There are a lifetime’s worth of great places to have afternoon tea in London, each with their own particular charm. In fact, I should probably have called this piece ‘My Favourite Places to Have Afternoon Tea in London So Far’!
Some of the Best Places for afternoon tea in London:
One of the most iconic places to enjoy afternoon tea in London, there really is nothing like afternoon tea at The Ritz. Live music and an elegant yet friendly atmosphere make this a truly special experience. After you have chosen from over 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. You do have to dress up a bit. Gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie. Most ladies wear dresses or skirts although smart dress trousers are acceptable. No jeans or trainers.
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 definitely in my top 5 places to enjoy afternoon tea in London!
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.
There was a huge choice of teas and we were offered refills on every layer of the tea tray. I was told that some of the pastries were favourites of Her Majesty The Queen, who is a frequent visitor to The Goring.
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.
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.
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!
As tea takes place in the elegant hotel lobby, the dress code is fairly relaxed but again I recommend stylish smart casual.
Harrods Tea Rooms
This oasis on the fourth floor of the iconic Harrods department store (formerly known as The Georgian Restaurant), The Harrods Tea Rooms are another one of the elegant places for afternoon tea in London.
There are so many different kinds of tea on offer here. When we last visited, the sandwiches, scones and pastries all arrived at once. Be sure to work your way from the sandwiches at the bottom of the tea stand via the scones with jam and cream on to marvellous cakes at the top.
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 relaxed but 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. Gluten-free and Vegan afternoon teas are available.
The friendly staff at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon are generally happy to refill the serving plates with your favourite sandwiches or scones. This is a great place for tea with family and friends in a relaxed but elegant atmosphere. We went home with boxes of scones and pastries that were left over from our afternoon tea, along with a few extra complimentary slices of special cakes as well!
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.
Less Formal Afternoon Tea
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. The kids will absolutely love it, particularly if they are allowed to try one of the amazing sundaes on offer. (Sundaes are not traditional at Afternoon Tea, but honestly, is there an inappropriate time to enjoy one?)
Afternoon Tea on a Double Decker Bus
For something completely different, try Afternoon Tea on a Double Decker London bus! London’s B Bakery offers afternoon tea experiences with a twist. From special occasion afternoon teas for events such as Halloween and Christmas to Gin Lover’s teas, there’s something for everyone. I haven’t tried this experience myself yet but a few of my friends have spoken very highly of it.
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!
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