The Best Festive Afternoon Teas In London

Finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and fizz… Few things are as quintessentially British as afternoon tea – and Christmas time is when the capital’s best hotels and restaurants pull out all the stops. Whether you’re planning a day out with friends, family or the grandchildren, here are ten of the best to book now.
The Best Festive Afternoon Teas In London

BEST FOR SOMETHING CLASSIC: Claridge’s  

Afternoon tea at Claridge’s is always a classy affair, but the hotel feels particularly special at Christmas. This year, there’s an extensive choice of afternoon treats to choose from, including a new selection of teas from the Rare Tea Company. Guests will be served traditional sandwiches filled with smoked duck, pistachio and pomegranate, salmon with Marie Rose sauce, turkey, cranberry, pork and chestnut stuffing, and cucumber and pine cream. To follow, you’ll be treated to mini Christmas puddings with brandy butter, plain and raisin scones, and handmade patisserie created by Claridge’s famous pastry chefs. Add on a glass or two of Laurent-Perrier champagne for a special treat and look out for the beautiful Dior Christmas tree in the hotel lobby.
 
Price: £95pp or £105 with Laurent-Perrier champagne.
 
Available: Until Monday 3rd January.
 
Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
 
Visit Claridges.co.uk

BEST FOR SOMETHING FUN: The Lanesborough

For the second year running, The Lanesborough is offering guests a festive afternoon tea experience with bakery Peggy Porschen. You’ll be treated to some of Peggy’s signature creations and classic afternoon tea essentials such as finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jam, and afternoon tea blends. Sandwich highlights include Christmas turkey and stuffing, roast beef and horseradish cream and smoked salmon and dill cream; as well as a jolly gingerbread cupcake, chocolate and cherry snowflake cupcakes and a cranberry Christmas pavlova. ‘Teas with a twist’ includes a chocolate brownie black tea, white choco chilli Chinese white tea, and rhubarb and vanilla Chinese green tea.
 
Price: £75pp with a Paradis Chocolate Martini or £78pp with a glass of champagne.
 
Available: Until Wednesday 5th January.
 
Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, SW1X 7TA
 
Visit OetkerCollection.com

BEST FOR TEA WITH A VIEW: Shangri La The Shard

Restaurant Ting at Shangri La The Shard has been transformed into an Alpine-inspired grotto, with Christmas decorations and a beautiful sparkling tree. Served daily from 12pm to 4pm, the festive afternoon tea menu includes warm turkey and cranberry sausage rolls, cucumber and quark sandwiches, smoked trout with crème fraiche and horseradish, and pretzels spread with Liptauer – a traditional Austrian spread. Alongside scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, sweet treats include black forest gâteaux, ‘Linzer Augen’ (biscuits filled with plum jam) and chocolate and hazelnut roulade. 
 
Price: From £62pp or £75pp with a glass of champagne or cocktail.
 
Available: Until Sunday 27th February.
 
31 St Thomas Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QU
 
Visit Shangri-La.com

BEST FOR SOMETHING RETRO: Lily Vanilli At Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Theatre Royal Drury Lane recently reopened its doors following an extensive renovation. This Christmas, baker Lily Vanilli will be serving a festive afternoon tea in the theatre’s Grand Saloon. Guests will enjoy a range of playful creations, inspired by the Regency era, including madeleines topped with glazed salmon and pickled fennel, cannelés with whipped ricotta and pickled beetroot, and Lily’s signature puff pastry sausage rolls made with sausage meat and roast bacon lardons. Sweet treats include pink lemonade tarts with elderflower jelly, mini sticky toffee puddings with an oozing centre of custard and salted caramel, and dark chocolate sponge cake topped with chocolate bells. Warm scones are topped with salted whipped butter, cream and homemade jam, while drinks on offer include Rare Tea Company teas and Taittinger champagne. Adults can also ask for scoops of absinthe mint choc chip ice-cream.
 
Price: From £49 for adults and £35 for children.
 
Available: Until Sunday 2nd January.
 
Catherine Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5JF
 
Visit TheLane.co.uk

BEST FOR GRANDCHILDREN: The Promenade At The Dorchester

The Dorchester has created a charming festive menu for both adults and children. Ideal if you want to treat the grandchildren, afternoon tea is served in The Promenade restaurant, with Christmas decorations and carols from a local school choir. Children can tuck into sandwiches including ham and cheese, cucumber and cheese snow men, and jam and cream stars, plus sweet treats like winter gingerbread, Christmas tree cookies and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Meanwhile, adults will be served smoked salmon and sour cream sandwiches, turkey with winter berry relish on cranberry bread, cranberry and plain scones with homemade strawberry jam, The Dorchester Winter jam and clotted cream, and a selection of festive pastries, like fig and apple pie, and pear and milk chocolate ganache. Choose from Veuve Clicquot or Dom Pérignon champagne, or Rathfinny’s English sparkling wine. 
 
Price: From £85 for adults and £65 for children (including a £10 donation to Manorfield Primary School)
 
Available: Until Monday 3rd January
 
53 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1QA
 
Visit DorchesterCollection.com

BEST FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Great Scotland Yard hotel has teamed up with royal perfumer Floris London to create the ‘Cinnamon & Tangerine Festive Afternoon Tea’. Inspired by Floris’ festive Cinnamon & Tangerine home fragrance collection, tea is served in the hotel’s historic parlour which has been decked out with beautiful Christmas decorations. Guests will enjoy a selection of sandwiches, including smoked salmon, horseradish and caviar, spiced roasted gammon and celeriac, and truffle egg mayonnaise on brioche; as well as freshly-baked scones served with clotted cream and blackcurrant jam, frangipane mince pies, chocolate gingerbread men, and tangerine and cinnamon religieuse. In terms of drink, expect a selection of teas from Rare Tea Company and Ruinart champagne.
 
Price: £49pp or £60pp with champagne.
 
Available: Until Sunday 30th January.
 
The Parlour, 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, Westminster, SW1A 2HN
 
Visit Hyatt.com

BEST FOR SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL: Corinthia London

In keeping with its Christmas tradition, Corinthia London has created an indulgent afternoon tea menu – ideal for extra special occasions. Choose between festive afternoon tea or the Caviar Tea which is served with 20g of King's Golden Oscietra Caviar and a pearl spoon. Both include sandwiches filled with roast turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, honey roasted Wiltshire ham and pear chutney, Clarence Court egg mayonnaise, and pickled cucumber with goat’s curd. Plain and sultana scones come with strawberry and rhubarb jam, while the patisserie selection includes chestnut-cassis tartlets, spiced pear mousse with chai Chantilly cream, coconut and lime cake, and chocolate-coffee and praline mousse. 
 
Price: From £80pp or £90pp with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne; from £120 for the Caviar Tea. 
 
Available: Until Tuesday 4th January. 
 
Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD
 
Visit Corinthia.com

BEST FOR A MUSICAL AFFAIR: Brown’s

Festive afternoon tea is served in the Drawing Room here, beside a roaring fire and with Christmas carols from the hotel’s resident pianist. The menu includes a selection of sandwiches, including cucumber and mint cream cheese, smoked salmon with lemon and capers, salt beef with horseradish mayo, and prawn cocktail and crispy onions, as well as plain and raisin scones with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream, fig and honey mascarpone mousse, and pear and pecan chocolate mousse. Add on a glass of Möet & Chandon or Ruinart champagne.
 
Price: From £65pp.
 
Available: Until Sunday 2nd January.
 
33 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4BP
 
Visit RoccoForteHotels.com

BEST FOR SOMETHING FASHIONABLE: The Berkeley

Treat yourself to The Berkeley’s Autumn/Winter 21 Prêt-à-Portea collection – a playful selection of couture cakes inspired by brands like Ganni, Gucci and Fendi. The special afternoon tea includes catwalk-inspired creations including a mandarin cheesecake topped with an oversized chocolate hat from Balenciaga Couture, an iced biscuit to mark fashion icon Iris Apfel’s 100th birthday, and a cassis mousse with blackcurrant jelly, depicting Stella McCartney’s psychedelic jumpsuit. The tea also includes a selection of classic canapés, sandwiches, and savoury treats like truffle chestnut mousse with wild mushrooms and chicken velouté, and poached pear and blue cheese croute with a macadamia crumble. Ask for a glass of Bollinger or Moët & Chandon champagne alongside a selection of loose-leaf teas.
 
Price: From £79pp. 
 
Available: Until Sunday 2nd January.
 
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RL
 
Visit The-Berkeley.co.uk

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