The Best Afternoon Teas in London

Afternoon tea with scones and jam
Afternoon tea with scones and jam | © Dave Denby Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Harriet Clugston

London is famous for its longstanding tea culture, and indulging in a traditional afternoon tea experience is a must when visiting the city. Here are some highlights and recommendations for enjoying tea in London:

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

The Ritz

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase ‘tea at the Ritz’, and this institution frequently tops lists of the best afternoon teas in the capital. Guests at this world famous, five-star hotel will be served tea in the magnificent, late-Baroque-style Palm Court beneath opulent chandeliers, normally accompanied by the sounds of a harpist or pianist. There are 18 varieties of tea on offer, with all the traditional trimmings and an optional glass of the Ritz’s very own bubbly.

Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour

Enjoy a classic London pastime aboard an iconic double-decker bus while taking in some of the city’s best landmarks with this roaming tearoom housed in a revamped 1960s Routemaster. A spot of afternoon tea with BB Bakery is a truly unique experience. Passengers are invited to tuck into a selection of finger sandwiches, mini quiches, scones with all the trimmings, pastries, mini cupcakes and macaroons, all loaded up on tiered stands for an authentic high-tea experience. You can board at Trafalgar Square or Victoria, after which the BB Bakery Bus takes a meandering route around central London, passing by major landmarks including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch and Piccadilly Circus. There’s also a lovely BB Bakery store in Covent Garden for those who want to keep their feet on the ground.

Muriel’s Kitchen, London

Muriel’s Kitchen is a quirky, homely little place, full of potted plants and pastel colours. Afternoon tea is served on a mini picnic bench, topped with classic finger sandwiches and a selection of cakes including lemon and poppyseed muffins, meringues, shots of strawberry jelly and chocolate mousse and, of course, mini scones with cream and jam. The food comes with a pot of tea and a berry smoothie – if you’re feeling more boozy than tea-total, there’s also a cocktail option.

Hotel Café Royal

The Hotel Café Royal offers afternoon tea in its Oscar Wilde Lounge

Afternoon tea at this luxurious Mayfair hotel is served in the opulent Oscar Wilde Lounge, where the famous playwright and author is said to have dined daily. You’re made to feel like royalty as soon as you step into the gilded dining room. Tuck into delicious, dainty cakes, sip on a glass of bubbly and listen to the resident pianist as staff cater to your every need, whether you’re after second helpings of finger sandwiches or Champagne top-ups. And if you find yourself unable to finish your tower of treats, just ask to take your leftovers home in one of their neat little doggy bags.

Cahoots Squiffy Picnic

Cahoots is a 1940s-style speakeasy housed in an abandoned Tube station beneath Soho’s Kingly Court. Order the afternoon tea here and you’ll be served up a wicker picnic hamper on a tartan-covered table, brimming with quintessential English nibbles including sausage rolls, pork pie, cheeses and a selection of ration-inspired sandwiches. For pudding, you’ll be delighted with British classics like shortbread, tiffin and Victoria sponge. Tea doesn’t get much of a look-in (well, the name does say squiffy) with guests instead being offered a choice of post-war cocktails. Pick the Starlets & Sirens option and your hamper will include a bottle of wine along with a hip flask of Sipsmith Sloe Gin and tonic. While you’re making your choice, you can expect to be offered a ‘Starting Swig’ cocktail in a china teacup while the live swing music gets under way.

The Harrods Tea Rooms

Afternoon tea at Harrods

Another staple when it comes to classic afternoon tea, the sumptuous Harrods Tea Rooms, formerly known as the Georgian Restaurant, has been serving Londoners for over a hundred years. Enjoy a variety of teas, fancy finger sandwiches and a colourful selection of pastries from the in-house patisserie in this opulent, spacious dining room, which sits beneath a large skylight and oozes ’20s and ’30s style.

Glam Rock Afternoon Tea

One of the less pricey options on this list, K West’s afternoon tea is inspired by the hotel’s musical heritage, with bands playing at the nearby O2 Shepherds Bush Empire and Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo often opting to stay here. Their selection of food, which includes twists on classic finger sandwiches such as beetroot and gin-cured salmon and blue cheese and grapes, is served up on a vintage turntable. Enjoy with a selection of tea-infused cocktails from 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Sunday.

Prêt-à-Portea

Afternoon tea at Prêt-à-Portea

The renowned afternoon tea at The Berkeley will delight fashionistas. Served in the bright and airy contemporary Collins Room, this novel take on afternoon tea is inspired by fashion trends, with the menu changing every six months to reflect the goings-on in the world of fashion. Spring/Summer ‘collections’ have previously included a striped Stella McCartney dress recreated in a towering green and white sponge cake, a Prada-inspired red velvet chocolate handbag cake and shoe-shaped vanilla biscuits topped with white icing and red polka dots to channel a pair of coveted Manolo Blahnik stilettos. The colourful fancies are served up on equally snazzy crockery and are accompanied by a selection of loose-leaf teas and optional bubbly.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article