Can you really say you’ve experienced London without indulging in the most quintessential and delightful tradition of afternoon tea? London’s hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars have some of the world’s best spreads of delightful savouries and desserts, and we’ve scoured its historic streets in search of the finest offerings for this great British tradition. Here are our top picks!
For the Quintessential Experience: Ritz Carlton Hotel – Palm Court Restaurant
The world-famous Ritz London’s Palm Court Tea room is an unquestionable must for travellers with a bucket list brimming with tea. Renowned as the most famous of tea rooms in London, the Ritz offers nothing short of a traditional, elegant and luxurious setting featuring high walls of gleaming mirrors and grand chandeliers. Whilst serving everything expected (freshly baked scones, cakes, pastries and of course, plenty of tea), the Ritz still manages to surpass expectations with every scrumptious sip and nibble. Afternoon tea at the Ritz is a traditional experience you won’t forget. Due to its popularity, don’t forget to book in advance and we mean in advance. Sometimes reservations are required months prior.
For the Historic Experience: Hotel Café Royal – Oscar Wilde Lounge
One of our all-time favourites is the Hotel Café Royal, primely located right in the heart of Piccadilly Square. The hotel itself is quite hidden, camouflaging with the marble walls that surround it, but once found, you will not be disappointed. The Oscar Wilde room boasts stunning and elaborate French décor, with dazzling ceiling frescos, mirrored walls, 1920’s-style red leather chairs all topped off with golden crockery. But aside from this dramatic backdrop, the most impressive part of the lounge is its history. Described as a “space where great minds came together to change the world”, the room has seen many memorable moments, including Oscar Wilde falling in love with Lord Alfred Douglas, Aubrey Beardsley debating with Whistler, David Bowie retiring Ziggy Stardust, and Mick Jagger, the Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor dancing the night away.
When it comes to the afternoon tea itself, a delectable spread of sandwiches, scones, and delicacies will not disappoint your taste buds. All accompanied by an immodest selection of over 25 blends of tea. Ensure to dedicate a few hours to trying them all!
For the Boozy Experience: Sea Containers – Lyan–ess.
For something a little bit different, with a little bit more ‘pow’, we recommend the Cocktail afternoon tea at Lyan—ess. Perched right on the bank of the Thames, you can feast your eyes upon stunning views of St Paul’s as your stomach feasts upon a delicious 4-course menu of sandwiches, savoury bites, and cakes, all with their own modern twist! Best of all, each course is accompanied by award-winning botanical cocktails that will have you forgetting the tea altogether. This afternoon tea is sure to have you feeling a bit giddy as you walk out the door.
For the High-Fashion Experience: The Berkeley – Prêt-à-Portea
Located opposite Hyde Park, The Berkeley’s afternoon tea showcases creativity at its finest. Prêt-à-Portea is like eating your way through the catwalk. Inspired by the world of fashion, each of the delectable cakes and pastries have been meticulously transformed into the latest fashion trends (changing every six months to keep up with the season of course). You may find yourself eating a Prada handbag, Christian Dior dress or Jimmy Choo shoe.
For the Arts Experience: The Rosewood Hotel – The Mirror Room
Voted as the best contemporary afternoon tea in the UK, the Rosewood Hotel will have you in awe of the magnificent and colourful artistic collection that is their pastries. The setting for the artistic afternoon tea is grand, luxurious and even a little bit quirky. Mirror Room features wall-sized oil paintings, twisted sculptures and as the name implies, an enormous mirrored ceiling as the main attraction. When not admiring the room itself, you will be enjoying a selection of mouth-watering finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and loose leaf tea, followed by three show-stopping desserts inspired by the works of various modern artists (including Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, Alexander Calder, Banksy and Mark Rothko). This edible art is not only pleasing to the eye, but one delicious affair.
For the 1940’s Underground Experience: Cahoots
Hidden in a back-alley square in Soho, Cahoots provides an afternoon tea that is more about the experience and atmosphere than the cakes and teas. To join this speak-easy inspired party, you’ll have to know the secret password, a strict requirement to gain entry. If successful, you’ll journey deep below the streets of London and back in time to post-war 1940’s as you enter into a disused underground tube station featuring carriage booths, pin-up waiters and old-school décor that makes you feel like you are on a movie set. The themed bar is one experience you won’t forget with live entertainment and a contagiously fun atmosphere. The vintage treats feature home-made sandwiches, hot bites and cakes that are very fitting for the era you are now living. If it’s the party train you’re looking to hop aboard for your afternoon tea experience, Cahoots is the place to embark.
Ask about how we can create a decadent afternoon tea experience add-on with your Wimbledon Package.