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Where to find the best Afternoon Tea at London hotels

The Afternoon Tea is the quintessentially British way of overindulging but in fabulous style.

In around 1840, the Duchess of Bedford invented this delicious pastime because she kept getting peckish between lunch and dinner. Things escalated somewhat and now, people flock to tearooms in droves for dainty sandwiches, creative cakes and succulent scones smothered in clotted cream and jam. All the best London hotels offer Afternoon Tea now, but with so many to choose from, how does one decide where to go?

The best Afternoon Tea at London hotels

I went on the hunt for intel and spoke to Marisa Davies from Tea From Above who is an authority when it comes to the topic and has been to all the top London Hotels that offer Afternoon Tea. She has tried them all, casting her discerning eye over menus and tasting offerings all over the capital. And not just the tasty ones, Marisa shows only the top picks of pretty afternoon tea at that.

Her insanely beautiful images show you the most picture-perfect places to nibble on a scone and enjoy a cuppa, and I caught up with her so that you can make your choice based on the best possible advice.

For you, what are the 3 most important things you look for in an afternoon tea at a London hotel?

Friendly - it needs to be a friendly and welcoming atmosphere - not too stuffy!

Flavour - really tasty food - love it when there’s a surprising flavour combination in the pastries.

Tea - good tea, brewed well.

Which tea to cake/sandwich pairing is your favourite?

I love it when tearooms offer unlimited tea and you can try lots of different blends with the different courses. A black tea is always a good way to start with your sandwiches and then I like to finish with scones and a refreshing White Tea or Jasmine Silver Needle. If you had to choose one tier of the trolley, which one would it be? (sandwiches, cakes or scones)

The cakes - because I’ve got a seriously sweet tooth and I think it’s where the pastry chefs really show off their skills and imagination. Cream or jam first? And why?

Scones taste delicious layered either way but I’m cream first - it was how my Nanna taught me and she was always right!

In a city full of afternoon tea offerings, which hotels in London have stood out to you and why?

You’ll find the best, high-end afternoon tea spots in West London, probably due to the tourists that flock there. But during Lockdowns so many of these venues have been offering Afternoon Tea deliveries across London which is such a fab idea - I hope it continues!

Here is the definitive list of Marisa's favourite Afternoon Tea at London hotels:

1. Claridges, Brook St, London W1K 4HR

This luxury London hotel and celeb favourite pulls out all the stops when it comes to dining and their Afternoon Tea is no different.

Marisa's verdict: "Classic, delicious and they take the tea seriously here"

£70 per person

Find out more and book here

2. Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER

OK fine, it's not a hotel but it really deserves a mention! That blue china! I'd recognize it anywhere. If you do go, don't miss a wander around the food hall afterwards (if you can stand the sight of more food).

Marisa's verdict: "Busy and buzzy and very British"

£65 per person

Find out more and book here

3. Browns Hotel, 33 Albemarle St, London W1S 4BP

With a lot of variety and in the heart of Mayfair, Browns Hotel is an elegant choice and right around the corner from Oxford Street.

Marisa's verdict: "Wonderfully traditional and lots of menus for healthier or gluten-free options"

£55 per person

Find out more and book here

4. The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, London SW1X 7RL

If you want to nibble on Anna Wintour's face iced onto a biscuit, The Berkeley Hotel is the place for your Afternoon Tea.

Marisa's verdict: "Fun, fashionable menu for fashionable people."

£60 per person

Find out more and book here

5. Peggy Porschen at The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA

Looking for a pretty Afternoon Tea that will score high on Instagram as well as a veritable feast of edible fancies? Peggy was the pastry chef at The Lanesborough hotel before becoming a famous baker and now she returns with this stunning menu.

Marisa's verdict: "The prettiest pink pastries you’ll ever see!"

£53 per person

Find out more and book here

And finally, for those who want to enjoy a fancy London afternoon tea but in the comfort of their own home, Marisa recommends The Savoy who will deliver this beautiful experience directly to you. Find out more here.

For more tips and advice on all things tea, don't forget to give Tea From Above a follow on Instagram, or even just to salivate over gorgeous pictures of cakes. I do. Enjoy!

Marisa Davies - Tea From Above
Marisa Davies - Tea From Above

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