The Lane Afternoon Tea

The Best Afternoon Teas in London

Food & Drink /


Because you can never have enough finger sandwiches, tea and scones...

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Afternoon tea is quite possibly the most British of all institutions. But once in a while, an egg and cress sandwich and a scone need a little jazzing up. These are the current best afternoon teas in London, from the traditional to the innovative to the quirky. 

Child-Friendly Afternoon Teas / Recipe: Peggy Porschen Cupcakes

The Best Afternoon Teas in London

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The Lane Afternoon Tea

The Lane

Situated in the newly reopened Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Lane has become quite the hotspot for theatre lovers. This season, get a taste of the new Regency Afternoon Tea, which you can savour in the beautiful Grand Saloon. The venue, which boasts a pastel backdrop of pink and green, shimmering chandeliers, stucco ceilings and imposing neoclassical columns, should be an entry on any tea-lover’s bucket list. Created by artisan baker and cake designer Lily Vanilli, the afternoon tea menu features flaky puff pastry sausage rolls, warm sugar-topped scones, a rich dark chocolate sponge cake with a golden cherub and absinthe mint chocolate ice cream to finish. £49 for adults and £35 for children, served daily in the Grand Saloon. thelane.co.uk

Review: The Lane

The Stage The Londoner

The Londoner Hotel

Poised on Leicester Square, The Londoner, London’s most hyped new hotel, promises a chic afternoon tea. Whether it’s a pre-theatre indulgence (you’re spoilt for choice The West End) or a necessary energy boost post-National Gallery, head to the champagne bar of the lobby, known as The Stage, for an impressive spread. Expect all the traditional British favourites: on the savoury side, sandwich fillings include smoked salmon and Devon crab, and lemon-roasted chicken with truffle mayonnaise. Next up is freshly baked scones served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, followed by an array of beautifully crafted pastries, such as the English Rose, a blackcurrant and pear pudding with shortbread and almond detailing. The tea can be paired with champagne as well as fresh loose leaf teas from The East India Company. To top it off, the experience will be accompanied by live music on The Stage’s grand piano. £65pp or £80pp with a glass of champagne. thelondonerstage.co.uk

Holy Carrot launches exclusive Afternoon Tea with Amelia Windsor

Holy Carrot x Amelia Windsor 

It’s been more than 150 years since Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained of ‘having that sinking feeling’ during the late afternoon before dinner (or as we know it: the 4 o’clock slump). Her special solution of tea and snacks have become what we know as British afternoon tea. Fast forward to today, Knightsbridge’s Holy Carrot and Amelia Windsor are joining forces for their 2021 take on this classic British custom.

Opulence and plant-based treats go hand in hand on this menu. Guests will be treated to decadent pastries such as Lemon Tart with Vegan Italian Meringue. Those on the more savoury side of life won’t be disappointed either, Purple Potato Croquette anyone?

Served from 2 November, from Tuesdays to Saturdays 3pm-5pm, £40 per person, www.holycarrot.co.uk

 

Four Seasons afternoon tea

Rotunda at the Four Seasons

Although you can’t beat a classic afternoon tea, there’s something about a well-themed experience that tips the scales. And The Four Seasons at Trinity Square’s new Crown Jewels afternoon tea is a real treat. Set in the hotel’s opulent, golden Rotunda, complete with live pianist, the tea is inspired by the Crown Jewels, which are housed a stone’s throw away at the Tower of London.

Traditional-with-a-twist finger sandwiches kick off the experience, with classics like egg mayonnaise given an umami twist with added truffle, and cucumber a punchy flavour with mint. They were followed by father-light scones that come with a selection of Devonshire clotted cream and seasonal jams and curds. Finally, it was time for the Four Seasons pastry chef, Sylvain Nicolas, to show off his skills, with a selection of cakes inspired by the Crown Jewels, including a cherry and liquorice macaron topped with a silver jewel, a lemon meringue choux with hazelnut streusel and lime jelly, and, finally, the centrepiece: a single origin Madagascan Manjari chocolate tart in the shape of the British crown, with Sansho berry and fresh raspberries, topped with gold leaf. An afternoon tea fit for royalty, indeed. Served in the Rotunda daily between 2pm and 5pm, £40, fourseasons.com

Great Scotland Yard Afternoon Tea

Great Scotland Yard

The Parlour at Great Scotland Yard have teamed up Floris London to serve Bouquet de La Reine, a new afternoon tea experience. Inspired by Her Majesty’s signature fragrance, the multi-sensory experience is designed to guide guests on a journey through history, nobility, and perfumery. Alongside the usual offering of scones and sandwiches, guests can dine on an assortment of seasonal tea pastries and cakes – including rose and pistachio drizzle cake, mango and jasmine macarons, and blackcurrant and yogurt gateaux. A selection of teas from the Rare Tea Company and Ruinart Champagne will also be available. Served from 1pm until 5pm, £50, hyatt.com

Van Gogh Afternoon Tea Desserts

Van Gogh Afternoon Tea at Hotel Cafe Royal

It would be hard to think of a more perfect setting for a Van Gogh-themed afternoon tea than the gilded opulence of the Oscar Wilde Lounge in Hotel Café Royal – and this one is a next-level affair. An immersive culinary journey begins with a champagne toast before moving on to tea. Starry Night (which transforms from blue to an inky purple when lemon drops are added), Sunflower and Botanical Absinthe are all inspired by the painter’s most famous works.

To follow are an assortment of amuse bouche and finger sandwiches, but make sure you leave room for dessert; created especially by the expert pastry chef this is the main event and not to be missed. Firstly to cleanse the palette is a lemon creme fraiche paintbrush with a miniature Van Gogh portrait (crafted from crunchy pecan and coffee mousse), Starry Night painted over grapefruit compote and a ‘vase’ of twelve sunflowers made with chocolate praline complete the experience. A feast for the eyes (as well as the appetite). We think Van Gogh would approve. Thursday to Sunday from 22 July to 5 January 2021. £65 per person; £75 with champagne. hotelcaferoyal.com

Petersham Nurseries Afternoon Tea

Petersham Nurseries

Set amongst a backdrop of lush garden foliage, Petersham Nurseries’ new Garden Afternoon Tea celebrates the natural world with a seasonal take on classic teatime. Served on a Florentine style hand-blown glass cake stand, afternoon tea is a simple but delicious affair. The savoury selection consists of crispy sourdough with prosciutto, roasted red pepper tartlet, goat’s cheese on fruit loaf, and focaccia with fior de latte. Those with a keen sweet tooth can tuck into buttermilk scones with clotted cream and house-made preserves, as well as meringue with charred Petersham grapes and tarragon syrup, lemon polenta cake, and cherry and almond tart. Served Friday to Sunday from 12.00pm to 2.45pm. Afternoon tea can be booked for up to 12 guests. To book, please call 020 8940 5230. petershamnurseries.com

Biltmore Hotel Afternoon Tea

Biltmore Hotel

For an afternoon tea full of luxury and decadence, head over to Biltmore Hotel Mayfair on Grosvenor Square. The Biltmore’s Afternoon Tea was created by Head Chef Paul Walsh and is overseen by Michelin-starred Chef Jason Atherton, highlighting the best of British tradition and fresh produce. Think raisin scones with clotted cream, Kent strawberries with vanilla chantilly, and chocolate mousse served with Scottish raspberry jelly. Wash it all down with freshly brewed tea or a glass of Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne. Guests can even see where each component comes from with the hotel’s beautifully illustrated map – a lovely touch that connects guests with the wider culinary community. From £45, lxrhotels3.hilton.com  

Afternoon Tea at The Langham

The Langham

The ultimate way to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week? Head to the place it all began. Afternoon Tea was thought up by one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting, Lady Bedford, and The Langham popularised the tradition by being the first hotel to feature the meal on its menu when it opened in 1865. This year, The Langham introduces its modern spin on the tradition, tapping into the archives of Britain’s favourite biscuits and tarts, reimagining the classics to be perfectly paired with a JING tea (perfect for a biscuit dunk). Created by Chef Michel Roux Jr and Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Gravett, the biscuit-inspired tea menu is perfectly rounded off with a glass of English sparkling wine from Gusbourne for a thoroughly British treat. Afternoon Tea at The Langham starts from £62 per person, langhamhotels.com

Afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace

Citrus-Infused Afternoon Tea at Dalloway Terrace

This summer, the ever-beautiful Dalloway Terrace has been transformed into an Italian retreat reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast. From this idyllic setting, guests are invited to enjoy afternoon tea complete with cocktails from MALFY Gin. On the menu you’ll find sweet treats like pink grapefruit tart, orange profiteroles and lemon parfait – each paired with a different gin concoction – alongside a selection of finger sandwiches. dallowayterrace.com

La Vie En Rose, Ladurée Covent Garden

La Vie En Rose, Ladurée Covent Garden

If you’re missing summer jaunts to Paris for rosé and macarons, you’ll find the next best thing in London’s Covent Garden this summer. The pink-themed afternoon tea is the most enticing offering from Ladurée’s La Vie en Rose partnership with Maison Mirabeau; a celebration of femininity, playfulness and all things pink. The tea includes four finger sandwiches, two scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, Ispahan, rose petal and raspberry macarons and the star of the show, a La Vie en Rose patisserie. Best enjoyed with a glass of Mirabeau rosé, naturally. From £42, laduree.co.uk

It’s A Little Bit Mad, The Lanesborough

It’s A Little Bit Mad, The Lanesborough

The latest seasonal afternoon tea from The Lanesborough Hotel is inspired by Disney’s new film, Cruella, which imagines the life of the notorious villain. Traditional patisserie expertise is blended with an unexpected modern aesthetic, designed to celebrate both fashion and rebellion. The pastry selection includes ‘Anarchy Reigns’, a Millionaire Shortbread presented on a mini arts easel, ‘Rebel Heart’, a fragmented black heart with a liquid hibiscus centre, and ‘Modern Masterpiece’, a gold inside out lemon cheesecake. Alongside the sweet stuff, diners can enjoy savoury sandwich favourites plus a prawn and lobster tart – washed down with a themed cocktail or a glass of fizz. From £55pp. oetkercollection.com

Rosewood London Yayoi Kusama afternoon tea

Rosewood London’s Art Afternoon Tea

The latest art afternoon tea from Rosewood London is inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s much-awaited exhibition at Tate Modern. Available in the hotel’s Mirror Room, the experience will combine Japanese flavours with traditional French pastry, presented as three courses. Begin with yuzu avocado and keta caviar finger sandwiches before getting stuck into the trio of pastries: a tonka caramel cup, a peach and jasmine macaroon and a cherry blossom cheesecake. Last but certainly not least is the Kusama cakes, which are inspired by artworks. ‘Flowers That Bloom at Midnight’, for instance, evokes images of a midnight sci-fi garden, made with tropical coconut mousse, strawberry yuzu jelly and matcha green tea sponge. rosewoodhotels.com

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea The Shard

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at aqua shard

Transport yourself to Neverland via aqua shard’s new afternoon tea, inspired by J.M Barrie’s legendary novel. Think Tinker Bell-shaped cookies and crocodile jellies served on a pirate ship-inspired tea stand, alongside Fairy Dust cocktails – all enjoyed alongside panoramic city views. Served Thursday – Sunday from 12.15 – 4.15pm, from £52pp. A children’s version will also be served. aquashard.co.uk

Joël Robuchon at Swan's Bar

Swan’s Bar at Maison Assouline 

The beautiful Swan’s Bar at Maison Assouline is introducing a new addition to its menu: an afternoon tea created by Le Deli Robuchon. Raspberry macaroons and chocolate praline slices sit alongside finger sandwiches of smoked salmon, cucumber, mustard and ham – to be enjoyed with a choice of tea and optional glass of champagne. £57 with champagne, £45 without. maisonassouline.com

Laudree afternoon tea

Burlington Arcade’s Tea for Two

The answer to socially-distanced afternoon tea, Burlington Arcade has launched a new cream tea experience in partnership with Ladurée and Moet & Chandon Champagne, to be enjoyed either at home or at a beautiful London park nearby (namely Green Park and St. James’s). Comprising of four fluffy scones to be laden with Ladurée strawberry jam and clotted cream, as well as four macarons of your choice, Ladurée’s signature blend tea and a bottle of Moet & Chandon fizz, the limited edition afternoon tea package can be purchased from Ladurée directly and enjoyed following a stroll through the historic 19th-century Arcade. £60 for Cream tea for 2 with champagne. burlingtonarcade.com

The Connaught

An afternoon spent at Mayfair’s The Connaught is enough to brighten anyone’s day. Throw in a champagne-infused afternoon tea in the artsy Jean-Georges dining room and you won’t want to leave (partly due to being so gloriously full). Spoiled for choice, guests can choose from an assortment of 15 exotic teas, from a rare vintage Darjeeling Beauty to Fuji-yama, an earthy green tea grown near Mount Fuji. Finger sandwiches come in a range of five different flavours and fillings – think salt beef and turnip, cucumber and Greek yoghurt – but the moreish egg & truffle of fluffy white bread certainly tops them all. Sweet treats are just as delicious in appearance as they are to eat; a light bergamot and lime sponge cake adorned with candied ginger and whipped cream and an indulgent hazelnut praline and milk chocolate rocher with ‘The Connaught’ elegantly emblazoned on top were my pick of the beautiful bunch. The pièce de résistance however came in the form of two buttery penguin-shaped shortbread biscuits, ready to be dipped into a glass of warm chocolate fondue. Lest not forget the scones, plain and wholemeal raisin, both warm and to be served with lashing of home-made strawberry or pineapple jam, and of course Cornish clotted cream. For those looking to add a little glamour and grandeur to their experience, opt for a glass of Champagne Laurent-Perrier, which the warm and attentive staff are more than happy to top up if you so wish. £55pp or £65 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier ‘La Cuvee’. the-connaught.co.uk

The Wolseley Best of British

The Wolseley

You can’t help but feel that you’re a ‘someone’ from the moment you step inside the classic and timeless Wolseley, which is a British institution in itself. Where better, then, to enjoy a ‘Best of British’ Afternoon Tea? The Wolseley offers just that – featuring individual Victoria Sponges and Sherry Trifles alongside traditional scones with clotted cream and homemade jam. You won’t find jazzed-up finger sandwiches, either – they stick to the classics for a reason. Traditional fillings of Coronation Chicken, Beef and Horseradish, Cheddar and Pickle, and Smoked Salmon are delightfully nostalgic while being of unquestionably superior quality to what you grew up on. A place so good, AA Gill wrote a whole book about it – and this Afternoon Tea is another excellent (and delicious) chapter in The Wolseley’s ever-glorious repertoire. From £29.75pp, daily. thewolseley.com

OXO Tower Restaurant's Vegan Afternoon Tea

OXO Tower Restaurant’s Vegan Afternoon Tea

The OXO Tower has been a recognisable London institution since it was built in the 1900s, but what’s inside it is by no means antiquated. The OXO Tower Restaurant has tapped into the undeniably huge spike in demand for plant-powered food by launching a vegan afternoon tea. The creativity behind this menu is clear and appeals to vegans and non-vegans alike. If you’re not completely stuffed from the array of sandwiches on the first tier, which includes homemade ‘cheese’ and pickle and golden beetroot with aged balsamic in rosemary Russian rye bread, continue on with the second tier which holds an ‘avocado shot’ made with creamy avo and almond, chestnut and mushroom ‘sausage’ rolls, and Bajis packed with flavours I’d never tasted before. All this is to be enjoyed with the homemade piccalilli, and a minty-coconutty dip. The sweet selection, meanwhile, includes scones with clotted ‘cream’ and jam, and mini lemon ‘meringue’ pies – perfectly light and fluffy. To top it all off, the view from the OXO Tower Restaurant, along with the ultra-friendly staff, make this afternoon tea experience a memorable one. £45pp (including a glass of prosecco). harveynichols.com 

Cadogan's by Adam Handling

Cadogan’s by Adam Handling

An afternoon tea experience has launched at the recently opened Belmond Cadogan Hotel in Chelsea, designed by award-winning restauranteur Adam Handling. The menu is inspired by happy memories at Adam’s grandmother’s house, designed to evoke nostalgia and feelings of warmth – of course, with an elegant touch. Savoury offerings include sausage rolls with brown sauce and salt cod croquettes, alongside a selection of traditional sandwiches such as roasted chicken with lemon thyme mayonnaise on malt bread. Sweet delights, meanwhile, are inspired by the story of notable scientist, collector and traveller Sir Hans Sloane, in honour of the building’s historic location on Sloane Street. Quintessential British ingredients are set alongside international elements: desserts include a Granny Smith apple & lemongrass cremeux, a white chocolate & raspberry mousse, and a passion fruit curd tart. Tea offerings are equally exciting, with an extensive selection available from Newby Teas, including two signature Adam Handling assam and breakfast blends, available exclusively at the hotel. To celebrate the launch of the new Matthew Williamson range from Newby Teas, a special offering will be available throughout Afternoon Tea Week, with pastries including Orange & Lemongrass Cremeux, Passion Fruit Curd Tart with Coconut Mousse and Salted Caramel Sacher with Milk Chocolate Chantilly. Served daily from 1.30-5.30pm. £55p, an extra £25 for bottomless Champagne. adamhandlingchelsea.co.uk

Momo Afternoon Tea

Momo

Mixing up afternoon tea traditions is Momo, the recently reimagined North African restaurant in Mayfair. Here classic finger sandwich combinations are given a Moroccan twist: halloumi croque with tomato and basil, Tunisian fricassee with egg, tuna and olives, and cucumber with labneh and mint all feature. Mediterranean flavours are infused throughout the menu, with desserts including Muhalabiya, a Middle Eastern milk pudding delicacy with strawberry rosewater, and date scones with quince and prickly pear jam. All this can be enjoyed on their new palm terrace, dotted with mimosa plants, lanterns and traditional rattan chairs. £32pp with tea, £42pp with a glass of Champagne. momo.london

Fortnum & Mason Diamond Jubilee Salon

Fortnum & Mason

An institution since 1707 and still one of the best, Fortnum & Mason’s iconic afternoon tea is an absolute must-try. It’s finger sandwich, cake and scone heaven, with trademark eau de nil china and the biggest selection of fine teas you will ever see. Tea experts are on hand to help you choose – and be sure to pick up a pack to take home, too. They’re now offering afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason at The Royal Exchange, too. Available for £60pp. fortnumandmason.com

The Savoy

The Savoy

World-renowned for its iconic High Tea, The Savoy is constantly updating its menu to ensure its guests enjoy the very best of the season. Served in the magnificent Thomas Foyer and accompanied by live piano music, The Savoy’s afternoon tea is a London classic with its seasonal cakes and pastries created by executive pastry chef Daniel Pearse. Their summer afternoon tea runs in partnership with JING Tea, with whom they have worked closely with to ensure an optimal tea drinking experience. Light, floral pastries herald the finest ingredients of the season, from the British strawberry to the mirabelle, creating delicacies like The Savoy Seasonal Summer Fruit Tartlet, Mango and Passionfruit Jelly and Banana Cremeux. Traditional afternoon tea is £75pp. fairmont.com

London Landmarks Afternoon Tea at Town House at The Kensington

London Landmarks Afternoon Tea at Town House at The Kensington

This London-inspired afternoon tea takes inspiration from historic and iconic landmarks around the city such as a telephone box, Big Ben, The Gherkin and The Shard, with treats including a rhubarb mousse, lemon curd tart, bridge rolls and more. £42pp or £54.50pp with a glass of Champagne. townhousekensington.com

The Goring Afternoon Tea

The Goring

Served since 1910, Afternoon Tea at The Goring in Victoria is particularly special. As the only hotel to hold a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen for hospitality services, you can be absolutely certain that everything upon your visit will be impeccable. The afternoon tea is classic in style, reflecting The Goring’s dedication to tradition as the only luxury hotel in London still owned and run by the family that built it. Why mess with perfection? Expect dainty and delicate finger sandwiches, homemade scones and pastries, and unparalleled service. Enjoy your tea in the garden during the summer months for a quintessentially English experience. From £49pp, every day. thegoring.com

Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Jumeirah Carlton Tower

The team behind the afternoon tea in the elegant Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Belgravia have been awarded the coveted number one spot in ‘Afternoon Tea of the Year 2018’. The competition process had stringent timings and, due to the fact that they didn’t have access to a freezer, even involved the team biking their sorbet from their hotel kitchen to the competition’s headquarters – dedication to the cause. It is easy to see how they nabbed their prize – the mouthwatering Symphony Afternoon Tea is not only a feast for the senses but also a clever concept, fashioned on the four movements of a symphonic orchestral experience. It was further inspired by the resident harpist who serenades guests in the Chinoiserie as they enjoy the afternoon tea.

All the traditional trimmings have been given a twist, beginning with a selection of savoury cones filled with beetroot hummus or the Indian spiced chicken and mango and followed, not by the classic triangular sandwiches, but treats such as a Brioche bridge roll with Loch Fyne smoked salmon and duck egg mayonnaise. Of the delicacies, our favourite was the Sicilian pistachio éclair with cranberry compote. The famed sorbet that was rushed across London ends the experience to soothe your palate with coconut and lemongrass. Ask your server which tea pairing they recommend, or go for the 90 minute bottomless Laurent Perrier champagne accompaniment. Can’t decide? Drink your tea, then your champagne. True British luxury. £39pp or £49pp for 90 minutes of bottomless champagne. jumeriah.com

Chesterfield Mayfair Sweet Afternoon Tea

The Chesterfield Mayfair

If you’re looking for a child-friendly afternoon tea option in London, look no further than the Chesterfield Mayfair’s The Original Sweet Shop Afternoon Tea. With pastries and cakes the flavour of retro sweetshop favourites, delicious chocolate-chip scones and a host of savoury treats, it’s a must-try for both adults and children with a sweet tooth. Highlights include the Coca-Cola slice, the enormous peanut-butter cup and the fizzy apple mousse. And of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the retro sweet cart manned by the in-house Candyman who will help young guests fill a bag with old-school penny sweets and pick-and-mix favourites. Younger guests can enjoy the afternoon tea served alongside a milkshake or tea, priced at £21.50. Adults can opt to add a glass of something sparkling with the Champagne Tea (£47 per person), including a glass of brut, rosé or white label Lanson Champagne. For £40pp The Original Sweet Shop Afternoon Tea is served with loose leaf or flowering tea, coffee or hot chocolate. chesterfieldmayfair.com 

Hotel Cafe Royale

Hotel Cafe Royal

Just around the corner from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus, the Hotel Cafe Royal’s ‘Queen of Afternoon Teas’ celebrates the history of the historic English tradition of afternoon tea, within the opulent Oscar Wilde Bar. The Queen of Afternoon Teas has been curated to pay homage to British monarch Queen Victoria, as 2019 marks her 200th anniversary. Enjoy a sumptuous menu that features ingredients and dishes that came into fashion during her reign, including some of her personal favourites, accompanied by teas, champagne, and a live pianist. The Queen of Afternoon Tea is available daily from 12-5:30pm by reservation only, £55 per person. hotelcaferoyal.com

The Ampersand Hotel

The Ampersand Hotel

Set in the gorgeous light-filled (and velvet armchair-scattered) Drawing Rooms at the Ampersand Hotel, the hotel’s new take on the famous Science Tea launched earlier this year. A grown-up twist on the neighbouring Science Museum-inspired menu, this new addition includes a cocktail flight, and is to be served between 6pm-9pm Thursday to Saturday. Drinks on offer include Darwin’s Draught – with Lalani & Co Earl Grey infused Chase vodka, Kamm & Sons, cucumber, apple and ginger – and Marie Cure-All – Lalani & Co Premium Genmaicha infused rum with Aperol, Antica Formula & Amer Picon – all suitably scientifically presented, in smoking teapots and the like. This is a novelty afternoon tea done really, really well, with seriously good food (the cheddar and thyme scones served with truffle butter are the star) and a really clever drinks menu. £49.50pp. ampersandhotel.com

The Landmark Afternoon Tea

The Landmark

Afternoon tea at The Landmark is served in their Winter Garden, a beautifully light and airy glass-roofed atrium complete with palm trees. Sandwiches are traditional: think smoked Scottish salmon, organic egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, and coronation chicken on walnut bread, followed by a delectable selection of desserts – our top pick is the hazelnut and coffee opera cake. From £45pp, £52pp with a glass of champagne. landmarklondon.co.uk

The Dorchester

The Dorchester

Another classic afternoon tea spot on the London scene is The Dorchester on Park Lane. Serving one of the finest in the city for over 85 years, head pastry chef Sarah Barber is constantly adding new treats to the menu. Their Traditional Afternoon Tea features a signature Dorchester blend tea as a palate cleanser, then to follow a selection of sandwiches on artisan breads and delicate pastries and scones to finish. The hotel is renowned for its beautiful floristry, which serves also as inspiration for new creations such as the Mayfair Rose mousse and Berry Blossom compote. It’s by far one of the prettiest High Teas in town. From £65pp, daily. dorchestercollection.com

Ametsa Afternoon Tea at COMO The Halkin

COMO The Halkin

Set just off the bustle of Hyde Park Corner is the tranquil sanctuary of COMO The Halkin, a luxury hotel where the British tradition of afternoon tea gets an exciting (and very welcome) twist, courtesy of the Basque Country. As opposed to the classic cucumber finger sandwiches, you’ll find savoury treats take multiple shapes and forms here; savoury foams, creamy croquettes and crispy txistorra granary sandwiches. Reflecting the skill of the hotel’s kitchen of Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, the afternoon tea offers Michelin-starred cooking in itsy-bitsy proportions – all beautifully presented and served with a succinct but informative description from your server, of course. Following a brief intermission you’ll be presented with a platter of almost too-pretty-to-eat miniature desserts, among which include a delightful Catalan cream, passion fruit cheese cake and a mango torrija – sweets so delicious you won’t miss the traditional scones and jam. Like any good afternoon tea, COMO The Halkin puts an equal emphasis on the latter part of the custom’s name, and with the recent launch of their bespoke tea pairings by Tea Leaves, you won’t be left wanting for choice. Alongside the standard options, you’ll find herbal infusions, green, and white teas, as well as a bold Mountain Berry one that’ll make you reconsider your usual English Breakfast. For something with a little more oomph, opt for COMO’s specially designed cocktail menu curated in associated with NOVELTEA, a spirit which masterfully blends tea and botanicals to produce wonderful combinations like gin with earl grey, or oolong with red rose petals, papaya and mango flakes. Afternoon tea at COMO The Halkin reaffirms the adage that sometimes tradition needs a shake up. Available daily, from £40pp or £44pp with a NOVELTEA cocktail. comohotels.com

Ten Trinity Square Afternoon Tea

The Four Seasons, Trinity Square

Whilst you sit in the grand Rotunda in the company of London’s élite, the staff at The Four Seasons Trinity Square make it so you don’t have to lift a finger. From the moment you walk in the grand entrance you’re greeted by blissful live piano music, awe-inspiring architecture and highly attentive staff. The newly-launched Heritage Tea is inspired by the buildings’ history as the old Port of London Authority and begins with a refreshing palate cleanser. From then on, the champagne is chilled, the tea is hot, and the decadent food served on themed crockery adds to the alluring journey. This classic London landmark is the height of elegance, and with its beautiful food (as pleasing on the eye as it is on the palate), Champagne buzz and light chitter-chatter in the background, it makes for a most soothing and comfortable afternoon that could easily turning into evening… Available daily, from £40pp. fourseasons.com

Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel Bakery

The French pastry chef Dominique Ansel, of cronut fame, has produced an afternoon tea that traces the path of a flower from savoury, earthy flavours at the bottom to sweet, flower-like delicacies at the top. As well as warm, freshly-baked scones with jam and clotted cream fashioned into the shape of a strawberry, you can also expect avocado and feta mousseline on squid ink choux and steak tartare atop brioche toast. Then, delight in the lavender meringue with chocolate petals and brown butter financier found at the top. Choose from a selection of teas or indulge in a glass of champagne, and if you feel like really pushing the boat out, order the Splendid afternoon tea which comes with butter-poached Canadian lobster rolls and caviar blinis, too. From £42pp. Thursday-Sunday, two sittings at 2pm and 4.15pm. dominiqueansellondon.com

The Stafford Afternoon Tea

The Stafford

Tradition lies at the heart of this establishment as one of the oldest hotels near to Buckingham Palace – and its afternoon tea is no exception. Served in the Game Bird room, expect immaculate, old-school service from the charming team who are particularly knowledgeable on their wide selection of loose teas (we recommend the White Apricot). Small touches are key: there are both plain and raisin scones, the teapots and jugs are perfectly-polished silver and the sandwiches are crustless (of course). The fillings transport you back to childhood picnics – cucumber and cream cheese, roast beef with horseradish and egg mayonnaise. Their selection of top-tier delights includes The Stafford’s twist on the Jaffa Cake and a feather-light strawberry and cream macaron. Moët by the glass is the cherry on top of this classic hotel that gets afternoon tea just right. From £45pp. thestaffordlondon.com

Corinthia Afternoon Tea

Corinthia Hotel London

Truffled egg mayo sandwiches? Rhubarb and tonka bean jam? Irish coffee éclair? All our favourites with a twist. Corinthia London recently launched their new afternoon tea menu, served amidst glorious fresh flowers and to the sound of the grand piano in the Crystal Moon Lounge. Make sure you keep a lookout for Nigel, the charming Crystal Moon Lounge Manager who can tell you the story behind the bespoke William Edwards teacups and the red crystal in the heart of the chandelier. The experience begins with the antique champagne trolley being wheeled over to your table, and continues in the same sumptuous style until the very end. Having gorged on sandwiches then scones with cream and jam, you probably won’t be able to fit in all of the cakes and delicacies. Luckily, your delightful waitress or waiter will box up any that you can’t finish and you can trot off, a Corinthia bag full of goodies swinging by your side. Traditional Afternoon Tea costs £55pp, Champagne Afternoon Tea costs £65pp, and Rosé Champagne Afternoon Tea costs £75pp. corinthia.com

Claridges' Hotel London.

Claridge’s

Is there any place as quintessentially English as Claridge’s? Over 150 years, the esteemed hotel has perfected the art of afternoon tea. None of the gimmicks, all of the flavour; you can expect excellent food and a faithful rendition of this English ritual. Choose from 24 loose leaf teas served in jade-and-white striped china. Raise a toast to tradition and tuck in to tiny treats. From £70pp. claridges.co.uk

Sketch

Sketch

The latest place du jour for the fashion crowd happens to house the prettiest afternoon tea out there. So pretty and thoroughly pink the interior (by India Mahdavi) is a confection of dainty scalloped chairs and plush banquettes, witty bespoke ceramics by British brand Caverswall in collaboration with David Shrigley, and over 200 illustrations jostling for space on the dusty pink walls. Every bit the Marie Antoinette dream you imagine, Sketch embodies her famous saying, ‘let them eat cake’ with its afternoon tea menu. Featuring caviar and quail’s egg sandwiches, and all too beautiful pastries, Sketch is a must visit parlour of pink and frivolity. Corset and humongous wig optional. Daily, from £58pp, 11.30-3.30pm. sketch.london

Farmacy_HighTea_02

Farmacy

In keeping with their daily menu Farmacy’s High Tea is all plant-based, meaning “free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals”. Rest assured though, you’ll still savour every delicious bite. The little fancies are beautifully presented on a three tier stand that’s appropriately decorated with foliage. On the savoury side think spinach and mushroom quiche and smoked tofu and truffle sandwiches, while sweet treats include CBD truffles, cinnamon and orange ‘cheesecake’ and apple pie with berry pavlova. From £50pp.  farmacylondon.com

Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Sanderson

The Sanderson

For an afternoon tea with a difference, fall down the rabbit hole to Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. A little gimmicky, but in the best possible way, this fun afternoon tea offers delicious teas (which are also available to purchase) named after Lewis Carroll’s characters, from Alice to The Queen of Hearts; delicate patisseries and cakes; excellent savoury options with a difference (the parmesan croque-monsieur was a highlight) and lovely, crumbly scones. There’s also a host of themed cocktails and drinks to be enjoyed with your tea, in case you needed any further persuading. From £48pp (excluding service and dependent on choice of drink accompaniments). Available daily. morganhotelsgroup.com

108 Pantry

Desperately needing a breath of country air and a finger sandwich simultaneously? The English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry is the ticket. It celebrates spring with grass meadow serving boards, terracotta pots, edible flowers and fork and spade fashioned cutlery. Smoked salmon served on wholemeal bread, lavender pannacotta served with sparkling wine jelly and rhubarb profiterole… Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that there’s also a gluten-free menu as well as a delectable vegan alternative featuring the likes of smashed avo on wholemeal bread, barbecue baked sweet potato with cashew mayo, salted caramel slices and lemon drizzle cake. Daily 3-6pm, from £32pp. 108brasserie.com

Palm Court Principal

Palm Court at The Principal

Try not to pocket the handsome crockery at this new opening, or lose your dignity asking for a goodie bag with the abundance of elaborate cakes. Palm Court at the majestic Principal Hotel on Russell Square, is polished splendour at its best, a vast atrium alive with plants and flanked by two charming courtyards. The expected rituals of afternoon tea are performed with traditional panache, steering guests through classic to exotic teas, a truffle potato soufflé, a light sandwich trio, scones and puddings. Contemporary twists on old favourites, from matcha scones to beetroot bread play to the wellness crowd while the old-timers can expect mouth-watering cream teas and a selection of puddings resembling more ‘work-of-art’ than pastry. In colder months, their warming open fire will be a welcome pairing. From £38pp. kimptonfitzroy.london

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