Afternoon tea and London are basically synonymous. So here, the top 10 best afternoon teas in London—from the classic hotel teas that you have to book months in advance, to a secret tearoom housed above a Soho pub, to the department store tea that serves the same tea leaves that the Royal Family uses.
If you are in town for London fashion week, why not take an afternoon tea break? Just try not to overdose on clotted cream.
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Prêt-à-Portea at the Berkeley hotel has a fun fashion spin. Cakes and pastries are inspired by the latest collections from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino and tea is served fine-bone china by Paul Smith for Thomas Goode. Wilton Place, Knightsbridge; the-berkeley.co.uk.
For those on the hunt for a modern afternoon tea The Modern Pantry is your best bet. Organic teas, cocktails like galangal-infused vodka with apple lemonade and roasted tomato and herb-marinated feta squares are served. In the warmer months you can even take tea outdoors. 48 St. John's Square, Clerkenwell; themodernpantry.co.uk.
For a quick shopping respite head to Cafe Liberty in the trendy Liberty department store for a spot of tea. It's one of the few spots in London where you can order tea à la carte. For those looking to splurge a champagne tea is also offered. Great Marlborough Street liberty.co.uk.
Tea Smith boasts one of the most knowledgable staffs around. Take a seat at the wooden bar, watch the staff brew your tea using the Chinese method of gonfu and learn a little bit about the art of tea. Pastries come with an Asian twist with choices like sesame-coated walnut and miso biscuits. 6 Lamb Street, Spitafields; teasmith.co.uk.
Think of afternoon tea in London and Claridge's Hotel likely comes to mind. The tea truly lives up to the hype, which is why guests often book three-months in advance for the treat. 48 Brook Street, Mayfair; claridges.co.uk.
With over 70 teas on offer Fortnum & Mason's St. James Restaurant is the tea connoisseurs choice (after all this is where the Royal Family buys its tea). This is also the perfect spot to pick up gifts. 181 Piccadilly; fortnumandmason.com.
Secret prohibition style bars have become a mainstay in recent years, but Soho's Secret Tea Room adds a new twist to the trend. Housed above the Coach & Horses pub in Soho, this is an in-the-know only tea spot. Its vintage decor makes spending afternoon tea here a true treat. 29 Greek Street; sohossecrettearoom.co.uk.
One of the chicest boutique hotels in London, Brown's Hotel offers both a proper afternoon tea and a "tea-tox," a lighter option that includes Scandinavian-style open sandwiches and lettuce wraps in lieu of calorie heavy finger sandwiches. 33 Albermarle Street, Mayfair; brownshotel.com.
The Wolseley is London's prime see and be seen restaurant. Its afternoon tea is a London institution thanks to the restaurant's famed berry-bright homemade jam (also if you are hoping for a celebrity sighting, this is your best bet). 160 Piccadilly; thewolseley.com.
One of the most beloved afternoon teas in London, you'll have to book tea at The Savoy two-months ahead. When it finally comes time for your reservation, sit in The Thames Foyer with its domed glass ceiling and bird cage centerpiece and chow down on poached chicken and mango chutney finger sandwiches. The Strand; fairmont.com.