The Best Afternoon Tea in London
Afternoon tea in London is both a ritual and a delight. It’s possibly the most English activity there is (apart from playing cricket and being optimistic about the weather). And while no trip to London is complete without afternoon tea, there are just so many to choose from. We’ve chosen the best afternoon tea locations in town.
Let Totally Tailored guide you to the butteriest scones, the most fragrant tea, and the sweetest cake stands in London’s afternoon tea scene.
The Classic Afternoon Tea: The Goring Hotel
The Goring Hotel
Where: 15 Beeston Place, Westminster, London SW1 W0J
When: Monday – Friday 3pm – 4pm, Saturday 1pm – 4pm, Sunday 3pm – 4pm
Price: from £49 per person
This London hotel is fit for royalty – literally. This is where Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stayed with her family the night before her wedding to Prince William in 2011. The Goring is a jewel-box of a hotel, a well-kept secret among more opulent choices like the Ritz. Their afternoon tea is an award-winning affair, and in summer you get the full Downton Abbey experience since the lounge has a terrace and a lovely view of the garden. The Goring is an oasis of calm in a great central London location.
It’s clear this is Duchess’s best afternoon tea pick so who are we to disagree?
Tour Guide Tip: In the summer you can see games of croquet being played on the lawn over the rim of your tea cup.
The Instagram Choice: Sketch London
Where: 9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG
When: Monday – Sunday 11.30am – 4pm
Price: from £58 per person
Mayfair is full of traditional establishments, but Sketch is an altogether more playful affair. In fact, every room of Sketch is playful, but it’s tea in the Gallery which we think is the big draw. Their delicious pastel afternoon tea offering perfectly matches the surroundings, which are feminine but modern.
Surrounded by original artwork in plush pink surroundings, and often accompanied by live music, tea at Sketch is designed to delight all your senses.
Tour Guide Tip: Sketch is next door to the best high-end boutiques in London, like Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson, making this the best afternoon tea for high fashion shoppers.
The Unbeatable Afternoon Tea: Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum and Mason
Where: 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
When: 11.30am – 7pm
Price: from £44 per person
When you want a classic experience of afternoon tea in London, Fortnum and Mason is the obvious choice. This grande dame of Piccadilly also gives a warm welcome to anyone with dietary requirements, with a good range of options for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan guests. It’s all divinely elegant, and all themed around their signature celadon blue, from china to furnishings.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon is one of the prettiest venues in London. We guarantee, it will make all your dreams of taking afternoon tea like royalty come true.
Tour Guide Tip: Fortnum’s offering is lavish, and it keeps coming! So eat as much as you like, then let them box up the rest for you – that spare scone can become a happy memory when enjoyed later, with some tea from the legendary food hall.
The Affordable Hidden Gem: Wellcome Kitchen
Where: 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
When: 3pm – 6pm
Price: from £11.50 per person
Do you fancy afternoon tea, but don’t want to spend a king’s ransom? You won’t see this affordable afternoon tea widely advertised, but it’s our best-kept secret if you don’t want to break the bank.
A stone’s throw from King’s Cross St Pancras Station, Euston station and the British Museum, this lovely tea can be found on the second floor of the Wellcome Institute. The Institute exists to help us understand the science and medicine around us. If you’ve got the energy, then you can explore the fascinating collections. But otherwise, just head straight to the second floor. There you’ll find the Wellcome Kitchen, where you can enjoy a no-nonsense (and pleasantly affordable) afternoon tea.
Tour Guide Tip: Opposite the restaurant is the Reading Room, which is full of medicine-themed art, games, and bean bags. Perfect for lying down on Freud’s couch and digesting your tea and scones in peace…
Do cucumber sandwiches make you sigh? Then have a look at our round-up of London’s more Unusual Afternoon Teas.
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