Welcome to another episode of Victoria’s Insider London!

Going for afternoon tea in London is a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion, or simply treat yourself in the city. The tradition originates from the 1800s when high society women used to gather together to quell their hunger pains in the afternoons. Nowadays, hotels, cafés, and restaurants across London have adapted the classic afternoon tea into a whole range of incredible experiences, with inventive themes and exquisite tastes. Here are nine of the best.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. The Ritz

The royally-approved Ritz hotel is the most classic afternoon tea destination in London. Tea is served in the magnificent Palm Court, with immaculate hospitality, a live pianist, and one of the most lavish settings you’ll find in the capital. There are 16 different types of loose leaf teas, finger cut sandwiches, warm baked scones, and a beautiful selection of fine pastries and cakes. It’s a quintessential British experience. There is a strict dress code: men must wear a jacket and tie, and jeans or sportswear aren’t permitted for men or women.

Price: £69

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Bea’s

Head to Bea’s for a more casual afternoon tea experience. There are five cafes across London, with three serving afternoon tea in Bloomsbury, Farringdon and Marylebone. The sweets are the star of the show, with exciting cupcakes, meringues, fruity marshmallows, and an incredible trio of perfect brownies.The scones are also baked to perfection. There is no dress code.

Price: £26.50 per person

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson

Lots of the capital’s afternoon teas have themes, and one of the best is the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the trendy Sanderson hotel. There are fun thematic touches, including a music box holding sugar, cakes in the shape of ladybirds, and cute little bottles saying ‘drink me’. Everything is served in pretty Mad-Hatter-themed crockery by Luna & Curious. Fancy dress is not permitted.

Price: £48-65 for adults; £35 for children under 12.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley

The Prêt-à-Portea at the fabulous Berkeley hotel is one of the most impressive teas in London. Every six months, the chef is tasked with re-interpreting some of the latest catwalk fashions into exquisite pastries and desserts. The attention to detail is incredible, right down to the little take-away boxes in the shape of handbags. This is certainly the most stylish tea you’ll find in London. The dress code is elegant smart casual. No shorts, vests, sportswear, flip-flops, ripped jeans, or baseball caps are allowed.

Price: £52-70

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Science Tea at The Ampersand

Another fun option can be found at The Ampersand Hotel opposite the Science Museum. As well as a classic tea, you can also opt for the Science-themed tea where cakes come shaped as planets, there’s a spaceman made of chocolate, and you can uncover your own cocoa fossils. It’s one of the most unusual teas in London, and an ideal complement to a trip to the Science Museum. The dress code is relaxed, but it’s a stylish hotel so smart-casual dress is recommended.

Price: £32.50-45.50

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tea at One Aldwych

A great afternoon tea to enjoy with children is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed tea at One Aldwych. There are little puffs of candy floss, cheesecake in a golden egg, and delicious cake pops. The Charlie Cocktail, served in a tea pot with steaming dry ice, is a great crowd pleaser, and comes in a non-alcoholic version for children. Both kids and adults will love it.

Price: £39 for adults (or £49/52 with cocktails/champagne); £29 for children under 12.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. B Bakery Bus

For another family option, the B Bakery Bus is brilliant fun. Starting at Victoria or Trafalgar Square, the bus takes you on a tour of some the major sights while you enjoy your tea and cakes in the specially adapted booths. It’s a good one for pleasing teenagers, or for your first visit to London. The price varies depending on whether you sit on the top or lower deck.

Price: £45-50 for adults; £35-40 for children

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Ting at the Shangri-La at The Shard

Britain isn’t the only place famous for tea. For an Asian-inspired afternoon tea, you can head to the elegant Ting at the Shangri-La at the Shard. The high-end tea with a view comes with special touches like spring rolls and tapioca pudding. They also serve a classic afternoon tea with a gorgeous selection of desserts.

Price: £54-70

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

  1. Glam Rock tea at K West

Not all afternoon teas have to be in the afternoon. At K West, you can go for an evening tea with a Glam Rock theme. It even includes a tray of miniature cocktails. Tea is served on vintage record covers with electric blue and pink crockery. You can also opt to have this tea in the afternoon, and it’s close to Westfield London, so good to combine with a shopping trip.

Price: £24.50-36.50

Photo courtesy of Victoria Watts Kennedy

For more, check out Victoria’s blog Bridges and Balloons, or the other Insider Guides to London: Discovering London’s VillagesThe Best Places to Instagram in London, and How to Spend 24 Hours in London. For even more inspiration, check out our London guide, and if you’re looking for hotels near you in London, Expedia’s got you covered.

 

 

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