The Prettiest Afternoon Teas in London

Ashley and I are headed on a little UK adventure in a few weeks so I’ve been researching (one of my favorite things to do when planning a trip!) for all the best of everything that London has to offer. I have been fortunate to spend a fair amount of time in London, but I am constantly amazed by how many things there are to do there that I continue to find! We’ll be spending a bit of an extended period there, so I’m finally going to take the time to allow myself to just wander and discover more of the things that we always feel rushed with when we are just passing through. Museums, shows, tours…all the things. But first, and most importantly…the prettiest afternoon teas in London!

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prettiest afternoon teas London

Afternoon Tea in London comes in all shapes and sizes and is available just about anywhere. There are so many fun and pretty teas to choose from. Here’s a little history of the afternoon tea tradition and a few of my favorites to get  you started.

Best Afternoon Tea in London

The History of Afternoon Tea in London

Afternoon Tea is synonymous with London, but did you know that it’s a relatively “new” tradition in? It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford would get a hankering for a snack in the mid-afternoon. Evening meals at her house were served rather late in the evening, around 8pm, but after an early lunch, she was hungry again around 4pm each day. The Duchess began to request that a tray of tea and cake be brought to her each afternoon and she would often invite friends to join her.

The trend of taking a break in the afternoon for tea and cake grew and by the 1880’s became a high society event. The “snacks” became more indulgent. Lucky for us! Now we can indulge in cake and finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam in the middle of the afternoon and it’s perfectly acceptable. 😉


A good afternoon tea menu usually includes sweet and savoury treats. Classic sandwiches often include some sort of egg salad, a coronation chicken and other delicate finger sandwiches of sorts. The more expensive the high tea, the more extensive range of sandwiches and savoury choices are usually available.

Sweet treats often include a selection of warm scones. Plain scones and raisin scones or fruit scones of one type or another are popular options. Homemade scones are usually served with clotted cream (like butter, but better) a strawberry preserve or fruit preserves of some sort and, on occasion, special toppings like lemon curd will be included.

Most afternoon teas are very accustomed to working with special dietary requirements. London is very sensitive to those issues pretty much everywhere you go. With Ashley’s lactose intolerance we avoid cream tea and pastries and sandwiches with cream cheese and other dairy fillings. Just be sure to let your server know about your dietary restrictions when you are seated so they can adjust the menu for you.

If you are celebrating a special occasion, many afternoon tea experiences offer what they call a champagne afternoon tea which will include a glass of champagne and maybe a few other specialized items as part of your tea menu selections.

Beautiful Traditional Afternoon Teas in London

The Ritz – tea at the Ritz sets the standard for all other afternoon teas. Held in one of London’s most famous destinations, this classic and traditional afternoon tea is on of the best places to book an afternoon tea for an unforgettable experience. There is a dress code too so make sure you read up on it before you book.

tea at the ritz london

The Langham became the first hotel to feature afternoon tea on its menu when it opened in 1865. If you want something beautiful, delicious and historical this might be the afternoon tea for you.

The Savoy – world-famous, gorgeous and delicious Afternoon Tea under a stunning glass-domed atrium in a gorgeous dining room. The famous Savoy afternoon tea hotel has been a feature of the hotel since it opened in 1889.

The Corinthia – One of the best afternoon teas in London, afternoon tea at this stunning five-star hotel is a a must if you are looking for an unforgettable experience. Delectable Sweet & savory treats are served in The Crystal Moon Lounge.

afternoon tea at the corinthia london

The Lanesborough  – How gorgeous is this spring time tea? I’m looking forward to this one!

afternoon tea at the lanesborough hotel London

Harrods – tea at Harrods is like a right of passage. These guys know how to do it right. SO many pretty cakes and sandwiches in a gorgeous setting. They have an impressive array of different types of loose-leaf tea on the menu. Be sure to visit the food hall before you leave so you can take some home with you. 

Afternoon Tea in London at Harrods

Afternoon Tea like Royal-Tea

Afternoon Tea in London at fortnum and Mason Diamond Jubilee Tea salon

The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason  – The Queen herself opened this gorgeous Tea Salon located in THE store for all things tea… Fortnum & Mason. This experience is one of the best traditional afternoon teas in the city. Live music by a talented pianist and classic British flavours make this a great place to have afternoon tea. Even if you aren’t going to have tea here, you need to shop and explore the many floors of teas, biscuits, cups, saucers and more. It is beautiful!

Afternoon Tea in London at The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Afternoon Tea in London at The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace – On the grounds of Kensington Palace nestled in the gardens, this stunning Orangery has been turned into a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. The high ceilings and amazing natural light in the orangery make for the perfect place to take pictures of your afternoon tea experience. The tea salon will often do a limited-edition menu to coordinate with exhibits happening at the palace too. I recently had the Crown to Couture fashion themed tea here that went along with the exhibit inside the palace. We loved this experience!

Afternoon Tea in London at Westminster Abbey

Tea at Westminster Abbey – Where the Royals have been married, buried and made King and Queen. Westminster Abbey is the site of so many important moments in Royal history. Have afternoon tea here and indulge in feeling like a royal. 


The Goring Hotel -it’s no secret the the royal family loves the Goring hotel. Princess Catherine stayed here the night before her royal wedding. You can enjoy the talented pastry team’s selection of sweet treats and feel like a royal with afternoon tea at the Goring. 

Afternoon Tea for the Design Lover

Ham Yard Hotel   – the Ham Yard (and frankly any of the Firmdale properties by Kit Kemp are a design lovers paradise! You’ll love afternoon tea surrounded by some of the prettiest design around.

Sketch – Once known for it’s pink on pink themed design, one of the most instagramable restaurants around has gone mellow yellow. While I can’t say that I love the new look as much as the pretty pink vibe, the tea here is still artsy and fun. Afternoon Tea at Sketch is a modern take on a classic afternoon tea.

Rosewood – artful tea with colorful pastries modeled after iconic British artist David Hockney and his exhibition at Lightroom: Bigger & Closer (not smaller and further away) voted as the best contemporary afternoon tea in the UK

The kensington hotel afternoon tea 2

Best Themed Teas

The kensington hotel afternoon tea

There are SO many adorable themed afternoon teas in London it can be incredibly difficult to choose where to spend your time, money and calories! 😉 Many of the hotels and even double decker buses offer a unique afternoon tea experience. From Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Fashion, Dinosaur and Harry Potter there is literally something for everyone. If you are looking for a fun family friendly tea, one of these might just be a perfect fit for your group.

fashion themed tea at the berkeley london

The Berkeley – for the fashion lover a new fashion themed tea is unveiled each season.  A capsule collection for fashionistas with a sweet tooth.

Afternoon Tea in London Charlie and the CHocolate Factory themed tea at One Aldwych

One Aldwych – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea is always a good idea! This fun stop for afternoon tea,  sweets & savouries based on Roald Dahl’s classic story is a great time for guests of all ages.

the kensington hotel afternoon tea

Townhouse at the Kensington – London Landmarks Tea…this is one of my favorite teas. The restaurant is gorgeous and very cozy feeling and the food and service are amazing. 

best themed afternoon teas in london

The Ampersand Hotel – Jurassic Afternoon Tea dinosaur lovers this one is for you! T-Rex treats, curious dishes including a Volcanic eruption, a Jurassic mountain and a Dinosaur egg basket will delight all ages.

alice in wonderland tea at the franklin

Alice in Wonderland Tea at The Franklin – The Franklin Afternoon Tea is an imaginative twist on what a modern-day Alice would want from an afternoon tea. 

Best Afternoon Teas in London Peter Pan Themed Tea at the Shard

Best Afternoon Teas in London Peter Pan Themed Tea at the Shard

Aqua Shard – Peter Pan Themed Tea – this darling afternoon tea at Aqua at The Shard will transport you back to a time when you never wanted to grow up! The views from high above the city will make you feel like you are flying high with Wendy and crew. 

The  Sweetest Afternoon Teas in London

afternoon tea peggy porschen cakes

Peggy Porschen Cakes – known for their amazing cakes and cupcakes, Peggy’s Afternoon Tea offering brings dreamy flavor combinations to life in an adorable tier of treats.

Afternoon Tea in London at Laduree

Laduree – we all know their macarons are to die for…but so is their afternoon tea! Check out that thick rich hot chocolate I got in lieu of tea. YUM!

Best Afternoon Teas in London Tea at the Chesterfield

The Chesterfield – Feast on finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and cakes, all inspired by an old fashioned sweetshop.

A few more to check out if nothing above suits your fancy…or if you just want some more afternoon tea fun…

Unusual Locations for Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea Cruise by City Cruises

Afternoon tea bus tour at B Bakery

Fairy-Tale Afternoon Tea at The Tea Terrace

Afternoon Tea at the Houses of Parliament

I can’t wait to explore a few more of the afternoon teas in London on this list and report back! I hope that this list makes planning your next visit to London and finding the perfect afternoon tea for your family easier!

Looking for more London travel tips?

Be sure to start here with my COMPLETE London travel guide

and then head to some of these other posts for more info:

These are posts I have written over the last few travels to London that might come in handy…

Things to do in London in September

Hotels in London with Family Rooms

Visitor Oyster Cards and Tips for Using Public Transportation in London

Visiting Borough Market

What to see at the Tower of London

Tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Take a Spin on the London Eye

The Best Travel Gear

How to Stay Connected While Traveling in Europe : WiFi, Phone Calls and more

Tips for Traveling with Kids

Happy Travels!!



Creative Director at Pink Peppermint Design
Tammy Mitchell is the founder and creative director of lifestyle blog Along with being a homeschooling mom of two kiddos, she is also an in-demand prop and event stylist, photographer, interior and graphic designer. On Pink Peppermint Design, she shares creative DIY projects, easy entertaining and gift ideas, inspiring interiors and events. She lives in Southern California, with her husband and two children.

prettiest afternoon teas London

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