Afternoon tea is one of the most special travel experiences you can have in London. There are many different styles of tea available in London and you can have this special English meal at a wide range of different price tiers. Whether you’re looking for an elegant lunch date or you want to go all out with the most expensive tea in London, there’s something for everyone.
The best place for afternoon tea in London depends on what you’re looking for in your tea-time experience. Keep reading to learn more about these unique London tea spots to figure out which one is the perfect choice for your next visit.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon
Fourth Floor, Fortnum & Mason
181 Piccadilly, St. James’s
London W1A 1ER
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon is possibly the most famous tea house in all of London. Situated in the Fortnum & Mason tea emporium, the shop’s notoriously delicious preserves, jams, and jellies feature front-and-center in this afternoon tea spread. The Diamond is a great choice for afternoon tea if you want the classic London high tea experience.
Here are some of the best things to look forward to if you reserve your afternoon tea at The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon:
- Unlimited refills: Don’t feel bad about ordering extra pastries or finger sandwiches while you’re at this all-you-can-eat tea buffet. Anything you don’t eat while you’re at the shop can be boxed up to take home with you later. You can even keep all of the jams and preserves that are served at your table, even if you don’t eat them during your tea.
- More than 80 tea types to choose from: If you’re looking to get a wide selection of different teas at your afternoon tea, Fortnum & Mason is the place to go. This shop is one of the oldest names associated with tea in all of London.
- Finger sandwiches, cakes, and pastries: The menu of this afternoon tea features classic English tea foods for a traditional take on the meal.
- Specialty Choices for Tea: You can choose from a traditional afternoon tea menu, as well as a vegan menu, a dairy free menu and a child’s menu. .
If you only have one place to visit for afternoon tea in London, Fortnum & Mason is an iconic stop you definitely won’t regret.
The Petersham Covent Garden
2 Floral St
London WC2E 9FB
If you want an afternoon tea with the ambiance of a cozy English cottage, the afternoon tea at Petersham Covent Garden at Petersham Nurseries is the place to be. With gorgeous floral arrangements and a greenhouse setting, you’ll eat traditional tea cakes and finger sandwiches surrounded by verdant beauty. This nursery also features lots of shopping and a restaurant for heavier meals.
These are some of the other attractions you’ll find at the afternoon tea from Petersham Nurseries:
- Seasonal, locally sourced ingredients: While the dishes at Petersham’s afternoon tea are still refined, there is a strong emphasis on seasonal and regional ingredients at this tea for a true farm-to-table menu.
- English classics and Indonesian treats: Petersham Nurseries have many of the traditional tea cakes and pastries up for grabs at their afternoon teas, but there are also some South Asian-inspired delicacies included that add a lavish and exotic note to the proceedings.
- Country garden setting: If you’re exhausted from the hustle and bustle of London, Petersham Nurseries are a great botanical diversion that will allow you to kick back and relax for an afternoon of the city’s most delicious tea foods.
The quality that makes Petersham Nurseries one of the best tea spots in London isn’t its delicious food or its lush atmosphere (although both are wonderful). The thing that makes Petersham Nurseries a must-pick spot for afternoon tea is getting to savor its secret gardens for yourself.
The Bloomsbury Hotel
16-22 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3NN
Once you step into Dalloway Terrace and sit down to eat under its flowering trees, you’d be excused for forgetting that you’re in London at all. The interiors at Dalloway can’t be described as anything less than idyllic, so it’s an amazing spot to just step off Tottenham Court Road and soak it all in.
This tea is also one of the more reasonably priced afternoon teas in London too, so if you’re traveling the city on a tight budget it’s a good way to get the full English tea experience without breaking your wallet in the process.
These are a few more things you can expect to enjoy at Dalloway Terrace:
- Cozy ambiance: The tea salon provides blankets on the terrace to help keep guests warm and comfortable no matter what time of year or weather they’re sitting in.
- Subtle staff: Dalloway Terrace is one of the oldest and most reputable tea restaurants in London, and it shows in their tea service. The wait staff at Dalloway is attentive without being smothering to make your afternoon tea perfect.
- Elevated comfort foods: From crab macaroni and cheese to classic fish and chips, Dalloway Terrace has more to offer than just traditional English tea foods. This makes it a good option for grabbing lunch as well as afternoon tea.
If you’re looking for a slightly more casual tea, Dalloway is a tea spot to look at. Even though it’s a little more relaxed than some other tea spots on this list, it still has plenty of sophistication to offer if you want a traditional English tea.
Reservations are accepted 4 weeks in advance of your visit and are absolutely necessary if you want to visit this location for afternoon tea.
Great Scotland Yard Hotel
3-5 Great Scotland Yard
London SW1A 2HN
Most famously associated with the London Police and the investigations of the notorious fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, the Scotland Yard Hotel is the perfect place to stop in London if you like a little literary intrigue and history with your afternoon tea.
The Parlour at Scotland Yard gives off a whimsical and somewhat eccentric vibe, with interiors that make you feel like you’re in the library of Holmes himself. But if you go to this tea parlor, don’t let the whimsical decor distract you from the food. The Parlour offers a large variety of savory options as well some of the most beautiful pastries and cakes in all of London.
Here are a few more things to expect if you decide to take your afternoon tea at Scotland yard:
- Close to the action: Scotland Yard is only a three-minute walk from Trafalgar Square, making it a great afternoon tea stop for anyone who is doing a sightseeing tour of London’s center.
- Variety of savory and sweet options: The Parlour’s range of afternoon tea snacks is broad in flavors, with some iconic dishes like scones with elderberry jam served alongside more daring offerings like crab salad finger sandwiches with lime and creme fraiche. No matter what type of flavors you prefer, you’re sure to find something you like.
- Royal treatment: The afternoon tea at Scotland Yard is a delight on its own without alcohol involved, but for those who want some bubbly with their pastries, the afternoon tea can be upgraded to a royal tea with champagne for only £10 more.
Whether you’re a lover of London’s literary reputation or you’re just here for the gateaux, you’re sure to leave The Parlour humbled by the scope of London’s history. Either way, you definitely won’t be leaving hungry.
The Orchid Lounge
London Pan Pacific Hotel
London EC3A 7AB
The Orchid Lounge is one of the of the newest tea parlors in London, and it’s located in one of the newest luxury hotels in London – the Pan Pacific.
With an exotic and tantalizing mixture of old-school British tradition and East Asian influences, The Orchid Lounge offers two very different kinds of afternoon teas. One is a traditional take on London’s afternoon tea with scones, sandwiches, and cakes.
The other afternoon tea menu leans into the unique Southasian tradition of kopi tiam, or coffee shops. This menu features savory Southasian favorites such as dim sum and bao. However, both of these afternoon teas take full advantage of the hotel’s excellent pastries.
Here are a few more delights to expect if you have your afternoon tea at the Orchid:
- Bespoke blends: The Orchid Lounge is proud to present a bespoke tea mixture that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, much less London.
- Unique fusion favorites: While you’ll be glad for the option of some of Britain’s best traditional afternoon tea snacks, you might find yourself obsessed with some of the Orchid’s more unconventional offerings, such as char siu pastries and curry choux.
- Knowledgeable staff: If you’re interested in learning more about the tea on offer at The Orchid Lounge, the afternoon tea features a tea connoisseur on call that can help explain the differences between the different types of tea. The tea connoisseur can also offer recommendations for tea and food pairings.
There are dozens of places across London to have afternoon tea, so to stick to a tea parlor has something special to offer. The Orchid Lounge is a modern take on this iconic tradition, and this newest tea parlor in town is on the cutting edge of afternoon tea cuisine in 21st-century London.
Afternoon Tea Is a Famous London Tradition
No matter which tea salon you end up choosing, you can hardly be expected to visit England’s biggest city without sitting down to at least one afternoon tea. Along with being one of the most memorable meals you’ll ever put in your mouth, London’s afternoon teas are a feast for the senses you won’t get the chance to enjoy anywhere else in the world.
Fancy afternoon tea stateside? Check out these best places for afternoon tea in the US for some great suggestions!
Even if you can’t get away to a proper tea, you can always curl up with your favorite tea-related cozy mystery and your favorite cuppa and dream!