The best afternoon teas in London

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Best afternoon teas in London

As you know, tea and cake are two of my favourite things, so can you imagine how excited I was when tasked with finding the best afternoon teas in London? It has to go down as one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, and trying some of London’s best afternoon teas was one of the highlights of my year. From classic teas to servings with fantastical themes where every detail is designed, I had no idea how much variety was on offer. There’s something to suit every taste, and although they’re all pretty pricey, there are some that won’t break the bank quite so much. Also, these afternoon teas are a seriously special treat so, if you can afford it, it’s worth splashing out at least once.

In the guide below, I’ve detailed the price, what’s included and the dress code for each one, but first, here’s the video, episode four of Victoria’s Insider Guide to London…

The best afternoon teas in London

1. The Ritz

The royally-approved Ritz hotel is the most classic afternoon tea destination in London. Tea is served in the magnificent Palm Court, with immaculate hospitality, a live pianist, and one of the most lavish settings you’ll find in the capital. There are 16 different types of loose leaf teas, finger cut sandwiches, warm baked scones, and a beautiful selection of fine pastries and cakes. It’s a quintessential British experience.

Dress code: There is a strict dress code: men must wear a jacket and tie, and jeans or sportswear aren’t permitted for men or women.

Price: £69

The best afternoon teas in London

Best afternoon teas in London – The Ritz

Best afternoon teas in London – The Ritz

Best afternoon teas in London – The Ritz

Best afternoon teas in London – The Ritz

Best afternoon teas in London – The Ritz

2. Beas

Head to Bea’s for a more casual afternoon tea experience. There are five cafes across London, with three serving afternoon tea in Bloomsbury, Farringdon and Marylebone. The sweets are the star of the show, with exciting cupcakes, meringues, fruity marshmallows, and an incredible trio of perfect brownies.The scones are also baked to perfection.

Dress code: None

Price: £26.50 per person

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

London's best afternoon teas - Bea's

3. Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson

Lots of the capital’s afternoon teas have themes, and one of the best is the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the trendy Sanderson hotel. There are fun thematic touches, including a music box holding sugar, cakes in the shape of ladybirds, and cute little bottles saying ‘drink me’. Everything is served in pretty Mad-Hatter-themed crockery by Luna & Curious.

Dress code: Smart casual. Fancy dress is not permitted.

Price: £48-65 for adults; £35 for children under 12.

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson
Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

Best afternoon teas in London - Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Sanderson

4. Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley

The Prêt-à-Portea at the fabulous Berkeley hotel is one of the most impressive teas in London. Every six months, the chef is tasked with re-interpreting some of the latest catwalk fashions into exquisite pastries and desserts. The attention to detail is incredible, right down to the little take-away boxes in the shape of handbags. This is certainly the most stylish tea you’ll find in London.

Dress code: Elegant smart casual. No shorts, vests, sportswear, flip-flops, ripped jeans, or baseball caps are allowed.

Price: £52-70

The best afternoon teas in London

Best afternoon teas – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

Best afternoon teas – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

Best afternoon teas – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

Best afternoon teas – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

Best afternoon teas – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

Best afternoon teas – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

5. Science Tea at The Ampersand

Another fun option can be found at The Ampersand Hotel opposite the Science Museum. As well as a classic tea, you can also opt for the Science-themed tea where cakes come shaped as planets, there’s a spaceman made of chocolate, and you can uncover your own cocoa fossils. It’s one of the most unusual teas in London, and an ideal complement to a trip to the Science Museum.

Dress code: The dress code is relaxed, but it’s a stylish hotel so smart-casual dress is recommended.

Price: £32.50-45.50

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

Best afternoon teas in London - Science tea at The Ampersand

6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tea at One Aldwych

A great afternoon tea to enjoy with children is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed tea at One Aldwych. There are little puffs of candy floss, cheesecake in a golden egg, and delicious cake pops. The Charlie Cocktail, served in a tea pot with steaming dry ice, is a great crowd pleaser, and comes in a non-alcoholic version for children. Both kids and adults will love it.

Dress code: Like at The Ampersand, the dress code is relaxed, but it’s a stylish hotel so smart-casual dress is recommended.

Price: £39 for adults (or £49/52 with cocktails/champagne); £29 for children under 12.

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

Best afternoon teas - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

7. B Bakery Bus

For another family option, the B Bakery Bus is brilliant fun. Starting at Victoria or Trafalgar Square, the bus takes you on a tour of some the major sights while you enjoy your tea and cakes in the specially adapted booths. It’s a good one for pleasing teenagers, or for your first visit to London. The price varies depending on whether you sit on the top or lower deck.

Dress code: None

Price: £45-50 for adults; £35-40 for children

Best afternoon teas - BB Bakery Bus

Best afternoon teas - BB Bakery Bus

Best afternoon teas - BB Bakery Bus

Best afternoon teas - BB Bakery Bus

Best afternoon teas - BB Bakery Bus

8. Ting at the Shangri-La at The Shard

Britain isn’t the only place famous for tea. For an Asian-inspired afternoon tea, you can head to the elegant Ting at the Shangri-La at the Shard. The high-end tea with a view comes with special touches like spring rolls and tapioca pudding. They also serve a classic afternoon tea with a gorgeous selection of desserts.

Dress code: Smart casual

Price: £54-70

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

London's best afternoon teas - Ting at the Shangri-La

9. Glam Rock tea at K West

Not all afternoon teas have to be in the afternoon. At K West, you can go for an evening tea with a Glam Rock theme. It even includes a tray of miniature cocktails. Tea is served on vintage record covers with electric blue and pink crockery. You can also opt to have this tea in the afternoon, and it’s close to Westfield London, so good to combine with a shopping trip. Or seeing a gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Dress code: None

Price: £24.50-36.50

London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West
London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West

London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West

London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West

London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West

London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West

London's best afternoon teas - Glam Rock tea at K West

London’s best afternoon teas

Best afternoon teas in London

These videos are part of our series for Expedia called Victoria’s Insider Guide to London. The other episodes in the six-part series so far are:

  1. How to find the village feel in London
  2. The best places to Instagram in London
  3. 24 Hours in London as a Londoner

16 thoughts on “The best afternoon teas in London”

  1. So I’m dying to know….which one was your favourite? 🙂

    I’m leaning towards the glam rock one (seems to be a good balance of what you get versus the price you pay for it) but the Mad Hatter one does look like a lot of fun! No fancy dress allowed though?? I mean, imagine the photos if you and your friends were all dressed the part 😉

  2. I bet you enjoyed researching this blog post ? I love afternoon tea but I havent had one in London yet. They all look delicious.

  3. TING at the Shangri-La London is by far one of my favourite afternoon teas in the WORLD! I chose the Asian-inspired tiffin and it was heavenly. I was so sidetracked by the savoury (and getting thirds of the dumplings…) I almost forgot the light fluffy cakes and tarts – whoops!

    Be sure to check out the Wimbledon-themed afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel as well. It was delightful and in such a great location to meet friends before going for a walk through the picturesque streets of Kensington.
    Next time I’ll have to check out the Science one! Friends have highly recommended it as well. 🙂

  4. Wow! you made me feel so jealous with all those foods, somehow I had never known that there were so many great afternoon teas in London. The B Bakery Bus will be my first choice, thanks for sharing.

  5. Lovely! A great blog with so many beautiful snaps. Thanks for sharing your experience. If I had written a similar piece I would have included Halmari tea; one of the best one that I have ever had. Great for mind, body, and soul. The soothing aroma just makes my day.

  6. I absolutely loved Afternoon Tea at the Ritz! It beat all expectations and everything was delicious. I thought the Sanderson Hotel Afternoon Tea was a bit hit and miss.

  7. Lovely! Awesome blog with some superb snaps. Thanks for sharing your experience. I would suggest you try Halmari tea for your afternoon; great in terms of flavour. Great for mind, body, and soul. The soothing aroma just makes my day. Highly recommend.

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