On the hunt for the best afternoon tea experiences? We’ve rounded up a tempting selection of resplendent hotels and boutique bakeries where you can enjoy this beloved British pastime in style.
From teeny-tiny sandwiches and picture-perfect cakes to melt-in-the-mouth scones with jam and clotted cream (or is that clotted cream and jam?), us Brits love afternoon tea. In fact, we love it so much, we’ve dedicated an entire week of the year to celebrating it. Running from 7-13 August, Afternoon Tea Week is a chance to visit London’s swankiest hotels, cafes and restaurants to pick daintily at delicious treats for an hour or two. Here’s our pick of the best across the capital.
Enjoy a royal spread at St Martin’s Lane London
Located in the heart of the West End, this ultra-stylish, Philippe Starck-designed hotel is the place to be this time of year, thanks to its Modern British Afternoon Tea extravaganza. Expect a tempting selection of sweet and savoury treats, including grenadine trifle with strawberries and pavlova, as well as its Queen’s Crown Bakewell tart. These are served alongside a variety of teas, ranging from traditional flavours to bespoke ones created for the occasion — such as the Black tea infused with bright berry (a mix of blackberry and raspberry), vanilla and caramel. From £45 per person
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Enjoy afternoon tea in the garden at Roseate House
With a mouth-watering line-up of chicken caesar sandwiches, passion fruit tartelettes and praline macarons (not to mention the freshly baked scones with homemade lemon curd), afternoon tea at the five-star Roseate House hotel near Hyde Park is as indulgent as they come. Premium, artisan and hand-crafted, the teas here have been sourced from some of the oldest tea plantations around the world. Enjoy your afternoon tea in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, The Hyde, or in the garden, the summer foliage providing an elegant backdrop to a treat-laden afternoon. £35 per person
Sip limited-edition G&Ts at Biscuiteers
These guys know a thing or two about sweet treats. Since opening in November 2021, the Notting Hill and Belgravia-based bakery’s biscuit-decorating workshops have been a hit among the capital’s sweet tooths, where guests can master the art of piping and lacing over a glass of prosecco. It wasn’t long before it dipped its icing brush into the afternoon tea game. Biscuiteers’ Great British Afternoon Tea experience offers guests a combo of finger sandwiches, a tasty selection of patisserie and the bakery’s signature hand-iced biscuits. This is served alongside a bespoke blend of Tregothnan tea or a glass of fizz for an extra £6. From £45 per person
Go east at The Rosebery, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Putting an Asian twist on this quintessentially British tradition, The Rosebery’s British Summer Season Afternoon Tea menu still celebrates the British heritage at its core, through fine English produce such as fruits and berries from the gardens of Kent and Cambridge. The hotel’s Executive (and multi-award-winning) Pastry Chef, Emmanuel Bonneau, and his team have whipped up a selection of specially curated pastries such as the Match Point Delight, Ascot Elegance and Regal Rowing. Pair these delicious treats with a glass of Saicho sparkling jasmine tea — or choose from 29 different types of loose-leaf tea, champagne, sake or wine. But don’t worry, Bonneau has ensured that British afternoon tea favourites stay on the menu, too, so you won’t be missing out on delicate finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream, rose petal jelly and summer fruit jam. £75 per person
Settle in for the Mad Hatters Tea at Sanderson London
Immerse yourself in wonderland as you attend Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Tea Party, running throughout August. Experience the magic of Lewis Carroll’s famed classic, Alice in Wonderland, in foodie form as you indulge in whimsical sweets and savouries inspired by the characters from the beloved story. Try the Minion’s Macaroon and take a bite of the Tweedle Brothers Choux Pastry, accompanied by a range of bespoke tea flavours, including The Mad Hatter — green tea infused with passion fruit, guava and mango — or Cheshire Cat’s marmalade orange oolong tea infused with chocolate and orange. From £48 per person
Embrace tradition at Hartwell House
If you’re a fan of Bridgerton or Downton Abbey, Hartwell House’s offering of Traditional Afternoon Tea will be the perfect pick for you. Located within the Vale of Aylesbury and on the edge of the Chilterns, the stately home stands prominently among the natural beauty of the English countryside. Cosy up in the historic morning room, drawing room or library and delve into a selection of finger sandwiches and baked buttermilk scones. After your tea, take time to explore the property, which celebrates its 15-year anniversary of being preserved by the National Trust this year. Stroll through the 90 acres of gardens and parkland (once roamed by King Louis XVIII of France) for a truly aristocratic experience. From £40 per person