There’s nothing quite as quintessentially British than dedicating an afternoon to indulging in finger sized sandwiches and miniature cakes. Come November and the afternoon pleasure has a facelift with a sprinkling of festive flavours making their way onto the table. From gingerbread men dancing on the dishes to miniature Christmas tree cakes, here’s 10 ways to indulge this festive season:
Feast like a royal as you dive into Hotel Café Royal’s The Queen of Afternoon Teas served in the gilded Oscar Wilde Lounge, inspired by none other than Queen Victoria and her tradition of taking afternoon tea. Drawing influences from Queen Victoria’s Christmas and New Years celebrations back in 1894, expect to be nibbling your way through Yorkshire turkey sandwiches stuffed with roasted chestnuts, cured bacon and Madiera wine; duck liver terrine with spice plum chutney sarnies; and your very own game pie. Oh, and there’s an added little bonus – the festive tea includes a 70g diptyque candle for you to take home with you. Eek!
Available from Monday 11th November – Sunday 5th January
Stealing a little inspiration from Penhaligon’s iconic fragrance, Halfeti, The Curtain’s afternoon tea will without a doubt wow you away with its spiced flavours. We’re talking saffron macaroons stuffed with deep black cherry jam; frangipane tart infused with a bergamot ganache; dark chocolate and cumin tarts topped with homemade grapefruit marmalade; and blood orange drizzle cake – it’s totally divine!
Running Thursday 21st November – Saturday 4th January
If you’re lucky enough to have a membership to Annabel’s or know somebody who does, head on over to try their festive afternoon tea extravaganza. Make your way past the glorious unicorn carousel and through to The Rose Room to delight in an afternoon overflowing with truffle devil eggs, gingerbread macarons and orange flavoured scones, paired alongside none other than a glass of Nyetimber Rosé MV. The Rose Room also boasts a children’s version of the festive tea, and the youngest members of The Handbook team can confirm it’s simply sublime after they spent an afternoon indulging in caramel popcorn cookies, white chocolate & hazelnut cookies, berry cupcakes and churros galore.
Available Thursday 21st November – Tuesday 24th December
As if the big revealing of Claridge’s Christmas Tree wasn’t enough of an excuse to head down this festive season, their festive afternoon tea will be sure to have you racing down for a cake or two. Expect to find a selection of traditional sandwiches with a festive twist to be making their way onto your table, as well as captivatingly good pastries and Claridge’s very own Christmas pud.
Available until 2nd January
Where: Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.3 miles)
Have yourself a merry little Christmas courtesy of The Chesterfield Mayfair and their festive themed afternoon tea. Warm your cockles with a glass of mulled wine before opting for one of the hotel’s loose leaf tea blends. Expect to be feasting on mini chocolate Yule logs, gingerbread men cupcakes and clementine macaroons.
Running Monday 18th November – Sunday 5th January
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… an afternoon t-t-tea. The Twelve Days of Christmas are brought to life this year courtesy of the Intercontinental London Park Lane. Expect to find Perrier Jouët flowing as you embark on an afternoon tea inspired by the glorious English tradition – the classic carol. Don’t worry though, you won’t have to belt out a tune or two yourself.
Running Monday 18th November – Sunday 5th January
Where: One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7QY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.2 miles)
Afternoon tea never looked so good. The Connaught’s pastry elves have been busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen creating a special festive-inspired edition of their traditional afternoon tea offerings. Start your afternoon with a glass of Champagne Laurent Perrier ‘La Cuvée’ Brut NV before making your way onto the tea, pastries and scones.
Available until 1st January
Where: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.5 miles)
Calling all chocolate lovers! Kimpton Fitzroy London has launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the wonderful world of chocolate and season of indulgence. Executive Pastry Chef and Winner of Bake Off: The Professionals 2019, Thibault Marchand and Director of Bars, Sean Fennelly have teamed up to combine the infusion of delicate cocktail making with the fragility of the patisserie. Let’s get indulging…
Where: Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel, 1-8 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE, UK
Nearest station: Russell Square (0.1 miles)
When you’re visiting London afternoon tea is an absolute staple and where better to indulge than Fortnum & Mason. Wander on into The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon and prepare to settle in for a feast bursting with rare breed hen’s egg mayonnaise with English cress sandwiches; fruit scones with clotted cream, Fortnum & Mason strawberry preserve and lemon curd; and a whole lotta individual Pâtisseries from their Cake Carriage.
Gingerbread men will be trotting their ways onto your plates this Christmas as you feast on 11 Cadogan Gardens immaculate afternoon tea offering. Even their scones will receive a splash of festive spirit with Christmassy spices thrown into the mix. While away your afternoon sipping on a chilled glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and munching your way through homemade sweets and savouries.
Inspired by the hotel’s rich history with the tea trade route along the River Thames, Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square’s festive tea offering will see you delight in sweet and savoury treats served on their bespoke Richard Brendon chinaware. Perfect.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.1 miles)
On the countdown to Christmas why not spread some festive cheer with The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane’s delectable afternoon tea offering. Inspired by the 1920s, with an added contemporary zing, the pastry elves have crafted each sweet to have a splash of the glitz and glamour of the roaring twenties. The free-range egg mayonnaise, winter truffle and micro cress sarnie is simply divine!
Running Monday 18th November – Sunday 5th January
Where: Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, The Palm Court Piccadilly, London W1J 7BX
Nearest station: Green Park (0.4 miles)
’tis the season to be jolly so head on over to the Meridian Lounge at InterContinental London – The O2 for their festive tea offerings. Nibble your way through turkey and cream cheese sandwiches, snap up a quick Insta of the delectable valrhona chocolate and mulled wine cake and enjoy only the finest loose tea (or a glass of Champers if you’re feeling fancy.)
Available until Sunday 5th January
Ever fancied chomping down on your very own Christmas tree? Well, now you can at Céleste, a hidden gem nestled The Lanesborough. Musical notes will fill the air as you indulge in their award-winning afternoon tea. This year the little elves in the kitchen have been busy recreating Christmas classics in the form on delicate pastries. Even Rudolf will be making a little appearance in the form of nougat mousse.
Wednesday 20th November – Tuesday 7th January
We’re rock, rock, rocking around the Christmas tree and making our way over to Sofitel London St James to get our mitt(ons) on their festive afternoon tea. The hotel has been turned into a festive wonderland, adorn with ‘Christmas couture’ decorations, while over in The Rose Lounge expect your stomaches to be fulfilled with their sweet tooth offerings.
Where: Sofitel London St James, Waterloo Place, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.3 miles)
There’s nothing more quintessentially British than popping to your favourite restaurant for a spot of afternoon tea, but throw unlimited gin and tonic into the mix and it’s a whole other level. Fill up your glass with lashings of ice, gin and lime, and indulge in mince pies and gingerbread until your heart is content.
Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Waterloo (0.3 miles)
The Four Seasons has teamed up again with the Burlington Arcade for a special festive afternoon tea. Guests can feast on some Christmassy sweet treats including chocolate golden nuggets, Christmas pudding macaroons and Burlington Beadle pastries and if you have room, indulge on some fresh sandwiches and a glass of chilled Champagne…or two.
Available until Tuesday 31st December.
Pirouette your way over to The Waldorf Hilton this Christmas and indulge in their magical afternoon tea series inspired by the Nutcracker. Delicately delight in an glorious array of theatrical sweet and savoury snacks, from freshly baked scones to even their purple loaf of bread with floral spreads. Pop on your pointe shoes, baby pink tutu and tour en l’air (well, dive) into an afternoon of indulging.
Running Monday 25th November – Thursday 30th January
Wrap up in your finest thermals, stroll along the Thames and refuel at The Petersham with their festive tea. Overlooking the iconic River Thames, you’ll be feasting on freshly made sandwiches and scones, before diving into their festive themed cakes and pastries. You’ll probably be rolling home…
Running from Monday 2nd – Tuesday 31st December
Where: The Petersham Hotel, Nightingale Lane, Richmond, TW10 6UZ
Nearest station: Richmond (0.8 miles)
Hot choccie fans rejoice! Why not swap your tea for hot chocolate this festive season at The Milestone Hotel and Residences afternoon tea offerings. Pile your scones high with clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve before diving into their seasonally inspired pastries and delicacies.
Available from Monday 24th November – Monday 6th January
If you failed to nab actual Nutcracker tickets (us too), head to the JW Marriott’s Park Room for an utterly charming afternoon tea instead. Available until 1st January, the Nutcracker Afternoon Tea takes inspiration directly from the stage with three “Acts” of pure indulgence. Act 1: traditional finger sandwiches. Act 2: soft buttermilk scones served with cream and a selection of jams and jellies – the rose petal flavour is divine. Finally, Act 3: a finale of delicate pastries inspired by the characters from ballet itself, from The Sugar Plum Fairy (plum cheesecake on a shortbread biscuit base with raspberry gel) to the Nutcracker (hazelnut choc chip tart with cream ganache). Oh, and guests get to take a Nutcracker Christmas decoration home with them to hang on the tree. Sweet, indeed.
Gnomes and all are invited to 51 Buckingham Gate’s afternoon tea festivities this Christmas. Start off your afternoon with a shot of warm cocoa and whipped cream before jumping into their woodland treats. You’ll find everything from honey-glazed turkey lathered onto cranberry bread to thyme roasted chicken mousse open face pie, and you won’t be able to resist taking a quick Insta story of Santa’s little helpers. Cute!
Available Sunday 1st December – Tuesday 31st December
Where: Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, Suites and Residencies, Buckingham Gate, Westminster, London SW1E 6AF, UK
Nearest station: St. James's Park (0.3 miles)
Beatrix Potter fans rejoice! Combining the classic Peter Rabbit stories with a bit of Christmas magic, The Terrace on Piccadilly is ready to spread some festive joy. Indulge on edible chocolate pots, carrot cake, vegetable patch sandwiches and some festive snowmen that are almost too adorable to eat.
Afternoon tea with a panoramic view of London has arrived at The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard. Nothing says Christmas like a festive-themed sandwich and Shangri-La is making our savoury delights come true with themed sandwiches from smoked salmon, to turkey and cranberry and roast beef. Indulge in some delicate Christmas treats and a glass of Champers and get into the real festive spirit.
Where: 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
If it’s good enough for the Queen, then it’s definitely good enough for us. Feel like royalty for the day with The Rubens at the Palace’s festive afternoon tea. Indulge in candy cane macaroons, Christmas tree-shaped cakes and turkey finger sandwiches. With white-glove service and fresh pots of steaming tea, this is the most Christmassy British afternoon tea around.
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