EB

View the menu

If you’re looking for a magical afternoon tea for a special occasion that will inspire the imagination and excite the palate of both adults and children, then the Chesterfield is for you. Set in a grand, Georgian hotel on a smart Mayfair street, the service is exceptional from the moment you step into their large marble hallway. Once you’re seated and have been talked through the extensive range of teas, your experience will start with a dramatic smoking pink lemonade topped with a flying saucer, you’ll then move onto a selection of beautifully presented finger sandwiches, our favourites were the Scottish smoked salmon with chive cream cheese and roast chicken with mustard mayonnaise and nibbed almonds.

Accompanying the sandwiches are endless fluffy scones, Drumstick macaroons, strawberry liquorice allsorts cheesecake, blue raspberry & bubblegum Battenberg, giant jazzie lollipops, coca cola slice and a decadent take on a Reece’s peanut butter cup. When it’s time to leave you’ll be escorted to a traditional sweet shop stand where you can select a bag of your favourite pick and mix sweets to take home, any treats you couldn’t quite finish will be beautifully boxed up for you to take away too.

Cafe royal traditional afternoon tea

Hotel Café Royal afternoon tea

At a glance...
Price: from £65 per person / £75 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 £70 per person
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 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 House of Botanicals, 48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1QQ

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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 £52 per person / £63 with a glass of Lallier Grande Réserve champagne or a cocktail/ £42 children under the age of 12
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 £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.

Wizard afternoon tea

Wizard afternoon tea at Georgian House Hotel

At a glance…
Price: £35 per person/ £20 children under the age of 12
Best for: A family treat or fans of Halloween
Contact details: Georgian House hotel, Pimlico, London SW1.

View the menu

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.

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.

Afternoon tea recipes, tips and advice

The best afternoon teas outside of London
Easiest ever afternoon tea menu plan 
Afternoon tea recipes with a twist
10 scone recipes you’ll fall in love with

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

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