Classic: Take afternoon tea in London

Amy Rosoman for British Airways

Title photography by Eva-Katalin

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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: An iconic and elegant afternoon feast

The lowdown: Head to the classy Savoy, one of London’s finest and most illustrious hotels. Steeped in tradition and style, The Savoy has been hosting afternoon tea and high tea ever since its grand opening in 1889. Savour a unique afternoon tea experience at the heart of this famous hotel, under a dazzling glass dome surrounded by gentle piano music and delicate chinaware. You’ll discover fragrant JING tea and premium champagne to accompany light finger sandwiches. Relish perfect pastries, home-made scones and signature cakes – remarkable in both taste and appearance. Vegan and vegetarian afternoon tea menus are also available.

In the know: Afternoon tea is held in the Thames Foyer daily, served from 13:00 -17:45.

Book your stay at The Savoy

Relish perfect pastries, homemade scones and signature cakes – remarkable in both taste and appearance.

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 12:00-16:00 and served Sunday from 12:00-18:00.

Book your stay at the Shangri-La

  • Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, London. ©naumoid.

    Time for tea

    Savour the best of Britain, with afternoon tea in the heart of London.

    Book a stay at W London
  • Pop Art Afternoon Tea at the Rosewood London. © Patricia Niven.

    Arty creations

    Nibble on sweet treats that look too good to eat.

    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.

    Book a stay at the Shangri-La

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 14:00-16:00 and served Saturday and Sunday from 12:00-17:30.

Book your stay at the Rosewood London

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 12:30-21:00 and served Sunday from 12:30-19:00pm.

Book your stay at the Ampersand

  • 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.

    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.

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

    Colour bursting and flavour popping

    Relish a selection of tantisliting treats, inspired by Britain's budding gardens.

    Book a stay at the W London

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 13:00-17:00.

Book your stay at the Intercontinental Park Lane

  • 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.

    Book flights to London
  • 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.

    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.

    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 12:00-17:30.

£££: 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.

Book your stay at The Langham

Best for: Sweet treats galore at One Aldwych

The lowdown: Embrace your inner child with this enchanting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired afternoon tea. Your table will be full of sweet wonderments, starting with savoury macrons and cheddar scones – with optional bacon toffee jam. Delve further into this world of imagination with lemon candy floss and sweets, cakes, mousses and scones, all accompanied with a choice of five teas – including unique lemon sherbet or silky chocolate tea.

In the know: Afternoon tea is served at One Aldwych Monday-Saturday, from 12:30-15:00 and served Sunday from 12.30-15:00.

£££: Afternoon tea £47 per person; Afternoon tea with a glass of Lallier Grande Réserve Champagne or a Cherry Delight cocktail is £58 per person. Children under the age of 12 £37 per person.

Book your stay at One Aldwych