In honour of National Tea Day on Friday April 21, we've compiled a list of the best afternoon teas in London to make sure you get the most out of your money.
Alongside our own personal experiences, we consulted rankings and lists from Time Out, Conde Nast Traveller, Vogue, Tatler, and the Evening Standard to find the best spots in the capital to celebrate National Tea Day.
We quickly discovered it's not all scones and sandwiches. From an afternoon tea on a red London tour bus to a menu inspired completely by Alice in Wonderland, this certainly isn't a stuffy British tradition.
Here are 38 of the best-value and most popular afternoon tea spots around London, ranked by price from the most expensive to the cheapest.
The most expensive offering on the list — but believe us, it's worth the money. Tuck into an array of finger sandwiches, freshly baked raisin and apple scones with Marco Polo jelly and Cornish Clotted cream, a selection of sweet pastries, and over 24 teas for £60, or £80 with Champagne.
When: Daily at 2.45 p.m., 3 p.m., 3.15 p.m, 3.30 p.m., 4.45 p.m., 5 p.m., 5.15 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.
Opt for the Classic Afternoon Tea (£58) or add Champagne (£72) in the visually striking setting that is David Shrigley's Gallery at Sketch. Enjoy a French take on the British tradition, from caviar and quail egg sandwiches to macaroons and an assortment of cakes. The menu is even presented in a keepsake booklet
When: 12 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily.
Take tea at new heights at Shangri-La at the top of the Shard, where you can select between the TING Classic Afternoon Tea or the Asian-inspired South East Asian Afternoon Tea, which includes Vietnamese Coffee Choux.
When: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Brown's Hotel serves its famous afternoon tea in its English Tea Room in Mayfair. Choose between the Traditional Menu (£55), Champagne afteroon tea (£65 or £67 for Rosé Champagne), or the new Tea Tox, a new clean-eating afternoon tea created in partnership with Madeleine Shaw.
When: Sittings daily from 12 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The latest afternoon tea offering at The Dorchester features pastries inspired by the hotel's connection with flowers, and its florist Philip Hammond, as well as "Flowering Tea."
When: Daily at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3.15 p.m., 4.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.
You can't picture Afternoon Tea in London without thinking of The Ritz. Here you can enjoy a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, a range of pastries and teacakes, and 18 different teas from silver teapots and china plates and teacups in the elegant Palm Court for £54. Champagne optional.
When: Daily at 11.30 a.m., 1.30 p.m., 3.30 p.m., 5.30 p.m., and 7.30 p.m.
Traditional Afternoon Tea with all the fixings will set you back £52, or £65 with Champagne. You can also opt for High Tea, £58, or the new Salon Couture High-Tea, £58, a collaboration with British couturier Suzie Turner which will feature bespoke éclairs decorated with sketches of Suzie Turner designs, held on the first Wednesday of every month.
When: Daily from 1 p.m. to 5.45 p.m.
Indulge in a "designer afternoon tea" with Prêt-à-Portea, inspired the fashion world. Expect to munch on biscuits and bakes that nod to famous designers — think Manolo Blahnik stilettos or the Burberry classic trench coat as biscuits — as well as savoury skewers, taster spoons, elegant canapés, and tea sandwiches. £52, or £62 with Champagne.
When: 1 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. daily.
Inspired by classic Wedgwood collections, the Langham Afternoon Tea features butterfly and daisy motifs to signal the start of spring. For £49, kick off with an apricot and yoghurt pannacotta before digging into chocolate and Kahlua parcels, a shortbread tower with salted caramel, strawberry and pistachio cream macaroons, as well as sandwiches like Truffled duck egg brioche. £59 with Champagne.
When: Daily at 1 p.m., 3.15 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.
Fall down the rabbit hole with the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel. It includes Alice in Wonderland-inspired hidden menus, decorated teapots, and items like a mocha chessboard gateau, chocolate and pistachio blue caterpillar, Alice’s cinnamon, apple and peach “Drink Me” potion and Tweedle Dee lemon curd financier. £48, or go for tipsy evening tea (£58) which includes a flight of four Alice-inspired cocktails, savoury bites, and alcohol-infused cakes.
When: Daily (times differ by offering).
Served in either the Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant or the refined Withdrawing Room, think freshly-baked sonces, clotted cream, homemade fruit preserves and intricate pastries.
When: 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. -to 4.30 p.m. on weekends. Extended hours are offered in The Withdrawing Room.
Possibly the quirkiest tea on our list, get your sightseeing and your traditional sitting done at once with the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour from B-Bakery. After being picked up by a uniformed driver, you'll enjoy a 90-minute tour alongside tea, sandwiches, mini quiches, macarons, mini cupcakes, and pastries from the family-owned, Covent Garden-based bakery.
When: Daily, times vary by location.
Indulge in sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and French pastries — or opt for the Chocolate Afternoon Tea — beneath the eight-storey atrium at The Landmark London.
When: Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 5.15 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1.30 p.m. to 5.15 p.m.
Enjoy an art-inspired tea at the Rosewood's Mirror Room, celebrating five iconic artists: Yayoi Kusama, Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, Damien Hirst, and Banksy. The menu is "a work of art in itself," and dishes will include traditional afternoon tea fare as well as desserts inspired by work from each artist. Add Champagne for £57.
When: Monday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
When you're all shopped out, relax in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum's Piccadilly location, where you can tuck into finger sandwiches, buttery scones, a selection of pastries, and a carriage laden with bottomless cake.
When: Daily, times differ.
In a partnership with Simon & Schuster's "The Royal Rabbits of London" series, Grosvenor House is offering an tea themed on characters from the story. You'll also leave with a goody bag containing a copy of the book.
When: 12.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, until summer.
A truly traditional afternoon tea set in the Grade II listed Oscar Wilde Bar.
When: Sittings Monday to Friday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and Bank Holidays.
Keeping things quirky, St. James's Hotel & Club is offering a Board Game Afternoon Tea titled "It's All In The Game," featuring treats inspired by favourites like Snakes & Ladders, Backgammon, Chess, Monopoly, Scrabble, Dominoes, and Ludo.
When: Daily from 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
St. Martin's Lane Hotel has teamed up with Hotel Chocolat to bring you The Chocolate Dreams Afternoon Tea at The Den, made up of chocolate treats and a hot chocolate menu for £40.
When: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily until April 30.
Another tea with a view, Oblix serves up a London-inspired menu, taking guests "on a culinary journey throughout and beyond the city." The flour for the scones comes from the E5 Bakehouse in Hackney, the cured Angus beef comes from Cannon & Cannon's in Lambeth, the chai spices from Brick Lane market, honeycomb from local bees in Harrow, and the sea buckthorn for the meringue tart comes from East Sussex.
When: Monday to Friday.
Get tipsy with a selection of Champagne and gin teas paired with sandwiches, cakes, and macaroons alongside live entertainment.
When: Sittings Saturday from 2.01 p.m. to 6.46 p.m. and Sunday from 3.01 p.m. to 5.01 p.m.
The Mondrian London's cocktail bar Dandelyan offers afternoon tea with a botanical twist. Wyld Tea features a four-course 70s-inspired food menu — including finger sandwiches and retro cakes — as well as cocktails such as the Fluff & Fold Royale with lime, fresh basil, cacao liqueur, orange bitters, and prosecco. While £35 will give you the booze-free tea, £55 will get you the full selection, and £65 will include Champagne.
When: Thursday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Scandal Water features five tea and food pairings, such as an "iced gem" shortbread biscuit with butter cream, or a misco cured salmon with caviar. £35 will get you a choice of three of the pairings.
When: Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Take the Disney fan in your life to the Tale as Old as Time tea at the Town House at The Kensington. The Beauty and the Beast-themed tea is complete withMrs. Potts and Chip Potts dishware, as well as treats inspired by the film. Expect the likes of a chocolate clock tart as well as savoury bites such as a bite-sized venison pie. Add a glass of Champagne for £45.
When: Sold out until the end of November, but you can sign up for news below.
An experience that The Ampersand Hotel promises to be "out of this world." The Science Afternoon Tea follows the lead of its Science Museum neighbour by offering sweet and savoury dishes including Milky Way macaroons or almond dinosaur fossils. £45.50 with a glass of Champagne.
When: Monday to Friday until April 28.
One of the more reasonably priced teas at a luxury location, the offering from Duke's includes smoked salmon, coronation chicken finger sandwiches, pastries, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of tea for £32.50. However, you can add Champagne for £42.50, or can opt or the Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea for £38.
When: Daily from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Take afternoon tea no matter your diet with the completely vegan menu at La Suite West. Finger sandwiches, scones with fresh coconut yoghurt and strawberries, cashew nut cream cheese, BBQ tempeh, and scrambled tofu are all on the menu.
When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday.
Opt for a lighter menu at Zetter Townhouse Marylebone's Seymour's Parlour, with smoked salmon and herb crème fraîche or free range egg mayonnaise and mustard cress brioche. Or, dig into a hearty menu of haggis sausage rolls, homemade brown sauce, and black pudding scotch eggs.
When: Daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Balthazar has teamed up with beauty guru Bobbi Brown for the beauty-inspired Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea (£27.50) or Champagne and Cocktail Afternoon Tea (£37.50). Enjoy all the classics as well as a selection of cakes inspired by Bobbi Brown beauty products, including a "Hollywood Red Lip Gloss" kiss, a blueberry and lemon "Smokey Eye Mascara," and pecan and jasmine "Long-Wear Cream Shadow."
You'll also leave with a voucher for a complimentary makeup session with a Bobbi Brown artist at the Covent Garden studio.
When: Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. on Sunday.
£25 without booze, or £35 with, the afternoon tea at 100 Kensington is reasonably priced given its selection of sandwiches (we like the sound of the cured salmon and wasabi spring onion yoghurt on brown bread), scones like spiced pumpkin with clotted cream or a cheese with chilli tomato relish, and desserts like ginger yoghurt pannacotta.
When: Daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Formerly a venue that attracted music acts like David Bowie and The Kinks when it was the BBC Building Kensington House in the 1970s and 80s, the Glam Rock Afternoon pays tribute to the hotel's heritage with tea served on vintage record covers, electric blue and pink teapots and teacups, and menu items like "rolling scones." Add prosecco for £31.50, or you can even opt for a Rock 'N' Cocktails Midnight Tea, which will include five cocktail shots or one cocktail
When: Afternoon tea daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sandwiches like chicken, harissa mayonnaise, avocado, sweet chilli pickled carrot, and daikon slaw, lavender and early grey scones with orange and rose petal marmalade, and tonka bean pannacotta and banoffee chocolate "teacakes" make The Modern Pantry a great value option, whether or not you add bubbles (£27.50).
When: Friday to Sunday, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Browse the National Gallery then head to The National Cafe for afternoon tea made up of sandwiches, scones, cakes, and loose leaf tea. Add Champagne for £31.50.
When: 2.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
A simple and traditional menu in a cosy and luxurious setting. Add Champagne for £32.
When: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Whether you enjoy in the lobby or gallery bar at the Ace Hotel or in its Hoi Polloi restaurant, cream tea, with savouries, mini sandwiches, fancies, scones, clotted cream, homemade jam, and your choice of tea, will only set you back £21. Add Champagne for £30.
When: Daily from 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Set underneath the arches that form part of the Grade II listed Deptford Carriage ramp next to Deptford High Street Station, Little Nan's certainly isn't like your average grandma's house. The High Tea menu uses vintage family recipes and bakes set to disco music, while a full bar is serving should you want to make it a tipsy afternoon (£25 will add two cocktails to your tea).
When: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
The cheapest option on our list is at German Gymnasium, which was actually called the world's most beautiful restaurant. Go for "The German" with assorted mini rolls (think black forest ham, egg mayonnaise, Atlantic shrimp) and desserts such as black forest macaroons. The other option is "The Austrian" with the likes of hay speck, smoked salmon, cream cheese rolls and apple strudel with vanilla sauce. All with tea and coffee, of course.
When: Thursday and Friday 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.