Classic: Take afternoon tea in London


Amy Rosoman for British Airways

Title photography by Eva-Katalin

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January 2019

The British tradition of afternoon tea is far greater than slinging a teabag into a teapot – it’s a special event. Discover a world of blissful Champagne bubbles and fruit-infused refreshments, where cakes masquerade as planets, candy floss drapes the plates and pastries burst with artistic flair and flavour. Choose from our selection of London hotels offering the best afternoon tea experiences.

Best for: A floral feast at the W London

The lowdown: Think English arcadia. Savour a unique afternoon tea experience, as you stir up tantalising crystallised shots of cocktail mixers, to accompany a sensational sweet selection of garden inspired creations. You will discover a mix of delicious finger sandwiches and velvety scones, served in a box with secret drawers. From mint-chocolate mousse-filled flower pots, to edible soil made of Oreo and coffee – each bite here is a rare find.

In the know: Afternoon tea in The Perception Bar is served daily from 1-5pm.

£££: Afternoon tea £37 per person; £42 per person with a glass of Prosecco.

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You will discover a mix of delicious finger sandwiches and velvety scones, served in a box with secret drawers.

Best for: Tea with a view at the Shangri-La

The lowdown: Take tea in the TĪNG lounge, situated in The Shard, with mesmerising views of the London skyline. Peruse through the menu, choosing between more than 30 teas, and tuck into a delicious smoked salmon sandwich to start, followed by heavenly macarons and crumbling scones with a dollop of clotted cream. You may even polish them off with a swanky glass of Champers. Keep your eye out for seasonal changes in the menu and the new variations of mouth-watering sweets.

In the know: Afternoon tea in the TĪNG lounge is served Monday-Saturday, from 12-4pm and served Sunday from 12-6pm.

£££: £52 per person; £60 with a glass of Veuve Clicqot; £62 with a glass of Duval Leroy; £74 with a glass of Bollinger (pricing may vary on season).

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  • Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, London. ©naumoid.
  • Pop Art Afternoon Tea at the Rosewood London. © Patricia Niven.

    Arty creations

    Nibble on sweet treats that look too good to eat.£248 pppn

    Book a stay at the Rosewood London
  • Afternoon Tea at Ting, Shangri-La At The Shard. © Shangri-La Hotels Pte Limited.

    Tantalising tea with a view

    Tuck into scrumptious seasonal bites, as you look out to London's best sights.£697 pp

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Best for: Edible art at the Rosewood London

The lowdown: Inspired by Pop Art and Cubism, afternoon tea at the Rosewood is an extraordinary experience. Dine in the exquisite Mirror Room, on plush mustard sofas and nibble on traditional cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches. The modern-styled take on Jaffa cakes and rhubarb and custard sweets will get your taste buds tingling too. Take a bite of Warhol wonders made into sweet sensations and colourful retro-inspired pastry wall-art – where else can you say you’ve eaten art?

In the know: Afternoon tea at the Rosewood is served Monday-Friday, from 2-4pm and served Saturday and Sunday from 12-5.30pm.

£££: Art Afternoon Tea £58 per person; with tea pairing £17 supplement; £68 with a glass of R de Ruinart Art; £73 with a glass of Ruinart Rosé; £120 with a glass of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2009 and seasonal amuse bouche.

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Best for: A scientific escapade at The Ampersand

The lowdown: Dine in the Drawing Room for an award-winning experience. The tea theme here pulls inspiration from the neighbouring Science Museum, bursting with chocolate spacemen, planet shaped cakes and petri dishes of jelly. There are also vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free versions of this menu, as well as a children’s afternoon tea menu – Sci-fi – including hot chocolate, mini hot dogs, jam sandwiches and plenty more. If you’d prefer a fruity tipple with your savoury and sweet treats, order the Science Teapot Tails edition for a snazzy cocktail flight.

In the know: Afternoon tea at The Ampersand is served Monday-Saturday, from 12.30-9pm and served Sunday from 12.30-7pm.

£££: Science Afternoon Tea £39.50 per person; £49.50 with a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne; Science Teapot Tails; £49.50 including cocktail flight; Kid's Sci-Fi Tea; £29.50.

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  • Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel. © The Ampersand Hotel.

    Out of this world bites

    Bright and bold – graze on a variety of experimental foodie goodies.£108 pppn

    Book a stay at The Ampersand
  • High Coffee at InterContinental London Park Lane. © IHG.

    If you only function with coffee

    For those who prefer coffee beans to tea bags, the InterContinental is the choice for you.£365 pp

    Book a stay at The Intercontinental Park Lane
  • TeaTotal at The Perception Bar, W London. © Marriott International, Inc.

Best for: A coffee lover’s dream at the Intercontinental Park Lane

The lowdown: If you’d rather sip a cup of coffee over a brew, this is the afternoon ‘tea’ for you. Order the High Coffee menu in the Wellington Lounge and tuck into an array of flavourful open sandwiches served with a salted caramel espresso martini, followed by a mix of savoury delights with a Caffé Freddo. To finish? A variety of sweet treats, topped off with Caffé Coretto – delicious. Alternatively, Royal fanatics will love the Royal afternoon experience – with a menu inspired by the Queen’s tours of The Commonwealth over the past 70 years.

In the know: Afternoon tea at the Intercontinental is served daily from 1-5pm.

£££: High Coffee £42 per person including salted caramel espresso martini; Royal afternoon tea per person £36 including a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne.

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  • Jubilee Gardens and London eye shadow view from above. © LSP1982.

    Feeling full?

    Take a break in Jubilee Park and soak up the views of the London Eye.£1193 pp

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  • Exterior of One Aldwych. © One Aldwych.

    A stylish stay

    Check in at this dreamy London hotel and reserve your spot for a mouthwatering afternoon tea.£201 pppn

    Book a stay at One Aldwych
  • Children’s Afternoon Tea with Daunt Books at The Langham, London. © Langham Hotels International Limited.

    Jigaw sandwiches – yummy!

    A tasty treat for little ones, with hot chocolate, jammy scones and brilliant books.£570 pp

    Book a stay at The Langham

Best for: Children’s afternoon tea at The Langham

The lowdown: As well as serving delectable afternoon teas and high teas, the hotel offers a creative children’s afternoon tea in collaboration with Daunt Books that’s perfect for little literature lovers. Kids can tuck into yummy jigsaw-shaped sandwiches, then construct their own dog-shaped cake out of the sweet treats. They will love practising their artistic and culinary skills as they slather blobs of clotted cream and dollops of jam onto scones. For drinks, let your children choose between a cup of tea or a scrummy hot chocolate. The treats aren’t all edible, though. You can browse the mini-library with your little one to choose a book to take home as a souvenir from this darling dining experience.

In the know: Afternoon tea is served at The Langham is served daily from 12pm-5.30pm.

£££: Children’s Afternoon Tea costs £29.50 per guest aged 12 and under; Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood is available for £55 per person with the option to add a crisp glass of champagne from £19; High Tea is available for £62 per person.

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Best for: Sweet treats galore at One Aldwych

The lowdown: The savoury classics of egg mayonnaise on brioche and coronation chicken on onion bread are seriously delectable here, but it’s the epic servings of sweets that will get your belly fluttering. Slurp on bottles of chocolate caramel milk, pull delicate homemade candy floss off the stick, and crack into the golden chocolate egg, filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango – just to name a few. Accompany all of this with a choice of five teas, including a silky chocolate tea. For those with dietary requirements, there are also vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus available.

In the know: Afternoon tea is served at One Aldwych Monday-Saturday, from 12.30-3.30 and served Sunday from 12.30-5.30pm.

£££: Afternoon tea £45 per person; Afternoon tea with a glass of Lallier Grande Réserve Champagne or a Cherry Delight cocktail £56; Lallier Grande Rosé Champagne £59.

Book your stay at One Aldwych