Is there ever an excuse needed to dress up for an afternoon indulging in finger sandwiches, sweet treats and prosecco? There isn't, so we have come up with the difficult task of searching for the very best afternoon tea venues across London, ranging from royal-inspired to a few quirky takes on tradition – gin and tea anyone?
100 Queen's Gate Hotel
Head over to 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel in Kensington to experience an immersive, scent-filled afternoon tea, designed in collaboration with 290-year-old perfumery Floris London. The hanging plants in the Botanica tea rooms set the scene for the lime or cherry blossom flavour options available in the ‘Scentsation’ menu. Decision made, the classics of afternoon tea make an appearance; smoked salmon sandwiches and scones with a cherry and bergamot twist, plus more unusual flavours like a chocolate and Kaffir lime dome with a coconut base which was a personal favourite. Tie everything together with a specially selected tea from Whittard of Chelsea and, for a few pounds more, a glass of Moet. Experience the Scentsation menu for £42.50 or add a glass of Moet and Chandon for £55.
For a special afternoon tea, put on your glad rags and venture to The Dorchester's The Promenade. Enjoy tucking into finger sandwiches with fillings such as chicken with ginger, as well as warm scones and pastries including a Strawberry champagne tart, all washed down with a selection of teas and/or champagne.
Celestial Afternoon Tea with Astley Clarke at Plateau
Jewellery lovers – this one's for you! The modern and luxurious Plateau in Canary Wharf is the ideal spot for this twinkling afternoon tea, created in collaboration with gorgeous jewellery brand Astley Clarke. Gems aside, you'll love this one if you're into the zodiac and astrology – as each treat is inspired by the night's sky (our favourites were the pretty planetary macarons and galaxy-swirled choux buns). Plus, if you book the VIP package, you'll bag a gorgeous Astley Clarke Celestial Compass Pendant (worth £85) as well as a perfectly chilled glass of Moët & Chandon.
The Celestial Afternoon Tea with Astley Clarke is available until 29 February 2020. Prices start at £22 per person, with a glass of Moët & Chandon for £32 per person, or the VIP package for £100 per person.
Thames Afternoon Tea for Two at Syklon, Southbank Centre
After a busy day sight-seeing in London, treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon tea overlooking the Thames. Conveniently located at the Southbank Centre, close to Waterloo station, Skylon serves up a delicious array of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones, in a chic and elegant setting. Cakes include a raspberry macaron and a chocolate and lavender cupcake, while sandwiches vary from classic cucumber to smoked salmon. What's more, Virgin are offering an afternoon tea for two package for just £78, which includes a personalised message and gift card and a glass of sparkling wine or cocktail.
Calling all Alice in Wonderland fans out there - this afternoon tea is for you! At Taj 51 Buckingham Gate - just a stone's throw away from Buckingham Palace - you can sit back and relax while tucking into an eclectic menu of themed cakes and pastries, from the Queen of Hearts mango tarts to a tasty 'Drink Me' strawberry potion. No afternoon tea is complete without scones - with chocolate, sultana and plain all on the menu. Sandwiches range from cucumber and cream cheese on beetroot bread to chicken and sultana on carrot bread - and there is also a complete vegetarian menu on request. For an extra-special treat, pay an extra £5 for a glass of prosecco to wash down your meal nicely. Cheers to that!
You can never go wrong with a visit to The Delaunay, especially if you're after a classic afternoon tea. Served every day of the week, the restaurant offers a cream tea, a Viennese afternoon tea or the whole works, a champagne afternoon tea. The traditional Viennese tea starts with an assortment of sandwiches and poppy seed Gugelhupf (a gluten-free Bundt cake) with apricot jam and whipped cream; traditional fruit scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream are also available if you prefer. To finish, tuck into some delectable Viennese cakes and more tea or coffee. The champagne option comes with a glass of Pommery Brut Royal NV – cheers to that!
Watch the world go by with an incredible view of London's Borough Market and its surrounding sites, all while tucking into a delicious afternoon tea at Roast. The stylish interior is very photogenic, and that's before the food even comes out! The tasty menu features a range of dainty sandwiches - with fillings including sundried tomato and basil and smoked salmon and crème fraîche. To satisfy your sweet tooth, there are scones with strawberry jam and cream, along with a selection of classic cakes. Champagne or sparkling wine is also available for an extra-special touch to your experience.
Head down to The Grosvenor Hotel for a luxury afternoon tea with a twist. All aboard the Grosvenor Express and take your taste buds on a journey through the UK. With everything from Brighton pier doughnuts to the white cliffs of Dover pistachio meringues, there will be a sweet treat from across the country for you to enjoy. For those that prefer savoury, then the goat's cheese and beetroot scone will leave you wanting seconds, while the traditional scones are also served up with a generous helping of strawberry and lemongrass jam. Bring along a glass of English sparkling wine or champagne to your journey, or simply try out the selections of tea, with prices starting from just £29.50.
The Biscuiteers Confectionery Afternoon Tea is a must for baking enthusiasts, artists and keen biscuit eaters – okay everybody then. The popular London-based bakery offers an afternoon tea featuring some of its most popular biscuits, along with other sweet treats such as salted caramel brownies, macaroons and Cherry Bakewells.
If you are looking for the ultimate Instagramable eating experience, look no further than 45 Park Lane's American afternoon tea - CUTcakes & Tea. Instead of your traditional afternoon tea, this features everything from cake pops to s'mores, as well as black truffle grilled cheese and of course, American craft beer. Priced at £55 per person.
Dukes hotel in London has a special MarTEAni Afternoon Tea in partnership with The East India Company. Guests can sit down to three beautifully crafted mini martinis, which are all to be enjoyed with different parts of the menu. The Lemon Martini is paired with the sandwiches, the Orange Marmalade Martini sits perfectly with the scones, while the First Romance Tea Martini goes wonderfully with the pastries and sweets. Only a five minute walk from Buckingham Palace and a stone's throw from St. James' Palace, DUKES offers a truly regal setting for tea! Priced at £48 per person.
This is a rather quirky one (and perfect for tourists in the city). See the sights of the city on a traditional London bus while nibbling on very British treats with the B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. Plus, they've recently partnered up with Harrogate-based gin brand Slingsby to infuse their cakes with gin, served alongside cocktails. Gin, tea, double-decker buses, and London sights - Can you think of anything more quintessentially English?!
‘Nineteen Twen-Tea’ Afternoon Tea at Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has long been famed for its unique art deco design and 1920s heritage, and their Nineteen Twen-Tea Afternoon Tea features intrinsically designed pastries and delectable savoury treats inspired by the 1920s, with a contemporary twist. Expect wonders such as 'Strawberries and Champagne Opera' cake and a 'Peanut Butter and Jelly Macaron', drawing inspiration from the 1920s tipple of choice and the advent of sliced bread. We'd certainly raise a toast to that!