Christmas is all about being cosy. Snuggling up by the fire, wrapping yourself in your favourite festive jumper, watching the first snow fall from your window: all the best things about the season are about being warm and comfortable. So what could be cosier than festive afternoon tea? After a hard day of Christmas shopping, with the mid-winter sun giving up by three o’clock, there’s no better way to restore yourself than by pouring a steaming cup of tea and tucking into some heavenly mince pies. Here’s our guide to the very best, most Christmassy festive afternoon teas in London.
What: Lemon Cheesecake Snowmen
Why: If you want serious indulgence this Christmas, head to Outlaw’s at The Capital for their special Christmas tea. With the menu created in collaboration with world-class pastry chef Claire Clark – not to mention a Michelin star to their name – Outlaw’s at The Capital offers a seriously rich festive afternoon tea. Try the heavenly mint meringue Christmas tree and, if you can bear to eat something so cute, tuck into the lemon cheesecake snowman too.
21st November to 31st December
Where: 22-24 Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1AT
What: A Victorian Christmas
Why: Fancy something more traditional this Christmas? Try afternoon tea at The Landmark. You’ll be seated in the gorgeous ‘winter garden’ in the glass-covered atrium, decorated in an authentic Victorian Christmas style. Best of all, carollers will serenade you with carols as you enjoy a glass of Champagne. We can’t think of a better way to get in the mood for Christmas.
Thursday 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd December
Where: 222 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 6JQ
What: Eat Frosty the Snowman...
Why: Christmas can be a stressful time. Unwind at Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge, whose festive afternoon tea is accompanied by the beautiful tones of an in-house harpist. While you’re relaxing to the live music, treat yourself to one of the yuletide treats on offer, from ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ – a white chocolate and cinnamon Santa’s hat – to ‘Frosty the Snowman’, a coconut financier partnered with an actual meringue snowman. Perfect!
20th November to 31st December
Where: 1 Cadogan Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 9PY
What: Charlie & the Chocolate Gets Festive
Why: Inspired by classic Christmas film Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, One Aldwych’s festive afternoon tea is more magical than most. Tuck into the ingenious treats from the movie, including a golden chocolate egg, delicious chocolate caramel milk, home-made candyfloss, and scrummy gingerbread. When you’re finished with fulfilling your inner ten-year-old, tuck in to some warm scones and seasonal tea sandwiches. Oh, and don’t forget the seasonal Canton Tea infusions.
14th November to 6th January.
Where: 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 4BZ
What: Christmas Bucket List
Why: Roast turkey? Check. Mulled wine? Check. Chocolate yule log? Check again. Arch London’s afternoon tea menu brings all the classic flavours of Christmas and gives them a five-star twist. So, the roast turkey is on a bliny, the mulled wine is used to flavour a poached pear, and the chocolate yule log is…a chocolate yule log, thankfully. Stilton, smoked salmon and honey-baked ham all make appearances, too, making this a true celebration of Christmassy flavours.
1st December to 8th January.
Where: 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7FD
What: Respite from Christmas Shopping
Why: You can’t go wrong with the Hilton. Once you’re sick of the shopping in Oxford Circus, head down towards Green Park and make a stop on Park Lane. Christmas cakes include: the white chocolate Yule log with brandy-soaked griotines, a passion fruit panna cotta, a mouthwatering dome of chocolate-mandarin, and, of course, gingerbread men.
5th December to 2nd January
Where: 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE
What: Iconic Tea turns Festive
Why: Need you ask why? The Ritz has been totally synonymous with luxury and elegance for over a century. Tea at the Ritz, in the infamous Palm Court dining room adorned with frescoes and chandeliers, is one of London’s most celebrated dining experiences. Add some festive magic and you’ve got yourself an unbeatable formula for tea-time Christmas cheer. Expect gold reindeer heads, gigantic silver bows, and a twenty-five foot Nordic pine Christmas tree. And, of course, unbeatable food
26th November to 30th December
Where: 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR
What: Art inspired Christmas Tea
Why: Sick of Christmas jingles and tacky black Friday sales? Go highbrow at the Rosewood. Their festive afternoon tea is inspired by artists. Taste a ‘Banksy’ (a chocolate cube filled with vanilla cream choux, hazelnut caramel, chocolate cremeux) or nibble on a Rothko (layered coconut sponge, raspberry, coconut mousse, decorated with raspberry chocolate). The art doesn’t stop at the plate, either – just feast your eyes on the incredible Mirror Room dining space. Marvellous.
November 28th to December 24th
Where: Rosewood London, High Holborn, London
What: Christmas Tea in Marylebone
Why: When it comes to Christmas afternoon tea you can’t go wrong at 108 Brasserie, The Marylebone’s respected in-house restaurant. Tuck in to sandwiches such as roast turkey, cranberry and chestnut stuffing; buttermilk scones with clotted cream and jam and a selection of homemade cakes and pastries. And there’s a gluten-free option. Merry Christmas!
21st November to 2nd January.
Where: 108 Brasserie, Marylebone Lane, London
What: A Veritable Feast
Why: Four Seasons afternoon tea is a veritable feast. Sandwiches include the likes of roasted honey gammon ham, orange and clove and truffle, egg and Montgomery Cheddar cheese. Scones are served with rosehip and cranberry jam and winter fruit marmalade and cakes include Nyangbo chocolate yule log with pecan nut and Cambridge burnt cream; cocoa Financier’s with red wine poached pear and gingerbread cream and cranberry and mandarin macarons. You better be hungry!
26th November to 7th January
Where: Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7DR
What: Immersive Swan Lake Tea
Why: Romantic epic Swan Lake is the theme of Corinthia’s afternoon tea. With each room hosting a different ‘act’ of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, this is a truly memorable all-out showstopper. Waltz into the Lobby Lounge for act two, where you can eat cakes and sip Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne beneath the full moon chandelier.
Throughout November and December
Where: Corinthia Hotel London, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD
What: Christmas Tea in Mayfair
Why: Situated in a historical cobbled courtyard right at the heart of Mayfair, you couldn’t hope for a more traditionally ‘London’ setting in which to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. Feast on the honey roasted bronze turkey with cranberry sauce and the Christmas mince pie crumble, all while gazing at the picturesque winter streets beyond.
15th November to 4th January
Where: 10 Lancashire Court New Bond Street W1S 1EY