Afternoon Tea in London – Here are the 12 Best Places (+ Unique Experiences!) 🫖

Looking for the best afternoon tea in London? Here, I share both classic spots and more unique experiences.

afternoon tea london

Afternoon tea in London is something everyone should experience when traveling to the English capital.

That’s how I feel, at least, and even though I have been to London over 50 times, afternoon tea is still an experience I always seek out when I’m in Britain.

When I ran my own travel agency and tailored trips to London, my clients also highly requested afternoon tea.

Therefore, I’ve come to know quite a few unique afternoon tea experiences in London, and I will share them with you here.

On the list, we have classic, fancy hotels and unique experiences such as bus and boat tours where the British specialties are served.

Let’s start with one of London’s most famous places to have afternoon tea.

1. The Dorchester

Afternoon tea at The Dorchester is an experience that transcends the ordinary and leaves an unforgettable impression.

Upon entering The Promenade, where the tea is served, you are greeted by a world of refined luxury and timeless elegance.

Here, guests are pampered with delicate sandwiches from the finest artisan bread, freshly baked scones, and mouthwatering pastries.

The level of detail in the preparation is remarkable. For instance, scones and patisserie items are created in different kitchen areas, where large teams focus on every tiny detail to ensure a high degree of finesse.

This is reflected in the exquisite creations on the elegant tiered stand accompanying the tea.

These include everything from traditional cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches to creative twists like cheddar and chamomile scones.

Read more about afternoon tea at The Dorchester.

2. Afternoon Tea Boat Tour on the Thames

Afternoon Tea Boat Tour London

On board a comfortable riverboat, you can enjoy tea, delicate sandwiches, and cakes while passing some of London’s most historic buildings.

The boat tour starts from Tower Pier near the Tower of London.

It passes landmarks such as Shakespeare’s Globe, The Shard (which I will talk about shortly), the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament.

Onboard, a fine selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and various traditional cakes are served.

Enjoy unlimited tea and coffee; if you wish, you can purchase a glass of sparkling champagne. A bar also offers a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Along the cruise, you’ll get insights into facts about London and its monuments from a sightseeing commentator over the speakers while enjoying a first-class view from the boat.

Reviews from previous guests are overwhelmingly positive, with comments about the beautiful views, delicious tea, and friendly staff.

Read more and book online here.

Also, check out my extensive guide to the best attractions and things to do in London.

3. Oblix at The Shard

Afternoon tea at Oblix in The Shard offers a modern interpretation of the English afternoon tea tradition, served in a sophisticated and contemporary atmosphere.

Located on the 32nd floor of The Shard, Oblix boasts unparalleled views of London’s skyline, from the Gherkin and Walkie-Talkie to the Tower Bridge and beyond.

The afternoon tea menu starts with a selection of delicate sandwiches, including ‘Severn & Wye smoked salmon with seaweed and cucumber,’ ‘Mini shrimp and lobster roll,’ and ‘Avocado, tomato, and buffalo mozzarella tart.’

Next are freshly baked scones with whipped clotted cream, homemade honeycomb, and raspberry jam.

The sweet section includes ‘Passion fruit, mango & pistachio bar,’ ‘Warm honey madeleines with chocolate sauce,’ and ‘Oblix hazelnut rocher,’ among other delights.

The tea menu offers a wide selection, including Assam Breakfast, Organic Sencha, and Jasmine Pearl, and there’s also an option for unlimited wine and champagne.

Read more about afternoon tea at Oblix here.

4. The Londoner

the londoner hotel restaurant

Afternoon Tea at The Stage at The Londoner, located near Leicester Square in London’s West End, is an award-winning experience available Thursday to Monday from 12:30 to 16:00.

Here, enjoy a selection of sandwiches, such as smoked salmon and Devon crab on whole grain bread and lemon-roasted Norfolk chicken on basil and spinach-infused bread.

Homemade scones, served with Cornish clotted cream, strawberry jam, lemon curd, and delicate patisserie creations from Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Mountain, like the tropical Chouquette, complete the menu.

Guests can choose from various packages from The East India Company, including traditional Champagne, Rosé Champagne, Vintage Champagne Afternoon Tea, and loose-leaf teas.

The experience is enhanced by live music from weekly pianists and vocalists, contributing to an elegant and cozy atmosphere.

Read more about afternoon tea at The Londoner.

Need accommodation in London?

Then check out my guide to the best areas and places to stay in London or watch this video:

5. Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Afternoon Tea Bus Tour London

Experience a truly unique afternoon tea aboard the English Tea Bus. This traditional red double-decker is an attraction in itself in London.

This 90-minute tour passes famous landmarks like the London Eye, Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Indulge your taste buds with homemade finger sandwiches, mini-pastries and desserts, delicious scones, and cakes.

A glass of Prosecco or a non-alcoholic drink is also offered.

Although the tour does not include a live guide, it provides a relaxing way to see the city while enjoying a traditional English afternoon tea.

Read more and book with free cancellation.

6. The Ritz

Afternoon tea at The Ritz in London’s exclusive Mayfair district is an experience that surpasses the ordinary with its history, glamorous setting, and five-star service.

The hotel, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and opened in 1906, has undergone extensive restoration and continues to be a gathering point for royalty, politicians, and celebrities.

The Ritz restaurant, a perfect place to try afternoon tea in London

Tea is served in the Palm Court, a room in natural light adorned with marble columns, birdcage chandeliers, and mirrors.

Here, one can enjoy classic finger sandwiches, French-influenced cakes like salted caramel macaron and mille-feuille, and light and airy scones with thick clotted cream and strawberry jam.

After the sweet treats, the dessert trolley follows with even more delicacies, such as lemon drizzle cake and pistachio cake with vanilla cream and raspberry.

  • There’s a smart casual dress code, and men must wear a jacket and tie.

The price for the traditional afternoon tea is £45 per person, or £57 with a glass of champagne, while a special celebration afternoon tea costs £56 per person, or £67 with champagne.

Read more about afternoon tea at The Ritz.

7. The Savoy

The Savoy is one of the most iconic hotels in London.

With afternoon tea served in the elegant Thames Foyer, a light-filled Edwardian salon, guests experience an atmosphere of refinement and tradition.

The Savoy Afternoon Tea

Here, one can choose between Traditional High Tea and classic Afternoon Tea, with delicious scones, finger sandwiches, and specialties like The Savoy’s strawberry jam and lemon curd.

The tea selection is impressive, and the sweet part of the menu includes exquisite cakes such as dark chocolate and coffee layer cake, lavender éclairs, and lemon meringue white chocolate cake.

The service experience is relaxed and attentive, and the hotel’s smart-casual dress code contributes to an exclusive feel.

Afternoon tea is served daily from 1:00 PM to 5:45 PM, with prices starting at £52 per person for the traditional tea and £55 for High Tea, with champagne as an optional extra.

Read more about afternoon tea at The Savoy.

8. The Rubens

Afternoon tea at The Rubens at The Palace Hotel is an experience that combines traditional charm with modern conveniences.

In the Palace Lounge, guests can choose from fresh, loose teas, including The Royal Jubilee Blend and classic Lady Grey.

the reubens london afternoon tea

Guests are presented with three plates filled with delicacies, including sweets, scones, and sandwiches, with the option to have more if desired.

What sets this tea experience apart is the relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy their meal at their own pace, with the option to have additional tea as needed.

You can also book a top-rated guided tour past sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben, ending with afternoon tea at The Rubens.

See more about the popular tour with afternoon tea.

9. Harry Potter Themed Afternoon Tea (& Guided City Walk)

Harry Potter Themed Afternoon Tea

Here’s a fun option: combine a Harry Potter city walk with a magical afternoon tea.

The guided walking tour includes more than ten film locations and several places that inspired J.K. Rowling’s famous Harry Potter books.

The tour starts at Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, then heads to Leicester Square to visit the shop that made all the paper props for the movies.

Continue to London Bridge and explore sites like The Leaky Cauldron and Millennium Bridge.

Millennium Bridge
The famous Millennium Bridge with Tate Modern behind it.

Along the way, admire the buildings that inspired J.K. Rowling during her writing.

The next highlight of the tour is a visit to The Wands & Wizard Exploratorium, a place filled with magical treats, cakes, and tea.

Here, you can enjoy a well-deserved afternoon tea and shop for everything from chocolate frogs to butterbeers.

This tour is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Harry Potter while experiencing London’s best sights, including Big Ben and London Bridge.

See more and book with free cancellation.

Also, check out my guide to the Harry Potter Studios in London and my video from there:

10. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Afternoon tea at The Rosebery in Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is a refined experience that combines luxury with personal service.

In the chic Knightsbridge area, The Rosebery offers beautiful decor and a relaxing atmosphere conducive to a tranquil tea experience.

Guest reviews highlight the excellent service and quality of the food.

One guest mentions how The Rosebery delivers a unique experience with a complimentary glass of sparkling tea and personal service from an attentive waiter, contributing to a wonderful three-hour tea time.

Another guest praises the place for its impressive range of sandwiches, especially for vegetarians, and the excellent variety of teas. Scones and desserts are also highlights, often with seasonal themes.

Read more about afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental.

11. Fortnum & Mason

Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason in London is an iconic experience that lives up to the expectations of a venue with a solid royal heritage and a reputation for luxury.

Since 1707, afternoon tea has been served in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, a room that exudes elegance and refinement.

A soothing atmosphere is offered with an interior in Fortnum & Mason’s signature light green color and live piano music.

Guests are greeted by friendly and polite staff and led to comfortable booths.

The menu features an impressive 19-page tea selection, including rare and unusual teas for which Fortnum & Mason is known.

A special tea tasting is offered with assistance from a ‘Tearista’, helping guests make an informed choice.

Read more about afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason.

12. Sketch

Afternoon tea at The Gallery at Sketch in London is a unique and exceptional experience combining art and culinary delight in a trendy and modern atmosphere.

The venue is characterized by pink velvet chairs and walls decorated with David Shrigley’s original artworks, creating an ambiance of artistic expression.

Guests are welcomed by smiling waiters and presented with an extensive tea menu featuring 19 different teas, including black, white, oolong, herbal, green, and pu-erh teas.

There’s also an option to try a unique champagne tea, where Veuve Clicquot is poured through a small tea strainer, adding a quirky class to the experience.

Afternoon tea consists of a selection of small sandwiches, such as a glamorous version of a cheese toastie, quail egg and caviar on egg and mayonnaise sandwich, and coronation chicken.

Sketch’s toilets are an experience in themselves, appearing as space capsules with individual music and commentary, reflecting the venue’s unique and artistic style.

Read more about afternoon tea at Sketch (The Gallery).

What is Afternoon Tea?

British Afternoon Tea

Let me briefly explain the concept for those of you who have yet to try afternoon tea. And let me also just clarify that it’s perfectly okay to order coffee – I’ve done it many times 😀

Afternoon tea is a British tradition that originated in the early 19th century. It’s a light meal typically served in the afternoon (as the name suggests) and is designed to satisfy hunger between lunch and dinner.

What makes afternoon tea special is the combination of food, drink, and atmosphere. 

Traditionally, afternoon tea consists of several elements:

Tea: A vital part of the experience. Various types of tea are served, from classic black teas like Earl Grey and Assam to more exotic blends and herbal teas.

Sandwiches are typically small and delicate, cut into fine finger sizes. Fillings can vary, but popular choices include cucumber, smoked salmon, egg with mayonnaise, and coronation chicken.

Scones: Typically served warm with clotted cream and jam. Scones are a baked item that is soft inside and slightly crispy outside.

Cakes and Sweets: A selection of small cakes, tarts, and other pastries. These can vary depending on the venue and season.

Atmosphere: Afternoon tea is not just about the food but also the experience. It is often served in beautiful settings like hotel lounges, tea salons, or even outdoor gardens, often accompanied by live music such as piano or a string quartet.

I hope you found this guide to the best places to try afternoon tea in London helpful. 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

See all my London travel guides here.

FAQ:

Where do Londoners go for afternoon tea?

Londoners enjoy afternoon tea at both popular, classic places and lesser-known venues. Famous locations such as The Ritz and The Savoy are perennial favorites for their luxurious and traditional settings. However, Londoners also frequent lesser-known spots that offer unique experiences.

Many museums in London, for example, offer afternoon tea, providing an opportunity to combine a love of art and history with the enjoyment of this quintessentially British tradition.

How much is afternoon tea in London?

The cost of afternoon tea in London typically starts from around 25 pounds. However, prices can go up to 100 pounds at the most expensive hotels. The price varies depending on the location, the quality of the food and service, and the establishment’s reputation.

Some places might include additional features like a glass of champagne or special tea blends, which can also affect the overall cost.

What’s the difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

The main difference between afternoon tea and high tea is the amount and type of food served. Afternoon tea is traditionally a lighter meal and includes delicacies like sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of cakes and pastries accompanied by tea.

High tea, however, tends to include more substantial food items. It often features a variety of savory dishes and is more akin to a full meal than a light snack, reflecting its origins as a working-class dinner served later in the day.

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