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This spring’s most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

From Regency-era treats at The Lanesborough to a Platinum Jubilee offering fit for a Queen, these are the city's finest new 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 the latest TV shows, in the case of The Lanesborough’s new Bridgerton-themed tea, and fashion collections to renowned artists. Here we’ve rounded up the best new afternoon teas in London to book into this spring. 

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The Lanesborough’s Bridgerton Afternoon Tea

With the much-anticipated Bridgerton returning to our small screens for a second season this month, all thoughts have turned to the Regency era, a time of grand balls, high style and elegant revelry. To mark the occasion, The Lanesborough has launched a limited-edition tea paying homage to the era and Shonda Rhimes’ much-lauded show, taking place in the hotel’s richly decorated dining room. 

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

The menu will pay tribute to key families in the show, with sweet treats including ‘The Lady Whistledown’, designed to look like the high society columnist’s inkpot and quill (with a pistachio nut financier and pistachio mousse hidden inside a milk chocolate shell) and ‘The Rake’ in honour of Viscount Anthony, a chocolate and passionfruit cake in the shape of a dandy white shirt enveloped in a crisp tailored suit with a dashing cream cravat. 

The Bridgerton Afternoon Tea is available from 25 March from £65 per person at The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, London SW1X 7TA; oetkercollection.com

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Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea at The Intercontinental Park Lane

This hotel opposite Hyde Park is located at the same address that the Queen once called home, so it seems only fitting that they should be launching a grand new offering ahead of her Platinum Jubilee this summer. Held in the hotel’s Wellington Lounge, overlooking Buckingham Palace Gardens, the menu has been designed as a joyous celebration of the Queen’s 70 years of service.

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

There are plenty of savoury delights, including dainty finger sandwiches of smoked rainbow trout pâté and Oscietra caviar and slow-roasted venison with wild truffle and mushroom chutney. As for the sweets, there are the usual scones as well as an organic lemon drizzle cake and a Yorkshire rhubarb and custard tart, but the star of the show is the chocolate biscuit cake with Kentish strawberry and Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve NV delice – known to be the Queen’s favourite cake. 

The Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea is £48 per person at The Intercontinental Park Lane, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1J 7QY; parklane.intercontinental.com

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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 showing Stella McCartney’s psychedelic jumpsuit, one of Giambattista Valli’s most avant-garde looks transformed into an apple pavlova and a Balenciaga Couture piece reimagined as a velvety mandarin cheesecake.

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

There’s also an intricately iced biscuit featuring Iris Apfel’s iconic red lipstick and oversized glasses, designed in honour of the fashion legend’s 100th birthday, and this season’s centrepiece: a red velvet mascarpone mousse finished with a chocolate truffle riding hat, straight out of Gucci’s 100th anniversary collection. The epitome of fashionable decadence.

Prêt-à-Portea is £79 per person at The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL; the-berkeley.co.uk

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Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

When it comes to celebratory meals, nowhere does it quite like Claridge’s. The Art Deco jewel in London’s hotel crown is one of the most impressive venues in the capital, and their Mother’s Day tea offering, served from a specially designed stand on the finest bone china and silverware, is bound to charm even the most discerning of matriarchs

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

You’ll find all the old favourites, updated with signature Claridge’s details – the cucumber sandwiches are made using organic English-grown cucumbers, for example, while for their egg mayonnaise they only use the finest Burford Brown hen’s eggs.

There’s a seasonal savoury in the form of a fresh pea and asparagus tart, while the selection of hand-made pastries include a grapefruit macaron, rhubarb crumble tart and milk chocolate and passionfruit Saint-Honoré, made fresh each day by the hotel’s talented team of pastry chefs. 

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea is available on 26 and 27 March at £95 per person at Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR; claridges.co.uk

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New Afternoon Tea Collection at The Langham

The humble British biscuit has been given a luxurious update courtesy of this new 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.

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

Here, the custard cream has been transformed into the ‘Crème de la Crème’, complete with intense Madagascan vanilla cream, caramel cake, and éclat, while the pink wafer has been reimagined with Ivoire and poppy crunch, coquelicot cremeux and seasonal rhubarb. Even the fondant fancy has been given a luxe spin, combining camomile cream, baba, and Granny Smith compote, while chocolate lovers are catered to with their take on the mini roll and the tiffin. 

The new afternoon tea collection is £65 per person at The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Mayfair, London W1B 1JA; palm-court.co.uk

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Herbal Afternoon Tea at Dalloway Terrace

Dalloway Terrace is known for its Instagram-worthy seasonal updates, and this spring it’s in full bloom, having been transformed into a rustic garden filled with wildflowers courtesy of award-winning floral designers Early Hours. Tulips and ranunculi cascade down into a lush herbaceous border, perfectly in keeping with the new herbal theme of their tea offering. 

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now Dalloway Terrace Spring Reverie Afternoon Tea 01

Created in partnership with The Botanist Gin, the menu has a strong focus on botanical flavours, with items foraged from the English countryside at the heart of the cocktails and dishes on offer. There’s carrot cake with tarragon and cream cheese mousse, white chocolate, lemon and thyme cream on a pistachio sponge and a dark chocolate, cherry and sage brownie. The zingy cocktails, meanwhile, have been designed to exude spring freshness, with herb-filed updates of the classic Martini and Tom Collins. 

The Herbal Afternoon Tea is £35 per person at Dalloway Terrace, 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3NN; dallowayterrace.com

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Mother’s Day Van Gogh Afternoon Tea at Hotel Café Royal

Designed to appeal to art lovers, the latest offering at Hotel Café Royal is inspired by the legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh and features delicacies that draw on some of his most famous works of art.

Alongside classic finger sandwiches you’ll find a range of sweet treats that are miniature works of art in their own right: the ‘Vase with Twelve Sunflowers’ is made out of sunflower seed praline and salted caramel, while ‘The Starry Night’ is concocted from pink grapefruit compote and orange marmalade. There’s even a Van Gogh self-portrait, daubed with coffee mousse and served on its own easel.

This spring's most delightful new afternoon teas in London to book now

For Mother’s Day, they’re throwing in some extra special new additions. The full tea will be served alongside champagne and comes with a beautiful seasonal bouquet of tulips – an iconic bloom in the Dutch painter’s homeland – arranged by the hotel’s in-house florist, Jamie Aston

The Mother’s Day Van Gogh afternoon tea is available on 27 March at £95 per person at Hotel Café Royal, 10 Air Street, Mayfair, London W1B 4DY; hotelcaferoyal.com 

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