Here are some of my favourite teas I’ve enjoyed in my favourite city over the last few years! I’ve loved going back and doing a little trip down memory lane when writing this. Latest addition to this post is October 2020, and will be added to continually.
1. Claridges, Bond St, https://www.claridges.co.uk/restaurants-bars/afternoon-tea/ Visited: a very warm July 2019. Best bits: wonderful attentive staff (staff here quite clearly love their jobs and they really had time for us, and my poor mum who had arrived in a bit of a fluster after several broken down travel means en route), gorgeous and unusual home made jams, comfortable surroundings. Cons: sat in a rather dark tucked out of the way area which was a little disappointing, and the afternoon tea was not served on a typical tiered stand, which I prefer, as it just did not feel as fancy! A little bit pricey I felt for the overall tea, in comparison to others. Overall summary: Claridges feels like a very glorious London institution and I’d be very happy to return.
2. Town House Kensington, South Kensington, https://townhousekensington.com/london-landmarks-afternoon-tea/ Visited: 2018 (Beauty and the Beast) and 2019 (London Landmarks), Best bits: I think the teas here are tremendous value for money, as the quality of the produce really does rival the higher end tea market. The staff were wonderful, and I felt so cosy and comfortable here. I also think whoever comes up with the themes here is an innovative god! They are wonderful and almost too pretty to eat! Cons: The only possible downside (though it wasn’t really, it’s just quite hard to think of one for here!) is that I think they asked us re drink refills but weren’t quite as open as other places regarding more sandwiches or cakes of any kind. We didn’t leave hungry in any case! Overall summary: I want to stay here, let alone go back for another tea! It’s a wonderful building and atmosphere.
3. The Ritz, Green Park, https://www.theritzlondon.com/dine-with-us/afternoon-tea/ Visited: 2013 Best bits: We got the most cake out of any of the places I have been to, and to be served and waited on so wonderfully was such a treat. It felt like the Ritz was super generous and tremendous value for money. The décor and the crockery is exquisite: I haven’t been anywhere else like it. It’s refined, elegant, a wonderful treat. Cons: Really can’t think of any! Just that my last visit was 2013, so this isn’t the most up to date (a return is needed!) Overall summary: for excellent quality food, the best in crockery, décor and atmosphere, the Ritz is no 1.
4.Candella, High St Kensington, https://www.candellatearoom.com/ourmenu Visited: 2018 Best bits: really lovely home made produce, felt very English tea rooms style, cosy, comforting and great value. Cons: Cant think of any really, even though much less informal than the others here would still advise you to book ahead to avoid disappointment, as the tea room area is quite small with a limited number of tables. Overall summary: Really lovely! It was great for the birthday I had there, fantastic price and food and I’d recommend in an instant.
5.The Savoy, https://www.thesavoylondon.com/experience/afternoon-tea-london Visited: 2016 Best bits: Lovely staff, beautiful pastries and scones. A very elegant foyer and I loved the art deco toilets! Cons: the main seating area felt a bit worn and dated when I visited 2016, more comfy than elegant, or a bit of luxury (the latter being what I was expecting) Overall summary: We had a very lovely time and the experience is all that matters, however I think £75, paid for at the time, is a little too steep for the atmosphere/décor and even though the cakes were lovely, for the food.
6. Fortnum and Masons, https://www.fortnumandmason.com/afternoon-tea Visited: September 2020 Best bits: I love the Fortnums building, how old it is, how beautiful it is, and the table area for our visit was just as elegant and lovely, there were generally very friendly staff, lovely pianist playing on arrival Cons: It was made clear our table was needed back 30 minutes before we were due to leave which was a real shame and spoiled the ending of our visit. Fortnums had a special buy one, get one free during August and September after lockdown in the UK was lifted from Corona (1st wave) which may have made it extremely busy, but this was certainly disappointing. Also, they didn’t have gluten free scones and rang us on the day of the visit to tell us that! As scones are an integral part of a tea, this was also a real pity. Overall summary: I’d definitely say visit as we had a very special time with Sonny and his first afternoon tea, and am quite sure it isn’t general practice here as have visited other Fortnum restaurants, but simply stand your ground (here or anywhere) if you are nudged to leave half an hour before your table is due to be returned!
And here are 5 more I’d recommend from my research and checking out reviews, for you to browse through and see why! Please double check prices, they were correct at time of writing.
–The Connaught, £55 per adult, https://www.the-connaught.co.uk/restaurants-bars/afternoon-tea/
–The Corinthia, £55 per adult, https://www.corinthia.com/london/restaurants-bars/afternoon-tea/
–The Franklin Hotel, £40 per adult, https://afternoontea.co.uk/uk/london/knightsbridge/the-franklin-restaurant-by-alfredo-russo/
–The Rosewood, £65 per adult, https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/london/dining/Art-Afternoon-Tea
–The Delauney, £19.75 per adult for a “Vienniese afternoon tea”, https://www.thedelaunay.com/menus/afternoon-tea/
If you aren’t already, and would like to check out the beautiful photos and reviews of a down to earth and super honest London afternoon expert, please do check out @afternoonteadiaries on Instagram: if you are an afternoon tea fan, it will be one of the best things you do!
Her account is amazing, it gives you so much detail you’ll feel like you’re there, and it has given me much of the inspiration for my “must visit” list above.
Otherwise if you’ve been somewhere and it’s not featured here, and you’d like to recommend it to me to add to my own personal list, I’d love to hear it! Please get in touch!
NB: Featured image photo credit to the fabulous photographer Helen Perry who you can find on Instagram @perryspatch