Afternoon tea

The 8 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. With Afternoon Tea Week 2022 running from 8 – 14 August, we’ve rounded up the best new afternoon teas in London to book into now.

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The Lanesborough’s Bridgerton Afternoon Tea

Following on from the smash-hit second season of Bridgerton, all thoughts remain fixed on 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. 

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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 until 10 November 2022 from £65 per person at The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, London SW1X 7TA;

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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 to coincide with 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.

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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;

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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 a striking Oscar de la Renta gown, one of Michael Kors’ floral handbags transformed into a Victoria sponge and Gucci’s pink silk tuxedo has been reimagined in bourbon vanilla mousse and Emmanuel sponge.

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There’s also an intricately iced biscuit of Lanvin’s towering floral platform heels, painstakingly piped with royal icing , and this season’s centrepiece: an oversized red rose made of lychee mousse with fresh raspberry, created in homage to Saint Laurent’s floral jumpsuit. The epitome of fashionable decadence.

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

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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 sablé and pistachio praline and their goats cheese, tomato and basil éclair, a refined twist on the most traditional finger sandwich.

Champagne Afternoon Tea is available from £85 per person at Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

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Superbloom at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

To coincide with the Superbloom installation created at the Tower of London in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Four Seasons Hotel has launched a brand new afternoon tea that comes with its own floral creation. Visitors to the hotel will be greeted by a fragrant wildflower meadow at the front of the hotel, created in collaboration with the designers of the Tower of London’s flower-filled moat.

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Held in the Rotunda Bar & Lounge, executive pastry chef Sylvain Goujon has created a selection of pastries reminiscent of a flowerbed in full bloom – the Damas Rose is made with Alpaco chocolate and Voatsiperifery pepper, while the Yellow Peony is a combination of turmeric mousse and Madagascan vanilla. There are savoury delights too in the form of minted cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, while the tea’s signature Wild Garden cocktail is similarly flower-packed.

The Superbloom Afternoon Tea is available until 18 September 2022 from £50 per person at The Four Seasons, 10 Trinity Square, Tower Hill, London EC3N 4AJ


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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.

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Here, the custard cream has been transformed into an After Eight version of the old school favourite, complete with intense Caraibe chocolate shell, mint and dark ganache, while the Hobnob has been reimagined with oat sable, flap jack centre and raspberries. Even the 99 has been given a luxe spin, combining strawberry ice cream with a dulcey cone and cream, while bread and butter pudding lovers are catered to with their take on the dessert which combines caramelised brioche, vanilla diplomat and apricot compote.  

The new afternoon tea collection is £70 per person at The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Mayfair, London W1B 1JA;

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Mindful Moments Afternoon Tea at Dalloway Terrace

Dalloway Terrace is known for its Instagram-worthy seasonal updates, and this summer it’s in full bloom, having been transformed into a serene sanctuary filled with wild meadow florals. Wisteria and lavender cascade down into a lush herbaceous border, perfectly in keeping with the new mindful moments theme of their tea offering. 

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Created in partnership with Belvedere Vodka, the menu has a strong focus on botanical flavours, with sweet treats like lemon and basil drizzle cake, blackberry and lemongrass jelly and strawberry and black pepper parfait on offer. The zingy cocktails, meanwhile, have been designed to exude summery freshness, with the most popular of the lot being the Dalloway Sgroppino, a blend of Belvedere Organic Infusions, lemon and basil with blood orange sorbet topped with Champagne.

The Mindful Moments Afternoon Tea is £40 per person at Dalloway Terrace, 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3NN;

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Salvador Dali Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London

Held in the hotel’s opulent Mirror Room, the Rosewood London’s art-inspired afternoon teas have become some of the most sought-after in the capital, and their latest iteration is no exception. Inspired by the painter Salvador Dali to coincide with the Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition at the Tate Modern, this is an afternoon tea with a twist – not only in the quirky cakes on offer, but all in the fact that it’s been designed at the UK’s first afternoon NFTea.

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The tea features three courses: traditional sandwiches, a sweet course and centrepiece trio of Dali-inspired cakes, which will feature the QR code to secure an exclusive NFTea and unlock an immersive AR experience, where the Mirror Room is taken over by virtual butterflies. Dishes include Dali’s Lobster Telephone, crafted out of Valrhona chocolate sponge with a passionfruit jelly, and his Queen of Hearts, a spherical pastry consisting of an almond sponge base, topped with a peach jelly and strawberry mousse and an edible playing card.

The Salvador Dali Afternoon Tea is available from £72 per person at The Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 7EN

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