When in London, indulge in at least one afternoon tea…

It’s not touristy – it’s a celebration – and it’s lovely. An age old tradition, high tea is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon escaping the inevitable London rain, while enjoying delectable tea sandwiches, scones, cream, jam and exquisite teas. And lets not forget the indulgent pastries or perhaps a glass of champagne to accompany, either. There’s no shortage of incredible afternoon tea options in London and nearby areas, but some simply set themselves above the rest in quality, originality or unique twist. If you only get to have one high tea in London, make it one of these exceptionally good ones…

Best Family Afternoon Tea: The Langham

The Langham’s Palm Court offers one of the most refined afternoon tea experiences for adults, but it also keeps families with children well in mind. Tea sandwiches shaped like puzzle pieces and desserts reminiscent of scenes from the movie Frozen are just a few of the utterly clever touches on offer for younger tea guests. To ensure adults enjoy the indulgent afternoon tea experience as much as their kids, coloring books and crayons are provided as are treats from Hamley’s toy shop!

Cost: £55 per adult – £27.50 per child. Add Champagne from £10 and up.

Book: Langham Palm Court Afternoon Tea.

Best Novelty Afternoon Tea: BB Afternoon Tea Bus

Cramming everything into a London trip can be quite the challenge, but this afternoon tea will certainly help fast track your sightseeing. The BB Afternoon Tea Bus from B Bakery will allow you to blend sightseeing and tea sipping with ease. You’ll board a classic red double decker bus and enjoy a multi tier afternoon tea while zipping around the streets of London. If you’re in it for the tea or food you may do better elsewhere, but for the novelty this is a winner. The flatware may not be quite as refined, but for a completely novelty experience this is absolutely brilliant. The tour also caters to allergy and religious restrictions, with Halal, Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free options.

Cost: £45 per adult, £35 per child. Prosecco and Champagne from £8 and up.

Book: B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus.

Best Ultra Posh Afternoon Tea: Claridges Hotel

Claridges Hotel is a London institution, refining the art of afternoon tea service over the course of the last 150 years. It’s no surprise this hotel has attracted heads of state, industry and screen for generations. The glassware is impeccable, the service the same and the the carefully selected teas are no exception. You’d be very hard pressed to find better sandwiches or scones anywhere and the ambiance is nothing short of perfection. It’s not cheap, it’s not casual but if you’re feeling flush, this is a perfect place to celebrate. Like the Langham, Claridges tea also offers a special selection for younger guests, as well as coloring books and other treats.

Cost: £60 per adult, £30 per child. Add a glass of champagne from £10.

Book: Claridges Afternoon Tea.

Best Value Afternoon Tea: The Halkin By Como Hotels

This is not a traditional afternoon tea as you know it – and fortunately, nor are the prices. Served in the Halkin’s bar and lounge areas but curated by the staff of the Michelin starred Ametsa with Artzak Instruction, this afternoon tea is a unique Basque twist on a multi course tea experience. Think smoked cheeses, Spanish influenced desserts and other treats as well as spectacular Jing teas. At nearly half the price of many other options, this is not to be overlooked, especially if you’ve already “done” the traditional afternoon tea experience.

Cost: £40 per person with a glass of Cava or £42 with a cocktail!

Book: Halkin X Ametsa With Artzak Intruction Afternoon Tea.

Best Boozy Afternoon Tea: Wylde At The Mondrian Hotel

We’ve longed for a place to combine the joy of cocktails with the comfort of cakes. Ryan Chetiyawardana, head bartender of the world’s No.1 Bar – Dandelyan, also found in the Mondrian has curated an incredible array of deceptively potent cocktails to perfectly accompany afternoon tea. The only place you’ll find actual tea will be infused in your booze and we don’t hear anyone complaining about it! Traditional finger sandwiches are elevated with modern twists and cocktails are served to match and mold with each bite. This is adults behaving badly in the most upscale way.

Cost: £35 without drinks £55 with cocktails.

Book: Wyld Afternoon Tea at The Mondrian.

Honorable mention: Rosewood London, Ting At The Shard, Ritz London, Mandarin Oriental.

Hot tip: Consider venturing to the countryside by train can yield cheaper options with unique, ornate settings… like castles. 

Featured image courtesy of Steven Joyce // Mondrian Hotels.