It’s no secret that, for Brits, tea is not just tea – it’s a national institution, and one of the best things to do in England. All too often, though, treating yourself to an afternoon tea can mean eating tiny sandwiches and slightly dry slices of cake, then paying £50 for the privilege. Those days are over – we’ve done all the arduous research for you, so you can enjoy an altogether more appetising experience. Let us help you find the best afternoon tea in London with our favourites.
This article is inspired by our Rough Guide to England, your essential guide for travelling to England.
This is the absolute classic setting for afternoon tea, complete with besuited waiters, resident pianist and harpist duo. Not to mention, of course, belt-breaking amounts of cake. You'll get all the classics — scones with jam and cream, finger sandwiches. There is also a choice of 18 different loose-leaf teas, chosen by the in-house tea sommelier (the only hotel in the UK with such an individual), Giandomenico Scanu.
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You'll get delicious treats like millionaire shortbread, cucumber sandwiches, and even vegan scones, all served in the classy calm of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon (opened by the Her Majesty the Queen, no less). Non-vegans are well looked after too of course – with all the usual favourites like scones with fresh clotted cream, chocolate cake and more.
Alternatively try the more intimate, colourful Parlour or the (indoor) fairytale woods of the Glade. Even the space-age toilets are talking points; you’ll certainly never run out of conversation topics at this excellent, artistic afternoon tea.
Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden offers tea with an Indian twist © Cinnamon Bazaar
This article has been updated to provide the most up-to-date information. For more restaurant recommendations, take a look at The Rough Guide to London.
Top image © Jo millington/Shutterstock