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14 London Afternoon Teas That Are Actually Worth The Money

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There’s no getting around it — afternoon tea is expensive. It just is. What’s more open for debate is whether it’s actually good value for money. After all, sandwiches can be made at home, and fifty quid equals many dozens of Mr Kipling’s finest. But if the sandwiches are generously filled crustless wonders, the cakes take up several tiers, and the booze is bottomless, well, that’s a bit different. Faintly ropey tea-and-fizz deals are ten-a-penny online right now, but these superior ones are actually worth splashing some hard-earned cash on.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Berners Tavern

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10 Berners St, Fitzrovia
London W1T 3NP, UK

Overseen by Jason Atherton, afternoon tea in the OTT surrounds of Berners Tavern is cheffy but substantial: toasted crumpets with brown shrimp and caviar, English mustard and cider-cured ham croissants, apple and cinnamon crumble tarts and crisp coffee macaroons, plus a selection of teas. £39.50.

Instagram/@bernerstavern

2. The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone

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28-30 Seymour St, Marylebone
London W1H 7JB, UK

This Marylebone bolthole uses zany characters to impress upon diners its choice — Aunt Wilhemina representing trad; Uncle Seymour representing trad, but, a bit less trad. Points for smoked chicken and salt beef on the sandwiches in the former, while Seymour’s sausage rolls and croque monsieur offer some serious alternatives. Even the cakes get a bit of a refresh, with banana and brown butter bringing things home strongly. £39.5

Afternoon tea at Zetter Townhouse Marylebone, with scones, sandwiches, and tea
A spread
Zetter Townhouse Marylebone [Official Photo]

3. Dean Street Townhouse

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69-71 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 3SE, UK

From scones with clotted cream, jams and tea (£8) to a three-tiered extravaganza with a Grand Marnier cocktail (£30), the tea offering here in the heart of Soho covers all bases. There’s also a selection of High Tea-style savouries, including Welsh rarebit and, pleasingly, fish fingers. 

4. Maitre Choux Soho

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60 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 6AW, UK

Eclair specialist Maitre Choux has a two-person “tasting menu” tea in its Soho cafe. There’s a selection of chouquettes, two glasses of Laurent-Perrier champagne and more eclairs than most people could conceivably eat at a sitting, including dark chocolate, Paris-Brest, Tahitian vanilla and pecan and raspberry meringue. £84 for two

Facebook/Maitre Choux

5. Claridge's

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Brook Street, Mayfair
London W1K 4HR, UK

No League of Extraordinary Afternoon Teas would be complete without the Claridge’s one. The Mayfair institution serves it every day, complete with fancy sandwiches (Norfolk chicken with gem lettuce, roasted corn, marjoram and mayonnaise on malted bread, for example), pastries (pears Belle Helene, blackcurrant-chocolate pearl and a hazelnut Paris-Brest) and freshly baked scones. It’s the most expensive one on the list, but worth it for a real splurge. £70

Claridge’s [Official]

6. Ham Yard Hotel

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1 Ham Yard, Soho
London W1D 7DT, UK

Afternoon tea at the Ham Yard Hotel is a seasonal affair, which right now means smoked salmon sandwiches, sausage rolled with mulled wine jam, Dorset crab croquettes, profiteroles, scones, rum-infused fruit cake and a cocktail, plus hot drinks. £42.50

Firmdale Hotels [Official]

7. XU Teahouse & Restaurant

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30 Rupert St
London W1D 6DL, UK

One of London’s most stylish restaurants serves up its version of a Taiwanese tea ceremony every weekend. Start with a glass of seasonal cold-brew tea and move on to one of its house blends, before feasting on char sui girolles puffs and sweet potato taro dumplings, steamed red bean buns, fried cinnamon mochi and Taiwanese pineapple cake. £35

Instagram/@xu_london

8. Cakes & Bubbles

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70 Regent St, West End
London W1B 4DY, UK

“Is a hot dog a sandwich?” is out of date, so it’s time to ask: “Is champagne tea?” At Albert Adria’s dessert palace Cakes and Bubbles, it can be, with the Spanish pastry master’s Baron Bigod cheesecake, air pancake, and mango sorbet stick forming part of a set cake menu that pairs best with a glass of, well, the bubbles. Hotel Cafe Royal serves its own afternoon tea next door, but this is the more interesting and singular of the two. £32 / £42

A coconut flower for afternoon tea at Cakes and Bubbles Cakes and Bubbles [Official Photo]

9. Lyaness

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20 Upper Ground, South Bank
London SE1 9PD, UK

Billed as a “tongue-in-cheek take on a high-end 80s dinner party with a bold Lyan twist”, the Fancy Tea at Lyaness (formerly Dandelyan) puts Ryan Chetiyawardana’s cocktails front and centre. It’s actually more plentiful, and less tortured, than it sounds, with the likes of coronation sweet potato and squash sandwiches, devilled eggs, pineapple upside-down scones and trifle. Lovely river views too. £58

Lyaness [Official]

10. Fortnum & Mason

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181 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1A 1ER, UK

Taken in the tranquil surrounds of it Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Fortnum & Mason’s offering is less a meal, more a clotted cream-enhanced meditation session. They’ve been serving it since 1926, and the formula remains mercifully unchanged: warm scones, perfectly trimmed finger sandwiches (think rare-breed hen’s egg mayo and cress, or cucumber with minted cream cheese) and dinky little cakes, plus something extra from the Cake Carriage. £60

Fortnum & Mason [Official]

11. The Wolseley

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160 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1J 9EB, UK

The Wolseley serves teas every day, ranging from a cream tea at £12.75 to a full-blown champagne afternoon tea at £40, complete with freshly baked millefeuille, lemon meringiue and rum punch eclairs, macaroons and battenberg. It’s a good idea to book, especially at the weekend, but they always keep a few tables back for walk-ins.

The Wolseley [Official]

12. The Ritz London

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150 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1J 9BR, UK

The one to rule them all – and right now they’re offering a discount on bookings in 2020, meaning it’s “only” £51. With 18 varieties of loose-leaf tea, perfect little sandwiches, freshly baked scones and pastries that are topped up on request, plus a pianist, harpist or string quartet in the Palm Court, this very much counts as an actual meal out.

The Ritz [Official]

13. Roast

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The Floral Hall, Stoney St
London SE1 1TL, UK

‘Very large’ are the words that best describes this one. Look at the size of those slices! And that’s only a quarter of what comes to the table! There are also finger sandwiches, savouries, scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan versions can be pre-booked. An excellent Borough Market option. £30

Roast Restaurant [Official]

14. The Goring

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15 Beeston Pl, Westminster
London SW1W 0JW, UK

Award-winning with good reason. At £50 before booze this is spendy even by the standards of London afternoon teas, but everything from the service to the surroundings is properly five-star. Expect plentiful pastries, scones with homemade jams and sandwiches served with blended and first-flush teas from around the world.

Instagram/@thegoring

1. Berners Tavern

10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NP, UK
Instagram/@bernerstavern

Overseen by Jason Atherton, afternoon tea in the OTT surrounds of Berners Tavern is cheffy but substantial: toasted crumpets with brown shrimp and caviar, English mustard and cider-cured ham croissants, apple and cinnamon crumble tarts and crisp coffee macaroons, plus a selection of teas. £39.50.

10 Berners St, Fitzrovia
London W1T 3NP, UK

2. The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone

28-30 Seymour St, Marylebone, London W1H 7JB, UK
Afternoon tea at Zetter Townhouse Marylebone, with scones, sandwiches, and tea
A spread
Zetter Townhouse Marylebone [Official Photo]

This Marylebone bolthole uses zany characters to impress upon diners its choice — Aunt Wilhemina representing trad; Uncle Seymour representing trad, but, a bit less trad. Points for smoked chicken and salt beef on the sandwiches in the former, while Seymour’s sausage rolls and croque monsieur offer some serious alternatives. Even the cakes get a bit of a refresh, with banana and brown butter bringing things home strongly. £39.5

28-30 Seymour St, Marylebone
London W1H 7JB, UK

3. Dean Street Townhouse

69-71 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3SE, UK

From scones with clotted cream, jams and tea (£8) to a three-tiered extravaganza with a Grand Marnier cocktail (£30), the tea offering here in the heart of Soho covers all bases. There’s also a selection of High Tea-style savouries, including Welsh rarebit and, pleasingly, fish fingers. 

69-71 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 3SE, UK

4. Maitre Choux Soho

60 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 6AW, UK
Facebook/Maitre Choux

Eclair specialist Maitre Choux has a two-person “tasting menu” tea in its Soho cafe. There’s a selection of chouquettes, two glasses of Laurent-Perrier champagne and more eclairs than most people could conceivably eat at a sitting, including dark chocolate, Paris-Brest, Tahitian vanilla and pecan and raspberry meringue. £84 for two

60 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 6AW, UK

5. Claridge's

Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR, UK
Claridge’s [Official]

No League of Extraordinary Afternoon Teas would be complete without the Claridge’s one. The Mayfair institution serves it every day, complete with fancy sandwiches (Norfolk chicken with gem lettuce, roasted corn, marjoram and mayonnaise on malted bread, for example), pastries (pears Belle Helene, blackcurrant-chocolate pearl and a hazelnut Paris-Brest) and freshly baked scones. It’s the most expensive one on the list, but worth it for a real splurge. £70

Brook Street, Mayfair
London W1K 4HR, UK

6. Ham Yard Hotel

1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT, UK
Firmdale Hotels [Official]

Afternoon tea at the Ham Yard Hotel is a seasonal affair, which right now means smoked salmon sandwiches, sausage rolled with mulled wine jam, Dorset crab croquettes, profiteroles, scones, rum-infused fruit cake and a cocktail, plus hot drinks. £42.50

1 Ham Yard, Soho
London W1D 7DT, UK

7. XU Teahouse & Restaurant

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL, UK
Instagram/@xu_london

One of London’s most stylish restaurants serves up its version of a Taiwanese tea ceremony every weekend. Start with a glass of seasonal cold-brew tea and move on to one of its house blends, before feasting on char sui girolles puffs and sweet potato taro dumplings, steamed red bean buns, fried cinnamon mochi and Taiwanese pineapple cake. £35

30 Rupert St
London W1D 6DL, UK

8. Cakes & Bubbles

70 Regent St, West End, London W1B 4DY, UK
A coconut flower for afternoon tea at Cakes and Bubbles Cakes and Bubbles [Official Photo]

“Is a hot dog a sandwich?” is out of date, so it’s time to ask: “Is champagne tea?” At Albert Adria’s dessert palace Cakes and Bubbles, it can be, with the Spanish pastry master’s Baron Bigod cheesecake, air pancake, and mango sorbet stick forming part of a set cake menu that pairs best with a glass of, well, the bubbles. Hotel Cafe Royal serves its own afternoon tea next door, but this is the more interesting and singular of the two. £32 / £42

70 Regent St, West End
London W1B 4DY, UK

9. Lyaness

20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD, UK
Lyaness [Official]

Billed as a “tongue-in-cheek take on a high-end 80s dinner party with a bold Lyan twist”, the Fancy Tea at Lyaness (formerly Dandelyan) puts Ryan Chetiyawardana’s cocktails front and centre. It’s actually more plentiful, and less tortured, than it sounds, with the likes of coronation sweet potato and squash sandwiches, devilled eggs, pineapple upside-down scones and trifle. Lovely river views too. £58

20 Upper Ground, South Bank
London SE1 9PD, UK

10. Fortnum & Mason

181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER, UK
Fortnum & Mason [Official]

Taken in the tranquil surrounds of it Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Fortnum & Mason’s offering is less a meal, more a clotted cream-enhanced meditation session. They’ve been serving it since 1926, and the formula remains mercifully unchanged: warm scones, perfectly trimmed finger sandwiches (think rare-breed hen’s egg mayo and cress, or cucumber with minted cream cheese) and dinky little cakes, plus something extra from the Cake Carriage. £60

181 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1A 1ER, UK

11. The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EB, UK
The Wolseley [Official]

The Wolseley serves teas every day, ranging from a cream tea at £12.75 to a full-blown champagne afternoon tea at £40, complete with freshly baked millefeuille, lemon meringiue and rum punch eclairs, macaroons and battenberg. It’s a good idea to book, especially at the weekend, but they always keep a few tables back for walk-ins.

160 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1J 9EB, UK

12. The Ritz London

150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR, UK
The Ritz [Official]

The one to rule them all – and right now they’re offering a discount on bookings in 2020, meaning it’s “only” £51. With 18 varieties of loose-leaf tea, perfect little sandwiches, freshly baked scones and pastries that are topped up on request, plus a pianist, harpist or string quartet in the Palm Court, this very much counts as an actual meal out.

150 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1J 9BR, UK

13. Roast

The Floral Hall, Stoney St, London SE1 1TL, UK
Roast Restaurant [Official]

‘Very large’ are the words that best describes this one. Look at the size of those slices! And that’s only a quarter of what comes to the table! There are also finger sandwiches, savouries, scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan versions can be pre-booked. An excellent Borough Market option. £30

The Floral Hall, Stoney St
London SE1 1TL, UK

14. The Goring

15 Beeston Pl, Westminster, London SW1W 0JW, UK
Instagram/@thegoring

Award-winning with good reason. At £50 before booze this is spendy even by the standards of London afternoon teas, but everything from the service to the surroundings is properly five-star. Expect plentiful pastries, scones with homemade jams and sandwiches served with blended and first-flush teas from around the world.

15 Beeston Pl, Westminster
London SW1W 0JW, UK

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