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A visit to London would not be complete without a spot of that quintessential middle-of-the-day British indulgence: Afternoon Tea. If you’re going to spend a good chunk of your day hauling yourself around the shops and tourist attractions of Westminster, Covent Garden, Soho, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Trafalgar Square, and beyond, you’re going to need some down time; and what better way to punctuate that period of recuperation than to wolf down posh scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, finger sandwiches, a pot of tea and a glass of Champagne? Be a smart tourist (or native Londoner) though, and book in advance. Here are London’s Top 10 Best Afternoon Teas to indulge your culturally-weary mind.
Image: Kritt Normsaskul.
Afternoon Tea at Park Lounge
Kensington / Restaurant / Hotel / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
Everybody knows that Afternoon Tea in London is a favourite English tradition. It is upheld in its finest form at The Milestone Hotel, located opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens. A delicious array of delicate finger sandwiches is accompanied by warm freshly baked scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade preserves, as well as a selection of pastries including éclairs, tartlets, cupcakes and macaroons. Enjoy tea at your leisure, accompanied by a vast tea menu or perhaps a glass of champagne, in fine surroundings and experience the superior service for which The Milestone is renowned.
London Bridge & Bermondsey / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Little pots of homemade jam in tasty flavours like strawberry and vanilla; quaint finger sandwiches; lovely sweet treats including a delicious panna cotta; and delightful scones; all part of the Aqua Shard afternoon tea menu. From the dizzying heights of level 31, you can enjoy this wonderful British tradition. Enjoy the beautiful sights of London life whilst sipping a selection of teas including Darjeeling, Earl Grey and English breakfast. If you like the fancier side of life, try the Champagne afternoon tea. Tranquil and elegant surroundings will make Aqua Shard your favourite place for afternoon tea treat before rejoining the hustle and bustle of that there London.
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson
Fitzrovia / Restaurant / Hotel / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
Fall down the rabbit hole and into wonderland with Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson. A treat for the senses as well as the taste buds, Sanderson's award-winning afternoon tea is a delight for the imagination. Enjoy tempting savouries with a twist before moving on to red velvet ladybirds, the Queen of Hearts' edible army and so much more. You and your sweet tooth will not leave disappointed! And, for the ultimate indulgence, join Sanderson for their Tipsy Evening Tea and experience a flight of four cocktails and alcohol-infused cakes - who could say no to that?
Afternoon Tea at Egerton House Hotel
Knightsbridge / Restaurant / Hotel / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
The Egerton House Hotel is a five-star gourmet's paradise close to the Victoria & Albert Museum and Harrods. A mouth-watering dining menu and a deliciously indulgent traditional Afternoon Tea await in the cosy dining room and lounge. Afternoon Tea is a great British tradition, and each afternoon the elegant Drawing Room is the place in which to savour a tempting assortment of delicate finger sandwiches and pastries with freshly baked scones with thick clotted cream and fruit preserves. To complete this classic treat, choose from an extensive selection of teas or coffee or perhaps enjoy a glass of chilled champagne.
The Yacht London
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern European
Soak up amazing views of The Shard, Oxo Tower and London Eye whilst enjoying a quintessential traditional British afternoon tea on the river Thames. Everything is made fresh each morning, including the breaded ham and smoked Applewood cheddar, and smoked salmon with cream cheese sandwiches. For anyone with a sweet tooth, afternoon tea comes with chocolate brownie, pecan tart, macarons and, naturally, freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and jam. The six loose leaf tea options include Earl Grey and Moroccan mint. There's also a great cocktail menu to go with the afternoon tea menu, perfect in the sunshine. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with 48 hours notice. Download
The Den at St Martins Lane
West End / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
A cosy oak-panelled snug, the Den at St Martins Lane is a calming sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of London's Covent Garden. With walls adorned with quirky, quintessentially British paintings, the Den is the place to go for an indulgent afternoon tea of delicious savouries and fine French patisserie. Take advantage of the all-day menu including a classic Caesar salad, vegetarian wraps, and even a meze or charcuterie selection. And, if you're finishing off the day in the Den, there's nothing more perfect than reclining in one of the ultra-comfortable armchairs with a classic gin and tonic from the special selection.
Afternoon Tea at the Montague
Bloomsbury / Restaurant / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
This elegant hideaway is just steps from The British Museum. Guests enjoy exemplary personal service, understated comfort and fine cuisine. With an 'Award of Excellence' for Afternoon Tea, respect is paid to this popular tradition while offering some intriguing variations. The traditional afternoon tea in London menu includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream, an array of tempting pastries and accompanied by a choice of traditional, flavoured, aromatic, fruit and green teas, fine coffees and hot chocolate. Perhaps add a glass of champagne to enjoy in the Conservatory or al fresco on the Wood Deck in the warmer months for extra sparkle.
Afternoon Tea in the Conservatory
Mayfair / Restaurant / Hotel / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
A member of the prestigious Tea Guild, The Chesterfield Mayfair is recognised for outstanding quality and consistently high standards of tea service. The tempting menu is complete with homemade cakes, scones and pastries. Inspired by the theatre production currently showing in London, The Charlie and The Chesterfield Afternoon Tea is full of sweet surprises! The chocolate themed afternoon tea includes delicate finger sandwiches, chocolate dusted scones, specially blended chocolate tea and a delicious selection of cakes and pastries. For children, the Oompa Loompa menu provides nutella sandwiches, hot chocolate with marshmallows and more. Why not consider an afternoon tea party?
Afternoon Tea in the Palace Lounge
Victoria / Restaurant / Hotel / Cuisine: Afternoon Tea
There is no better place to enjoy the much-loved traditional English occasion of afternoon tea than sitting back in the Palace Lounge at The Rubens at the Palace Hotel overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. Catering for a range of dietary requirements the traditional afternoon tea features a selection of mouth-watering finger sandwiches and delicious sweet treats including a selection of freshly baked scones from our scone menu of traditional, raisin, buttermilk, white chocolate and lavender, savoury cracked black pepper and parmesan and wholemeal orange, honey and currant.
Soho / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Chinese
Yauatcha is something of a Soho institution, its blue lights casting an ethereal glow on the pavement outside. Inside it has the hushed calm of a traditional tea house. Tea is taken seriously, split into flavour categories, the selection is plucked from the all over the east and mined with rare finds. Rather than the expected sweet accompaniments, tea is paired with delicate and savoury dim sum, elegantly presented and made with unusual ingredients like pumpkin and venison.
St James / Bar / Cuisine: British
Quaglino's recent revamp has given it a sultry, decadent, moody feel with dark corners, romantic lighting, modern art and splashes of red abound. The bar and restaurant's sweeping staircase and Art Deco appeal still shine through and the whole venue feels like the set of The Great Gatsby. The Prohibition Afternoon Tea is served in David Lynch-esque cocktail bar, with options to make it boozy (cocktails and champagne). Put on your sexiest finery - everyone looks the part here - and get ready for a sweet-lover's afternoon, filled with Cornish clotted cream smothered on fresh scones, frangipane tarts, crackled coffee choux, macaroons and bitter chocolate marquise. Oh, and refreshing tea, obvs.
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