You simply can’t talk about visiting London without talking about the best places for afternoon tea. It is a quintessential London experience and today I’m here to share the best places to drown yourself in scones, tea, and other sweet indulgences.
Best for a glamorous affair: The Ritz
Afternoon tea has been served at the Ritz since its 1906 opening and that sense of heritage is partly why it remains so popular in London today. Served with precision in the hotel’s ornate Palm Court, the tea includes the requisite finger sandwiches with smoked salmon, roast ham et al, alongside fresh raisin and apple scones and cakes on a tiered cake stand.
Best for the view: Ting Restaurant, Shangri-La at The Shard
If you want to enjoy afternoon tea in a casual, non-traditional setting, it’s hard to top (quite literally though) the The Shard’s sky high tea. The view is spectacular and food is exceptional. It is a little pricier than your average high tea, but it’s hard to complain whilst you’re sipping tea in an open-air sky deck, 72 floors up, with 360-degree views over London.
Best for a Themed Party: Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson Hotel
It’s a fun twist on the traditional high tea, but certainly wont leave you disappointed. Discover menus hidden inside vintage books, teapots adorned with kings and queens, sandwich plates decorated with birdcages, carousels and ticking clocks upon which rest savoury, specialty sandwiches.
Best for fashion enthusiasts: The Caramel Room at The Berkeley
The Berkeley hotel’s “Prêt-à-Portea” is anything but traditional. You’ll find colorful, eclectic creations inspired by this season’s runway looks (think: vanilla shortbreads modeled after an Alexander McQueen shoe, and chocolate-wrapped sponge cakes inspired by an Anya Hindmarch bag).
Best for extravagance: The Foyer at Claridge’s
The iconic Foyer is one of London’s must see hot spots, so it would be only right to take a traditional afternoon tea amid Claridge’s Art Deco splendour. For over 150 years, the hotel has been serving scones, pastries, and classic sandwiches—smoked salmon with caviar, cucumber and cream cheese—on its signature jade-and-white-striped bone china to nobles and VIPs.
Best for sightseeing: London Bus Afternoon Tea
A double decker bus will drive round Central London, taking in some of the City’s best sights, whilst you can indulge in the fabulous Afternoon Tea. Capture the heart of the city’s culture and history whilst sipping on a lovely cup of tea and enjoying the exquisite tastes of France, whilst looking out on some of London’s most famous landmarks. High tea accompanied with an array of tasty sandwiches and delicious cakes and pastries.
Best for a contemporary feel: The Serpentine Sackler Gallery
Set in a futuristic, light-filled restaurant with a undulating roof, this afternoon tea is all about the cool and modern vibe. There’s wooden blocks instead of traditional tiers which are topped with canapé-style savouries and sweet treats. It’s quite the work of art.
Best for British classics: Espelette restaurant at The Connaught
The Connaught is renowned for it’s attention to detail and sophistication from the moment the doorman greets you. Just remember to book a table for the front room, as the back room doesn’t share the same views or atmosphere.
Best for tradition: Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
One of London’s most famous institutions for Afternoon Tea, the history of Fortnum & Mason reaches back to 1707 and since that time it has specialised in providing the finest produce and service. The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon is ideal, with a choice of dining table or sofa seating, a serene ambiance and panoramic vista of Piccadilly, enhanced by the peaceful piano playing in the background.
Best for decadence: The Dorchester
Since opening in 1931, The Dorchester has served the finest afternoon tea in London. Set in the heart of The Dorchester at The Promenade, you’ll enjoy an opulent setting with elegant, welcoming service, transforming tea into an indulgent treat. Grand almost seems an understatement.