Going for afternoon tea in London is a must-do for when visiting the city, but it doesn’t all have to be prim and proper with pinkies up. You can have tea in a trippy Alice-In-Wonderland style complete with magic marshmallow mushrooms and small glass bottles of a sweet elixir labeled, “drink me.” Or you could go for a modern super-hero style, sipping tea with a great view of the Thames in a restaurant featured in the movie, Thor. There’s even a High Chai Indian-themed tea, and for the quintessentially British experience – a gin & tonic tea.
From a fun twist on traditional English tea, to teas with a creative twist, here’s a list of fun places you can have afternoon tea in London. (Recently updated to include new experiences from our autumn trip!) And if you’re only traveling for a short weekend in London, pick your favorite tea experience below and make reservations.
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson London
Spend an afternoon falling down a rabbit hole of fun, reading menus tucked inside vintage books and eating delectable deserts designed to look like edibles from Alice In Wonderland. The tailor-made tea selection is presented in beautiful perfume bottles and perfectly square sugar cubes are hidden in music boxes. The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is pretty popular, so make your reservations well in advance!
WHERE: 50 Berners St, London W1T 3NG, United Kingdom
COST: £48 to £65, £35 for children
High Chai Tea At LaLit
Did you know London has more Indian restaurants than pubs? It’s true! There are about 9000 Indian restaurants, but only 6000 pubs, so curry is as quintessentially British as fish and chips! A traditional Indian afternoon tea is the perfect way to experience the blend of two cultures and the High Chai Tea at LaLit is a luxurious experience. The menu offers masala chai, samosas, kathi rolls and more under the stunning blue ceiling of the historic Baluchi dining hall. Our favorite bite was the soan papdi, a light and airy little cube that melts in your mouth with the sweet taste of cardamom.
WHERE: LaLit London
Free-Flowing G&T Afternoon Tea With A View at Gillray’s Bar
After a long flight, a gin & tonic with a view sounded like a relaxing afternoon to me. And Gillray’s Bar offers 100 different types of gin and the best views on the Thames combined with a unique afternoon tea service – Free-Flowing G&T Afternoon Tea.
Even though the gin & tonic was unlimited, I capped out after two. But spending a leisurely afternoon with a classic British cocktail, and looking out at iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye while nibbling on tea sandwiches and scones was just delightful. And, yes, there was tea too!
Gillray’s Bar offers unlimited Gin & Tonic with afternoon tea between 1pm – 4pm, every day. Reservations not needed, but recommended!
WHERE: Gillray’s Bar
OXO Tower Restaurant & Brasserie
OXO Tower’s rooftop brasserie has one of the best views of London. Their lunch and dinner both offer artfully designed dishes, but a modern-style afternoon tea here is even more of a treat. OXO offers a great selection of teas from Tregonthan, the only plantation to grow tea on English soil.
WHERE: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, London SE1 9PH, United Kingdom
COST: £35 to £45, £16 for children
Sky High Tea & Champagne At The Shard
For the best views in London, you can’t beat the view from the Shard. And there’s several different options for tea there! There’s a modern London Afternoon Tea at Oblix on the 32nd Floor, with views of the Thames from The Shard and a culinary journey through the city with ingredients from all over the city, including chai spices from the famous Brick Lane Market and honeycomb from the local bees in Harrow.
And a little higher up, on the 35th floor, you can have afternoon tea at TING in the Shangri-La Hotel with gorgeous views of London’s Skyline. (Reservations highly recommended)
But for a more unique (and affordable!) tea-at-your-own-pace experience, I highly recommend browsing through nearby Borough Market to taste all the confections and cakes from their many traders. From macarons, to handmade chocolates, to pork pies, and fresh baked cakes, there’s everything you need to have a delicious afternoon tea walkabout including a few tea purveyors too. Grab a tea to-go and sample whatever treats catch your eye. Then finish the afternoon by walking to The Shard and splurging on their champagne experience while watching the sunset. The Shard’s All Inclusive ticket includes a glass of of Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial.
WHERE: 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, United Kingdom
WEB: Boroughmarket.org.uk and TheViewFromTheShard.com
COST: Bring cash for Borough Market. Around £33.95+ for The Shard.
If you want to experience a traditional English afternoon tea, then you might as well do it in a palace! Yes, there is a little secret at Kensington Palace. Just outside is a place is an elaborate greenhouse-turned-restaurant called The Orangery where you can go for afternoon tea. It was built in 1704 by Queen Ann in order to protect her citrus trees in winter, thus the name. The high ceilings and pristine white walls reflect the afternoon light coming through the soaring windows just perfectly, creating an atmosphere fit for royalty.
WHERE: Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX, United Kingdom
COST: £26 to £36
Photo Gallery Of Unusual Places For Tea In London
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Originally published in 2016. Updated 2019.
I love everything about this! Thanks for sharing…because I love tea!! Will file this away for when we make it to London!
Janet @ Far and Familiar says
I went to the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea two years ago and absolutely loved it. The food looks exactly like it would if you were dining in Wonderland – and it’s delicious!
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
Who else wants to go to Mad Hatter’s with me?! It looks so fun. I also like the idea of having tea at a palace. I think London just moved up our list by a few places. 🙂
aida mollenkamp says
What a great list – I am mad about that Mad Hatter cafe!
My first experience of really having high tea was last year when we went to Fortnum and Mason in London, it was amazing. I love these other choices, especially The Mad Hatter, what fun!!
I’ve been dying to get back to London!! Pink champagne and sunset at the top of The Shard looks like the perfect reason to get my act into gear!
Everything about this is just brilliant. London is definitely one of the best places to be if you’re on the look out for something a bit quirky. If you’ve ever got a place in mind but you’re not sure about the area etc. I’ve recently been involved in the development of a new travel site which allows you to search by attraction, road name, area of interest etc. as well as in all the usual ways. It’s called Triporia.com and it’s perfect when you’re specifically looking for a hidden gem – give it a go!
Maria Antònia says
The Orangery is great, I discovered this place many years ago in one of my visits to London and I highly recommend.
Another interesting cafe is the one in Peter Jones in Sloane Square, and do not miss the restaurant on top of the Tate, amazing views.
Rachelle Lucas says
Ooh! I gotta get to the top of the Tate next time I’m in town. Thank you for the suggestions!
The Jetset Boyz says
So you love afternoon tea and eating gorgeous cake. And you want to see the sights of London? Fancy a London bus tour with a difference?
How does the idea of eating cake while seeing the sights of London sound to you? If you do you’ll love the Bakery Afternoon Tea bus tour – classic afternoon tea while seeing the sights of London on board an iconic red Routemaster bus is a rather unique experience.
Love all these ideas! Can’t wait to take someone for the Alive in Wonderland tea – this looks so incredible 🙂