Afternoon tea is a truly marvellous, quintessentially British experience that we can’t get enough of. Which is why ANY excuse for a scone and cuppa is most welcome, even patriotic. Yet it goes without saying that the old, much-adored tradition sometimes needs a little tinker with and a sprucing-up to make that classic egg-and-cress-sarnie that little bit more desirable.
So sprinkling magic onto their afternoon teas are a number of intrepid restaurants and hotels, creating wonders out of classics including a London Landmarks tea, a teddy bear picnic offering for the kids and a tea which comes equipped with coveted city views.
Who doesn’t love The Shard? The view is superb, as you’d expect from the unbeatable vantage point, and it’s also one of London’s most iconic towers so there’s a lot to be celebrated.
Another notable plus is the delicious Afternoon Tea that has adorned the fabulously decadent Shangri La restaurant which too has a desirable outlook over the the River Thames, Tower Bridge, Maritime Greenwich, Canary Wharf and the historic counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Spending a half-term in style, the kids filled their boots with tasty traditional treats including sandwiches and sweet delights that include moreish macarons with rosewater and raspberry and homemade chocolate and pistachio marble cake. Adults, not to fear, if recovering from a hectic half-term handful why not wash away the woes with some Veuve Clicqot, Duval Leroy or Bollinger – no Champagne no gain, right?
The Afternoon Tea offering has been designed to get you snug and warm whilst filling your friends Instagram #viewgoal snaps. It’s a sweet choice for half-term or Easter and works as a deliciously uncomplicated afternoon tea, offering mouthfuls of tradition and you don’t have to pay to go all the way to the top in order to benefit from the wow-worthy views. The tea runs daily from 12pm – 4pm Monday until Saturday and 12pm – 6pm on Sunday’s. Absolutely tea-riffic!
Where: The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QU
No… hold on, surely not? It’s the London Eye with scones and cakes all over it. How cute can it get? The London Landmarks afternoon tea has recently launched at Town House at The Kensington and it’s all your insta dreams come true in one. Tourists would have a field day with this delectable offering which features tributes to architectural triumphs such as The Gherkin crafted from white chocolate with a dark chocolate ganache and The Shard made of carrot cake and milk chocolate. Keeping things quintessentially British there will be our oh so iconic London telephone box imagined in Rhubarb Mousse, of course, alongside scones, the afternoon tea staple, served with Heather Hills strawberry jam and clotted cream all of which can be enjoyed in an intimate portico overlooking SouthKensington’s tree-lined avenues.
The afternoon tea is served daily from 12 noon to 6pm
Where: 109-113 Queen's Gate, Kensington, SW7 5LP
Named ‘The Queen of Afternoon Teas’ it’s safe to say we’re expecting only the most regal of treats from the Hotel Café Royal offering. Exuding a quintessential Britishness, we’re expecting the tea to follow suit with Hotel Café Royal’s afternoon tea prowess, as the winners of Best Traditional Afternoon tea in the UK in 2017 and 2018. The experience will take place in the famed and luxe Oscar Wilde Lounge which dates back to 1865. 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of British monarch, Queen Victoria, and living up to its namesake the tea will exude a royal display of food of drink, including highlights of a hand-picked selection of over 25 exclusive tea blends and ingredients and production techniques that came into fashion during Queen Victoria’s reign implemented throughout.
So if you’re ready to have your Queen, or King, moment then sit soft at Hotel Café Royal and enjoy a tummy filling tray of treats alongside some smoothly sexy Champagne and live pianist accompaniments.
The Queen of Afternoon Teas will be served daily
Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)
We’re all over this cute idea from by CHLOE. The ever inventive forward thinkers have gone back in time to create a nostalgic afternoon tea reminiscent of a children’s party, with colourful plates and hundreds and thousands – you can even doodle on the paper tablecloth. The tea provides a rare found vegan twist on the popular British pastime; highlights include plant-based sandwiches and rainbow star scones with coconut cream and strawberry jam, carrot cake slices and a chocolate whoopie pie. Oh, to be young again!
Where: Drury House, 34-43, Russell Street, WC2B 5HA
There’s a real love of miniature things; that’s a given. In fact there’s actually a psychology behind people being obsessed with tiny things that is supposedly nourished by having played with dolls and small toys in our infancy, consequently propelling nostalgia and our love of these small objects.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that people are going crazy for the new afternoon tea at Harry’s Bar which pays tribute to both its Italian heritage and British location. The menu, named Piccoli Dolci plays on its namesake with menu features including mini cannoli filled with milk gelato, sugar dusted doughnuts, filled with peach and apricot cream and Harry’s Toadstool with mascarpone, fresh raspberries and chocolate brownie. All of the treats are mini as Italian ‘dolci’ translates to small sweets – ever so cute! Plus, each will be served with a pot of tea or coffee or a glass of Prosecco. Cheers Harry’s Bar!
Where: Harry’s Bar, 30-34 James Street, W1U 1ER
Perhaps the biggest February opening depending on your palette, The Adam Handling Chelsea launched as the flagship restaurant within the Belmond Cadogan Hotel. The restaurant is the project of renowned Chef Patron Adam Handling, who has been preparing the restaurant for the past year as an homage to Britain. The delightful menu is said to be a celebration of London cuisine and will bring signature dishes from across the British Isles.
And if you think that sounds good how about the additional intro of his new afternoon tea? The nine month process to bring goodies to your plates has come from the hand of Adam himself and will showcase the history and tradition of High Tea, inspired by his childhood memories. Of the tea Adam says: “My Dad used to say, “kiddy on, you’re at your grandma’s,” to me and my brother and sisters, and we always knew that meant we were going to be fed dramatically.” The tea thus evokes feelings of nostalgia and fills tummies with the tastiest of treats.
The menu includes offerings such as traditional sandwiches with Valley Smokehouse smoked salmon with crab salad and rocket to Clarence Court duck egg with curry mayonnaise and mustard leaf. In keeping to tradition, raisin and plain scones will be served with a booming selection of tea, amongst much, much more.
Photo Credit: Tim Green
Where: Belmond Cadogan Hotel, 75 Sloane Street, Chelsea, SW1X 9SG
There’s been a whole lotta hype surrounding Mary Poppins after a brand new movie was released over Christmas; consequently we believe this tea to be very apt and, quite frankly, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! The Mary Poppins-themed afternoon landed at 51 Buckingham Gate (via umbrella we imagine) as part of 51 Buckingham Gate’s English Classics Reinvented campaign which has also seen themed teas like Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland.
The sandwiches, described as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Savouries, have options like cheese and tomato with the twist of redcurrant jam, and roast beef and horseradish cream cheese rolls on brioche with English mustard. With any themed afternoon tea it’s the sweet section where the creativity really comes out, every cake is based on a prop from the film for her hat and umbrella to his candy-striped jacket – all served on a musical, twirling carousel.
Where: 51 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: St. James's Park (0.3 miles)
If you go down to the woods today you’ll find a load of cute teddy bears munching on various savoury and sweet snacks – how cute! London Hilton on Park Lane know how to throw an afternoon tea party, providing Teddy Bears’ Picnic Afternoon Tea with all the trimmings for the kiddies. You’ll find bite-sized bits, finger food and yummy sweet treats which’ll have the youngsters running about on a sugar high, but that’s what half term is all about right? The mini menu has been curated by Executive Chef Anthony Marshall and recent winner of C4’s Bake Off: The Professionals, Pastry Chef Emmanuel Bonneau, so it’s sure to be delicious. See you there!
Where: 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
We’re back to tradition now, and The Wolseley certainly know how to deliver a British afternoon tea. Does anything shout Union Jack much like Victoria sponge, Sherry trifles, strawberry tarts and fruitcakes? The answer is yes, scones do. There will be scones galore with homemade jam and clotted cream – try to avoid the ‘what goes first, jam or cream?’ debate and indulge in finger sandwiches too.
Where: 160 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EB
We’re assuming if you’re indulging in an afternoon tea that you already have a bit of a sweet tooth in the first place? How about then, an Original Sweet Shop Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield, Mayfair?
In true stripy red and white sweet shop style, the afternoon tea features homemade sandwiches, freshly baked home-made chocolate chip and fruit scones, and (the icing on the cake) pastries and cupcakes in the form of coca-cola slices and liquorice allsorts lemon cheesecake. To wash down the sweet taste of, well, all things sweet, will be a brimming selection of loose teas, flowering teas, coffee or hot choc.
So, if you’re main-dessert, not starter-main type of person, this one is certainly for you.
Where: The Chesterfield, Charles Street, London, UK
Nearest station: Green Park (0.3 miles)
The Wellesley in Knightsbridge offers a delightful Pa-tea-sserie afternoon tea (we see what they did there) centring around all things tea and pastries. Some of the offerings include a Chamomile Savarin sponge cake with custard cream and berries, The Wellesley blend tea macaroon with ganache of white tea and a moreish selection of classic sandwiches from brown bread with smoked salmon and cream cheese to pan brioche with egg and mayo. There will, of course, be scones and the additional option to wash it all down with a glass of Brut Champagne (or two)!
Where: 11 Knightsbridge, London, England, SW1X 7LY
Making their second appearance, the Shangri-La is also launching a new afternoon tea this weekend and on Saturday and Sunday, mother’s will get a bouquet of flowers – so that’s your presented sorted if you’ve forgotten it’s Mother’s Day. The Royal High Tea is a celebration of motherhood, inspirational women and the upcoming arrival of the royal baby. Honouring the women who taught them to cook, the cakes and pastries have all been created by using the chefs’ family recipes. As well as mocktails (there are cocktails too), expectant mums will also receive a special surprise gift.
Where: The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QU