Jump to main content
British Airways logoHigh Life logoHigh Life logo
Afternoon tea on a Coronation theme from The Goring hotel

London’s best afternoon teas

One of Britain’s most enduring traditions has evolved from a sophisticated social event to a great excuse for a fancy sugar kick. No wonder London’s hotels have been jumping at the chance to outdo their neighbours’ tiny tiered sandwiches and inventive pastries, especially as we’re celebrating Afternoon Tea Week in the UK. Here is the crème de la crème of the capital’s teatime offerings

01/08/2022Updated 07/08/2023

Oblix at The Shard

Demands for “cake and fine wine” may have sent the Penrith Tearooms into a tailspin in the British cult classic Withnail and I, but at Oblix, located on the 32nd floor of The Shard, it’s practically de rigueur. Afternoon tea is taken to new heights with a choice of single origin teas, rosé or Champagne packages to accompany towers of delicious sandwiches, scones and pastries with a contemporary twist. If tea and Champagne aren’t your thing, there are also signature cocktails and bottle-fermented beers on offer to complement the stunning views of London’s skyline.

From £58pp

Book your tea

The Orchid Lounge at Pan Pacific London

Presentation is everything, and at The Orchid Lounge in the City’s Pan Pacific London, they know it. Its delightful Summer Garden Afternoon Tea pays homage to the season, using British summertime herbs throughout, alongside tropical fruit flavours in a nod to the hotel group's Singaporean roots. Guests can experience a traditional afternoon tea, but we recommend the Kopi Tiam, a tea inspired by Singapore’s coffee shops. Start with an iced pea and mint shot and follow with Asian savouries including a siu mai basket of prawn, spinach and beef, strawberry and chocolate scones, and steamed sweet potato buns made with glutinous rice and topped with coconut flakes. Other pleasing touches include delicate handmade pastries with the evocative names of Basil Smash, Mint Breeze and Tropical Storm.

From £62pp

Book your tea

Gatsby’s Room at The Beaumont

To know about The Beaumont is to have a secret you almost don’t want to share. This five-star gem, tucked away in the heart of Mayfair, one of London’s most salubrious areas, is not somewhere you stumble across, it’s somewhere you know about. It’s no wonder, then, that a sense of exclusivity imbues every experience here – particularly the afternoon tea, which is held in the intimate Gatsby Room, an appropriately sophisticated space from New York super-designer Thierry Despont. Sipping a posh cuppa here amid the 1920s-inspired walnut, cream and rust-coloured furnishings is like travelling both back in time and across the Atlantic to the grandeur of America’s Roaring Twenties. Choose from a bespoke artisan tea list created for the hotel by JING Teas, then savour a selection of impeccable sandwiches and pastries (including our favourite, the ‘philly cheesesteak’) – all complemented by exquisite service and softly tinkling ivory keys. 

From £62pp

Book your tea

The Stage at The Londoner

While tourists seem to flock to Leicester Square, Londoners have less readily understood why. The Stage at The Londoner (see more below) offers a credible answer. Within the ‘world’s first boutique hotel’ (surely an understatement, considering there are 350 rooms, six restaurants and a ballroom for 1,000?), this vast velvety, glittery Champagne bar holds court, serving as applause-worthy an afternoon tea as you might expect for a venue in the heart of theatreland. While a piano player belts out torch songs, a delectable amuse bouche du jour arrives to set the right tone. This is followed by dainty sandwich squares that elevate everyone’s favourite fillings to new levels of deliciousness, then sumptuous scones and, for the grand finale, a choice of show-stopping patîsserie. The melt-in-the-mouth vegan black forest and banoffee pie sandwich are worth a curtain call alone. Toast this feast with East India Company loose leaf tea or one of a vast choice of Champagnes. Encore!

From £55pp

Book your tea

Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley

Not many afternoon teas come with their own committee. In Knightsbridge, The Berkeley’s fashion-inspired feast has had one since it launched the unique concept back in 2015 – upon which eight of the nation’s most pre-eminent fashion editors sat and talked cake. That’s right – twice a year, a fresh set of designers, fashionistas and catwalk creations are honoured in a centrefold of couture confections. Trad sandwiches and posh bites down the hatch, it’s time for the show. Among other delights, savour Zimmerman’s playful striped coord immortalised as a Joconde sponge with chocolate skirt and wafer thin biscuit legs, Hermes’ hero handbag created from Victoria sponge and apricot jam and Thom Brown’s avant-garde look as fraise des bois tart with strawberry crémeux, topped with a lime and mint truffle and a red chocolate hat.

From £80pp

Book your tea

Where to stay

Nobody knows the UK like British Airways. The airline operates flights from London to every corner of the country, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast and Jersey. 

Welcome to London