To truly experience British culture when visiting London, one thing you absolutely need to do is go for afternoon tea. Whether you want traditionally elegant high tea or one with a quirky twist, London has it all. Read through our list below to find out our favourite high tea locations in London.
If you’re looking for the most classically British high tea in London, Fortnum & Mason is an absolute must.
Head to the elegant Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in the famous Piccadilly store and enjoy the dainty finger sandwiches, scones with an array of jams and curds, and afternoon tea cakes fit for a queen (or king). Choose from a huge selection of Fortnum’s famous teas, and of course at any good afternoon tea, you can always opt for champagne. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try the Matcha mocktail or the Earl Grey Fizz!
High tea at Fortnum & Mason will make you feel like royalty. The tea salon was actually opened by Queen Elizabeth herself, so you will literally be following in her footsteps!
Sketch is not your standard high tea destination. If you’re looking for a modern twist on the classic English afternoon tea, this is the place to go!
Located in a converted 18th Century townhouse in Mayfair, Sketch spans across two floors of artist-conceived restaurants, including the two Michelin starred Lecture Room and Library restaurant. The Gallery, where high tea takes place between 12.30pm and 4.30pm, is charmingly decorated in the style of a 1930s tearoom with walls covered in over 200 of celebrated artist, David Shrigley’s, witty sketches.
You have the option of starting your tea with a glass of Earl-Grey infused Veuve Cliquot, which is then followed by finger sandwiches and dainty pastries. And of course for the main event, the tea itself, you have seven varieties to choose from to accompany the free refills of scones and cakes!
We can’t talk about high tea in London without mentioning The Ritz. The Palm Court restaurant has held its reputation as the most traditional and quintessentially British afternoon tea venue for many years, and once you’ve been it’s not hard to see why!
Everything at The Ritz is immaculately presented, from the finely cut sandwiches to the smartly dressed waiters. Enjoy music from the resident pianist, harpist, or string quintet whilst sipping one of the 18 different loose-leaf teas.
To fit in with the elegant atmosphere, men should wear a jacket and tie, and sportswear or jeans are not permitted. So make the most of the occasion and dress to impress!
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key than The Ritz, but still want to indulge in a fabulously British high tea, try the Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery in St. Martin’s Place.
Enjoy stunning views of Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben from the top floor restaurant while you indulge in soup, sandwiches and freshly baked scones. Finish off with the delicious “fancies”, including the rhubarb and custard open éclair and the caramel chocolate fudge cheesecake!
Tumble down the rabbit hole to this Alice in Wonderland inspired high tea at the Sanderson. Once you’ve found the menus hidden inside books you will be served brightly coloured sandwiches and exotically flavoured patisseries on beautifully quirky vintage crockery.
The Sanderson has its own exclusive teas for you to choose from, as well as 5 new tailor-made teas inspired by Lewis Carroll’s characters to fit with the fantastical theme.
Book your slot for either the classic Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea between 12.45pm and 4pm, or treat yourself to the Mad Hatter’s Tipsy Evening Tea from 7pm until 9pm.
At 128 metres above the ground, the Shangri-La restaurant, Ting, has one of the best views over London and serves a delicious afternoon tea while you admire the London skyline.
Ting serves two different options for a luxurious high tea: the classic English afternoon tea of traditional sandwiches, scones and pastries or an Asian inspired high tea. The Asian inspired tea includes innovative flavours such as matcha tea scones with sesame, Peanut Mochi pastries and black sesame and kumquat macaroons. Instead of sandwiches you’ll be served sushi-style dishes like the cucumber and sesame uramaki; crab, avocado and tobiko rolls and fried vegetable gyoza.
Far from your average high tea, this exciting and original afternoon experience takes place on one of London’s iconic red buses, which will drive you around the city’s sites while you eat! The sightseeing tour lasts around 1 hour 30 minutes and the bus can be hired out for private parties.
B Bakery offers a French take on the traditional English afternoon tea on the bus tour, serving a delicious array of sandwiches, quiches, macaroons, sweet pastries and mini cupcakes. You can also request vegetarian, gluten-free or halal menus, making it a wonderful experience for everyone and anyone!