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Afternoon teas in London

Go on, treat yourself to the best afternoon tea in London. Read on for recommendations on classic tea and scones in five-star hotels or a quirky cuppa in fun London restaurants

Afternoon tea is the ultimate indulgence, and it doesn’t get much better than the way it’s served in London hotels, restaurants and cafés. We’ve tucked into the post-lunch, pre-dinner treat and British institution at venues all around town to find you the very best afternoon tea in London. From classic tea, sandwiches, scones and clotted cream to quirky afternoon teas with a glass of champagne and a finger to the establishment (little finger, naturally). Pinkies at the ready!

RECOMMENDED: Check out these tip-top offers on afternoon tea in London

Classic afternoon tea in London

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Afternoon tea at Aqua Shard

What’s the vibe? Funky, modern and oh-so-high. Aqua Shard delivers smooth service and we don’t think there’s a table that doesn’t have a good view.

What’s on the menu? Unique lavender-perfumed chicken sandwich, Staffordshire ham with mustard and Bermondsey Hard Pressed cheese, Earl Grey-smoked Loch Duart salmon, scones with raspberry and lemon thyme jam, a Shard-shaped red velvet and dark chocolate cake and a Victoria sponge with a bubblegum macaron.

How much is it? £42 for the classic, £55 with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne or £67 with a glass of Ruinart Rose Champagne.

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London Bridge
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Afternoon tea at Bake-a-boo

What’s the vibe? Pastel-hued pretty little tea room in well-to-do West Hampstead. Service is warm and you’d be happy to bring friends or family of any age including small children.

What’s on the menu? Vegetarian sandwiches with straightforward combos of egg, cheese and houmous ensure that everyone will be happy, plus homemade brownies, scones and cupcakes. Old-fashioned sweets also appear, taking you back to childhood birthday parties and games of pass the parcel. Teas and champagne are also offered, but don’t miss the Coke Float.

How much is it? £19.50. With prosecco, £24.50 or champagne, £27.

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West Hampstead
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Marie Antoinette Afternoon Tea at Belgraves, Pont St

What’s the vibe? Smart-casual is the order of the day at this brasserie in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

What’s on the menu? Savouries such as foie gras on brioche toast, cheese balls with quince and hollandaise quail egg tartlets. Sweet treats such as champagne lychee jelly with rosewater cream, absinthe choux and chocolate opera cake sit alongside classic scones with jam and clotted cream. Ruinart champagne seems a must.

How much is it? The Marie Antoinette Afternoon Tea is priced at £35, or £45 with Ruinart champagne.

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Belgravia
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Afternoon tea at Bluebird

What’s the vibe? Set in the upstairs restaurant, it’s all sheer curtains and leather seating: think contemporary gentleman's club, minus the sleaze.

What’s on the menu? Salmon sandwiches, ham and cheese croissants, salt beef sliders and cheese scones. Sweets include cheesecake, lemon cake, macarons, opera cake, marshmallow tea-cakes and warmed scones served with clotted cream and sharp raspberry conserve. There is also a selection of quality loose-leaf teas.

How much is it? £22.50 per person for the afternoon tea, or kick things up a notch with a glass of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial champagne (£29.50) or a Chambord cocktail topped with Moet & Chandon Rosé champagne (£33.95).

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Chelsea
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Afternoon tea at Claridge's

What’s the vibe? Held in a luxurious Art Deco-inspired foyer, this is the grand queen of afternoon teas, with a waiting list to match.

What’s on the menu? Sandwiches, including eggs from Burford Brown, smoked salmon from Severn and Wye smokery and Quicke’s cheddar from Devon. Freshly baked scones are served warm with Cornish clotted cream and Marco Polo gelee. Yorkshire rhubarb and custard, marmalade macarons and dulcey chocolate choux. The tea selection is from the Rare Tea Company.

How much is it? £58, or £68 including a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut NV champagne, or Laurent-Perrier Rose champagne, £78.

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Mayfair
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Afternoon tea at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Fortnum & Mason

What’s the vibe? Old-school glamour. Knowledgeable staff offer a tea-tasting lesson at the start of proceedings with 84 varieties to choose from. It’s a classic afternoon tea for ladies that lunch, not ladies on the lash. The same goes for gentlemen.

What’s on the menu? For those who want to forgo sweet stuff, there’s the savoury afternoon tea. There’s homemade stilton scones with blackberry, a selection of finger sandwiches and delicate bites. The classic afternoon tea is a pastel delight, with rose-adorned petite eclairs and mini lemon tarts.

How much is it? £44 for the classic tea blend or £48 with a single estate tea.

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St James'
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Afternoon tea at The Dorchester

What’s the vibe? Fragrant. On arrival, you’ll notice the scent of seasonal flowers, of which there are hundreds, giving The Promenade a garden-like feel.

What’s on the menu? The Dorchester offers a fine selection of Dalreoch teas – smoked white, white and Garrocher Grey – produced in Scotland. Sandwiches include cucumber, chicken and perfectly prepared salmon. Chocolate tarts and open macarons are all perfectly petite. Scones are plain or raisin and served with real strawberry jam and mirabelle plum preserve.

How much is it? £49 or with Laurent-Perrier NV champagne, £59 or Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé, £65. Dalreoch teas are a £12 supplement.

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Mayfair
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Afternoon tea at the English Tea Room, Brown's Hotel

What’s the vibe? Brown’s describes its afternoon tea as legendary, and who are we to disagree with London’s oldest hotel? It’s served in the classy, wood-panelled English Tea Room, where Rudyard Kipling is said to have written a number of his books.

What’s on the menu? Sandwiches packed with classic fillings, some petite scones with homemade jam and oozy clotted cream; a selection of dainty pastries including soft macaroons, slabs of rich chocolate mousse and fluffy choux pastry balls, and an extensive list of teas with tasting notes.

How much is it? £47.50 for traditional afternoon tea, or £57.50–£61.50 with a glass of Ruinart Champagne.

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Mayfair
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Afternoon tea at the Gilbert Scott

What’s the vibe? Marcus Wareing’s St Pancras offering is housed in this gloriously gothic hotel and named after the architect who designed it. Imposing and elegant, it’s as much an attraction as the food. Close to the Eurostar terminal, it’s perfect for romantics taking a Paris minbreak.

What’s on the menu? Teas including Pinhead Gunpowder, Pai Mu Tan White and of course, classic English Breakfast. Savouries include mini seafood brioche rolls, handmade sausage rolls and classic sandwiches, scones with homemade jam, ginger cake, chocolate tart and rhubarb eton mess.

How much is it? Classic afternoon tea is £29, with Moet & Chandon Brut NV, £41 and with Ruinart Rose, £45.

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Euston
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Bollinger Afternoon Tea at the Goring

What’s the vibe? Old-school regal. Opened in 1910, it was rented out in its entirety for Wills and Kate’s wedding reception. Admire part of a mural painted in the corridor by the Duchess of Cambridge herself.

What’s on the menu? Crustless finger sandwiches (think salmon with dill and cream cheese, and honey-glazed gammon with cranberry pickle). Sweets include fluffy scones, custardy apple tartlet and a marmalade and vanilla choux bun. Drinks-wise, first-flush teas include the Goring’s delicious Afternoon Blend.

How much is it? £42.50 for traditional afternoon tea, £52.50 with a glass of Bollinger champagne, £62.50 with a glass of Bollinger rosé Champagne.

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St James's Park
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Quirky afternoon tea in London

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Healthy tea at 108 Pantry

What’s the vibe? The pantry of boutique hotel 108 Marylebone is just a short strut from Oxford Street, but miles away in terms of serenity.

What’s on the menu? Gluten-free sandwiches (cream cheese and cucumber, ham and mustard and other traditionals) on bread that tastes as good as the real deal; gluten-free brownies; matcha green tea cakes; chocolate and almond brownies plus a selection of specialist teas from Rare Tea Company, plus juices, should you so desire. Gluten all good? The classic afternoon tea is a similarly delicious offering.

How much is it? £28 for healthy and classic, £38 for indulgent (including a glass of rose champagne).

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Marylebone
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Afternoon Tea Bus Tour at BB Bakery

What’s the vibe? Meals on wheels, pimped. This is pure pastel perfection with a mini London tour taking in landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Nelson’s Column all to be enjoyed while eating some top-notch French patisserie.

What’s on the menu? Mini quiches and the usual sandwiches plus some French fancies, including lemon-meringue pie and macarons. To avoid any accidents, prosecco is served in a plastic cup and the tea in a made-to-keep plastic travel mug.

How much is it? £45 for adults, £35 for children (ages 6–11).

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Covent Garden
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Pret a Portea at The Berkeley

What’s the vibe? The afternoon tea menu changes every six months to reflect current fashion trends and there’s definitely enough Instagram potential to make your friends jealous.

What’s on the menu? Cakes and fancies are bold and beautiful and currently include creations inspired by Dolce & Gabbana (lychee and almond mousse), Moschino (cream and orange financier) and Alice Temperley (gianduja chocolate supreme set on shortbread). Each item has been painstakingly created to delight fashion-lovers and those who fancy an afternoon tea with a difference.

How much is it? £45, or £52 including a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne.

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Belgravia
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Great Gatsby tea at Betty Blythe Vintage Tearoom

What’s the vibe? Named after an actress who was among the first to get her kit off on screen in the 1920s, this vintage tearoom is the real deal with a dressing-up box full of costumes.

What’s on the menu? Sandwiches include salmon mousse, avocado and ham. There’s also baked ham and desserts include mint julep sorbet. A cocktail-making masterclass is also offered for an additional £45 per person and focuses on drinks that Betty Blythe would definitely have approved of – old fashioneds and southsides – but do try to keep your clothes on, darling.

How much is it? £30 per person based on a booking for ten people.

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Brook Green
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Burgerlicious afternoon tea at Brgr.co

What’s the vibe? Sizzling patties, frothy milkshakes, crispy fried chicken and a side of chips – Brgr.co takes the British tradition and puts a big, fat American spin on it.

What’s on the menu? Three tasty sliders with soft, spongy buns, followed by a selection of desserts that includes a dinky doughnut and a squidgy chocolate brownie. This is all accompanied by a bellini, a tiny milkshake and a tall glass of iced tea. You may never touch another pot of basic breakfast tea again.

How much is it? A bargain at £17.

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Soho
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Squiffy Picnic at Cahoots

What’s the vibe? A redundant tube station with plenty of quirk and a speakeasy feel. Ask to see the Captain or you’ll be left at the door.

What’s on the menu? You’re welcomed with a bag of sandwiches and a fancy Sipsmith cocktail served in a tin mug, swiftly followed by a hamper filled with delicious nibbles including pork rolls, shortbread, lemon drizzle cake and grapes. The final hamper contains flasks of sloe gin with tonic. There is also water and elderflower cordial on the table to balance out the tipples.

How much is it? £46 per person, or you can upgrade to fizz for £72.

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Soho
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Treasure Chest afternoon tea at Columbia Restaurant

What’s the vibe? Its location in Docklands has no doubt inspired this pirate-themed afternoon tea, but you won’t be ordered to walk the plank here. Instead, relax and enjoy the river views while tucking into a wooden treasure chest full of treats. It’s casual, so suitable for all.

What’s on the menu? While the presentation is unusual, the sandwiches are classic – think cheese, ham and salmon. It’s the desserts that are created with the most flair, but still include the traditional scones with jam and clotted cream. Tea is from Twinings.

How much is it? £24.95 or £30 with prosecco.

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Rotherhithe
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Afternoon tea at Drink, Shop & Do

Venue says: Five amazing £5 drinks from 5-7pm, Tue-Fri in our basement bar. Or join us for brunch at £15 for unlimited bloody marys, bagels and bubbles!

What’s the vibe? A stone's throw from King’s Cross station, this friendly venue feels like a quirky community centre. There’s plenty of craft on offer too, if you’re got nimble fingers or just fancy doing something creative.

What’s on the menu? Sandwiches filled with ham hock, parsley and mayo, egg mayonnaise with spring onions and chives and smoked salmon with cream cheese and horseradish paste, plus generously sized fruit scones and a selection of miniature homemade cakes. The extensive list of speciality teas includes the surprisingly refreshing Rooibos Bakewell.

How much is it? £28 for afternoon tea with a bellini or upgrade to a champagne afternoon tea with a glass of Mercier Champagne for £35.

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King's Cross
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Kaffee und Kuchen at German Gymnasium

What’s the vibe? Built in the 1860s for the limber men and women of the German Gymnastics Society, the building occupied by this restaurant originally hosted activities such as Indian club swinging. Sadly, that wasn’t on offer during our visit, but we did enjoy the bell (complete with cuckoo sounds) that signals the start of the 4pm German tradition of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake).

What’s on the menu? Everything served here is German in origin and includes favourites such as apple strudel with vanilla sauce (a cut above custard), traditional black forest gateau, sachertorte with chantilly cream and black forest coffee with kirsch.

How much is it? £8 plus £3.50 for speciality coffee.

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King's Cross
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Ametsa afternoon tea at The Halkin

Venue says: Enjoy a two-course lunch, Tuesday-Saturday, for £27.50.

What’s the vibe? Casual hotel bar with top-notch food attracting a cosmopolitan crowd.

What’s on the menu? Start with a glass of cava from the Basque region and enjoy a selection of tapas created by chef Sergi Sanz Blanco. Savoury selections include Iberico ham and manchego pillows and pork croquettes. The desserts are a particular strength, and include traditional Catalan rice pudding, churros, banana tartlet and charred sweets.

How much is it? £32.50 including one glass of cava.

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Belgravia
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Find the best afternoon tea deals in town

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In this list – surely the ultimate guide to the best restaurants in London – you’ll find it all: zeitgeist-defining celebrity haunts, the best new restaurants in London, Michelin star restaurants with starched linen napkins and restaurants serving cheap eats where you’ll have to eat with your fingers. What they all have in common is that they serve some of the best dishes in London at fair prices, with service befitting the setting. In short, if you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place.

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By: Tania Ballantine

Comments

21 comments
sunnygirly2k4 .
sunnygirly2k4 .

Any gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free and paleo (if possible) offerings anywhere? Looks great but my body can't really tolerate: gluten, dairy, sugar and caffeine ...

Jason James
Jason James

If I'm going for afternoon tea I go for either cute and quirky (always the Secret Soho Tea Room - it's like stepping back in time) or somewhere really fancy – usually The Lanesborough Hotel as it's just so ridiculously OTT and my mum is always impressed with it. Great cakes at both. 

Katie B
Katie B

I love exploring different places for Afternoon Tea around London and I have to say that the Afternoon Tea at Flemings Mayfair's is my favourite. The Drawing Room is newly refurbished so it's a wonderful atmosphere and the selection to eat and drink is divine. Will definitely be going back :)

Feathers M
Feathers M

I'm an avid Low Tea fan (High Tea is dinner, it's a common misnomer though) and there's a few teas that are positively amazing in London, though for different reasons:


Langham: Hands down, the best food


Delaunay/Wolseley: Best "typical" afternoon tea at reasonable price, I take first timers to either one of these


Dorchester: Traditional Tea, Excellent service, pleasant atmosphere, Good all-rounder


Sketch: Quirky, fun, not too challenging flavours.


Gong in the Shard: Great View, Good for tourist, interesting Asian Afternoon Tea


The Connaught: Best Hidden secret, great variety of fruit preserves. Charming service/atmosphere


Claridges: Best of the Best all around but impossibly hard to get a reservation

James S
James S

Let's be honest, there's a big difference between tea brewed in your own home and high tea. One is a nice treat that's easy to make for yourself, and one is art. It doesn't take much experience to know the difference between the two. I just wish that you could get high tea in more places.

http://www.clumzyclover.com/services 

nhok i
nhok i

I would like London to afternoon tea

Ana K
Ana K

The Magazine restaurant in Hyde Park offers a great Wellness Afternoon Tea, with a selection of healthy savoury and sweets, as well a good range of caffeine free teas, available in the beautiful contemporary architecture building by Zaha Hadid.

London G
London G

Dear Time Out!
 
I am an avid afternoon tea fan in London and a general girl about London and wanted to share my recent experience at Café Royal London:
 
I booked afternoon tea for a two important birthday celebrations with my family on the 21st September 2014 for 4pm.

Having read glowing reviews on the Trip Advisor site and being impressed by your 5 stars, I had decided to book Cafe Royal London over the Langham I have been often and love.

Cafe Royal London gave us the worst afternoon tea ever in my opinion for the following reasons:

1) Prior to booking I had explained that I would be bringing my parents who were 70 and therefore wanted to pre-plan the route in advance. I am very familiar with Central London, and there knew that on a busy Sunday with traffic I wanted to ensure smooth travel. At the booking I was informed that the venue was above Lillywhites in Piccadilly Circus. We therefore proceeded to get a bus to the nearest stop to Lillywhites. When we were unable to find your venue I called the reception team. They very rudely stated that they were no where near Lillywhites, but near Hamleys and Air Street. Having to then take my 70 year old parents up Regent Street to Hamleys, was not ideal. I knew the location of Air Street and knew this was not hear Hamleys. So luckily I found the venue. The fact that your team could not articulate the location of your venue was utterly ludicrous.

2) We were running unexpectedly late due to transport issues. I called the reception desk at least 30 minutes in advance to ensure they were okay with this. Initially the team were friendly about this. When I subsequently called the reception team again with an update and to confirm the location., they were incredibly rude and essentially did not care in the slightest. When we were in the venue, I realised it did not make any difference as the afternoon tea section was pretty much empty.

3) When we finally arrived for afternoon tea, 2 small low round tables had been placed together for 4 people. When I booked I had explained that there were FIVE of us. We unable to get a member of staff's attention so we had to pull another table and chair across. When we asked if they had a bigger more comfortable table we were informed there wasn't one and this was how all the tables were. As the food arrived there was not even enough room to even rest an elbow on a table.

4) When I booked afternoon tea, I explained which afternoon tea we wanted, with vegetarian options and any extras including champagne. When we sat down to have afternoon tea we were all handed a menu. I had to then go over to a member of staff and confirm they had my original booking details and that this is what we wanted. A member of staff then came over and took the menu off us. It all seemed very disorganised.

5) Despite the fact that we were there for a celebration, we did not receive even a smile from any member of the team. There appeared to be a total of 3 waiting staff in the venue all hurrying along, not really creating am ambiance of service or any kind of joyful theatre. The majority of the time, we were served by a sour looking gentleman who seemed to be doing everything and a junior waitress who was leaning over everyone to serve people, not smiling and then disappearing for ages. At one stage my dad joking asked how much a smile was to the waitress who failed to even raise a smile then and just looked lost.

6) We all ordered the same type of tea, yet we were given 4 teapots on 3 tiny tables which took up most of the room. we were balancing a lot of the items on our lap and had to ask for one of the tea pots to be taken away as we didn't want to sitting there going through stone cold tea. To top this off we were given two tiny thimbles of milk and had to keep asking for me, then waiting ages for more milk! How ridiculous.

7) I had pre-ordered fries as a starter for the afternoon tea as a surprise. When these did not arrive I had to prompt the waiter, this ruined the surprise element! When the fries appeared they were half cooked and stone cold. I mean we may as well have gone to McDonalds down the road for more value for money. We then had to ask for some sauces which took 20 minutes to arrive, being as hungry as we were the fries were gone!

8) When the afternoon tea items appeared, the vegetarian options we had ordered were truly awful. The egg mayo bread rolls were stale and tasted refrigerated. There was a mushroom thing shaped like a plant pot which made our stomach turn. The other items we tasted and did not touch again. Let's not mention that we were not well that evening, my mother especially. It's clear the food was not fresh and I would not feed this to my greatest enemy let alone pay a couple of hundred quid for this tripe.

9) The desserts were also disappointing, the macaroons were chewy! The other desserts were basically just chocolates. Not one dessert item made us smile with delight (which is not normally a difficult thing to do when it comes to desserts). The scones once again tasted refrigerated and we had to ASK for some clotted cream and were given one small bowl of this for FIVE!!!

10) I had pre-booked the champagne afternoon tea, however we were not served any champagne, just pots and pots of tea. Considering how diabolical the whole event was, we did not even bother wasting our money and asking for champagne!

11) Once again, I had to prompt the waiter that we were there for two birthday celebrations, finally the pianist did a happy birthday rendition which fell flat, no one sang and the staff took no notice. I went and let the waiter know again, who finally arrived with a plate saying happy birthday and some sad looking chocolates plonked on to it for both birthday people. No candle, no sense of celebration at all. It made me feel really sad that I had arranged this.

12) The bathroom facilities were strewn with used tissues and a wet floor. Hardly setting the tone for a glamorous and sophisticated afternoon tea.

All in all I paid £236.25 for a whole lot of disappointment. Save your money and go to the Langham! 
 

John S
John S

How can the list be complete without the Langham?

Beautiful surroundings and great sandwiches!


bigsands
bigsands

Some of the best afternoon tea that I had was at Skylon on the Southbank and I also enjoyed the Sandersons Hotel and Harrods. The only thing which they could all benefit from is having a live ensemble performing rather than chart music in the background. On the outskirts of London, I also enjoyed afternoon tea at the Grims Dyke mansion in Harrow Weald. What type of music do you think works best during afternoon tea? Please tweet me @bigsands.

Victoria Ashley
Victoria Ashley

Taking afternoon tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton130 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 5AYGrafton Hotel was quite an experience. I enjoyed the relxing atmosphere and the delicious sandwiches and the cakes and scones. Lovely tea and wonderful service.

mary
mary

I just don't get it. A few bland sandwiches, stale cake and a pot of tea costs more than a decent meal and a glass of beer at a pub. We spent 60 pounds for afternoon tea ( for 3) at Soho's Secret Tea Room and we all agree that is the stupidest choice we made on our visit to London.

Jenny
Jenny

A potentially helpful guide with useful information about places offering gluten and dairy free options. It would have been good if this information was available for all of the tea 'houses' that are listed. I am looking for somewhere on the Soutbank to have tea after visiting the Shard on a Sunday. Can you help? Thanks

NikkiH
NikkiH

How about Afternoon Tea at Kettner's in Soho? They have them in the brasserie downstairs, or you can book afternoon tea for a group in one of the lovely private rooms...

Kerry C
Kerry C

I am a bit surprised, Afternoon Tea at "Cafe Concerto" (St Paul's, London branch) haven't been mentioned yet. It was quite good value as the deal I had was generous and drinks options were varied for a quiet afternoon out.

SanC
SanC

Afternoon Tea at La Brasserie at Brompton Cross is fab ! Great location, delicious and such good value !

Tracy
Tracy

Do you not rate Fortnum and Masons afternoon tea?

Tracy
Tracy

Do you not rate Fortnum and Masons afternoon tea?

Donna
Donna

is there a page missing of 'Special Occasion' afternoon teas? I was hoping to see reviews of the Ritz, Claridges etc