First introduced in 1840 England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, the tradition of afternoon tea has since become a quintessential English custom commonly associated with the British. Simply do a quick Google search for afternoon tea in London and you’ll be greeted by pages of cafes and hotels with their afternoon tea offers.
Typically, a traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and jams as well as some cakes and pastries to accompany the tea or coffee you’ve selected.
As the afternoon tea trend steadily grows in London, cafes and restaurants have sought to up the ante by providing a little creative spin on this age-old tradition to beat out the competition. Using inspiration from pop culture, books and even art, the idea of afternoon tea has been reinvented to reach not just the adults but even the younger demographic.
So, if you are planning a trip to London, make sure to keep some time to visit and enjoy our list of 12 non-traditional afternoon tea!
Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea
Experience a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea (£49++) at Aqua Shard as you take a journey down memory lane inspired by author P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins series.
Dive into this imaginary world through a selection of savoury sandwiches, tasty crumpets, homemade scones paired with jam and clotted cream, and a quirky array of sweet treats which includes edible imagery of one of Travers’ famous quote, ‘Strike Me Pink Sponge’!
31 St. Thomas Street
London SE1 9RY
Daily: 1pm – 5pm
(The Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea will run until 3 Nov)
Nearest station: London Bridge
London Afternoon Tea at The Potion Room
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, this might just be the ideal afternoon tea for you.
Created by the team of wizards at Cutter & Squidge, the London Afternoon Tea (£49.50++) at The Potion Room invites you to spend two hours away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, for a sweet and savoury afternoon tea inspired by classic British flavours with a magical twist.
Not to worry if you have some dietary requirements to adhere to as they have prepared a few supplementary menus that will take care of that.
Cutter & Squidge
20 Brewer Street
London W1F OSJ
Daily: 12pm, 3pm and 6pm
Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square
Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea
Take a tumble down the rabbit hole into the world of Alice in Wonderland at Sanderson London’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea (£48++).
After browsing the menus that are hidden within the pages of vintage books, you’ll get to experience tantalising savoury and sweet delights that range from the melt-in-your-mouth Stack of King of Hearts Ham and Parmesan Croque-Monsieur to the Queen of Hearts Rose and Strawberry Jammy Dodger.
Plus, you’ll also get to try the hotel’s flavourful Alice-inspired tea infusions!
Sanderson Hotel London
50 Berners Street
London W1T 3NG
Mon to Sat: 12.30pm – 4pm
Sun: 1pm – 5pm
Nearest stations: Goodge Street, Oxford Circus
Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour
Probably a more interesting way to tour London, B Bakery’s Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour (£45++) lets you enjoy your afternoon tea on the iconic red bus around Central London.
Savour an array of delicious French-inspired sandwiches, cakes and pastries while soaking in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. This is a truly unique experience you won’t want to miss!
Victoria Coach Station
164 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 9TP
Departs daily: 12pm, 2.30pm and 5pm
Nearest station: Victoria
Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea
For those that are young at heart, the Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea (£35++) at the Terrace on Piccadilly is the perfect way to enjoy this childhood story with inspired tasty treats from the novel.
The delicious selection of food comes carefully prepared to ensure a visual delight in its presentation that’s absolutely Instagram-worthy.
The Terrace on Piccadilly
Le Mériden Piccadilly
London W1J OBH
Daily: 12.30pm – 5pm
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus
Science Afternoon Tea
Who said science can’t be enjoyed out of the classroom? Inspired by the Science Museum next door, The Ampersand Hotel’s Science Afternoon Tea (£39.50++) brings a mix of exciting and curious dishes for you to enjoy.
From jams served in Petri dishes to chocolate-shaped spacemen and dinosaur biscuits, you simply need to try out this award-winning one-of-a-kind experience!
The Drawing Rooms
The Ampersand Hotel
10 Harrington Road
London SW7 3ER
Mon to Sat: 12.30pm – 9pm
Sun: 12.30pm – 7pm
Nearest station: South Kensington
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea
Enter a world of pure imagination at One Aldwych!
Inspired by Roald Dahl’s most iconic story, come join the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea (£45++) where you’ll get to indulge your inner child with a savoury Marshmallow Meal, and scrumptious sweets such as Loompaland Lemon Floss and Whipped Strawberry Mess.
London WC2B 4BZ
Mon to Sat: 12.30pm – 3pm
Sun: 12.30pm – 5pm
Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Waterloo
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea
What could be more British than having a spot of afternoon tea at the famous Shakespeare’s Globe? Come eat your way through the twists and turns of one of Shakespeare’s most famed romantic comedy at A Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea (£28.50++)!
Each tea treat has been specially created to pay homage to the different iconic objects of the characters such as the Mulberry Scones, which depicts the mulberries from the lovers’ tree.
Swan Bar & Restaurant
21 New Globe Walk
London SE1 9DT
Daily: 12pm – 3pm
Nearest station: London Bridge
Indian Jasmine Afternoon Tea
If you’re looking for a really interesting take on afternoon tea, the folks at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate has just the right type for you.
In a bold and innovative twist on traditional afternoon tea, their Indian Jasmine Afternoon Tea (£40++) features a delicious selection of savoury and sweet delicacies that have been crafted using the traditional spices from across India.
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate
51 Buckingham Gate
London SW1E 6AF
Daily: 12.30pm – 6pm
Nearest stations: St. James’s Park, Victoria
Van Gogh Art Afternoon Tea
Located at the Mirror Room in Rosewood Hotel London, the Van Gogh Art Afternoon Tea (£60++) allows for you to appreciate art and eat it too.
Enjoy a selection of delicious finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, loose leaf tea and three highly instagrammable desserts inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic masterpieces — Sunflowers, Almond Blossoms and The Starry Night.
Rosewood Hotel London
252 High Holborn
London WC1V 7EN
Daily: 12pm – 5.45pm
Nearest station: Holborn
*All photo credits to the respective restaurants.