The best way to spoil a loved one low-key is with a traditional afternoon tea at a stunning venue and luckily, London has lots to offer from the classic scones and finger sandwiches to more exotic offerings featuring sushi and chocolate all washed down with a selection of teas or if you’re feeling fruity, a glass (or two!) of fizz.
Here are some of the amazing venues we’ve found in the capital that offer the best afternoon teas to be a true lady who lunches:
1 – Sketch, 9 Conduit Street
Worth it for the amazingly weird toilets alone, Sketch works out at great value as you can dine in the Michelin starred restaurant and enjoy fruit scones with cream, jam and a choice of teas for just £10. If you’re after something a bit fancy you can have the full works from £45 including a selection of finger sandwiches inc. caviar and quail egg and freshly baked cakes and pastries. You can add champagne for £57 and they also do a children’s afternoon tea for £25 so even younger guests can enjoy swanky treat.
2 – Cinnamon Soho, 5 Kingley Street
For afternoon tea with a twist head to Cinnamon Soho for an Indian twist on the traditional afternoon tea with a selection including Bombay potato bonda, tandoori chicken and chutney sandwich all washed down with a post of freshly brewed in-house Masala Chai tea and a slice of ginger and garam masala cake. It’s a reasonable £25 for two for the standard afternoon tea or add a tenner for a cinnamon bellini each.
3 – Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair
If you’re out to impress, the true show stopper has to be Claridge’s. Perfect for a mother’s day treat or birthday, the sandwiches don’t stop coming until you say so and everything is brought out on the most beautifully decorated china you will truly feel like royalty. A tea connoisseur is on board to help you select from the decadent tea menu and whilst prices start at £58 each afternoon tea at Claridge’s truly is a magical experience of art deco deliciousness.
4 – Bake-a-Boo, 86 Mill Lane, West Hampstead
Those with allergies or are gluten-free will be well looked after at Bake-a-Boo as they have ‘sensitive’ menus that cater for those with dietary needs. As well as a gluten-free menu there is also a dairy-free menu and a dairy and egg-free menu so everyone can enjoy their buttery scones and amazing range of cupcakes and sweet treats. The traditional afternoon tea starts at just £19.50 per person (£27 inc. bubbles) and the sensitive menus start at £21.
5 – Teanamu Chaya Teahouse, 4 Melina Road, Shepherd’s Bush
Looking for something completely different to the usual scones and pastries? Teanamu Chaya Teahouse has a selection of some of the best Chinese and Japanese teas accompanied by a mouthwatering spread of wakame seaweed open sandwiches with tantalising fillings such as chilli bamboo, kumquat ginger and garlic miso cream cheese. Nutty, choccy soft-set fudge and mango seed cake are a cut above the rest and there’s also dim sum on the menu, coming in at £30 each or a cheaper menu minus the dim sum is £25.
6 – The Orangery, Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens
If it’s spectacular views you’re after with your tea and scones The Orangery at Kensington Palace offers an amazing spread with a stunning view of the royal gardens which is especially pretty on a sunny day. The only royal place where you can enjoy a full traditional English afternoon tea The Orangery offers delicious orange-scented and current scones served with tempting Cornish clotted cream and English strawberry jam. Prices start at £27.50 per person and will leave you feeling like the queen you are.
7 – Le Chandelier, 161 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich
The extensive tea menu is reason enough to visit this dainty tea salon whose amazing selection has been chosen by Tea Master Edward Esler with exotic teas coming all the way from family owned farms in Indian, Taiwan, China and Japan. Le Chandelier places a heavy emphasise on celebrating tranquillity and taking time out to fully enjoy your tea and give back to your mind and body. The traditional spread of scones, sandwiches and pastries will set you back just £18 making it an affordable and delicious way to relax and unwind after a hectic day.
8 – The Original Maids Of Honour, 288 Kew Road, Kew Gardens
With the scrumptious cream tea starting at just £7 for tea with scones with all the trimmings The Original Maids Of Honour is one of the more affordable options if you’re on a budget but still want to be a little fancy. Set in the gorgeous backdrop of Kew Gardens, this dainty tea house is the perfect hideaway after a busy day of exploring the gardens and if you need something a bit more filling, the high tea featuring a full traditional spread of sandwiches and sweet treats will set you back just £15.
Whilst it’s on the pricier side at £37.50, the deliciously decadent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych will blow you away with the ‘scrumdiddilyumptious’ spread of divine golden chocolate eggs, blueberry brioche and tastefully fun flavoured candy floss that reflects the fun of Roald Dhal all accompanied by dainty sandwiches and enticing teas. The spread is an impressive head turner and will make a fabulous treat for a younger guest as a pre-theatre pleasure.
10 – Sushi afternoon tea at Ichi Sushi, Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge
Chocolate tea and sushi? Sounds so wrong it’s right and Ichi Sushi and Sashimi Bar does them both so well this modern spin comes complete with delicious cakes such as passion delice, green tea opera and coconut, passion fruit and strawberry temptation. Forget finger sandwiches, tempt your tastebuds with prawn, okra and salmon nigiri and Ichi specials Itchi chicken roll, a delicate combination of chicken with tuna, spicy mayonnaise and sesame seeds. Priced at a reasonable £25 each this is the afternoon tea for people who don’t like afternoon tea.