The Essential Guide to Afternoon Tea in London
I've been fortunate to experience traditional afternoon tea in some of London's most special venues. With so many options available today, I've put together this little guide to showcase my top picks, listed in order of my favourites to provide you with a helping hand!
- Tea at Fortnum & Mason
- Tea at The Ritz
- Tea at The Capital Hotel
- Tea at Town House At The Kensington
- Tea at Kingsway Hall Hotel
- Tips for Afternoon Tea in London
Afternoon tea takes place in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which is on the top floor of this famous department store. The tea salon is just lovely and is the perfect setting to enjoy a luxurious tea, featuring exquisite food and outstanding 5-star service.
We were given a special selection of teas and the usual finger sandwiches which I really enjoyed but the sweet treats are really the showstoppers here. The scones were delicious and served with lemon curd, clotted cream and strawberry jam, and the top tier of the cake stand featured rich, flawless looking pastries. The tea salon has a calm atmosphere, with live music being played on the grand piano - you can easily forget you're dining in a busy department store in the heart of London! At the end of our tea, our waiter very kindly packed up our lemon curd, jam, leftover pastries and offered us slices of cakes that we were too full to try so we could enjoy these at home!
The Fortnum & Mason tea is £60 per person and is more laid back than tea at The Ritz or The Dorchester, especially as you don't have to be suited and booted here! The service is top notch and the setting is beautiful, making it the perfect choice for all occasions.
- Getting to Fortnum & Mason - Green Park and Piccadilly Circus are the nearest stations
- Price of Afternoon Tea At Fortnum & Mason - on the expensive side at £60 per person
- Fortnum & Mason Tea dress code - smart causal, decent jeans and black trainers were fine
- Afternoon tea menu - traditional; expect delicate finger sandwiches, scones and cakes
The Ritz oozes elegance; when you first enter the hotel and walk into The Palm Court you can't help but take note of the striking floral arrangements and fancy chandeliers which perfectly compliment this hotels Renaissance decor. You get the usual line up of little sandwiches which were delicious and moreish, we easily made our way through two plates of these. Both scones and cakes not only looked exceptional, they were light and tasty and we were fortunate to be offered a second helping of everything on the cake stand. The service was great, a bit fussy at times but overall it was a lovely, memorable dining experience! Afternoon tea at The Ritz is priced at £54 per person and is an ideal venue for celebrating special occasions. If you choose to dine here, you'll have to adhere to a dress code, even for afternoon tea - so no jeans allowed and men must wear a jacket and a tie.
- Getting to The Ritz - Green Park tube station is just a short 5 minute walk away
- Price of Afternoon Tea At The Ritz - on the expensive side at £58 per person
- The Ritz Afternoon Tea dress code - smart, you can get away with black jeans but I wouldn't chance trainers!
- Afternoon tea menu - traditional; expect finger sandwiches, delicious scones, elegant pastries and cakes
The Capital Hotel is located next to the world famous department store Harrods so you would expect to be paying a premium price to have tea there but in actual fact it's very affordable at only £35pp! It's tucked away nicely on a quiet side street, so you can escape the busy surroundings and refuel - ideal if you've been shopping or sightseeing in Central London.
I was pleasantly surprised by both the quality of food and level of service from the The Capital Hotel. When you enter the hotel you are greeted with smiles and taken to the tranquil Sitting Room where afternoon tea is served. The tea begins with some of the most delicious mini cheese scones I've ever tasted! Following this, we received our cake stand complete with a nice selection of sandwiches, warm scones and an array of impressive looking desserts. Our teas were also regularly topped up by the friendly, observant waiters so I wouldn't hesitate to return there again.
- Getting to The Capital Hotel - located right next to Harrods, Knightsbridge is the nearest tube station
- Price of Afternoon Tea At The Capital Hotel - reasonably priced at £35.00 per person
- The Capital Hotel dress code - casual dress is perfectly acceptable here as they expect hungry tourists!
- Afternoon tea menu - traditional with a tiny twist; cheese scones before sandwiches, lush scones and cute desserts
After months of trying, I finally managed to get a booking at this extremely popular tea! Being themed around my favourite childhood Disney film, I had high hopes for the menu and was interested in seeing their execution. Upon arrival my first thoughts were that the Town House is beautiful, with tasteful decor and a cosy room featuring familiar faces; Lumière and Cogsworth.
The afternoon tea includes a first course of savoury foods - I won't ruin it and go into too much detail but it's a nice way to kick things off. The presentation of the table and food is brilliant, a lot of effort and planning has gone into the menu and it pays off. You do get very full eating a savoury course before the sandwiches and cakes, but it's very good value. The service was spot on and the waiter took time to explain each food item to us in detail. Surprisingly, there were no scones - super strange for an afternoon tea! Overall, this whimsical tea is a must for Beauty and The Beast fans and features some extra surprises which I still won't reveal.
The Tale As Old As Time Tea at Town House at The Kensington is £38.50 per person and is ideal for Disney enthusiasts of all ages.
- Getting to Town House at The Kensington - Gloucester Road and South Kensington tube stations are the closest
- Price of Afternoon Tea At Town House - reasonably priced at £38.50 per person
- Town House at The Kensington dress code - casual dress is fine but don't turn up in jogging bottoms and flip flops!
- Afternoon tea menu - a twist on traditional; mini quiches or pies before sandwiches and the possibility of no scones
Kingsway Hall Hotel is a great choice if you are looking for a reasonably priced afternoon tea in central London. This 4-star hotel is located in an impressive, historic building just a 10 minute walk from Covent Garden station or 5 minutes from Holborn tube station.
The tea takes place in the Harlequin Restaurant - not the most glamorous spot but the room was modern, spacious and quiet, making it perfect for spending time with friends. I had the traditional afternoon tea which featured the usual line up of neatly cut sandwiches, scones and attractive baked goods on the top tier. The sandwiches were nice and went down well, the scones could have been better, they were luke warm, dense and crumbled when cut. I enjoyed the cakes on the top tier though, the chocolate eclairs and macaroons were my favourites. The servers were also very friendly and attentive and really made the tea most enjoyable.
Afternoon tea at Kingsway Hall Hotel is reasonably priced at £23.95 per person and is a brilliant option to for those wanting to dine in the West End without paying excessive London prices.
- Getting to Kingsway Hall Hotel - Holborn is the nearest station and Covent Garden isn't too far
- Price of Afternoon Tea At Town House - it's a steal at only £23.95 per person!
- Kingsway Hall Hotel dress code - smart/casual dress is good, more on the casual side is fine
- Afternoon tea menu - traditional; a good selection of finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats
- Food glorious food - book the last seating if you can (usually around 7pm) you'll normally get extra sandwiches and cakes!
- Don't ask don't get - if you have the room, ask for more - after all you are paying a ton for some sandwiches and sweets
- All about ambience - there's nothing quite like afternoon tea during Christmas and most venues add a festive twist to their menus