Afternoon tea

The 24 most delightful and decadent afternoon teas in London to book now

From Queen Charlotte-inspired treats at The Lanesborough to a secret garden by Buckingham Palace, these are the city's finest afternoon teas

The concept of afternoon tea first originated in 1840 as a way to bridge the long gap between an early lunch and a late supper, and has gone on to become one of Britain’s most beloved institutions. The city’s top hotels are home to the country’s most inventive offerings, where inspiration ranges from beloved books and fashion collections to renowned artists. Here we’ve rounded up the best places for afternoon tea in London to book now.

Champagne Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

When it comes to celebratory meals, nowhere does it quite like Claridge’s. The team at this Art Deco jewel have been honouring the ritual of afternoon tea for the best part of 150 years now and often release new seasonal menus to enjoy. If you’re in the market for something more traditional, though, you can’t go wrong with their Champagne Afternoon Tea, which is one of the most elegant offerings in the capital.

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All the ingredients used in their sandwiches, scones and hand-made pastries are painstakingly sourced, skilfully prepared and served fresh each day, while their loose leaf tea has been carefully chosen from around the world by their skilled tea connoisseur, Henrietta Lovell (and is served in the finest bone china, naturally). Highlights include their chocolate religieuse and the marigold and lemon meringue tart.

Champagne Afternoon Tea is available from £100 per person at Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

Afternoon Tea at the Corinthia

Held in the light-drenched Crystal Moon Lounge, afternoon tea at the Corinthia is a suitably decadent affair. There, your traditional afternoon tea can be upgraded to include a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne or even an extra caviar course, complete with blinis and sour cream.

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After that it’s time to move onto the main event, where you’ll find classic cucumber, smoked salmon and egg and cress sandwiches. The delicate sweet treats are always inspired by the seasons. Current highlights include pecan and caramel gâteau, milk chocolate and hazelnut rocher and coconut mousse with mango compote and passion fruit glaze. 

Classic afternoon tea is available from £75 per person at the Corinthia, Whitehall Place, Whitehall, London SW1A 2BD

Afternoon Tea at the NoMad

With its soaring glass ceiling and lushly landscaped space, the NoMad in Covent Garden is known for having one of the most beautiful dining rooms in London. Now they’ve launched a new afternoon tea offering to add to their perennially popular lunch and dinner menus. Expect a classic British afternoon tea, but with a quirky NoMad twist. 

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Elevated finger sandwiches include egg salad with black truffle and cucumber and cream cheese, as well as pastrami and mustard in a nod to the hotel’s New York roots. Afterwards sample their inventive take on cakes and pastries, which include lemon, vanilla and olive oil choux and cassis and shiso tart. Even the scones have been given a makeover, with rich rum currant and orange zest options alongside savoury blue cheese and sage versions. Don’t leave without trying one of the tea-based cocktails – our top pick is the Yuzu Arnold Palmer, which combines Absolut Elyx Vodka, yuzu, lemon and Crushed Sunset oolong tea.

Classic afternoon tea is available from £55 per person at the NoMad, 28 Bow Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7AW

Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula

Few London openings have been as feted as the Peninsula, and with good reason – the grand Hyde Park Corner hotel was 30 years in the making before it opened towards the end of 2023. Their restaurants have already made their mark on the capital, with Brooklands by Claude Bosi landing two Michelin stars mere months after opening. So, unsurprisingly, there’s much excitement about their new afternoon tea offering.

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Every afternoon tea booking is accompanied by live music and comes with a glass of sparkling wine, sparkling tea or gin and tonic, while the menu features British classics updated with a signature Peninsula touch. Savoury delights include Coronation chicken pie, crab tian with tomato and lime and Baron Bigod cheese with dried fruit and black truffle. Meanwhile, on the dessert trolley, you’ll find pear and rhubarb tart, mandarin Mont Blanc and chocolate and tonka ‘Battenberg’ with pecan praline. 

Afternoon tea is available from £95 per person at the Peninsula London, 1 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7HJ

Queen Charlotte Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough

When it comes to the best afternoon tea in London, The Lanesborough often takes top billing thanks to its inventive, ever-evolving offering. Following on from their hugely popular Bridgerton afternoon tea last year, their latest takes its inspiration from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, created in partnership with Netflix and Shondaland. Held in the hotel’s richly decorated dining room, the menu pays tribute to all the key characters, with delicate pastries adorned with miniature crowns and dainty daisies.

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As for the savoury delights, the finger sandwiches are all elevated takes on the classics, with tea cured salmon, lemon and caper cream; organic cucumber, cream cheese and chive; and devilled egg mayonnaise and mustard cress. Plus, of course, there are scones. The tea menu is comprehensive – the Queen Charlotte Blend Afternoon Tea, fragrant with rose petal and fruit, is recommended; or opt for the Queen Charlotte Cocktail, inspired by the original Regency Gin Punch. Combining Fords Gin, Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur, cranberry, exotic lychee, vanilla and lime, and topped with Champagne, it’s sure to get the royal seal of approval.

The Queen Charlotte Afternoon Tea is £80 per person at The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, London SW1X 7TA

Afternoon Tea at Anya Café

Anya Hindmarch is known for her delightfully eclectic take on fashion and retail, which has seen her expand her empire to include the perennially popular Anya Village in Chelsea. At the heart of that sits the Anya Café, which serves up hot drinks and sweet treats featuring Hindmarch’s trademark wit – think handmade jammy smile biscuits and googly eye latte art. Now she’s launched an afternoon tea offering to add into the mix.

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The menu is just as playful as you’d imagine, featuring sandwiches shaped like smiley faces, fried eggs and goldfish. As for the cakes, you’ll find mini versions of her signature chubby hearts, filled with dark chocolate mousse and raspberry, frosted raspberry caterpillar tarts and lemon meringue clouds. Guaranteed to delight both little and big kids alike. 

Afternoon tea is available from £35 per person at Anya Café, 9 Pont Street, Chelsea, London SW1X 9EJ

Afternoon Tea at The Goring

As the only hotel with a Royal Warrant for hospitality services, afternoon tea at The Goring is always a thoroughly regal affair. Served on the hotel’s sun-kissed Veranda, guests taking tea overlook the Goring’s garden and The Royal Border, which is planted with a selection of The Royal Family’s favourite plants and flowers, including the late Queen Elizabeth II’s adored Lily of The Valley.

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The menu has been designed to reflect the very best of this much-loved British tradition, with the finest pastries, fruity homemade jams and high-quality tea blends on offer. The menu changes constantly to reflect the freshest, locally-sourced fruits in line with the season – so you’ll just have to keep coming back again and again to sample the latest wonders.

Afternoon tea is available from £70 per person at The Goring Hotel, 15 Beeston Place, Westminster, London SW1W 0JW

Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley

For their latest collection, the Berkeley’s much-loved Prêt-à-Portea will be served with a bold new twist. Expect couture cakes depicting a Versace gown, reimagined in vanilla mousse and Emmanuel sponge with a fruit tulle skirt, Harris Reed’s standout coat for Nina Ricci crafted with Valrhona dark chocolate supreme and yuzu ganache, and Prada’s handbag of the season transformed into a cinnamon blondie.

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There’s also an intricately iced biscuit homage to Victoria Beckham’s trophy jacket, picked out in orange sablé, and this season’s centrepiece: an Alexander McQueen gown crafted out of chocolate Gianduja cream, miso caramel and hazelnut sponge, and finished with high-shine shimmering glaçage and a chocolate frill. The epitome of fashionable decadence.

Prêt-à-Portea is £80 per person at The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

No list featuring the best afternoon teas in London would be complete without The Ritz. Held in the spectacular surroundings of the Palm Court, their Traditional Afternoon Tea here is the undisputed grande dame of the capital, where your savoury delights and sweet treats are served alongside a musical ensemble from the hotel’s resident pianist.

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First, choose your tea – there are 18 different types on offer, all selected by the hotel’s Tea Master, Giandomenico Scanu, who travels around the world to various tea plantations to source the varieties. Then it’s time to move on to the elegant sandwiches and pastries, all made from the finest ingredients and changed to reflect the seasons. Finish off with a glass of champagne or two, as you’re swept away by the gentle tinkling of the ivories. 

Afternoon tea is available from £75 per person at The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 9BR

Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Afternoon tea in the golden-hued dining room at Sketch is a feast for all the senses. Settle into one of the copper toned banquettes and marvel at the artworks that line the walls – each one created specifically for the space by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare – before perusing the eclectic menu.

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Start off with Coronation Chicken and salmon and ricotta sandwiches before tucking into blueberry and chestnut cheesecake tart, lemon Battenburg and pineapple eclairs. Before you leave, make sure to explore Sketch’s other rooms, each more decadently decorated than the last, and stop off at their iconic egg-shaped loos, where birdsong and laughter is piped into each pod. 

Afternoon tea is £80 per person at Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG

Afternoon Tea Collection at The Langham

Humble British biscuits and treats have been given a luxurious update courtesy of this menu at Mayfair institution The Langham. Served in the elegant Palm Court, the menu has been overseen by Michel Roux Jr. and created by Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Gravett, and focuses on elegant interpretations of classic favourites.

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Here, the Fig Roll has been transformed into an elevated take on the old school favourite, complete with Leky sponge, fig confit and caramelised puff pastry, while the Walnut Whip has been reimagined with a walnut biscuit, marshmallow, cream and dark chocolate. Even the Custard Cream has been given a luxe spin, combining Madagascan vanilla cream with a caramelised white chocolate shell. 

The afternoon tea collection is £80 per person at The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Mayfair, London W1B 1JA

Masterful Art Afternoon Tea at the Rosewood Hotel

Held in the hotel’s opulent mirror room, the Rosewood’s art-inspired afternoon teas have become some of the most sought-after in the capital, and their latest iteration is no exception. Their new Masterful Afternoon Tea brings together the most celebrated art cakes from years gone by in one delightful sitting.

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Start off with a mini pastry replica of a David Hockney painting, Bigger and Closer, which white chocolate cream and blueberry sauce set inside a soft madeleine style sponge cake, before moving onto a cake inspired by Salvador Dali’s 1936 Lobster Telephone, made of Valrhona Chocolate sponge with a passionfruit jelly insert and garnished with a passionfruit chocolate lobster. You’ll also find a coconut mousse and matcha green tea sponge made to look like Yayoi Kusama’s Flowers that Bloom at Midnight, a white chocolate recreation of Banksy’s iconic Girl with a Balloon and a flourless chocolate sponge that resembles Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Can. 

The Masterful Art Afternoon Tea is available from £68 per person at The Rosewood Hotel, 252 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 7EN

Classic Afternoon Tea at the Biltmore Mayfair

Located on Grosvenor Square, the Biltmore Mayfair has quite some history. First built by Sir Richard Grosvenor as a private residence in 1710, it’s served as the home of the long-time mistress of King George I, the Duchess of Kendal, as well as the renowned poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, who set both The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest there. So, it seems only fitting that it should be now be home to one of the finest afternoon teas in the capital. 

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Start things off with smoked pickle cucumber sandwiches before moving on to herb scones with smoked ricotta and baby beetroot wedges. For sweet treats, there are pistachio pots de crème, seasonal fruit tarts and, of course, warm sultana scones with Cornish clotted cream. 

Classic afternoon tea is available from £80 per person at the Biltmore Mayfair, 44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London W1K 2HP

Afternoon Tea in Bloom at the Mandarin Oriental

What better way to welcome spring than with a floral-themed afternoon tea? That’s the reasoning at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, who are launching their new Afternoon Tea in Bloom to coincide with the blossoming flowers and budding trees across the road in Hyde Park. Served in The Rosebery from 21 March, the new offering has been curated by award-winning pastry chef Emmanuel Bonneau.

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On the menu you’ll find pastries inspired by daffodils, jasmine, bluebells, roses and cherry blossoms, all of which are accompanied by a range of flowering teas, selected by the hotel’s own tea sommelier. Watch as each blossom unfurls in your cup, releasing their own delicate flavours and aromas. If the magic of spring could be captured in a dining experience, this would be it. 

Afternoon Tea in Bloom is £79 person from 21 March at Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

High Tea at Fortnum & Mason

Taking High Tea in Fortnum’s historic Tea Salon is always an occasion. Open for over 300 years, the Salon has held various guises over the centuries, operating as an apartment for the Fortnum family, an interior decorating department in the 20s and 30s and a chic restaurant known as St James’s. In 2012, it was formally reopened by the late Queen Elizabeth II as the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

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Fortnum’s afternoon tea is renowned the world over for its precisely-cut sandwiches, fresh-baked cakes and unsurpassable scones. Start your High Tea off with Victoria lobster omelette with truffle and beef Wellington, before moving on to scones and patisseries, which change every season. Can’t decide which pot of tea to go for? Ask for a tasting with one of their expert Tearistas, who will help you find your perfect blend. 

High Tea is £85 per person at Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St James’s, London W1A

Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

After months of lengthy renovations, the Dorchester has finally reopened its doors, and with it comes their new afternoon tea offering. Rather than breaking with tradition, they’ve decided to reinvent it, offering up a new twist on their classic afternoon tea. Held in the hotel’s newly transformed Promenade, redesigned with nature-inspired artworks to give the sensation of strolling through an English garden, their pastries have been given a bold new twist courtesy of multiple award-winning chef Michael Kwan.

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Alongside a selection of finger sandwiches, start things off with a seasonal pre-dessert from the chef – which could feature his famous tea-infused ice cream or zesty lemon drizzle – before moving on to the carefully curated selection of sweet treats. Highlights include cherry blossom roulade, coconut choux and rose and pear tart.

Afternoon tea is £95 per person at The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA

Classic Afternoon Tea at L’oscar London

If you’re looking for the sort of decadently glamorous afternoon tea that Oscar Wilde would approve of, look no further. The new afternoon tea offering at Covent Garden’s L’oscar hotel – named in homage to the man himself – is serving up just that amidst its opulent Jacques Garcia-designed interiors. 

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The tea itself has been inspired by the historical Grade II-listed building that was once the headquarters of the Baptist Church, and features delicately crafted cakes like the rhubarb and strawberry choux, filled with white wine, rhubarb and strawberry compote. The chocolate and pistachio praline tart, meanwhile, combines orange blossom flower with whipped ganache to create a seasonal sweet treat. 

Classic Afternoon Tea is from £59 per person at L’oscar London, 2-6 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 4AA

Afternoon Tea at The Petersham

When it comes to romantic, floral-inspired afternoon teas, no one does it quite like Petersham. Their bucolic Richmond outpost is famed for its foliage-filled nurseries, but in town it’s all about their Covent Garden spot, where their afternoon tea offering recreates a whimsical English country garden in the heart of the West End.

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Start things off with a lychee and rose martini before working your way through the menu of dainty finger sandwiches and pastries, all of which have a slight Mediterranean twist in a nod to Petersham’s Italian owners, the Bogliones – think grilled courgette and mint sandwiches and hazelnut and gianduja tart. Everything is made with the finest seasonal ingredients, most of which are sourced from the Boglione family farm in Devon.

English Rose Garden Afternoon Tea is available from £55 per person at The Petersham, 2 Floral Court, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9FB

Crown Jewels Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

For their latest afternoon tea offering, the Four Seasons has taken inspiration from the treasures of their neighbours at the Tower of London, dedicating the indulgent ritual to the Crown Jewels, which have been stored at the historic landmark for more than 600 years. 

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Each of the elegant pastries has been modelled on a different piece in the collection, from The Ruby (inspired by the ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’ in the Imperial State Crown), which is made with chocolate infused timut berry and grapefruit confit, to The Pearl (inspired by the Sovereign’s Orb), a combination of coconut mousse, mango and passion fruit confit. 

The Crown Jewels Afternoon Tea is £65 per person at The Four Seasons, 10 Trinity Square, Tower Hill, London EC3N 4AJ

Classic Afternoon Tea at Oblix at The Shard

If you like your afternoon tea with a side order of sky-high views, this brand new offering at Oblix at The Shard is the one for you. Feast on homemade coronation chicken, mango chutney and coriander sandwiches and mini prawn and lobster rolls as you gaze out over the City and Tower Bridge, before moving on to scones served with whipped clotted cream, honey-comb and raspberry preserve.

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Pastries, meanwhile, include warm honey Madeleines with chocolate sauce, strawberry, timut pepper and buttermilk tartlet, and passion fruit, mango and pistachio bar. Wash it all down with a selection of teas, from Organic Sencha to Jasmine Pearls, or go for their indulgent bottomless options, which come with either unlimited rosé or Champagne. 

Classic Afternoon Tea is available from £58 per person at Oblix at The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London Bridge, London SE1 9RY

Afternoon Tea at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Trust Nobu to give the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea an elegant Japanese twist. Created by Nobu’s Chef Michael Paul, the experience starts with a selection of cup sushi, served alongside Nobu’s famous yellowtail jalapeño and tomato ceviche. Next up, there are spicy salmon miso chips and crispy chicken kara-age, served with creamy aji Amarillo.

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The sweet treats are no less inventive, with highlights including miso chocolate tart, Hojicha black sesame chiffon cake and Toki whisky and prune vanilla macaroons. Pair them with one of their many award-winning teas, from the Kabuse Sencha green tea from Kyoto to Silver Needle oolong from Yunnan Province in China. 

Afternoon tea is available from £68 per person at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, 22 Portman Square, Mayfair, London W1H 7BG

Afternoon Tea at The Stafford

Top Michelin-starred chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen has overseen the menu for this new afternoon tea at The Stafford hotel, which is served on a bespoke cake trolley to add a bit of extra theatre to the experience. Piled high with sweet treats, the trolley is presented tableside, where each guest can choose five seasonal cakes and pastries from the display – popular options include spiced apple and caramel macarons, cinnamon and coffee choux buns and slices of the hotel’s signature chai latte honey cake.  

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Savoury lovers are well catered for too, with H. Forman & Son smoked salmon and horseradish crème fraiche sandwiches and truffled egg buns served alongside sweet and savoury Westcombe Cheddar scones on a traditional cake stand. For something extra special, add a glass of Louis Roederer Collection 243 Champagne.

Afternoon tea is available from £70 per person at The Stafford, 16-18 St James’s Place, St James’s, London SW1A 1NJ

Art of Afternoon Tea at The Kensington

The Kensington Hotel has launched a new afternoon tea just in time for spring, inspired by some of the world’s most renowned artists. The Art of Afternoon Tea features a selection of carefully curated cultural confections, ranging from art-themed sweet treats to a cocktail inspired by one of Banksy’s best-known works.

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On the traditional three-tiered silver stand you’ll find a miniature Yayoi Kusama polka-dot pumpkin made up of mango mousse surrounding coconut yoghurt cream. Alongside that sits a dark chocolate mousse tart with passion fruit parfait, topped with a Jackson Pollock-esque drip effect. Wash it all down with a Banksy-themed Girl with Balloon cocktail, made with discarded vodka, Italicus, sherry and pear. 

The Art of Afternoon Tea is £58 per person and launches on 11 March at The Kensington, 109-113 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LP

The Secret Garden Afternoon Tea at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless children’s classic, The Secret Garden, has been transformed into an afternoon tea courtesy of the Taj hotel near Buckingham Palace. Held in the award-winning Kona restaurant, diners are transported to a tranquil Yorkshire garden, with sweet and savoury delights inspired by the British countryside. Chocolate keys are found nestled beneath layers of biscuit soil and edible flowers, while edible butterflies perch on tangy mango and lime tarts. 

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The savoury dishes are horticulturally inspired too, with fresh garden herb roast chicken and cucumber, basil and beetroot sandwiches on offer. Teas have been selected from Bird & Blend Tea Co, while Kona has partnered with The Secret Garden Gin Distillery to present three botanical gins. Even the restaurant itself has been transformed into a magical garden, complete with wildflowers on the tables and a complementary pack of wildflower seeds so you can plant your very own secret garden at home.

The Secret Garden Afternoon Tea is available from £75 at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, 51 Buckingham Gate, Westminster, London SW1E 6AF

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