Home Estate Planning London’s best afternoon tea, from Claridge’s to The Cadogan

London’s best afternoon tea, from Claridge’s to The Cadogan

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Except for talking about the weather, queueing politely, and cricket, there are few things more typically British than afternoon tea, with its cucumber sandwiches, Earl Grey, and warm scones. So, for people who want to keep this refined tradition alive, Alex Dalzell has put together a list of excellent high tea spots in London. 

Pan Pacific London

This afternoon tea shines with its Kopi Tiam edition in a creative collaboration with the Cantonese Bun House. Blending traditional Chinese flavours and British classics, highlights include an eclectic dim sum selection, featuring the tongue-tingling Sarawak pepper beef bean curd, and a sumptuous barbecue pork belly bao. The sweet selection captivates too, especially the unique black sesame walnut scones with jam and clotted cream. With options for children, vegetarians, vegans, and various other dietary requirements, it’s a comprehensive experience elevated by the attentive staff and a glass or two of Champagne. 

80 Houndsditch, The City – book here

The Cadogan 

The Sloane Street hotel has drafted in head pastry chef from sister property Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire to bring a touch of seasonal creativity to the afternoon tea. Apart from the fail-safe scones with cream and jam, everything on the menu has been given a twist, and you can expect delights such as barbecue corn bread topped with slices of Wagyu beef and chilli sauce and a choux pastry religieuse filled with the flavours of coffee and cardamon. Pair with six choices of English sparkling wine and an impressive tea list. 

75 Sloane Street, Chelsea – book here

The Rosewood

The Holborn hotel’s Art Afternoon Tea has been recreating some of the world’s most recognisable works of art in cake form since 2017 and the latest collection showcases its greatest hits. There’s a black forest gateau disguised as one of Andy Warhol’s Campbells Soup Cans, Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms immortalised in jasmine and vanilla bavarois, and even Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon gets a chocolate reinvention. The design-forward Mirror Room is a suitable spot to enjoy these masterpieces. 

252 High Holborn, Holborn – book here

The Harrods Tea Rooms

Tea runs through the veins of the Knightsbridge department store, with founder Charles Henry Harrod starting out as a tea merchant in the East End. The go-to spot for tea dances in the 1920s and 1930s, The Georgian – as it was known then – now serves an elegant afternoon tea featuring one of the most exquisite tea selections in the UK, including classic Earl Grey, Hawaiian black, Arishan tai milk oolong, and the rare jasmine silver needle white tea. Vegan and children’s menus are available, too.

Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge – book here

The Berkeley

London’s most famous ‘cakewalk’ features seasonal collections that are almost too beautiful to eat. Inspired by the runway’s most talked about pieces, the sweet creations are works of art, and the current menu sees a striking Versace dress, immortalised in vanilla mousse and sponge, while Harris Reed’s standout coat for Nina Ricci is crafted with dark chocolate and yuzu ganache. Eagle-eyed trendsetters will also notice recreations of Prada handbags, Victoria Beckham jackets, and Alexander McQueen’s gowns.

Wilton Place, Knightsbridge – book here

Brown’s Hotel  

Follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, who loved to take tea in The Drawing Room at Brown’s. Tea here is a classic British affair, with neatly crimped sandwiches (all the traditional varieties are present, including smoked salmon, salt beef with horseradish mayonnaise, and prawn cocktail), dainty pastries, and pillowy scones stuffed with fresh cream and jam, all served with a fine selection of teas and herbal infusions, plus Champagne on request. A plant-based alternative and special Jungle Book-themed afternoon tea for little guests are also available.  

33 Albemarle Street, Mayfair – book here

The Corinthia

Under the glinting light of the Baccarat chandelier and the peaceful tunes from the Steinway piano, Champagne and cake trolleys navigate the Crystal Moon Lounge to make regular stops at the impeccably laid tables. From hand-painted bone china to the weighty Champagne flutes, the attention to detail is incredible and the artful patisseries and delicate finger sandwiches are almost too pretty to eat.

Whitehall Place, Whitehall – book here


Step off Mayfair’s Brook Street and into the chequerboard tiled floor of the Claridge’s foyer between 2.45pm and 5.30pm, and you’ll be greeted by the sound of clinking china, lilting piano music, and plenty of chatter. Possibly one of the most famous teas in London, pâtissier Thibault Hauchard brings a touch of French flair to proceedings; keep your eyes peeled for the themed menus – from Wimbledon to royal milestones, this place knows how to do a celebration through cake.

Brook Street, Mayfair – book here

The Goring

Four generations of the same family have run this hotel since 1910 and the afternoon ritual of tea on the terrace has been part of the hotel’s DNA since Jeremy Goring opened the doors. Things stick to tradition here and tea blends from around the world are poured into fine gilt-edged china while the towers of sandwiches and bite-sized scones are delicious down to the last crumb. We’d always recommend upgrading to a glass of Bollinger – it’s how they would have done it in the twenties.

15 Beeston Place, Belgravia – book here

The Rosebery at The Mandarin Oriental

If rare teas are your thing, this is the place to go – whether it’s Orange Pekoe from Sri Lanka or the famed Golden Monkey leaf from China, the dedicated tea master will help you find the perfect blend. The standard sandwich fillings have been given a reboot, with crayfish cocktail with avocado and egg mayonnaise with black truffle among the standouts. Despite the boundary-pushing menu, the lounge decor remains comfortably old-world.

66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge – book here

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