Nothing beats a classic afternoon tea – and these 21 iconic restaurants and hotels are definitely worth trying in 2022.
Afternoon tea is, quite literally, the food of queens. The now quintessentially British tradition is said to have first been inaugurated by Queen Victoria, after one of her ladies in waiting pointed out that the long afternoons could do with a tasty little something to pick up the women of nobility.
It’s a pastime that oozes indulgence, created simply as an excuse to scoff and socialise in style. And in our humble opinion, if you’re going to do it, you need to do it right. Enter: our divine collection of the most gorgeously luxurious and iconic afternoon teas in London.
A delightful way to celebrate a special occasion or just enjoy feeling like a lady of leisure with your best friend, some of these venues simply must be ticked off your London bucket list. From The Ritz to The Savoy, these are the most iconic and luxurious afternoon teas in London.
The Lily Vanilli afternoon tea at The Lane
If you want an afternoon tea experience in a place steeped in history, looked no further than Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The iconic venue hosts an unforgettable afternoon tea, which is filled with decadence and Regency-era glamour from the moment you walk into the Grand Saloon to the moment you leave.
Guests can take in the dazzling chandeliers, ornate ceilings and beautiful furnishings and fine art while enjoying the Lily Vanilli afternoon tea, which features a vast selection of sweet and savoury bites.
Start off with madeleines topped with lapsang-souchong glazed salmon, bitesize canelés with whipped ricotta and pickled beetroot, and a signature Lily Vanilli puff pastry sausage roll made with Cornish sausage meat, roast bacon lardons and a cider vinegar deglaze.
Next, move on to the warm and particularly delicious scones, which are brought to the table with salted whipped butter, cream and homemade jams (you’ll definitely want more than one).
To top it off, enjoy a series of sweet treats, which include my personal favourite, a sticky toffee pudding and pink lemonade chocolate cake.
And of course, there’s the most important aspect of it all – the tea. Select from a range of loose leaf teas curated by Henrietta Lovell of the Rare Tea Company, choosing from the traditional regency breakfast tea to the superb Earl Grey blended with pure bergamot oil from the ancient orchards of Calabria.
Whatever you choose, a visit to The Lane is one you’ll truly remember.
Rosewood London Art Afternoon Tea
Be inspired by the legendary Salvador Dali at Rosewood London’s Art Afternoon Tea.
The tea is inspired by the surrealist painter’s infamous works and designed with the ‘Surrealism Beyond Borders’ exhibition at the Tate Modern in mind.
Guests will be further immersed into Dali’s world with an AR (augmented reality) experience, as well as being able to kick off their own personal NFT collection, while enjoying a wide variety of dishes, from baked camembert tart and crayfish choux to freshly baked raisin scones and Dali-inspired pastries.
Fortnum & Mason platinum Jubilee menu
If you’re looking to indulge in a quintessentially British afternoon tea to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, tea salon Fortnum & Mason will be serving a platinum Jubilee menu to celebrate 70 years of the reigning monarch.
Every element will be curated for an unforgettable experience, from the hand-crafted teapots and linen-draped tables, and the iconic hand-painted flower walls, designed by the late David Collins, through to the live piano music.
The classic menu will begin with a London smoked salmon blini, before delicate finger sandwiches of Coronation chicken, Cotswold Legbar egg mayonnaise, Suffolk cured ham with English mustard and Cucumber with minted pea cream cheese. Freshly baked Scones will follow, served with Fortnum’s strawberry preserve, lemon curd and Somerset clotted cream.
Four Seasons Park Lane
Nestled within the heart of Mayfair and a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, there isn’t a more fitting location to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee than at luxury landmark property Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane.
Available from 16 May – 31 August and served in the opulent surroundings of Amaranto Lounge, the royal-themed afternoon tea has been designed by recently appointed Executive Pastry Chef, Yam Lok Hin.
Expect decadent sweet and savoury treats embracing both classic and innovative British flavour combinations, from intricately designed speciality pastries to freshly baked scones.
Park Room at JW Marriott Grosvenor House Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea
From May 20, the award-winning Park Room at JW Marriott Grosvenor House London will be serving a Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea to mark the Queen’s historic 70th anniversary on the throne.
In celebration of this momentous milestone, Grosvenor House executive Chef Nigel Boschetti and head pastry chef Anthony Hurst have worked with their team of pâtissiers to create an unforgettable afternoon tea experience, which will include limited-edition pastries that have been specially crafted in honour of this historic occasion and include a mouth-watering Valhrona chocolate biscuit cake, lemon posset and a buttery shortbread biscuit.
Searcys Afternoon Tea
If you’re still looking for more Jubilee afternoon tea options, Searcys is another restaurant to add to your list.
Take in the opulent views and surroundings while enjoying everything Searcys’ bespoke strawberry and Champagne sorbet, served with a specially created Jubilee wafer before tucking into savouries including beetroot cured salmon with pickled fennel; Coronation chicken rillette with rye tuille and a selection of sandwiches including Searcys smoked salmon and caviar and Devilled egg and mustard cress.
Sweet treats include freshly baked scones with lashings of cream and jam alongside Searcys signature Victoria sponge, a fruity Dundee cake, and a red, white and blue Battenberg.
TeaQuila at NYX Hotel Holborn
Tea with a side of tequila? Yes, please.
NYX Hotel is offering an Afternoon TeaQuila, which will feature a sweet and savoury menu of luxurious and Mexican-inspired delights.
From a decadent dark chocolate and chilli brownie to tequila grilled shrimps and stuffed baby peppers with Mexican beef, this afternoon tea is unlike anything you’ve experienced before and is sure to hit the spot.
Hush Mayfair Traditional Afternoon Tea
Enjoy a quintessentially British afternoon tea at Hush Mayfair.
Available from Monday – Friday weekly from 2pm until 4.30pm, afternoon tea at Hush Mayfair is an elegant affair that allows guests to indulge in delicate and flavourful finger sandwiches, from honey roast ham and mustard to traditional cucumber and butter on fluffy white bread.
Scones are, of course, a must, with Hush Mayfair serving freshly baked scones and served with lashings of raspberry jam and clotted cream, along with zingy mini lemon meringue pies, indulgent cream-filled gold-leaf chocolate eclairs and rainbow macarons.
And of course, there’s the tea, courtesy of master blenders Harney & Sons, with a choice of flavours including Jasmine, Gunpowder Green, Rose Puchong, and a classic English Breakfast.
Park Chinois’ Dim Sum Afternoon Soirée
If you’re looking for an afternoon tea experience with a twist, Park Chinois will provide just that with its Dim Sum Afternoon Soirée.The luxurious Asian restaurant set in the heart of Mayfair invites guests to descend down the red staircase, where they will be welcomed with a glass of champagne before kicking off the festivities which include the restaurant’s famously delicious menu along with immersive performances that will leave you in awe.
The decadent dining experience will become a favourite of yours as you indulge in everything from the chef’s selection of dim sum (complete with Har Gau, scampi shumai, scallop & chive dumpling and black truffle dumpling) and bang bang chicken salad to steamed sea bass with garlic soya sauce and, my personal favourite, supreme seafood with black bean sauce and a side of delicious egg fried rice and seasonal vegetables.
And the outing wouldn’t be complete without the live performances which gives a late-night feel to the afternoon soiree.
From a burlesque performance right down to a spectacular firebreather and aerial acts, you’ll be filled with excitement throughout your dining experience, making it the perfect way to spend a Saturday in the city.
When?: Every Saturday from 1pm – 5pm priced at £85.
The Chocolate Afternoon Tea
This April, The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel is offering a delectable Chocolate Afternoon Tea in partnership with Chocolatier, Chantal Coady.
It marks the first time Coady will launch her cocoa in afternoon tea form, exclusively at the hotel’s Knightsbridge Lounge, making it a one-of-a-kind experience that chocolate lovers are sure to appreciate.
Enjoy the very best of chocolate with signatures including Coady’s classic chocolate club sandwich with raspberry and Grenada dust and a white chocolate mousse crown with pistachio and cardamom.
Guests will also be able to tuck into warm, plain or chocolate-infused scones served alongside an array of savoury sandwiches including sun-dried tomato and gruyere quiche, Severn Valley smoked salmon with olive tapenade and Burford brown egg, cress and mayo on a buttery croissant.
When?: The tea is available from 2pm – 6pm daily and costs £39 per person or £49 with a glass of Bouché Père et Fils Champagne.
The Langham Afternoon Tea
The Langham, London has launched a brand-new afternoon tea collection, as part of a series of teas in Palm Courtinspired by the nation’s favourite biscuits. An established member of London’s afternoon tea scene, Palm Court has served up some of the finest cakes and pastries for over a century, putting a modern twist on classic favourites.
Priced from £65pp, guests can expect a truly decadent spread of delights, including elegant interpretations of classic biscuits, including the reimagining of custard cream, the pink wafer, the French Fancy and more.
When?: Thursday – Sunday from 12.30 – 5pm
The Kopi Tiam Afternoon Tea at the Pan Pacific London
Stepping into The Orchid Lounge at Pan Pacific London is quite the experience. From the moment you entire, you are treated to a truly unique experience that blends Singaporean innovation with a quintessential British afternoon tea, courtesy of award-winning executive pastry chef Cherish Finden and accompanied by a considered menu of English sparkling wines and innovative breakfast and all-day dishes.
If you’re looking for a different take on the afternoon tea experience, The Orchid Lounge proves just that with Kopi Tiam, a truly unique take on afternoon tea served daily.
The afternoon tea combines traditional dishes from the different ethnicities that make up the fabric of modern Singapore, including savoury dim sum pastry, soy and ginger marinated salmon bao along with mango coconut mousse with coconut shortbread and gula malaka chocolate brownies with hazelnut.
Building on the hotel’s ethos of supporting local, British producers, The Kopi Tiam Afternoon Tea (£68 per person) is the only one in London to serve British sparkling wine as their preferred pairing over champagne, pouring Nyetimber Classic Cuvée, NV and Nyetimber Rosé, NV (£78 per person) making it a truly one-of-a-kind experience that is worth trying now.
When: Afternoon Tea is served 1.30pm – 5.50pm every day
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences
Take a journey through Queen Elizabeth II’s reign this jubilee year with The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea at Kona, at luxury 5* hotel Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences.
The Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea features intrinsically designed pastries and scrumptious savoury treats, all inspired by 70 years of service from one of Britain’s most loved and longest-standing monarchs. From miniature royal carriages encasing delicate pastries, to beautiful handmade table dressings in the rich royal colour of purple laying down the carpet for this tea, this beautiful and delicious afternoon tea is fit for royalty.
When: Wednesday – Friday: 12pm – 2pm; Saturday and Sunday 12pm, 2pm and 4pm
The Kensington Hotel
Taking inspiration from London’s most recognisable and historic landmarks, The Kensington Hotel’s London Landmarks Afternoon Tea leads diners on a tour of the capital’s architectural feats and culinary traditions, with tributes to London’s most famed structures.
Enjoy the hotel’s skyline of scones, sandwiches, and sweets, which pay homage to the capital’s iconic buildings and will be presented on a London Eye-inspired tea stand.
When: Afternoon Tea is served 12pm – 6pm every day
The Strand Palace
The newly renovated Strand Palace is one of London’s most iconic hotels – and it’s helpfully located in the heart of the West End.
The quintessentially British afternoon tea offers a host of seasonal sandwiches, including salmon and dill sour cream on rye bread, egg and watercress, cucumber cream cheese on beetroot bread, and grilled ham and cheese on brioche. (FYI, the latter is absolutely delicious…)
Executive chef Alfonso Salvaggio didn’t just put hard work into sandwiches: the sweets are just as good. The classic Victoria sponge is perfectly light and fluffy, the lemon meringue has a brilliant tart twist and the chocolate champagne bomb needs no explanation.
And no afternoon tea is complete without freshly baked scones served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry conserve.
When: Served daily from 12pm – 7pm
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the one, the only, The Ritz Hotel. This iconic venue has frequented some of our favourite films (we’re looking at you, Notting Hill) and acts as an automatic reference for describing luxury, so it’s no surprise the hotel’s afternoon tea is famed for being one of the best in town.
Held in The Ritz Club, guests are treated to the usual fare of finger sandwiches, scones and mini-desserts, all of which are served in high-class style and fulfil all of your flavour expectations.
You can try one of the 18 different types of tea blends with your meal or indulge in a glass of champagne.
When: Daily at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm, and 7.30pm
If you look up the word ‘sophistication’ in the dictionary, we’re pretty sure you’ll spot a picture of The Savoy alongside it. OK, maybe not literally, but this famous hotel is known the world over for its class and elegance.
Indulging in afternoon tea here is a must for anyone looking for a true London experience, and if you’re hoping for off-the-wall opulence, you won’t be disappointed.
The afternoon tea is plentiful (being replenished as many times as you wish) and is served with the most attentive service you could imagine. Choose from a range of teas served with finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam and a mouth-watering selection of seasonal cakes and pastries.
When: Monday to Tuesday, 12pm –4pm; Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
The Goring has been wowing guests with its prestigious service for over a century and prides itself on being “the original article”. Nestled in Belgravia, it’s the perfect spot for tea after a day of seeing the sights and there’s no doubt that the refreshments will be more than up to scratch.
Enjoy the lavish surroundings while you tuck into scones and sandwiches served with the finest blended and first-flush teas from around the world – topped off with a glass of Bollinger champagne if you so wish.
When: Monday to Friday, 3.30pm – 4.30pm; Saturday 1pm – 4pm; Sunday 1pm – 4pm
Since opening in 1856, Claridge’s has attracted attention from some of London’s most notable socialites, movie stars and even royalty. The hotel cites itself as an English institution and therefore, of course, takes serving one of the most well-loved English traditions very seriously indeed.
The afternoon tea is prepared and served fresh each day, with a menu that faithfully follows the traditional combination of sweet and savoury. The hotel has chosen to feature ingredients that they deem British specialities, such as poached Scottish salmon, and change their pastries throughout the year to reflect the fruits of the season.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion (or not), you can raise a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut or Rosé to give the afternoon some extra sparkle.
When: Daily at 2.45pm – 5.30pm
Fortnum and Mason
Prestigious store Fortnum and Mason has been selling its famous blends of teas for over 300 years, so it’s no surprise that it considers this loose leafed beverage its “greatest love of all”.
There’s a tale behind every detail of the afternoon tea experience; from the scones baked fresh in their thousands every day in Piccadilly, to the Battenberg cake that’s become a staple since it was first served in 1926.
The afternoon tea menu ticks all the traditional boxes, serving finger sandwiches with fillings such as coronation chicken and Fortnum’s smoked salmon, and warm scones with an array of mouth-watering fillings including lemon curd and a variety of fruit jams.
When: Monday to Saturday 11.30am – 7pm; Sunday 11.30am– 7.30pm
Liberty, Arthur’s Cafe
Liberty’s Department Store is a staple of central London’s shopping hub. Located on Regent’s St, the beautiful historic shop is known for its unique floral prints and its iconic outdoor floral display.
Several years ago, the famous department store opened Arthur’s Cafe, a stylish Art Deco restaurant on the second floor. With dark blue velvet seating, gold accents and sophisticated, minimalist decor, it’s the perfect setting for an indulgent afternoon tea during a busy day of shopping.
The afternoon tea menu features all of the classics from finger sandwiches to scones. Plus, you will have the option to try the Sparkling Afternoon Tea, which comes with a glass of Fiol Prosecco, or the Taittinger Afternoon Tea, which includes a glass of Taittinger NV.
When: Monday to Saturday 10am – 7pm; Sunday 12pm– 5pm
Images: Getty, Pan Pacific London, Sheri Silver, Courtesy of the venues
Source: Read Full Article