By: Andrea Jane Pearce

If you’re looking for a high-end British tradition to top off your trip to the capital, look no further. From high-end hotels to unusual alternatives, we’ve compiled the definitive guide to the best afternoon tea-serving establishments in London.

THE RITZ

TRADITIONAL

The Ritz hotel is widely considered to be the premier destination for afternoon tea, attracting royalty and celebrities from all over the world. The traditional British meal is served in Palm Court, a breath-taking space featuring birdcage chandeliers, gleaming mirrors and a central floral display. Take in your luxurious surroundings as you dine on a selection of decadent delicacies, from cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on granary bread to freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or looking for an excuse to treat yourself, afternoon tea at The Ritz is a quintessential, high-end London experience.

150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR  | Website 

ROSEWOOD LONDON

TEA WITH A TWIST

The dazzling Mirror Room at Rosewood London is the perfect setting for an exceptional afternoon tea experience. The Art Afternoon Tea, created by Executive Pastry Chef, Mark Perkins, has unsurprisingly been awarded the Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK for two years running and is a celebration of modern art, with the current menu paying homage to Vincent Van Gogh. A collection of scrumptious sandwiches, homemade scones and Van Gogh-inspired show-stopping desserts, the Rosewood’s menu is as much of a masterpiece as the artworks themselves.

252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN | Website 

CUT, 45 PARK LANE

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

45 Park Lane, a trendy addition to The Dorchester Collection, showcases the best of contemporary culture and Wolfgang Puck’s CUT is no exception. Its CUTcakes & Tea is an American reimagining of a British classic, ditching sandwiches for Wagyu beef slides and Victoria sponges for cake pops. Through its relaxed lounge music, trendy interior and innovative menu, CUT has crafted a laid-back, modern and truly unique afternoon tea experience.

45 Park Lane, W1K 1PN | Website 

CLARIDGE’S

TRADITIONAL

Taken in Claridge’s stylish art deco foyer, this world-renowned afternoon tea has been delighting Londoners and tourists alike for over 150 years. Resident tea connoisseur, Henrietta Lovell, and Executive Chef, Martyn Nail, have worked hand in hand to create an exceptional menu that remains faithful to the classic combination of sweet and savoury treats. Light sandwiches and fluffy scones are served on the finest bone china—sporting the hotel’s signature pale green and white stripes—and complemented by a carefully curated selection of teas.

Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR | Website 

TOWN HOUSE AT THE KENSINGTON

TEA WITH A TWIST

What better way to celebrate your time in London than with the Town House at the Kensington’s London Landmarks Afternoon Tea? Each scone, sandwich and sweet served on the London Eye-inspired tea stand is a tasty tribute to the capital’s skyline, from a Big Ben lemon curd tart to a chocolate ganache Gherkin. Add a glass of Champagne and reminisce on the landmarks you’ve seen during your trip. There’s always time to squeeze in a few more—Kensington Palace and the Royal Albert Hall are just around the corner!

109-113 Queen’s Gate, SW7 5LP | Website 

HOTEL CAFÉ ROYAL

TRADITIONAL

There are few afternoon tea settings as opulent and historically significant as the Oscar Wilde Lounge at the Hotel Café Royal. Dating back to 1865, the room was not only a meeting place for stars such as David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor, but also the backdrop for Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas’ blossoming romance. The setting is now home to the hotel’s award-winning afternoon tea service, complete with over 25 exclusive tea blends and accompanied by a live pianist. 2019—the year marking 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria—sees the introduction of The Queen of Afternoon Teas, a menu celebrating the beloved monarch and her reign. Highlights include a Cheshire cheese and asparagus tart, an English cucumber and pink peppercorn sandwich and, of course, a classic Victoria sponge cake. Perfectly situated between Soho and Mayfair, the Hotel Café Royal offers one of the best afternoon teas in London.

68 Regent Street, W1B 4DY | Website

SKETCH GALLERY

TEA WITH A TWIST

Step into the Gallery at sketch, David Shrigley’s pink paradise in the heart of Mayfair. Not just a Michelin star-awarded establishment, sketch is now home to the largest group of Shrigley’s original drawings ever exhibited. His witty artwork is a playful contrast to the plush interior, a perfect marriage of bourgeois and avant-garde design culminating in a venue like no other. Pull up a scalloped chair and dig into Pierre Gagnaire’s quintessentially British menu.

9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, W1S 2XG | Website 

THE BERKELEY

TEA WITH A TWIST

The most stylish afternoon tea experience in London, Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is fun for fashionistas and foodies alike. Visit before 29 September 2019 to experience The Dior Couture Collection, a menu inspired by the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A Museum. The team at The Berkeley pays homage to Christian Dior’s most iconic designs with a selection of mouth-watering biscuits, bakes and fancies—indulge in a Miss Dior Eau de Parfum lychee and raspberry cake or take a bite out of a Bar Jacket-shaped chocolate biscuit.

Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RL | Website

SANDERSON LONDON

TEA WITH A TWIST

“I suppose I ought to eat or drink something or other; but the great question is ‘What?’”

If, like Alice, you’re looking for an answer to that question, look no further than the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at Sanderson London. Sip on fragrant tea infusions—inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—poured from teapots adorned with kings and queens as you dig into sweet and savoury treats that get ‘curiouser and curiouser’ with every bite. Nibble at delightful delicacies such as the King of Hearts parmesan and ham croque monsieur and the Mad March Hare Vanilla Pocket Watch Macaroon and wash them down with Alice’s Exotic Fruits “Drink Me” potion. If the tea leaves you grinning like the Cheshire Cat, why not take some away with you? The delicious infusions are available to purchase for just £12.

50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG | Website 

THE AMPERSAND HOTEL

TEA WITH A TWIST

The perfect way to round off a visit to South Kensington’s Science Museum, the Science Afternoon Tea at the Ampersand Hotel is an exciting, interactive take on the Great British Tradition. Each treat has been conjured up by gifted pastry chef Marie Bolland and lovingly prepared in-house, from the fresh scones to the chocolate spacemen. Fun for adults and children alike, the food is served with tea and coffee and can be accompanied by a glass of effervescent Champagne.

10 Harrington Road, Kensington, SW7 3ER | Website