Sipping in style: The 7 best places for afternoon tea in London
If you're looking to treat yourself to an iconic London experience, you simply can't miss out on afternoon tea.
After all, you'll need some refreshment between seeing sights like Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Covent Garden, Big Ben and The British Museum.
And who can resist sipping on some aromatic tea while nibbling on dainty sandwiches and pastries in some of London's most beautiful hotels and restaurants?
Lucky for you, London is home to a plethora of tea rooms, each with their own unique twist on the classic tradition.
With so many fantastic tea rooms in London, it can be hard to decide where to go. That's why I've scoured the city to bring you my top 7 picks for the best places for tea in London.
Get ready to sip in style and elevate your tea-drinking experience to new heights!
The Berkeley takes afternoon tea to a whole new level with their fashion-themed creations at Prêt-à-Portea.
The Collins Room, where afternoon tea is served, has a contemporary and elegant ambiance. You won’t find brocade and gold leaf here, instead The Berkeley is all about cutting-edge design and high fashion.
The pastry chefs work tirelessly to make their traditional Afternoon Tea stand out, with a range of unique creations inspired by the catwalk. Indulge in a black forest gateau made to look like a Ralph Lauren coat, or a tiny Self Portrait handbag made with Victoria sponge and orange marmalade.
The savories, including a beetroot and quinoa tart and classic finger sandwiches, don't disappoint either.
For a more indulgent experience, try the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Afternoon Tea, available as a “Couture” tea with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, or “Haute Couture” with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle.
The Berkeley's tea experience is perfect for those who love both food and fashion, and each season's new themes keep the experience fresh and fun.
Address: Wilton Pl, London SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom
The elegant, sophisticated atmosphere of afternoon tea at Claridge’s is unbeatable. The Foyer & Reading Room provide the perfect setting for a tea experience with their art deco motifs and grand mirrors.
Claridge's afternoon tea is a feast for the senses, with the freshest sandwiches, warm scones, and an array of cakes and pastries. Their plain and raisin scones are freshly baked to order every day and are served with Cornish clotted cream and homemade jams.
But the menu doesn't stop there. For their littlest guests they offer a Children's Tea with sandwiches and pastries made specifically for younger guests. And to keep the smaller set entertained while the adults are lingering over tea, the menu doubles as a coloring book.
Claridge’s well-trained staff are on hand to help you choose the perfect blend from their selection of over 25 teas from around the world. One of their rare selections is an Earl Gray sourced from Tregothnan, a walled tea garden in Cornwall established in 1335. It's no wonder that Claridge's has earned a reputation as one of the very best afternoon tea spots in the city.
Address: Brook St, London W1K 4HR, United Kingdom
For a truly indulgent tea experience, The Dorchester is the place to go. The Promenade provides a luxurious setting for their award-winning afternoon tea service. The beautiful room is accented with lovely floral displays featuring the Dorchester Rose, a new variety of rose created in Holland specifically for the hotel and used throughout the building.
The ambiance is chic yet relaxing, setting the tone for a sophisticated tea time. The Dorchester's traditional Afternoon Tea offers diners a taste of heaven with an array of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and mouth-watering cakes and pastries incorporating fresh, seasonal ingredients.
The Dorchester's most notable feature is the quality of their tea. The Promenade offers a selection of rare and exclusive teas, carefully selected from the finest tea estates around the world, and available exclusively to The Dorchester.
The attention to detail and exceptional service of The Dorchester team make it a truly memorable experience.
Address: 53 Park Ln, London W1K 1QA, United Kingdom
Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason’s tea experience can only be described as royal-worthy. The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on the fourth floor of their iconic department store is where all the magic happens.
Originally an apartment for the Fortnum family, the space has been redesigned multiple times during the building’s 315 year history. The most recent incarnation is as The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.
The ambiance is elegant but not stuffy, with china in their trademark shade of eau-de-nil and gleaming silverware giving you a feeling of vintage glamor.
Fortnum & Mason is renowned for its exceptional food, and you can taste that quality in every bite of their Traditional Afternoon Tea. Enjoy savory finger sandwiches like smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, and cucumber with mint cream cheese, followed by warm, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam. The finale is the perfect selection of cakes and pastries, which will make you feel like you're in cake heaven.
If you prefer the savory over the sweet, Fortnum & Mason has the tea for you. Their savory tea menu includes finger sandwiches, savory scones served with onion chutney and chive cream cheese, and unique savoy pastries like their mushroom eclair.
They also have gluten free and vegetarian/vegan options, making afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason an occasion everyone can enjoy.
If you’re not sure what tea you’d prefer (their list is extensive!) you can have a tasting with one of their “tearistas” at your table to help you choose. You can purchase tins of their tea downstairs in the store to take home with you as a souvenir of your tea experience.
Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER, United Kingdom
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London
Looking for a soothing sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of London town? Look no further than The Rosebery at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London, known for its tranquil setting that exudes a relaxing aura.
The tea selection at The Rosebery is nothing short of exceptional, with over 30 teas and tisanes to choose from.
The Traditional Afternoon Tea experience begins with an assortment of finger sandwiches, followed by freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and a selection of strawberry, peach and rose petal jelly, and finishes with a delightful selection of pastries and cakes. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
You can also enhance your tea experience with beverage pairings. Choose from non-alcoholic sparkling beverages, beer, sparkling tea, Alsatian wines, or sake specially selected to complement each course.
But it's not just the tea and food that make for a memorable experience. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London's rich history is woven into the fabric of The Rosebery, making it more than just a place to sip tea. Named after Lord Rosebery, the room’s design captures its Victorian origins while still feeling contemporary.
Where else can you enjoy afternoon tea where Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret learned to dance in the ballroom, or where Prince Philip used to take Princess Anne and Prince Charles for tea when they were children?
Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA, United Kingdom
The Ritz London
The tea experience at The Ritz London is the epitome of classic luxury. The Palm Court, the venue for their afternoon tea, is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in London. The high ceilings, gleaming mirrors, and ornate chandeliers make you feel like you're living in a scene from The Great Gatsby.
The Ritz's Traditional Afternoon Tea is a definitive experience, featuring finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream, and an assortment of delicate pastries and cakes.
With 18 loose-leaf teas to choose from, you’re sure to find one you love. Try the Ritz Royal Blend Tea, which is custom blended for The Ritz and can only be found here.
One of the notable features of this tea experience is the dress code: smart casual, with jackets required for men. Jeans are not allowed in the Palm Court, and trainers are not allowed in any of the hotel’s dining venues.
Tea at The Ritz is an occasion worth dressing up for. And don't be surprised if you catch a glimpse of someone famous – The Ritz has a long history of serving the rich, the famous, and the royal. It's truly an unforgettable experience.
Address: 150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR, United Kingdom
The Wolseley is a tea spot like no other, tucked away in a beautiful art deco-style building in Mayfair. Their Afternoon Tea is served in the stunning dining room, with lofty arches, elegant columns, and gleaming brass fittings creating a feeling of grandeur.
It's impossible not to be impressed with the grandeur of The Wolseley's dining room, and the exceptional quality of their teas and food selection elevates the experience even further.
The Wolseley's Traditional Afternoon Tea features savory finger sandwiches, warm scones, and a selection of sweet treats, including their famous Battenberg cake.
For champagne lovers, their Champagne Afternoon Tea is a bubbly affair, with a glass of Pommery Brut Royal NV served along with the traditional afternoon tea items.
If you prefer something a bit lighter, try their cream tea, which is tea and scones with jam and clotted cream. You can also order from their extensive selection of both savory and sweet options to enjoy with your tea if one of their preset tea menus isn’t striking your fancy.
Address: 160 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom
The bottom line: Afternoon tea in London
From the classic charm of The Ritz to the haute couture vibes of The Berkeley, there's an afternoon tea to suit every taste. So why not indulge in some delicious tea, cakes, and finger sandwiches in one of the world's most iconic cities?
But it's not just about the food and ambiance. Afternoon tea in London is a cultural institution with a rich history that adds an extra layer of charm and significance to the experience.
Whether you're a seasoned tea-drinker or a curious traveler, these venues offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, while also providing a glimpse into the elegance and sophistication that defines London's high society.
So go ahead and indulge in some of London's finest afternoon tea offerings and experience the charm of this lovely tradition.