Tea in a fine china cup, scones with clotted cream and jam, cucumber sandwiches, Victoria sponge, Bakewell tart and a glass or two of bubbly. What isn’t there to like about a proper English afternoon tea? Try these London tea rooms to get your fix.


It’s hard to beat the incredible and dramatic Orangery in the middle of Kensington Gardens as a setting for a genteel high tea experience.
Tea time:
Flute of champagne, an assortment of finger sandwiches, orange-scented scone with jam and cream, an eclair, and an orange and passionfruit tart. Plus a choice of tea or coffee.

The damage: £20.45 per person. Basic afternoon tea (without champagne) from £12.50 per person.

Verdict: Not a hint of snootiness despite the relatively steep price tag. The special setting makes this an extremely pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

» Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX 
Tube: High St Kensington
020 3166 6113
Daily from midday until 6pm

The Orangery, Kensington Gardens

The Tea Rooms

Lovely, friendly neighbourhood tea rooms in the London “village” of Stoke Newington.

Tea time: Savoury finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and three mini cakes. Plus a lovely pot of Earl Grey.

The damage: £12.50 per person.

Verdict: Skip the pub and head here instead – it’s big enough to fit you all in and won’t break the bank.

» 155 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0UH 
Tube: Stoke Newington
020 7923 1870
Afternoon tea served on Saturday and Sunday from 2pm-5pm

High tea in The Wolseley

The Wolseley

From its chandelier-studded roof to its formally-clad waiters, the Wolseley oozes old world charm.

Tea time: Finger sandwiches, fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and an assortment of delectable pastries.

The damage: £21 or upgrade with a glass of delicious champagne for £29.75.

Verdict: This art deco former motor showroom is a destination restaurant for a reason. The marble pillars and 1930s interior make it the perfect afternoon pit stop, albeit at special occasion prices.

» 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB  Green Park (020 7499 6996; thewolseley.com). Afternoon tea from 3pm-6.30pm on weekdays; 3.30pm-5.30pm on Saturdays and 3.30pm-6.30pm on Sundays.

Dean Street TownHouse

This hip boutique hotel and restaurant, smack bang in the middle of Soho, is the new kid on the afternoon tea block.

Tea time: Finger sandwiches stuffed with cucumber, egg mayo, and ham and mustard. Scones with jam and clotted cream (of course) and a very impressive plate of fancy cakes (battenberg, lemon and blueberry, chocolate).

The damage: £15.

Verdict: Perfect for a modern Soho afternoon out. 

» Dean Street Townhouse, 69-71 Dean St, W1D 3SE 
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
0207 434 1775
Daily from 3pm-6pm

Wallace Collection Restaurant

Possibly one of London’s most beautiful and romantic dining rooms, the glass-roofed cafe attached to the incredible Wallace Collection is a simply stunning place to unwind and indulge.

Tea time: Peyton & Byrne run the dining room here so expect the highest quality food. There are three afternoon teas to choose from. Cornish Cream Tea – finger sandwiches and scones; English Afternoon Tea – finger sandwiches, devilled Cromer crab on melba toast, plus scones and fancy cakes; or Parisian Afternoon Tea – foie gras, salmon tartare and goose rillette with melba toast plus a selection of French fancies and pastries.

The damage: Cornish Cream Tea £12.50; English Afternoon Tea £17.50; Parisian Afternoon Tea £24.50.

Verdict: For something different in beautiful surrounds, nothing beats the Wallace’s restaurant. 

» Wallace Collection,Manchester Sq, W1U 3BN
Tube: Bond Street
020 7563 9505
Daily from 3pm-4.30pm

Bea's of Bloomsbury

Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Glossy cupcakes, oozing chocolate cakes and buttery carrot cake compete for attention the minute you walk inside this small bakery and café in Bloomsbury.

Tea time: Incredibly light scones smothered in jam and cream, berry marshmellow, mini meringue, mini brownies and blondies and magnificent strawberries-and-cream cupcakes. 

The damage: £9.90 per person or upgrade to include some savoury baguettes for an extra £3.

Verdict: Bea’s turns out seriously good sweet treats and incredibly good prices. Skip lunch and dinner and come here instead, but maybe walk home afterwards.

» 44 Theobald Rd, WC1X 8NW 
Tube: Holborn
0207 242 8330
From 2.30pm on weekdays and from midday at weekends.

Words: Samantha Baden