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. Le Méridien Piccadilly Book Le Méridien Piccadilly
Afternoon tea at Le Méridien brings Peter Rabbit to life in cake form. Served in a beautiful dining room with a glass ceiling, tuck into edible flower pots and strawberry ganache toadstools, washed down with tea from dainty Peter-themed mugs.
7. Town House at The Kensington Book Town House at The Kensington
It’s not every day you get to bite into a red phone box, chomp down on The Shard, or tuck into Big Ben. (Yes, we know it’s actually the bell..) The London Landmarks afternoon tea celebrates 2 great things in one – our wonderful capital city, and the ancient art of devouring cakes, sandwiches, scones and cups of tea.
8. aqua shard Book aqua shard
The Mary Poppins tea at aqua shard is practically perfect in every way… Fly up to the 31st floor, where a magical experience awaits, complete with a selection of treats from Mary’s handbag, spoonfuls of ‘medicine’ for your champagne, freshly spun candy floss and views that are supercali… well, you know the rest.
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.