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Traditional afternoon tea is the quintessentially British indulgence of delicate finger sandwiches, interspersed with dainty cakes set in grandiose tiered cake stands, accompanied by endlessly topped up cups of tea and/or fizz, traditionally taken anywhere between four and six pm.
Whilst the tradition has survived intact for close to two centuries, the capital isn’t afraid of giving that beloved tea time treat a twist.
From globally-inspired tea time menus to unusual surroundings, whether mobile on a double decker or 128 metres up with stunning city views, London is the place to be for tea time with a twist. Here's our pick of 11 of the best.
Afternoon Tea London
1. Afternoon Tea with a View the 35th Floor of The Shard
If you have a head for heights try the Ting Lounge in Shangri-La Hotel, where you have the choice of an Asian-inspired or traditional British menu and over 30 teas, served complete with a bird's-eye view of the city.
Ting Lounge at Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street SE1
2. Mad Hatter-Themed Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel
Tumble down the rabbit hole at the Sanderson Hotel and disappear into a magical Alice in Wonderland world with the Mad Hatter-inspired Afternoon Tea. Teapots adorned with kings and queens, sandwich plates decorated with birdcages, carousels and ticking clocks, and five new, tailor-made teas complete the effect.
Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NG
3. Quirky Afternoon Tea at Sketch
For a taste of British eccentricity head to Mayfair’s Sketch come tea time. The Gallery restaurant has an ever-changing roster of artists creating a tailor-made backdrop prompting the perfect tea time conversation.
9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG, UK
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-Themed Tea at One Aldwych
Re-live those fond childhood memories with this playful take on tea from Roald Dahl's inspired tale, which includes everything from golden chocolate eggs and chocolate caramel milk to playful homemade candyfloss and blueberry brioche.
One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ
5. Indian Afternoon Tea at the Strand Palace Hotel
For a spicier take on tea time try an Indian afternoon tea with a selection of lightly spiced nibbles including Bombay burgers, lamb samosas and sweet Indian pastries.
Strand Palace Hotel, 2 Burleigh St, London WC2R 0JJ, UK
6. Retro Afternoon Tea at Mondrian Hotel
Have a Wyld afternoon tea with a botanical twist at the Dandelyan cocktail bar in the Mondrian Hotel. A1970s-inspired four-course food menu comes paired with botanical cocktails. Expect imaginative finger sandwiches like Elderflower Compressed Cucumber and Burnt Herb Cream to Blackcurrant and Verbena Battenberg Cake and cocktails such as Fluff & Fold Royale with Lime, Fresh Basil, Cacao Liqueur, Orange Bitters and Prosecco.
Mondrian Hotel at Sea Containers, 20 Upper Ground London, SE1 9PD
7. Japanese-Themed Tea at Ichi Sushi
For an umami-inspired tea time try Ici Sushi and Sahimi Bar in the Park Plaza where the focus is on the seafood rather than sandwiches and Asian inspired cakes at this Japanese themed afternoon tea.
Ichi Sushi & Sashimi Bar, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London, SE1 7UT
8. US-Themed Afternoon Tea at Ma Plucker
For tea time with a taste of the American south head to Ma'Plucker in the heart of Soho – conveniently close to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Go hungry as this experience is all about the fried food, which can be enjoyed with a Southern Comfort-based cocktail or a glass of fizz.
Ma Plucker, 75 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9SS, UK
9. Tea Tox at Brown's Hotel
Watching the carbs or just want to save space for dinner? Try a healthy tea time option in this elegant setting, where toasted gluten-free bread, hummus, rocket and avocado, beetroot crêpe and miso-glazed salmon are just a few of the healthy menu options, which can, of course, all be washed down with a fresh detox juice or Dosnon & Lepage, extra-brut Champagne, which is low in calories.
Brown's Hotel, Albemarle Street, London, W1s 4BP
10. Tea on the Move in a Vintage Double Decker
All aboard! Hop on a red double decker for afternoon tea whilst tucking into the sweet delights of B Bakery. The whistlestop tour of the top London sights in 1.5 hours is made even sweeter by the sugar rush of French pastries. And if you don't manage to polish everything of you can always take them home with you.
Departures from Victoria Coach Station
11. Moroccan-Themed Afternoon Tea at Momo
Enjoy the tranquility of a Morccan-inspired afternoon tea on the terrace in this secluded spot tucked behind Regent Street. The menu comes complete with a selection of Maghrebine pastries, chocolate argan oil delice, chocolate harissa mousse, rosewater cheesecake and date scones with clotted cream, quince and prickly pear jam.
Momo, 25, Heddon street London W1B 4BH Moro