The best afternoon tea in London

Michael Manton / 20 April 2015 ( 30 October 2015 )

If you are visiting London, a trip wouldn't be complete without a traditional afternoon tea. Here are the best of the capital's afternoon tea hot spots for those who want to experience something memorable.


Claridge's often has a three-month waiting list, so be sure to book well in advance. There are a staggering 40 teas on offer – from pink elderflower to Lapsang Souchong – and platters of dainty finger sandwiches.

Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea

There is no better place to enjoy this wonderful English tradition than at The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in the world renowned department store Fortnum and Mason, founded in 1707 by William Fortnum, one of Queen Anne's footmen.

You will be treated to a fine selection of teas, luxury and traditional sandwiches, pastries and of course a selection of scones with clotted cream and preserves.

Grovesnor House

The historic Grosvenor House Hotel has been frequented by royalty, celebrities and business leaders since opening in 1929 and is the perfect setting for afternoon tea.

Set in Mayfair this 'Grande Dame' of Park Lane offers a quintessentially British experience and the Park Room and Library is designed to reflect the style, comfort and charm of a living room in an English stately home.

Enjoy afternoon tea at Grovesnor House

The Berkeley's Pret-a-Portea

Afternoon tea with a twist: each French fancy is designed with a key fashion look of the season – a Burberry coated chocolate biscuit and a Valentino ginger and orange handbag. Verdict? Gimmicky, but fun.

Grand Imperial's Oriental Afternoon Tea

If you fancy a change from a cucumber sandwich, try these tiered cake stands laden with dim sum, to be eaten with chopsticks. The highlight is, unsurprisingly, the Chinese tea. Even better, the refills are unlimited.

Paramount's Iced Afternoon Tea

If we are lucky enough to see any more balmy days this year, Paramount is the perfect solution for those still seeking out the best afternoon tea in London.

Situated on the 32nd floor, with stunning views over London (try to grab a window seat), the iced 'high' tea includes strawberry sorbet served in a mini cone and a refreshing mango chiboust. Rum cocktails are also very popular here.

Book a delicious afternoon tea here

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

Needing no introduction, The Ritz has become world famous for its afternoon tea, winning an Award of Excellence at The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2013 Awards. There are many different areas of the hotel to explore. They have a dress code, so remember – no jeans permitted.

Did you know…?

Afternoon tea was invented by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. In her day, the upper crust ate a huge breakfast, little lunch, and a very late dinner.

Every afternoon, the duchess experienced a "sinking feeling." One afternoon she instructed her servants to serve tea and little cakes in her boudoir. The experience was so delightful that Anna repeated it every afternoon thereafter.

Soon others followed the Duchess' lead, and in just a few decades the custom of "taking tea" in the afternoon had become well established. At first the practice was limited to the upper classes, but it eventually became so popular that tea shops and tea-rooms began opening for the enjoyment of the general public.

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