The 7 Best Afternoon Tea Spots in London for Every Type of Traveler
Few experiences are as quintessentially British as indulging in a pot of tea, a warm scone slathered with clotted cream and a selection of tiny sandwiches (rectangular only, never triangles). So if you’re in London, you must try it for yourself. Here, our seven favorite London afternoon tea spots. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic affair, something for the kids or scones with a side of sightseeing, we’ve got you covered. Just remember to book ahead—these brilliant spots are too good to miss. Cheerio.
Best for Romance: The Wallace Collection
Tucked away behind Selfridges is this beautiful 18th-century mansion with an impressive painting collection. But even if art isn’t your thing, the Wallace is worth a visit for the budget-friendly afternoon tea (under £20) served in the elegant courtyard. The glass-covered atrium means that you can enjoy a spot of tea no matter what the weather is doing (raining, probably).
Best for Families: The Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel
Children of all ages will love tumbling down the rabbit hole into this delightfully bonkers afternoon tea experience, located in London’s Fitzrovia. Discover menus hidden inside books before tucking into pocket watch macarons, fruity “Drink Me” potions and Queen of Hearts strawberry biscuits. Curiouser and curiouser!
Best for Tea Lovers: Fortnum & Mason
This grand old department store has been selling tea since 1707, so it’s safe to say that it knows a thing or two about a good cuppa (ask the tea connoisseurs to guide you through the 50-strong selection). The classic afternoon tea assortment (complete with the famous preserves) is fit for a queen—indeed, the refurbished Georgian tearooms were opened by Her Majesty herself.
Best for Traditionalists: The Langham
The granddaddy of afternoon teas, the Langham was the first hotel to start serving it back in 1865 (when it cost just 7 pence). Step back in time in the opulent Palm Court, where good service and good manners abound, to the sound of a pianist softly tinkling away in the background. The Dowager Countess of Grantham would certainly approve.
Best for Sightseeing: BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Take in the sights as your sip your brew on board an antique bus. Yep. This 1960s double-decker (nab a seat on top if you can) passes by all the major attractions, including the London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. It’s not as luxurious as some of the other options, but it’s a great way to multitask your tourist-ing.
Best for Healthy Travelers: Brown's Hotel
This London institution, complete with ornate moldings and historic wooden paneling, lies in the heart of Mayfair and offers a “Tea-Tox” menu that’s full of tasty, low-fat and low-carb options. Raw white-chocolate cheesecake, anyone? Or how about a tomato and feta gluten-free sandwich? We’ll take two, please.
Best for Royalists: The Orangery at Kensington Palace
Naturally, an afternoon tea at this royal residence includes “Coronation chicken sandwiches”—a chicken, curry and mayo filling created specifically for Queen Elizabeth’s ascension (the Royal London Tea Blend is surprisingly good, too). With the crisp tablecloths, fine china and views of the lush gardens, you’ll feel just like a princess (well, almost).