5 Best Afternoon Tea In London
London does some of the best afternoon tea experiences in the world. Almost every hotel and tea room in the capital offers it — making it difficult to know which one to go for.
Here are our top choices for the best afternoon teas in London with the most stunning views and most creative menus.
Most traditional: Claridge’s
This is one you’ll need to book well in advance — they’ve been serving afternoon tea for over 150 years now, after all. Claridge’s is an elegant yet informal place to experience an authentic English afternoon tea. The afternoon tea is served in their 1930s-inspired foyer designed by luxury architect Thierry Despont.
Served on the finest green and white striped china, the afternoon tea affair includes a delicious array of finger sandwiches, the fluffiest raisin and apple scones we’ve ever tasted and a selection of sweet pastries. The centerpiece of the whole experience, however, is the tea, which not only has its own menu but there’s also a tea connoisseur on hand to take you through each blend.
Most impressive: The Oscar Wilde Bar at Hotel Café Royal
The Oscar Wilde Bar is housed within the iconic Hotel Café Royal in the heart of London. Café Royal was a place where the creatives and artisans of Soho and the famous patrons, royalty and celebrities of Mayfair could come together. The Oscar Wilde bar has been a favourite of the likes of Oscar Wilde, the late Princess Diana and David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor and even Kanye West.
Originally established in 1865, the gorgeous room has been exquisitely restored to its original Louis XVI detailing and is probably one of the most opulent and culturally rich settings we’ve ever been in. The champagne afternoon tea is a three course affair featuring a three-tiered serving of savouries.
Most unique: Mad Hatter’s Tea at Sanderson
Head down the rabbit hole with Sanderson with their Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea. Bright, colourful and most importantly fun, the tea set is served in their beautiful courtyard garden and changes seasonally. The presentation is exceptional — highlights include little ‘drink me’ and ‘eat me’ bottles containing a variety of fruity concoctions, mushroom-shaped sweets, red velvet Ladybird cakes, chocolate-coated pocket-watch macarons and five tailormade teas inspired by characters from Alice in Wonderland. The “Alice” tea, for example, is a China Black tea infused with blackcurrant, vanilla, caramel, citrus, bergamot, blue cornflowers and blue mallow flowers. They even have ‘secret’ menus hidden inside vintage books and cheeky dishes and teap
Glitz and glamour: The Ritz
The Ritz has been serving afternoon tea since their opening in 1906 and is one of the most recognisable luxury hotels in Europe. Everything oozes tradition and glamour including the dress code — gents are expected to wear a tie and jacket and there’s a strict no jeans and sportswear policy. For a glimpse into what it was like to be part of English high society during their golden age, The Ritz is the place to go.
Afternoon tea is served in their elegant salon decorated with birdcage chandeliers, a stunning stone fountain and large gilded statues. To the sounds of a live pianist, the quintessential British experience starts with a choice between 16 loose teas, traditional finger sandwiches, tea cakes and pastries and huge scones served with generous scoops of strawberry preserve and Devonshire clotted cream.
Best view: Shangri-La at The Shard
The Shard is the tallest and most iconic building in London and from the Shangri-La’s Ting Lounge on the 35th floor you can enjoy an unrivalled view of the River Thames, Tower Bridge, London Eye and Canary Wharf in the distance. Head there for sunset so you get the best of both the daytime and nighttime views.
Offering an oriental twist on the traditional British afternoon tea experience, Ting’s signature Asian-inspired afternoon tea features earl grey-infused scones, mini dumplings, wasabi and ginger-cured salmon, matcha green sponge cake, yuzu cheesecake and more.