A tourist’s visit to London isn’t complete without sitting down for afternoon tea - enjoying a selection of rather posh teas, consuming cute triangular sandwiches followed by freshly baked scones complimented with a hefty dose of clotted cream and jam. It’s a British past time and whilst afternoon tea in London had become something only tourists partook in it’s no surprise that hip new spots frequented by London residents have also popped up alongside the older and more famous haunts. Below we’ve chosen our top five for you to visit…
Could our first recommendation really be anything else? When people think afternoon tea they think the Ritz, and whilst the sandwiches and scones aren’t the best you can find what you’re really coming for are the traditions - the name, the history, the air created by the pianist and staff as well, the formal dress code as well as the opulence of the Palm Court with its high ceilings, attention to detail and beautifully adorned chandeliers. Prices start from £54 per person or £30 for children with
tea being taken from 11:30am to 7:30pm. Be sure to sample the pastries and anything that catches your eye on the desert trolley – there are some exquisite choices to entertain your palette.
It’s afternoon tea on a bus, a vintage double decker Routemaster bus! What more could you possibly want? How about delicious teas, tasty finger sandwiches and a selection of sweet treats accompanied by an informative voiceover that points out historical facts whilst you slowly make your way around some of London’s most famous landmarks. You’ll love the views from the top deck. Of course, you could wrap some homemade sandwiches in foil and pack a flask of tea and jump on the 159 but it just wouldn’t be the same. This fun tea tour costs £45 per person and operates daily - 12:30pm and 3pm from Northumberland Avenue or 2:30pm and 5pm from Victoria.
Come for the view, stay for the tea. Enjoy one of the best views of London from the fifty-second floor of the Shard. Gong at Shangri-La is also a cocktail bar but from 12 – 16:00pm it serves a classic selection of food and teas - freshly cut sandwiches, delightful pastries, traditional scones and more-ish sweet treats. With the view, the intimate setting, and the 18+ age policy this is more for the couple than the family. Prices start from £56 and whilst a little pricey the added bonus of the unique views of some of London’s most famous landmarks make it well worth the price tag.
4) The Barbican’s Tropical Conservatory
One of London’s hidden treasures, this is a place that even fellow Londoners don’t seem to know about. The Barbican’s Tropical Conservatory is only open on select Sundays each month, so timing is everything. The conservatory itself is quite beautiful if a little humid – rare tropical plants drape over railings and creepers climb up concrete stairs whilst large fish lounge in their reflective pools; upstairs is a lovingly tended cacti room with a fantastic range of plants. Hipsters linger, framing their best Instagram photo before slowly shuffling around the tight pathways.
The Afternoon Tea section is a delight but bear in mind it’s open to the public and as such people will be wondering past as you eat. The tea, cakes and savouries are perfect after a good wander around. The price is £27.50 per person which makes it far cheaper than most but must be booked in advance as it can fill up fast.
Luxurious sandwiches, succulent treats and gorgeous scones… with live Opera! The Royal Albert Hall’s elegant Verdi restaurant is the setting for this unique combination. The next performance takes place on Saturday 25 th November and features multi award winning soprano Fleur De Bray. Afternoon tea is served from 2:30pm and the music starts from 3pm. Seats are unreserved but booking in advance is recommended and tickets cost £40. There are also non-Opera options
available for those who prefer their afternoon tea in a slightly quieter setting and you can currently book for the festive afternoon tea or for your visit in 2018.
It’s been hard to break this list down into our favourite five as London has so many traditional and more quirky places for afternoon tea which vie for our attention. No doubt we’ve left many names off this list, so we want to know where your favourite place for afternoon tea is in London. Tell us on our Facebook page!