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By Talya Honebeek

Looking for the best afternoon tea in London? You’ve arrived at the right place.

The British tradition of taking tea in the afternoon, accompanied by a selection of sweet and savoury treats, dates back almost 200 years.

It was started by the Duchess of Bedford in 1840 as a treat before dinner, but it’s fair to say afternoon tea has upped its game a bit since then.

From champagne and cocktail-fuelled teas inspired by art and fashion, to the capital’s first CBD-infused ‘High Tea’, these are the best afternoon teas in London.

Art Afternoon Tea, Rosewood London

Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London
Credit: Rosewood London

London’s Rosewood hotel has an ongoing Art Afternoon Tea inspired by exhibitions being shown in the capital.

Their latest offering is based on the sold-out Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern.

The three course afternoon tea includes Japanese sandwiches, classic scones and show-stopping creations inspired by several of Kusama’s contemporary works.

Expect savoury flavours like Smoked Salmon and Wasabi Cream and Crispy Rice Cracker, Yuzu Avocado and Keta Caviar. Sweet comes in the form of a Cherry Blossom Cheesecake Tartlet and Caramel and Tonka Chocolate Coupe.

The Yayoi Kusama Art Afternoon Tea is available Thursday to Sunday from 12pm- 6pm

Prices start from £65pp

Book Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London here

Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea, The Berkeley

Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea The Berkeley
Credit: The Berkeley

Afternoon tea has been given a high fashion makeover courtesy of Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley.

The most glamorous tea in town sees a unique range of ‘couture cakes’ from the catwalk reflected in pastry form. 

For SS21, expect delicacies including Donatella Versace’s ocean-themed cocktail dress, reimagined as a coconut turquoise topped with a sugar starfish.

US Vogue editor Anna Wintour also makes an appearance in iced vanilla biscuit form, complete with her iconic bob and sunglasses.

Prêt-à-Portea: The Couture Cakewalk is available daily from 1pm-5.30pm

Prices start from £60pp 

Book Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley here

Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough

Peggy Porschen afternoon tea at The Lanesborough
Credit: The Lanesborough

We’ve all seen Peggy Porschen’s whimsical cakes on Instagram – and now there’s an entire afternoon tea dedicated to them.

In an exclusive partnership with The Lanesborough hotel, where Peggy started her pastry career, The Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea is a celebration of beautiful florals, pastel hues and exquisite tastes.

Highlights include Peggy’s Pink Pavlova, Lemon, a Raspberry & Rose Layer Cake and Strawberry & Champagne Cupcakes.

The setting is equally beautiful in The Lanesborough’s Céleste dining room, which has a naturally illuminated domed glass ceiling. 

The Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea is available every day until November 11, 2021

Prices start from £54pp

Book The Lanesborough Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea here

The Summer Farmacy High Tea, Notting Hill

Farmacy High Tea Notting Hill
Credit: Farmacy

This contemporary afternoon tea may have shocked the Duchess of Bedford, as it is the first in London to come infused with CBD.

Aptly called ‘High Tea’, this Notting Hill restaurant has a ‘food is medicine’ approach and is entirely plant based, so great if you are vegan or gluten-free.

Inspired by afternoon tea classics, the menu gives traditional elements a revamp, such as Multigrain Scones with Cashew Cream and Tofu and Buckwheat Pastry Mediterranean Quiche.

Sweet treats include Popcorn Caramel Cookies and Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes alongside CBD-infused chocolates and a pot of Hemp Loose Leaf Tea.

The Summer Farmacy High Tea is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4pm and 4.30pm

Prices start from £50pp

Book a table for The Summer Farmacy High Tea here

Alice At The Franklin Afternoon Tea

Alice afternoon ta at The Franklin
Credit: The Franklin

To celebrate the arrival of the new Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at the V&A Museum, The Franklin hotel in nearby Knightsbridge has designed a brand new afternoon tea.

It might not be London’s first Alice in Wonderland-themed experience, but it does bring something different to the table by imagining what the modern-day woman would want after a hallucinogenic trip through Wonderland.

Expect inventive twists on the classic high tea, including a Crab Bun with Avocado and Beetroot Pita with Burrata and Bresaola to start.

This is followed by sweet treats including a red velvet sponge Heart Cake and a Carrot Caramel Cupcake topped with a white rabbit and caterpillar.

Alice At The Franklin Afternoon Tea is available every day from 2.30pm to 5pm

Prices start from £45pp for afternoon tea only, or £55pp with a reservation to the V&A exhibition

Book Alice At The Franklin Afternoon Tea here

Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea

best afternoon tea in London Fortnum & Mason
Credit: Fortnum & Mason

If a quintessentially British afternoon tea is more your style, book into the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason.

Founded in 1707, the iconic Piccadilly department store (which is also the birthplace of the scotch egg) is famed for its traditional tea offering.

Expect dainty finger sandwiches, warm scones and a rotating menu of seasonal pastries served in signature blue Fortnum tableware.

For the first time ever, guests can now enjoy high tea in the sunshine following an expansion of their outdoor terrace. Vegan, dairy free and gluten free menu options are also available.

The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon is open from 12.30pm-6.30pm Monday to Thursday, 11.30am-7pm on Fridays, 11.30am-7.30pm on Saturdays and 11.30am-6pm on Sundays

Prices start from £62.50pp

Book Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason here

Afternoon Tea at Ham Yard Hotel

best afternoon tea in London Ham Yard Hotel
Credit: Simon Brown Photography

Hidden in a secret courtyard in Soho, Ham Yard Hotel is one of the chicest places to take afternoon tea – and was once voted London’s best by restaurant guide, Hardens.

Set in super stylish and colourful surroundings, tea is served in the restaurant, drawing room or orangery, which have all been designed by interiors guru Kit Kemp.

The menu changes with the seasons and includes savoury specialities such as Smoked Salmon and Dill Sandwiches and Duck a L’Orange Croquettes. This is followed by indulgent sweet treats like Strawberry Baked Cheesecake, Rhubarb and Custard Macarons, and Homemade Scones with Clotted Cream and Preserves. 

With dedicated healthy, reduced sugar, gluten free and vegan menus, there’s an option for everyone.

Ham Yard Afternoon Tea is served daily between 12pm and 4pm

Prices start from £30pp

Book Afternoon Tea at Ham Yard Hotel here

Sketch Afternoon Tea

Sketch afternoon tea best London
Credit: Sketch

With its pastel pink sofas and art-covered picture walls, Sketch is one of London’s most photographed venues.

Afternoon tea is taken in the The Gallery, where the eccentric interiors of David Shringley’s restaurant partnered with a live classical string trio makes for a truly unique experience.

The menu is no different, offering all the staples of a traditional afternoon tea juxtaposed with a special twist or two, including a Truffle Brioche Bun and Cherry & Pistachio Battenberg.

Plan your trip between September 15 and 26 to try out the Mayfair Flower Show Afternoon Tea, an exclusive seasonal menu from £70pp.

Afternoon Tea in The Gallery at Sketch is served daily between 11.30am-4pm

Prices start from £59pp

Book Afternoon Tea at The Gallery, Sketch here

Bouquet De La Reine Afternoon Tea at Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Great Scotland Yard Hotel
Credit: Great Scotland Yard Hotel

This summer, The Parlour at the five-star Great Scotland Yard hotel near Westminster unveils its new Bouquet de La Reine Afternoon Tea menu in collaboration with Floris London, the only appointed perfumer to the Queen.

This multi sensory afternoon tea experience is designed to guide guests on a journey through history, nobility and perfumery.

Inspired by the Queen’s fragrance, expect sweet treats like Rose and Pistachio Drizzle Cake and Blackcurrant and Yogurt Gateaux. Sandwiches include Guinness Béchamel Gougère and Crab, Lime & Chilli Crème Fraîche.

Ruinart Champagne is served alongside a selection of delicate teas from the Rare Tea Company. 

The Bouquet De La Reine Afternoon Tea is served 1pm-5pm every Saturday and Sunday and every day during Afternoon Tea Week (August 9-15)

Prices start from £50pp

Book Bouquet De La Reine Afternoon Tea at Great Scotland Yard Hotel here

Caviar Afternoon Tea, Corinthia London

Caviar Afternoon Tea Corinthia London
Credit: Corinthia London

Corinthia London has launched a brand new afternoon tea in their Crystal Moon Lounge – and it’s caviar themed.

The Caviar Afternoon Tea includes an exciting range of scones and finger sandwiches, such as Crab and Poached Lobster and Goat’s Curd with Pickled Cucumber and Mint.

Cake highlights include a Pistachio & Apricot Choux and Strawberry, Lime and Basil Mousse.

But the star of the show is the 20g of King’s Golden Oscietra Caviar which comes with a mother of pearl spoon and Homemade Blinis with Sour Cream.

You will also be able to choose from over 25 different teas, including three exclusive, bespoke blends. 

The Caviar Afternoon Tea at Corinthia London is available Monday to Friday 2pm-6pm and weekends from 1pm-7pm

Prices start from £120pp

Book Caviar Afternoon Tea at Corinthia London here

Anya Café, Chelsea

Anya Hindmarch Cafe
Credit: Anya Cafe

Set on the corner of Pont Street in Kensington and Chelsea, the new café from designer Anya Hindmarch is not strictly an afternoon tea – but the quirky cakes are too fun not to include.

Chubby Hearts, Party Rings and Monster Cakes are just some of the delicious treats made from the finest ingredients, but designed to make you smile.

The menu inspiration comes from British cafes of old, but Hindmarch has put her trademark twist of humour on each cake, biscuit, truffle and beautifully iced bun.

Choose to eat in or take them away as a gift (or just treat yourself!).

Anya Cafe is open Monday to Saturday 8am-8pm and Sunday 9am-6pm. Walk-ins only

Prices start from £3.50 a cake

Find out more about Anya Café here

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