What better way to enjoy a summer’s day than with a long, lazy afternoon of fine finger sandwiches, decadent desserts, and never-ending tea (or champagne if you prefer). Enter the hallowed British afternoon tea.
There is nowhere better to enjoy the most British of treats than in the heart of Regent Street and St James’s – with iconic sights such as Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Pall Mall and Soho all just a stone’s throw away. Discover our round-up of go-to afternoon teas in central London below.
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is world-famous for a reason. A quintessential experience, The Ritz is the only UK hotel to have a certified Tea Sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu, whose job it is to visit various tea plantations, sourcing the world’s very best teas. Our tea of choice is the exclusive Ritz Royal Blend Tea, only available at The Ritz. With an elegant ambience – live harp and piano-playing – setting the scene in the Palm Court, this really is a special service.
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Dukes Hotel offers afternoon tea with a difference: there’s the Vegan Tea, the Tea for Little Dukes and Duchesses, or the MarTEAni, inspired by their world-renowned martinis created with The East India Gin company. Enjoy afternoon tea overlooking a peaceful courtyard in the heart of the city – perhaps post a morning visiting St James’s numerous galleries.
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Fortnum & Mason
A culinary cornerstone in the heart of St James’s. For so many, afternoon tea doesn’t get much more memorable than at Fortnum & Mason. Book a table in the award-winning Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon – which has been serving tea since 1926 – and tuck into the most quintessential of afternoon teas.
Known as London’s first grand café, The Wolseley on Piccadilly is a striking space, nestled in a former art deco car garage. Indulge in fruit scones with homemade jam & clotted cream alongside a choice of teas and an assortment of delectable finger sandwiches – or opt for the cream tea and enjoy the scones and tea for a sliver of the price.
The real decision though…cream or jam first? Decide here.
The Langham London
Cited as the birthplace of Afternoon Tea, you cannot go wrong with The Langham’s Palm Court. What’s on the menu? A modern spin on a tradition that taps into the archives of Britain’s favourite biscuits and baked tarts. Paired with a selection of JING teas and English sparkling wine. Younger guests can enjoy a Children’s afternoon tea complete with intriguing sandwiches and surprising, sweet treats.
Biscuits a-plenty here
Hotel Café Royal
Hotel Café Royal offers award winning afternoon teas in a variety of settings. Firstly, an afternoon tea in the Grade II listed Oscar Wilde Bar (originally established in 1865 and often visited by Oscar Wilde himself). Or, if you’re looking for a contemporary alternative, try the Van Gough Afternoon Tea launched in partnership with The Immersive Exhibition in London this summer. Take a magical tasting journey through some of Van Gough's most famous artworks including sumptuous sandwiches such as crab and dill on lemon bread, inspired by Van Gogh’s 1887 piece,two crabs. Alongside light-as-air scones and sweet delicacies include a vase with twelve sunflowers (sunflower seed praline, salted caramel).
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St James's Hotel and Club
Designed by executive chef William Drabble, afternoon tea at St James’s Hotel and Club offers sumptuous, sweet treats, sandwiches, tea and champagne. Inspired by some of Queen Victoria’s favourite flavours, you’ll be spoilt with the likes of custard tarts, Victoria sponge and Cheshire cheese scones in a cosy and intimate setting.
Hunger calling? Find out more here
Afternoon Tea is the perfect treat if you’re celebrating a special occasion or looking for an indulgent dining option. For more dining inspiration, take a peek at our outdoor or indoor dining guides or, read our top tips on the best ice cream in central London.