What better way to catch up with loved ones than with a long, lazy afternoon of fine finger sandwiches, decadent desserts, and never-ending tea (or champagne if you prefer). Enter the hallowed British afternoon tea tradition.
There is nowhere better to enjoy the most British of treats than in the heart of Regent Street and St James’s – with iconic sights such as Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Pall Mall and Soho all just a stone’s throw away. Choose from a traditional afternoon tea or something a little different with our roundup of the best afternoon teas in central London.
The Langham London
Cited as the birthplace of afternoon tea, you can't go wrong with The Langham's Palm Court. What’s on the menu? A modern spin on a tradition that taps into the archives of Britain’s favourite biscuits and baked tarts. Quench your thirst with a selection of JING teas and English sparkling wine. Younger guests can enjoy its Children’s Afternoon Tea complete with intriguing sandwiches and surprising, sweet treats. There are also gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options which are available to book now.
Hotel Café Royal
Enjoy award-winning afternoon teas in a variety of settings at Hotel Café Royal. Will you pick the Grade II listed Oscar Wilde Bar (originally established in 1865 and often visited by Oscar Wilde himself)?
Or, if you’re looking for a contemporary alternative, try its Van Gough Afternoon Tea. Take a magical tasting journey through some of Van Gough's most famous artworks including sumptuous sandwiches such as crab and dill on lemon bread, inspired by Van Gogh’s 1887 artwork, Two Crabs. Sample light-as-air scones and creative confectionary – we love the sunflower seed pralines presented as The Vase with Twelve Sunflowers.
Just off Regent Street, discover Michelin-starred sketch – where even visiting the bathroom is an Instagrammable moment. Eat afternoon tea staples like warm scones alongside unusual additions like a gourmet egg with soldiers, truffle brioche buns, zingy cheesecake and berry macaroons. Got specific dietary requirements? Try its nut, dairy and gluten free, vegan menu.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is world-famous for a reason. A quintessential experience, The Ritz is the only UK hotel to have a certified Tea Sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu, whose job it is to visit tea plantations across the globe and source the world’s very best teas. Our tea of choice is the exclusive Ritz Royal Blend, only available at The Ritz. With an elegant ambience – complete with live harp and piano-playing – setting the scene in the Palm Court, this really is an exceptional service. Treat someone special or plan a day out they’ll always remember with its Children’s afternoon tea.
Fortnum & Mason
A culinary cornerstone in historic St James’s. For so many, afternoon tea doesn’t get much more iconic than at Fortnum & Mason. Book a table in the award-winning Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon – which has been serving tea since 1926 – and tuck into a classic afternoon tea. Or recreate the experience at home and craft your perfect afternoon tea using goodies from its hampers.
Dukes Hotel offers afternoon tea with a difference: there’s the Vegan Tea, the Tea for Little Dukes and Duchesses, or the MarTEAni, inspired by their world-renowned martinis created with The East India Gin company. Savour your choice overlooking a peaceful courtyard – perhaps post a morning visiting St James’s numerous galleries.
Afternoon tea is the perfect treat if you’re celebrating a special occasion or want an indulgent dining experience. Looking for date night ideas? Add a spark to your evening with our top picks.
For more dining inspiration, explore Regent Street’s restaurants.