Places for Afternoon Tea

The UK is perhaps best known for the Monarchy, Fish and Chips and Cups of Tea... fact. Find out where to get the best brew in town here.

As British as... well, Afternoon Tea. This little custom is self-defining... and we blimmin' love it.

Nothing refreshes quite like a cuppa. And nothing helps dry up that liquidy tea quite like a slab of cake or a cucumber buttie.

Refinement is the name of the game where afternoon tea is concerned... so don your best tweed/ pill-box hat, pull up a pew and tuck into that most British of rituals.

Bea's Of Bloomsbury
44 Theobald's Road Holborn WC1X 8SP
Region: Holborn
Nearest Station: Holborn (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Choosing the indie option of Bea’s of Bloomsbury for your afternoon tea says a lot about a person. It says you respect the independent spirit of this small Bloomsbury tea and cake shop. It suggests you’ve seen the incredible meringue sculptures that decorate its windows; and it says that you value the exquisite cakes at Bea’s over the pomp of the afternoon tea ritual.

  • USERS 9/10
110-112 Columbia Road Bethnal Green E2 7RG
Region: Bethnal Green
Nearest Station: Hoxton (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Treacle on Columbia Road boasts of its dazzling cupcakes and simple, no frills mugs of tea to wash them down with and for most of us that’s all we need to call an afternoon a winner. Cupcakes may have become a victim of their own saccharine success but when they taste like Treacle’s it is difficult to care. The colours summon childhood memories and on a budget this is one of London’s best.

OXO Tower Brasserie
Barge House Street SE1 9PH
Region: South Bank
Nearest Station: Waterloo East (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: This is the curve ball known as Not Afternoon Tea, a daily event in the upper echelons of the OXO Tower in a world where everything is opposite. Forward is backward, backward is forward and instead of tea and scones it’s cocktails and chocolate tarts. If you find the concept of afternoon tea a little stuffy then this is the place to be with the all the views, the haute cuisine and the subversive switching of an institution.

Maison Bertaux
28 Greek Street Soho W1D 5DQ
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Leicester Square (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Not particularly afternoon tea but it’s one that everyone should visit, especially if you’ve ever questioned London’s romantic credentials. Not quite the hidden gem it was but now more people are enjoying the best window display of cakes in the city, zany artwork and the café’s unmistakable Breton bohemia. Tres cool.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
  • USERS 10/10
Drink Shop & Do
9 Caledonian Road Islington N1 9DX
Region: Islington
Nearest Station: King's Cross St. Pancras (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Combining all things craft and kitsch, Drink, Shop and Do has added tea and cake to its irresistible package. Take an origami lesson while sipping on delicious loose-leaf tea and home baked cakes or get involved in the shop’s book club before an afternoon trip to the bright café.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 10/10
Sketch Lecture Room & Library
9 Conduit Street W1S 2XG
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Sketch and its Parlour room come straight out of the court of Louis XV. This is the only place in town where it’s acceptable to indulge in sticky fingered fun and clotted cream covered faces without feeling rude. The quality of the dainty sandwiches and pastries is sublime but this Sketch is all about the luxury of a palatial cup of tea. Monsieur, with these scones, you’re really spoiling us.

  • 8/100
  • USERS 9/10
Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Restaurant
109-125 Knightsbridge Knightsbridge SW1X 7RJ
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge

AIL Says: Harvey Nichols is the less expensive way to enjoy an English institution if you don’t feel up to Fortnum and Mason or the Lanesborough. The Harvey Nichols afternoon tea is grabbing a name for itself with an excellent loose blend tea and a suitably suave environment in which to drink it. Enjoy cakes and scones with Cornish clotted cream in the Fifth Floor Restaurant between 3pm and 5pm daily.

Fortnum & Mason
181-186 Piccadilly Mayfair W1J 9EH
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Green Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Fortnum and Mason has been selling tea for over 300 years, which is some CV. This year their new Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was opened by none other than HM the Queen, who offered it the Royal approval. £38.00 will buy you finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes from the Diamond Jubilee Cake Carriage plus Fortnum’s Classic Blend Tea.

  • USERS 8/10
The Library Bar
1 Lanesborough Place SW1X 7LY
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner

AIL Says: What could be more traditional than afternoon tea at the Lanesborough Hotel with the company of Britain’s only in-house tea sommelier to guide you? The silver service means jackets and shoes unless you want to look like a doofus in front of the tea sipping fraternity you now call friends. And what tea sipping there is to be had. On top of the usual trimmings of scones and finger sandwiches the tea is picked for the season and it’s just as well there’s a master on hand to help you through the mazy menu. All this is just £35.00 per person and you could always make it ‘Irish’ with a glass of Tattinger.

  • USERS 3/10
Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James Street W1F 9DE
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: If you like the flamboyant extravagance that Soho does best then Bob Bob Ricard is for you. The Champagne afternoon tea is the only way to go and rushing on the bubbles is positively encouraged. What’s more the all-booth dining room features tables equipped with a ‘Champagne Button’ which when pressed summons a new bottle of pop. The over the top art deco interior is incredibly ostentatious, remaining impressive with every visit. The usual finger rolls and cakes cost around £35.00 with Champagne.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
Palm Court
The Ritz 150 Piccadilly Mayfair W1J 9BS
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Green Park

AIL Says: Surely, this is the daddy of all afternoon teas... Tea at The Ritz. Head to Ritz's Palm Court for oodles of grandeur (and a little pomp). The price-tag is hefty, but so are the bragging rights! Prepare to book in advance. Way in advance.

  • USERS 8/10

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