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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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.
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. 😉
Beautiful Traditional Afternoon Teas in London
The Ritz – tea at the Ritz sets the standard for all other afternoon teas. Classic and traditional, there is a dress code too so manke sure you read up on it before you book.
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 an enormous domed glass ceiling. Afternoon tea at the famous Savoy hotel has been a feature of the hotel since it opened in 1889
The Corinthia – One of the best afternoon teas in London, delectable Sweet & savory treats served in The Crystal Moon Lounge
The Lanesborough – How gorgeous is this spring time tea? I’m looking forward to this one!
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.
Afternoon Tea like Royal-Tea
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 and Mason. 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!
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. We loved this experience!
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 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.
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
Best Themed Teas
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! 😉 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.
The Berkeley – for the fashion lover a new fashion themed tea is unveiled each season. A capsule collection for fashionistas with a sweet tooth.
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.
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.
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 – The Franklin Afternoon Tea is an imaginative twist on what a modern-day Alice would want from an afternoon tea!
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
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.
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!
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?
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…