An English staple, afternoon tea, is something you just have to treat yourself to while across the pond. Everyone knows about famous high tea at Claridge’s Hotel and Harrod’s, and while they are well-known for good reason, there are many underrated, but equally deserving spots to have your tea time. Put on your Sunday best and get ready to indulge.
Dive down the rabbit hole and into this whimsical, Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party in Sanderson, London. You can’t go wrong with a good theme, especially one that has so much to offer.And there’s nothing traditional about this spot, whose menu includes white crab eclairs and exclusive drinks like black tea infused with blue flowers, blackcurrant, and vanilla – all to commemorate the book’s 150th anniversary. Step outside the box and go mad for this afternoon extravaganza.
And there’s nothing traditional about this spot, whose menu includes white crab eclairs and exclusive drinks like black tea infused with blue flowers, black currant, and vanilla, all to commemorate the book’s 150th anniversary. Step outside the box and go mad for this afternoon extravaganza.
One of the cheapest options in the city at £17, The National Dining Room located within the National Gallery is a hidden gem for afternoon tea. Go for the classic option, which includes signature British scones and cucumber sandwiches, or bring out your inner fancy and opt for the champagne choice. To get a panoramic view of Trafalgar Square, ask for a seat lining the windows.
3. The Orangery
Care to dine with the Duke and Duchess? Check out The Orangery next to Kensington Palace. You get amazing views of the gardens while enjoying orange-scented scones and a cuppa. Their Cornish clotted cream is enough to make this tea experience one to remember. You can even sit outside on the terrace to soak up some sun and feel like a true royal.
If you want cupcakes and scones and sandwiches, Bea’s has you covered. Pick the rum truffle or chocolate bailey’s cupcake for an adult treat, or stay classic with assorted berry flavors. The atmosphere is set up like a living room, so you can sit back and relax with friends to feel truly at home. They also have a gluten-free option, so there’s an indulgent delicacy for everyone.
Normally I would say stay away from chains when going for high tea, but Concerto is the perfect place for students because it’s cheap, quick, and simple. You can chill out with a scone and your favorite blend. Not the fanciest option, but one for that last minute craving. It’s also open until 11 pm…so, late night scones anyone?
6. The Berkeley
For the fashionista, afternoon tea at this Knightsbridge spot includes treats that are inspired by popular designers. The focus at the moment is Dolce and Gabbana’s Autumn/Winter collection, with cookies shaped like stilettos and biscuits with sparkly sugars on top. Get ready to ‘gram away.
7. Sweet Things
Nestled in the posh and quaint Primrose Hill, Sweet Things will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re not in the mood to count calories, take some of their famous cupcakes and brownies to go. The best part is that the tea is bottomless, so pour to your heart’s desire.
You won’t find English Breakfast tea on this menu, at least not in the traditional sense. With various teas from China and India, Bluebird in the trendy hotspot of Chelsea keeps it fresh. Loose leaf FTW. They also have a signature Chambord cocktail topped with champagne, which makes Bluebird the place to be classy, calm, and cool.
If you want to feel like you’re in Downton Abbey, The Secret Garden, or both, then head to Number Sixteen, where you can choose to enjoy high tea in the drawing room, library, private garden, or Orangery. It’s basically a game of Clue, but take out the mystery and add tiny sandwiches. They have sweet and savory treats and tea is served all day, so escape reality for a bit and go to Number Sixteen.
10. Muriel’s Kitchen
With three locations throughout London, there’s no reason not to go to Muriel’s. It has that homemade, rustic vibe with fresh treats right out of the oven and tea varieties to match. If you want the delicacies with something other than tea, it comes with a berry smoothie, making it perfect for those warmer days. Marie Claire UK recently raved about this spot, so take note and head here ASAP.
Taking high tea literally, this restaurant is on the 52nd floor in the famous Shard building. The indulgent desserts are worth the splurge, with cheesecake, chocolate and caramel mousse, and macarons included. Surrounded by Chinese architecture and epic views of the city below, make sure to book reservations during sunset if you want a truly magical experience.
Afternoon tea is an experience not to skip out on, and with these eleven places on your radar, now you know why. If you find yourself in London, opt for a spot off the beaten path instead of the usual suggestions and you’ll be a true Brit in no time.