10 best places to have afternoon tea in London

August 9, 2021Amy Hughes0

Afternoon tea has been enjoyed by Brits since the 1840s. Originally created to satisfy hunger between lunch and dinner, the concept was later popularised by Queen Victoria. A traditional tea is the icing on top of the cake during a trip to the UK. Here are some of the top destinations in London…


The Lane
© The Lane at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

At Theatre Royal Drury Lane, there are numerous dining opportunities, including the Grand Saloon where you can enjoy a theatrical afternoon tea. Surrounded by dazzling chandeliers, ornate ceilings, beautiful furnishings and fine art, it’s an elegant experience from the moment you enter. Inspired by the theatre and Regency period, tea is served on fine bone china decorated with mythical characters. Savoury bites include feta-topped madeleines, Coronation chicken pie with onion chutney, and a bite-sized crumpet with smoked salmon and Earl Great infused cream cheese. Warm scones are served with cream and homemade jam and can be enjoyed with tea or Taittinger Champagne. Among the sweet treats are miniature sticky toffee puddings and strawberry ice cream sandwiches. Adults £59, children £35. Served daily for 90 minutes per session.


Royal Albert Hall

The famous concert hall has been observing the afternoon tea tradition for more than a century, even serving royalty including the late Queen Elizabeth II. Classic finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a whimsical mix of musically-inspired cakes as a nod to the legendary performances that take place on the stage, all feature on the menu. The star of the show is the tea itself – with 11 blends on offer, you are sure to find a flavour that hits all the right notes. Choose from the classic, vegan or children’s afternoon tea and or make a toast with a glass of Champagne. From £51pp.



Served daily between 2.45pm-5.30pm, Claridge’s offers one of the most elegant Afternoon Teas in London. The menu faithfully follows the traditional combination of sweet and savoury – sandwiches filled with smoked salmon, honey-roasted ham and truffle egg mayo for example – foods, complimented by a range of teas. With options ranging from a rich Oolong to the excitingly complex Claridge’s Blend, there is so much to explore when you sit down for tea. From £85pp, or upgrade from just £10pp for Champagne tea. There is also a children’s menu available from £45 per child.


The Langham

Head to Palm Court for a modern spin on the British tradition, created by Chef Michel Roux Jr and Executive Pastry Chef Andres Gravett. The menu is inspired by Britain’s favourite biscuits and baked tarts, reimagined with a modern and luxurious spin (£75pp). A children’s tea is also available, comprising intriguing sandwiches, surprising sweet treats and fun drinks. Ideal for ages 12 years and under (£35pp). There are also vegan and gluten-free options available. Served Wed-Sun, 12.30pm-5pm.


Masala Zone, The Criterion

Bringing fire and spice to the traditional afternoon tea concept, the new menu at Masala Zone in Piccadilly Circus is available daily 3pm-5.30pm. Dishes include pakoras, mini lamb sliders, chicken tikka sandwiches, spiced biscuits, English plum cake and more. Accompannied by the restaurant’s signature masala chai or other speciality teas. Available from £32pp, or £38.50 with a glass of Prosecco included.


The Wolseley

For a truly traditional Cream Tea or a celebratory Champagne alternative, head over to Mayfair. Savour handmade millefeuille, eclairs, macaroons, battenberg and many more delicious treats from just £18.50pp. Available Mon-Fri 3pm-6.30pm and 3.30pm-6.30pm at weekends.


Oblix East at The Shard

Available Thu-Sun, tuck into tea in the clouds from noon to 3pm. Choose from: Classic Afternoon Tea with soft drinks, coffee and tea (£58pp); Rose Afternoon Tea with bottomless rosé wine, selected cocktails, soft drinks, teas and coffees (£78pp); or Champagne Afternoon Tea with bottomless champagne, wines, selected cocktails, soft drinks, teas & coffees (£105pp).


The Rubens at the Palace
© The Red Carnation Hotel Collection

Traditional afternoon tea in the Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace – it doesn’t get much better than this. Smoked salmon sandwiches, scones and freshly made pastries and cake complete with vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free options. Royal Afternoon Tea £70pp or £90pp with Champagne; Bottomless Champagne afternoon tea £115pp; Halal sparkling afternoon tea £87pp; Vegan Le Green Champagne afternoon tea £90pp; Little Prince and Princess afternoon tea £35 per child under 12. Check online for dates and times.


Kensington Palace Pavilion

Surrounded by beautiful formal gardens on the grounds of Kensington Palace proudly stands The Kensington Palace Pavilion, a relaxed and elegant setting for afternoon tea. The current Crown to Couture Afternoon Tea (£46pp) complements the ongoing exhibition showing at the palace until 29 October. Includes a choice of: Pimm’s or Sparkling Rose for an additional £6pp, or English sparkling wine for an additional £12. Children’s afternoon tea is available for £42 per child.


The Ampersand Hotel

In South Kensington, moments away from the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, The Ampersand Hotel serves a pair of afternoon teas to continue the scientific indulgence. The Science Afternoon Tea consists of jams served in Petri dishes, chocolate spacemen and other sci-fi sweets and savouries – it won Best Themed Afternoon Tea at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2018. Alternatively, journey back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth with the Jurassic Afternoon Tea. Tuck into a dinosaur egg basket, a Jurassic mountain and even a volcanic eruption in this unique dining experience. Science afternoon tea is available Mon-Fri noon-6.30pm and Sat-Sun noon-7.30pm; Jurassic afternoon tea is available daily noon-5.30pm.

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