Best afternoon teas in London – 2020 Guide

The tradition of afternoon teas is no longer limited to the Edwardian Era. Even today, tea lovers of London love to indulge in the afternoon ritual of enjoying sandwiches and scones with a cup of tea. But, what are afternoon teas anyway? Started by the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell, in the 1830s, it is a ritual of having a light meal in the afternoons along with a cup of tea. The light three-course meal consisted of finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries along with a cup of tea, also known as 'low tea.' Often confused to be the same, afternoon tea is different from high tea. Unlike afternoon tea, high tea traditionally consists of meat dishes, baked beans, potato, and other heavy dishes. Now that you know the history of afternoon tea, let us look at the tea shops list. These are the 10 'must-visit' places in London that serve lip-smacking good afternoon teas:

1. Afternoon Tea at The Savoy

Also known as the Thames Foyer, this restaurant on the banks of Thames adds a soothing vibe to the mind. The pianist in the gazebo, constructed in the middle of the lounge, plays classical pieces as customers enjoy their afternoon teas.

Afternoon Tea at The Savoy

Afternoon Tea at The SavoPinterestGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

2. The Palm Court, Ritz Hotel, London

The Palm Court of Ritz Hotel since it's inception has been a hotspot for tea lovers. The mind-soothing and cosy ambience make it is one of the best places to enjoy high-quality afternoon teas like a royal.

The Palm Court - Ritz Hotel, London

The Palm CourtPinterestGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

3. The Foyer and the Reading Room, Claridge's London

Afternoon teas at The Foyer of Claridge's, London, aren't short of art. It’s a must-visit for every tea lover. However, it shut down its operations, only to be re-opened in 1898 when the owner of Savoy, Richard D'Oyly Carte, decided to purchase it. Since the 1860s, it has been one of the favourite places for the Royal Family. From specially raised chicken to professionally curated tea blends, this place takes the tradition very seriously. They have been serving afternoon teas for almost 150 years.
  • Owner: Maybourne Hotel Group
  • Establishment year and History: It was started by Mr and Mrs Claridge back in the 1800s.
  • Address and Direction: 49 Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HW, United Kingdom
  • Timings: Monday to Saturday: 7 A.M.to 11 P.M. and Sunday: 8 A.M.to 11 P.M.
  • Notes: Though the management doesn’t have any fixed dress code policy, the smart- casual attire is the best choice.
  • Recommended Teas: (a) Claridge’s Blend
  • Recommended Dishes: (a) Poached Scottish salmon.
  • Price Range: Starts from £70 or INR 6524.54 per person. (Conversion Rates as on 6 July 2020)
  • Reviews: 4.5/ 5.0 (based on 61 Google reviews as on 6 July 2020)
  • Contact No: +44 20 7107 8886
  • Email: dining@claridges.co.uk
  • Website: https://www.claridges.co.uk/
  • Social Handles:
  • COVID 19 Precautions: They are promoting contactless payments and digital ordering.

                        The Foyer and the Reading Room


                        4. Afternoon Tea at Corinthia London

                        Since the opening of the first restaurant in Malta, it has grown into one of the most popular Hotel Brands in London. The afternoon teas served at The Crystal Moon Lounge of the London Hotel is regarded to be one of the best in London.
                        • Owner: It is owned by the consortium of International Hotel Investments (IHI) –the investment arm of Corinthia's hotel, the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company and Dubai’s Nakheel Hotels.
                        • Establishment year and History: Alfred Pisani started the first Corinthia restaurant back in 1962.
                        • Address and Direction: 10 Whitehall Pl, Westminster, London SW1A 2BD, United Kingdom
                        • Timings: Monday to Sunday: 2 P.M. to 6 P.M. ( Closed on Thursday and Friday)
                        • Notes: Though the management doesn’t have any fixed dress code policy, a smart- casual attire would be the best choice.
                        • Recommended Teas: The Aromatic Blend (b) The Big Smoke
                        • Recommended Dishes: coronation chicken (b) the praline
                        • Price Range: starts from £55 or INR 4660.48 per person (Conversion Rate as on 6 July 2020)
                        • Reviews: 4.4/ 5.0 (based on 61 Google reviews as on 6 July 2020)
                        • Contact No: +44 20 7321 3150
                        • Email: london@corinthia.com
                        • Website: https://www.corinthia.com/london/restaurants-bars/afternoon-tea/
                        • Social Handles:
                        • COVID 19 Precautions: They resumed the services from 4 July 2020 following all the necessary precautions. Precautions taken up by the management includes - Cashless transaction, Social Distancing, Thermal Checkup and Ala-Carte Menu in place of Buffet.

                                  Afternoon Tea at Corinthia London
                                  Corinthia London, CorinthiaGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                  5. Celeste Restaurant, The Lanesborough Hotel

                                  This Michelin star restaurant is a part of one of the best hotels in London managed by Oetker Collection. Having afternoon teas under chandeliers at the pianist plays classics is nothing less than a beautiful dream. Céleste serves the afternoon teas in a casual yet classy manner.

                                      Celeste Restaurant, The Lanesborough Hotel

                                                        Celeste Restaurant - The Lanesborough Hotel, ZomatoGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                                        6. Balthazar, London

                                                        This artisan restaurant represents bustling New York in London. From the noise of the customers to the Frank Sinatra playlist, all efforts have been made to make it look like having afternoon teas in New York.

                                                        Balthazar, London

                                                        Balthazar - LondonMethod ArchitectsGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                                        7. Sketch, London

                                                        If you're one among those souls who love to consume exotic teas in an ambience of mixed art and 18th-century heritage, Sketch, a modern European restaurant and tea room, is the best option! Inside a renovated 18th-century building, this restaurant is known for its afternoon teas and Instagram worthy decor. The decor consists of paintings by David Shrigley. He also designed the crockery of the restaurant.

                                                        Sketch, London

                                                        Sketch - London, Frame WebGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                                        8. Farmacy, Notting Hill

                                                        It is the perfect representation of traditions mixed with This is a vegan restaurant that serves some of the quirkiest variants of the traditional high tea.

                                                                            Farmacy, Notting Hill

                                                                            Farmacy - Notting Hill, Harpers BazarGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                                                            9. The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum and Mason, London

                                                                            Founded by Hugh Mason in 1705 and joined by William Fortnum in 1707, it takes pride in being one of the oldest tea shops in London. Its tea salon has become one of the best places to consume afternoon teas and evening tea.

                                                                                                The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum and Mason

                                                                                                The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum and MasonPinterestGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                                                                                10. Daylesford Cafe, Pimlico Road

                                                                                                The organic cafe is slowly but steadily making its place in the heart of afternoon tea lovers because of the organic produce that is served at the cafe. This organic cafe is also known to be famous amongst many celebrities.
                                                                                                Daylesford Cafe, Pimlico Road

                                                                                                Daylesford Cafe - Pimlico RoadTag VenueGoogle Images, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

                                                                                                  Though there are many other places in London that serve afternoon tea, the above list of best 10 tea cafes in London has been created after extensive research and primary data collection. Try visiting these places and please do share your experiences here in the comment section below. 

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