Did you know that afternoon tea was introduced by The Duchess of Bedford in 1840? By 4 o’clock the Duchess would feel her stomach yearning for some sustenance, realising the wait from lunch to dinner was just too long for her to bear. And from the rumble in her stomach was born the fashionable, ‘light’ snack of afternoon tea. Here in London there are various types of tea to be enjoyed; from the traditional and sophisticated to the more fun and themed variations! The afternoon tea tradition is just the perfect treat for a special occasion, and here’s some of our favourite afternoon tea venues in London to choose from. Here’s to the Duchess!
9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Ever fancied sitting in David Shrigley’s mind? Well, the eccentric setting you’ll find at Sketch is Shrigley’s Gallery. Expect pink (and all hues of it!), as the walls, ceilings and scallop chairs are covered in the glorious colour. Sketch is a striking background to be seated for a simply magical afternoon tea, and the spread itself is a dainty and delicious masterpiece. This popular spot in central London is well worth booking for a special occasion – and don’t forget to get an infamous Instagram snap of the pink décor while you’re at it!
Image: Wlyd Tea
Wyld Tea – Mondrian London
20 Upper Ground, Southwark, SE1 9PD
Thursday- Sunday, 12pm-5pm
£35 Booze-less, £65 Booze-plenty
This boozy afternoon tea, if you choose to indulge, takes place at the Dandelyan; the award-winning cocktail bar in the Mondrian Hotel. With a botanical twist and a 70’s-inspired food menu, Wyld Tea is a truly unique experience. The four-course menu offers a playful take on the classic finger sandwiches, savoury bites and retro cakes, and are all paired with beautiful botanical cocktails. Our favourite is the Fluff and Field Royale; fresh basil and lime, orange bitters and prosecco. If this tickles your fancy, you can take a look at the full menu here.
Image: Taj 51
Kona Restaurant – Taj51
51 Buckingham Gate, SW1E 6AF
Experience a Tea Party in Wonderland or a Sherlock Holmes afternoon tea at luxury 5-star hotel, Taj 51. The reinvented tea parties take place in the Kona Restaurant, where you can transport yourself into another world. Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in a fantastical and elegant themed tea which includes the Queen of Hearts, mango tarts, a strawberry potion, caterpillars, marshmallow mushrooms plus much more. As for the Sherlock experience, this one’s a mystical affair with culinary delights showcased and inspired by the detective himself. Find his cigars in the form of caramel mousse, Watson’s moustache as the stout cupcake and The Sign of Four, Arthur Conan Doyle’s second novel, as a selection of sandwiches. Treat yourself to one of these delightful afternoon teas for just £35pp, book here.
Image: AmpersandHotel Instagram
Science Afternoon Tea, The Ampersand Hotel
10 Harrington Road, SW7 3ER
For a slightly bizarre afternoon tea experience, that will surely keep your children entertained, why not go for a science themed-afternoon tea? The Ampersand Hotel offers a top-notch menu where you can explore the delicious selection of themed treats; including a mint and chocolate mousse spaceman, milk chocolate fossils, and mini dinosaur biscuits. There is also a vegetarian and gluten free option available. The obvious inspirations behind the afternoon tea theme, the Science and Natural History Museums, are just around the corner – perfect for making a day of it with the family.
6 Turnmill Street, EC1M 5RR
And finally, for something a little different than your traditional teas, it’s time to experience an authentic Japanese afternoon tea at Sosharu. Swap the sandwiches for a taste of temaki; salmon and tuna encased in sushi rice, layered with spiced cabbage and avocado, wrapped in seaweed. For the sweet treats, there is a flavoursome pineapple, bergamot and coconut combination, rolled in a crumb layer of matcha and nori. The Asian-inspired menu and unexpected flavours make this a compelling and creative take on the traditional afternoon tea that’s well worth experiencing. Check out the menu here.
Have you recently had afternoon tea in London? Let us know where you went and comment below!