Alternative Afternoon Tea in London

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Not Afternoon Tea
BRGR.CO - Afternoon Tea
Houses of Parliament
Grand Imperial Oriental Afternoon Tea
Grand Imperial Oriental Afternoon Tea
Teanamu Chaya Teahouse
Betty Blythe
Betty Blythe
Betty Blythe
Betty Blythe
The Sanctum Gent's Afternoon Tea
BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea
Speakeasy Cocktail Tea at St Martins Lane
Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel
Wyld Afternoon Tea, Mondrian London
 

 

Afternoon Tea is one tradition that London has perfected and there are countless venues serving finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and buttery scones. But, for those who fancy something a little bit different, there are also a number of unique and quirky takes on this very English tradition. From mini burgers and milkshakes to dumplings served with tea, there's something for all tastes.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

A fun and fancy storybook afternoon tea.

One Aldwych, London, WC2B 4RH

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Temple Station

 
 

Swanky hotel One Aldwych takes inspiration from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for a fun and fancy afternoon tea. With every item reflecting the classic tale, the playful menu starts off with a series of finger sandwiches filled with cucumber and smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise and watercress, and Coronation chicken while further savoury options include a vegetable Wellington and a leek, walnut and Montgomery cheddar quiche. However, it's when diners get to the sweet treats that the storybook adventure really begins. From a golden chocolate egg filled with vanilla cheesecake to lemon and white chocolate cake pops, it's all reminiscent of Willy Wonka's factory. Further items include Eton mess, homemade candy floss, blueberry brioche and a cocoa bean financier while warm scones come with berry jam, apple and meadowsweet compote, and Devonshire clotted cream. Choose from a selection of teas or make it a boozy affair with a glass of champagne or a Cocktail Charlie, made with whisky, cherry liqueur, chocolate bitters and grapefruit juice.

 
 
 

Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel

This science themed afternoon tea is a universally pleasing experience.

The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ER

Tube: South Kensington Station

 
 

Inspired by its neighbour, The Science Museum, The Ampersand Hotel presents an out of this world afternoon tea experience. The Science Afternoon Tea aims to inspire children and adults alike with a universally pleasing menu of science themed treats. Served in The Drawing Room, the tea starts with a selection of savouries such as smoked salmon and avocado blinis, a crayfish and Mary rose sauce toasted focaccia and a seasonal quiche. Homemade white chocolate and plain scones come served with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve while the choice of pastries includes a mint and chocolate planet mousse with a spaceman, Prosecco mint jelly, kiwi, lime and pineapple jam petri dish, and a passion fruit macaroon. There's also the chance to dust for a collection of short bread dinosaurs and use test tubes to sprinkle toppings on your scones.

 
 
 

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea

This top afternoon tea experience is also one of London's quirkiest.

The Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street,, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3NG

Tube: Goodge Street Station , Oxford Circus Station, Tottenham Court Road Station

 
 

Sanderson Hotel gives visitors the chance to climb down a rabbit hole and explore the wonderland beneath at their Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea. Served in the hotel's Courtyard Garden, an open-air retreat with flowering trees, fountains, mosaics and a reflecting pool, diners are fully encompassed in the magical affair. Creating a twisted version of the traditional British afternoon tea, menus are hidden inside vintage books and napkins are wrapped with riddles, while teapots adorned with kings and queens and sandwich plates featuring birdcages, carousels and ticking clocks play host to wondrous fare. Re-launched in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the menu is a heady mix of colourful savoury dishes and striking sweets. Offering something more than just finger sandwiches, the savoury options include a crab éclair and a croque-monsier, while traditional flavours still feature with a smoked salmon and caviar scotch egg and a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on fresh lime bread. Each of the sweets are beautifully intricate, with every aspect carefully constructed and perfectly matched with the Alice in Wonderland theme - the menu took four months to finalise and the level of detail is apparent. From the red velvet ladybird and blue caterpillar to the Queen of Hearts Oreo cookie solider and magic marshmallow mushrooms, each addition tastes as good as it looks. Scones are light, delicious and generously portioned, the themed teas perfectly balanced, and the Alice drink me potion a refreshing conclusion. It's all gloriously bonkers.

 
 
 

Wyld Afternoon Tea, Mondrian London

Feast on 1970s-inspired food perfectly paired with botanical cocktails.

20 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station

 
 

Take a step back in time with Mondrian London's 1970s Wyld Afternoon Tea, which gives a nod to the original Platner designed Sea Containers in which the hotel is housed. Served in the hotel's award-winning cocktail bar, Dandelyan, the experience is given a botanical twist with 1970s-inspired food specially paired with botanical cocktails from award-winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana. The savoury menu is made up of dishes like a smoked salmon, rock samphire, brown shrimp and candied orange butter sandwich; lager braised bacon jam and confit chicken pin-wheel; elderflower compressed cucumber, burnt herb cream and rocket sandwich; and leek and goat's cheese rarebit on seven grain toast. Sweet options include blackcurrant and verbena Battenberg cake, pine scented baked Alaska shortbread, nutmeg custard tart and Earl Grey chocolate mousse with candied grapefruit. The cocktail menu, meanwhile, is an exciting one with options including the Fluff & Fold Royale, with lime, basil, cacao liqueur, orange bitters & prosecco served with lemon marshmallow and pistachio powder; the Knoll House Spritz, with Martini Ambrato, italicus, crème de melon and cardamom; and the Bankside Swizzle, with Bacardi Carta Oro, Aperol, pineapple cordial, citrus and lemon balm.

 
 
 

Not Afternoon Tea at the Oxo Tower

High altitude high tea at the iconic Oxo Tower.

Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH

Tube: Temple Station

 
 

The name says it all; Not Afternoon Tea at the Oxo Tower is an eccentric alternative to the traditional afternoon tea. With a tasting plate of four indulgent desserts accompanied with either a cocktail or a glass of bubbly, these unique packages are perfect for anyone with a luxurious sweet tooth and love of cocktails. Guests can choose from a number of options, with seasonal variants including the Summer Not Afternoon Tea, which offers a Pimm's Plate, dedicated to the infamous summer tipple, or the Taste of Summer Plate, dedicated to the fruits of the summer. Served in the Oxo Tower Brassiere this dining experience boasts one of the best views in town; the commanding panorama rivals the views from the London Eye and has a slick and sophisticated décor that comprises sparkling blue neon lights embedded in a sloping, slatted ceiling with leather banquettes and cool slate tables. With the combination of spectacular views, mouth-watering desserts and colourful cocktails, this alternative to the traditional afternoon tea oozes glamour and decadence and won't break the budget with its £22 price-tag (which includes one cocktail).

 
 
 
 

The Berkeley Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea

Contemporary cuppas for forward thinking fashion darlings.

Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7RL

Tube: Hyde Park Corner Station , Knightsbridge Station

 
 

Served in the Collins Room, afternoon tea at The Berkeley is a modern, stylish affair. From the contemporary design of the room to the unusual, striking design of the cakes and pastries this is an afternoon tea experience for those who like to mix tradition with innovation. While the traditional elements of the meal still remain, the Berkeley has added its own creative twists to the ritual, bringing this century's old institution into the 21st century by producing cakes and pastries inspired by each fashion season's catwalk designs. Eclairs, cupcakes and shortbread biscuits are all set for a makeover in the styles of top fashion designers such as Emanuel Ungaro and Diane von Furstenburg. Prêt-à-Portea - the Fashionista's Afternoon Tea - consists of a choice selection of loose leaf teas and herbal infusions together with a delectable selection of cakes, pastries and savouries all presented in a cutting-edge style to match the current catwalk. Past Prêt-à-Portea collections have included a Stella McCartney polka dot sponge cake plus Lanvin's bavarois dress with crème de mûre jelly topped with folded meringue. A gold Dolce & Gabbana chocolate éclair sprinkled with festive stars and Miu Miu winter spice sparkly shoe biscuits. For those true fashionistas, it pays to upgrade and follow a warming cup of tea with an invigorating taste of Moet & Chandon NV Champagne served in a Baccarat crystal glass. 

 
 
 

Speakeasy Cocktail Tea at St Martins Lane

Swap afternoon tea for late-night cocktails at this speakeasy bar.

45 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4HX

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station, Embankment Underground Station

 
 

Speakeasy bar Blind Spot at St Martins Lane takes both the 'afternoon' and the 'tea' out of its afternoon tea experience, replacing them with late-night cocktails. Ideal for cake and cocktail lovers, The Speakeasy Cocktail Tea commences with mini savoury delights like quiche Lorraine, crayfish brioche buns, and spinach and feta feuilleté before serving up sweet treats such as a dulce panna cotta with blackberry compote and Chambord, chocolate Bailey's cake with praline and coffee liqueur, and sake and yuzu macaroon. There is tea of some form with three tea-inspired cocktails: Giggle Water, with Bombay Sapphire gin, English summer tea, rosé champagne and peach syrup; Have The Bee's, with Bacardi Carta D'oro rum, pineapple spicy mix and Darjeeling syrup; and TeaTotaller, with chamomile-infused Grey Goose vodka, lemon sherbet and white vermouth syrup.

 
 
 

BRGR.CO - Afternoon Tea

Burgers and doughnuts replace cucumber sandwiches and scones.

187 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8ZB

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station , Oxford Circus Station

 
 

The long-standing British tradition of afternoon tea has been given a radical makeover by American restaurant BRGR.CO, with burgers and doughnuts replacing cucumber sandwiches and cream and jam filled scones. Served in the humble restaurant, which has simple wooden chairs and tables, exposed brickwork and walls adorned with cow heads, the location is as far removed from the traditional afternoon tea setting as you can get. The menu continues the theme with diners treated to three sliders - a classic cheeseburger, a chicken Caesar bun and a lobster and bacon slider - served with mini fries, warm doughnuts filled with salted caramel, a raspberry cheesecake and a chocolate brownie. To drink, you could opt for traditional British tea but there's also the choice of vanilla milkshake, homemade iced teas made from mint and pomegranate, green tea or ginger and lemongrass, or a glass of prosecco.

 
 
 

Teanamu Chaya Teahouse

Asian teas are served alongside dim sum and open sandwiches.

The Coach House, 14a St Lukes Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 1DP

Tube: Westbourne Park Station

 
 

The Teanamu Chaya Teahouse offers afternoon tea with an Asian twist, serving a vast selection of teas and bespoke tisane infusions, which can be mixed and matched to suit your taste. Located within a converted Notting Hill House, the quaint teahouse provides an intimate and ceremonial experience. Guests are guided through the different teas and can choose among options such as lychee black, ginger tangerine sencha and shanghai chic. Food wise, a number of tempting delicacies are available and diners can choose between two menu options: the wabi sabi afternoon tea, including wakame seaweed brown bread open sandwiches and a selection of sweet patisserie, or the ichi-go ichi-e afternoon tea, which also includes a serving of dim sum. The menu regularly changes but typical options include garlic miso-pickled cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, vegetarian dumplings with chilli oil, mango seed cake and peppercorn and peanut honeycomb. Scones also make an appearance and are served with clotted cream and rose petal jam. With additional touches such as a self-boiling kettle on the table and the tranquil décor, it's a true all-round experience and a great alternative to the sugar laden customary.

 
 
 

Betty Blythe

Traditional afternoon tea is given a 1920s twist.

73 Blythe Road, London, W14 0HP

Tube: Kensington (Olympia) Station

 
 

This charming fine food pantry and tea room has a 1920s theme running through it, from the tea ladies in vintage dresses, beads, hats and ruby red lipstick, to the music and layout of the store. The shop itself is named after '20s movie star Betty Blythe - famous for films such as Queen of Sheba and She, Miss Blythe was quite the seductress, becoming one of the first actresses to film a nude scene. Shop owner Lulu Gwynne initially wanted to name the shop Betty Blythe partly due to its location on Blythe Road, but her research revealed Betty did actually exist and everything fell into place. As well as a variety of meats, artisan breads, coffee and cupcakes, the deli also serves afternoon tea. Menu wise the offering is very similar to traditional afternoon tea - finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of homemade cakes. However, with different themed teas, the addition of a dressing up box and optional pre-dining activities, the tradition is given a unique twist. Guests can choose between activities such as cupcake decorating, burlesque dancing, Charleston dancing, fascinator hat making and a vintage photo shoot - a great option for elegant hen parties, baby showers and birthday parties.

 
 
 
 

The Sanctum Gent's Afternoon Tea

A masculine take on a traditionally dainty custom.

Sanctum Soho Hotel, 20 Warwick Street, Soho, London, W1B 5NF

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Oxford Circus Station

 
 

With afternoon tea often considered to be a girly affair, the Sanctum Soho Hotel rectifies this with the masculine Gents Afternoon Tea. Made up mainly of meat and alcohol, the hearty menu is enough to put hairs on any man's chest. Diners start off with a Scotch egg and ham hock with piccalilli before feasting on a mini steak roll, mini burger, baby back ribs and oyster. Then, putting a boozy twist on the traditional afternoon sweet treat, there's rum & raisin scones with clotted cream and homemade jam. The final touch comes in the form of a tankard of gentleman's Jack completed with a Villager Export Cigar to enjoy on the roof terrace. Dainty finger sandwiches and cute cakes this certainly isn't.

 
 
 

BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Feast on sandwiches and scones while touring central London.

8 Northumberland Avenue, Westminster, London, WC2N 5BY

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Embankment Underground Station, Leicester Square Station

 
 

If sitting in a hushed hotel nibbling quietly on finger sandwiches isn't your thing, gather your friends and book onto the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour instead. Combining the long-standing tradition with a spot of sightseeing, the tour invites guests upon a London Routemaster bus to feast on sandwiches and scones while nosing at some of the capital's most notable attractions. While feasting on mini cupcakes, macarons, mini quiche and pasties, you'll pass by The London Eye, Big Ben, St James's Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Nelson's Column and many more. You can also choose between hiring the entire bus, just the top or bottom deck, or just booking an individual 'table'.

 
 
 

Tipsy Tea, Mr Fogg's

Sip on alcoholic teas alongside your scones and sandwiches.

15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, London, W1J 6JD

Tube: Green Park Station

 
 

For a naughty addition to your cuppa - and we're not talking about an extra sugar - book in for Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg's. Putting a twist on the traditional offering, guests are invited to sup on a selection of tea cocktails, blending Early Grey and English breakfast with Hendrick's gin and Jasmine and Rooibos with champagne. Sugar cubes may be replaced with ice cubes but all cocktails are still served from a traditional teapot and food also remains loyal to the custom, with finger sandwiches, macaroons, and Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle cake all on the menu. Diners can choose whether to sit inside, surrounded by Mr Phileas Fogg's trinkets from around the world, or outside in the botanical garden.

 
 
 

Houses of Parliament

Afternoon tea is served in one of London's most iconic buildings.

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA

Tube: Westminster Station

 
 

Enjoy afternoon tea in one of the world's most iconic buildings, The Palace of Westminster. More commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, the palace's history dates back to the 11th century when Westminster Hall was used for meetings between the King and his council. Now, the palace has transformed into the home of a 21st century democratic Parliament. As part of the behind the scenes tours, visitors can now choose to enjoy the optional add-on of afternoon tea. Taken in the elegant surroundings of the Terrace Pavilion, diners will have wonderful views over the River Thames. Despite the unique venue, the menu stays true to tradition with options including marinated Scottish salmon with cream cheese, lemon curd and chive on a mini bagel, and egg mayonnaise and watercress sandwiches; plus, sultana scones with jam and clotted cream and Valronha chocolate delice.

 
 
 

Grand Imperial Oriental Afternoon Tea

A Cantonese twist on a very English custom.

101 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, London, SW1W 0SJ

Tube: Victoria Station

 
 

The Grand Imperial restaurant at the Grosvenor Hotel has replaced cakes, sandwiches and pastries with pork buns, dim sum and prawn crackers for an oriental inspired afternoon tea. Served in the beautiful restaurant, which has been designed around the ancient practice of Feng-shui and features original artwork and calligraphy as well as traditional artefacts, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a Cantonese twist on a very English custom. Presented on a three-tier cake stand, just like a traditional afternoon tea offering, the Hong Kong Cantonese delicacies include prawn dumplings, duck rolls, crispy soft shell crab and seafood dumplings, while sweet treats come in the form of a crispy water chestnut roll and an oven baked egg tart. The unlimited refills of Chinese tea take the spotlight, with a number of floral varieties and fermented options - a highlight is the Jasmine King Tea with a subtle, sweet flavour. There's also the option of adding some fizz to the occasion with a glass of Charles Henry Brut Champagne.

 
 
 

The Cookery School

Learn how to make your own Classic High Tea.

15B Little Portland Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8BW

Tube: Oxford Circus Station

 
 

Ever wondered if you could bake better scones than Claridges or create fancier fancies than The Dorchester? Well, now's your chance to find out. The Cookery School at Little Portland Street have introduced a new class that celebrates the most quintessential of British culinary traditions, Classic High Tea. Using the best British, locally sourced ingredients, Rosalind Rathouse and her team will guide you through how to make plain and fruit scones with the accompanying jam and clotted cream, mini cheese and herb scones, mini scotch eggs, feather-light Devonshire cream cake and tempting lemon curd tartlets. Plus, a range of traditional sandwiches including egg mayonnaise and smoked salmon. After putting your skills to the test, you'll be invited to taste the fruits (or cakes) of your labour with the accompaniment of Chapel Down sparkling wine and Tregothnan Cornish tea.

 

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