Scones and sandwiches are a failsafe combo, but these days, London’s afternoon tea punters are on the hunt for more than your average stand. From Alice in Wonderland alternate realities, to fashion-forward fancies and chocolate-lover favourites, these unique London restaurants take afternoon tea to the next level.
1. Sanderson Book Sanderson
Dreaming up an edible take on Lewis Carroll’s most famous tale, Sanderson invites you to its weird and wonderful Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. This otherworldly themed afternoon tea features meticulously-crafted dainties which give a nod to the tale’s most well-known characters, including king & queen-covered teapots, the White Rabbit’s macaron watch, and a ‘drink me’ potion (which won’t shrink you down to pocket size, don’t worry).
2. OXO Tower Brasserie Book OXO Tower Brasserie
The OXO Tower afternoon tea has emerged as one of London’s most sought-after post-lunch pastimes, with their ‘Theatre Not Afternoon Tea’ an outright rejection of your standard sandwiches and sweet things. Instead, enjoy a colourful tribute to London’s most famous West End shows and plays (think The Lion King, Wicked and Hamlet) as well as views of the London skyline from its South Bank postcode. There’s even a children’s version for pint-sized performance lovers.
3. Collins Room Book Collins Room
Calling all fashionistas! Prêt-à-Portea at Collins Room is arguably the chicest afternoon tea in London, with its delicacies inspired by runway trends. Similar to the catwalk’s bi-annual overhaul, expect the sweets and savouries to change every 6 months, and nibble on handbag, shoe, and garment-shaped cakes and biscuits.
4. One Aldwych Book One Aldwych
Inspired by the classic sweet shop One Aldwych, have created a magically nostalgic afternoon tea. Alongside classic, seasonally-inspired savouries, feast on afternoon tea treats like decadent golden eggs, blueberry brioche and playful flavoured candy floss.
5. sketch Gallery Book sketch Gallery
A powder-pink-hued homage to satirical doodler David Shrigley, sketch Gallery serves an unusual afternoon tea to match its eccentric surroundings. Served ‘sketch style’, enjoy a stand of creative savouries, and immaculate sweets including Malabar marshmallow, passion fruit tartlet, and pistachio choux bun.
6. W Hotel Book W Hotel
A tipsy-twist on the afternoon tea, W Hotel features English Garden-inspired cakes cleverly matched with crystallised cocktail shots. This glamorous, contemporary hideaway offers a truly unique afternoon tea stand, with treats including carrot and cardamom cake sandwiched between 2 crispy meringue clouds, and white chocolate covered sponge cake, layered with lemon thyme, avocado, pistachio and locally sourced honey.
7. Momo Book Momo
Heralded as London’s original North African den, Momo is a Heddon Street emporium from Parisian-Algerian restaurateur Mourad Mazouz. To be enjoyed in the bazaar-style dining room or out on the heated al fresco terrace, guests can enjoy Moroccan-inspired afternoon tea, with twists on tradition including cucumber and mint sandwiches, and scones with fig jam.
8. Champagne + Fromage Book Champagne + Fromage
Afternoon tea and cheese are both British institutions. Spotting an opportunity to merge 2 great pleasures, Champagne + Fromage‘s afternoon tea sees sarnies swapped for a cheese board, with 4 varieties gracing the stand.
9. The Halkin Book The Halkin
For the ultimate unusual afternoon tea in London, The Halkin offers a forward-thinking, decidedly ‘Basque’ twist on the norm. Swap sandwiches and cakes for Spanish-style tapas, with offerings including pork croquettes, and chocolate-smothered churros. This tea comes from the team behind Ametsa, so fine dining flair comes as a given at this unique London restaurant.
10. The Montague Book The Montague
Winner of the esteemed ‘Award of Excellence from the UK Tea Council, The Montague offers a unique safari-themed take on afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches and scones stay focussed on the traditional, though the sweet layer smacks of the African savannas: think giraffe-print macarons, edible soil with rum panna cotta, and mango & kiwi tart. The signature leopard print cocktail is a must-try: a creamy Amarula liqueur with intricate spots and paw prints.