Best Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London

Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com
It would have been more appropriate to entitle this piece ‘My Favourite Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London So Far’. There are a lifetime’s worth of great places to have afternoon tea in London, each with their own particular charm. These are the best of the many I have visited up to now. 

Some of the Best Places for afternoon tea in London:

Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com

The Ritz
One of the most iconic places to enjoy afternoon tea in London, there really is nothing like afternoon tea at The Ritz. There’s often a piano playing in the background and the atmosphere is always elegant yet friendly. After you have chosen from 16 different blends of tea, you are served delicate tea sandwiches, followed by fluffy scones served with jam and cream and then gorgeous little cakes and pastries. We have visited The Palm Court Restaurant for afternoon tea several times. It’s a not to be missed experience. You do have to dress up a bit – gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie and most ladies wear dresses or skirt,s although smart dress trousers are acceptable. No jeans or trainers.

The Goring
Enjoying afternoon tea at The Goring could put you in very distinguished company – its proximity to Buckingham Palace means it is often frequented by the Royal Family. This was also the hotel where The Duchess of Cambridge, her family and close friends spent the night before her wedding. It’s also the place I enjoyed my favourite afternoon tea in London so far.

Pink champagne and strawberries were followed by the arrival of this gorgeous tea tray. The middle layer is warm scones wrapped in a napkin to keep the heat in.

Afternoon Tea in London The Goring

There was a huge choice of teas and we were offered refills on every layer of the tea tray. There were even special cakes to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday, some of which are actually favourites of Her Majesty when she visits The Goring.
Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London

The service is incredibly attentive here but not at all intrusive. An equally elegant experience to The Ritz, the dress code is much more relaxed at The Goring. I would encourage stylish smart casual attire but I even saw people in jeans.

The Corinthia Hotel
Seated under a stunning Baccarat chandelier, the comfortable chairs in the Lobby Lounge of The Corinthia invite you to an effortlessly elegant experience of afternoon tea in London. Plates of sandwiches are offered to begin.

Places To Have Afternoon Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com
After the waiting staff have ensured that you have had as many sandwiches as you like (second helpings are encouraged), the scones and cakes arrive. These are presented on the largest tea stands I have ever seen.

Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com
The stands are around 3 feet tall and are placed on the floor next to your table, one stand between every two people (when there are three of us we have two stands). The scones are lovely and the cakes are very creative. On our most recent visit I enjoyed an exquisite Blackberry and Violet Cream Cake. I think the delicate floral flavours of that beautiful cake will stay in my memory forever!

Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com

As tea takes place in the elegant hotel lobby, the dress code is fairly relaxed but again I recommend stylish smart casual.

The Georgian Restaurant at Harrods
This oasis on the fourth floor of the iconic Harrods department store is another one of the elegant places for afternoon tea in London. A beautifully panelled room, starched white tablecloths and waiting staff in formal attire all add to the experience at The Georgian Restaurant.

Places to Have Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com

After you have selected your blend of tea from what seems like hundreds, everything arrives at once here. You simply work your way from the bottom of the tea stand to marvellous cakes at the top.

Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London on AprilJHarris.com

The Georgian Restaurant is located in Harrods, the iconic department store. As such they encourage smart dress but the dress code is not as strict as at The Ritz.

Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
Offering a wonderfully elegant afternoon tea experience, the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon offers a large selection of single estate teas as well as their classic blends. Traditional finger sandwiches (the Coronation Chicken are my favourite) are served. Then tender scones arrive with your choice of jams or lemon curd. These are followed by pastries and a fantastic cake carriage. I also recommend the individual tea tasting with one of F&M’s ‘Tearistas’ before your afternoon tea in order to help you choose your very favourite blend.

If you have young children, consider enjoying a much less formal afternoon tea experience in The Parlour restaurant on the first floor at Fortnum & Mason. It may be a bit less traditional but their scones are delicious and the kids will absolutely love it. Again, this is a department store, albeit an iconic one, so the the dress code is a bit more relaxed. I definitely recommend smart dress if you visit The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

There are so many wonderful places to have afternoon tea in London. I look forward to sharing more of them with you in the future!

No promotional consideration has been received in connection with this post. If you would like your restaurant’s afternoon tea considered for a feature in a future post, please do get in touch with me at april@apriljharris.com.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1217 great articles for us.
April is a food, lifestyle and travel writer who lives in Berkshire, England. She shares inspiration, tips and trends for anyone who loves food, cooking, entertaining, fashion, travel and the finer things in life at her blog, AprilJHarris.com.
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Comments

  1. Absolutely lovely!

  2. Wonderful tea experiences here and as always you have some lovely photos. Would you agree that the presentation, and daintiness of the little cakes, is almost as important as the taste?
    There’s a book you might enjoy, called Tea and Cake London (Zena Alkayat) which probably has enough ideas for a month of tea outings – few as formal as these, though.

    • Thank you so much, Pauline! Yes, I do agree, the presentation and the daintiness of the cakes are absolutely integral to afternoon tea 🙂 I will look for Tea and Cake in London – it definitely sounds like a book I would enjoy!

  3. I want to go. I’m on a diet and this all looks and sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend.

    Wishes for tasty dishes, Linda

    • Thank you, Linda 🙂 It must have been hard looking at all those cakes when you are on a diet! Proper afternoon tea – or high tea – isn’t very diet friendly unfortunately – luckily we only have it once in a while 🙂

  4. We have a trip to Great Britain planned but not finalized. I’d love to experience a formal tea in London!

  5. Everything is made up so nicely. I’d love to have an afternoon tea in London. I’ve never been. It inspires me to have one at my house.

  6. That’s just amazing. My Mom has been to London before and loved afternoon tea. Maybe some day!

  7. Yes, I do love a proper afternoon tea. These look and sound fabulous!

  8. We’re actually going to London soon, and I can’t wait to do tea! My family thinks I’m nuts, but it looks amazing.

    • You will love it, Denise. Although afternoon tea is traditionally held around 3 – 5 pm, more restaurants are starting to do it earlier in the day so you can use it to replace a late lunch or an early supper. I generally go for around 2pm. If you have tea as well as lunch and supper you will be very full – although I have done that before 😉

  9. How fun!! Those goodies look so yummy! I would love to visit London sometime.

  10. Very Nice April love to have a cup of tea with you with all these goodies.

  11. Oh my goodness. This is such a beautiful post. I would love to have afternoon tea in London. Fancy!

  12. Great spots to sit down and have a cuppa! Lovely photos, you are making me simultaneously homesick and hungry. 🙂

  13. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve been to London. Been promising the family we’d eventually go, and now will have to add that green cake to my list of things to do/eat!

    • You should definitely return for a visit, Scott! London has really changed in the last few years – in a good way. And of course, afternoon tea is a really London thing to do!

  14. I traveled to London is 1979(ish). I have wanted to go back ever since. On the top tray from The goring, that dessert looks like a little figure!

    • I hope you are able to visit again soon, Val! London is even nicer now than it was back then. And yes, it really does look like a little figure 🙂 The Goring’s pastry chefs are amazing!

  15. Unfortunately I didn’t make afternoon tea a priority when I’ve visited London, so that means I’ll have to keep these in mind for next time. Tea time is such a fun event and so delicious (and very filling too!). I’m always excited to discover more places to enjoy tea.

    • I hope you are able to come back soon, Brooke. Afternoon tea really can be fun. I must admit, we usually have it as a late lunch so that I can have supper later on! I’m glad you like my suggestions for places to go 🙂 They are all really lovely.

  16. Oh, those are some amazing choices! Our town is lucky to have one tea room – they are not so common around here!

    • They really are, Chrysa 🙂 It’s nice your town does have one tea room – they didn’t used to be that popular in Canada where I grew up but now there are a lot more places to take tea. It’s not exactly the same as in England, but it’s pretty close 🙂

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