Bite-sized delicacies, crustless sarnies, finger food and sweet treats; and all on a child-friendly timetable. There are loads of reasons afternoon tea really suits children: why not treat your youngsters to one of these top offerings in London?
Little Prince and Princess Tea, The Milestone Hotel
Enjoy tea fit for a queen overlooking Kensington Palace and Gardens. The bespoke children's menu features cute classics like finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, doughnuts and hot chocolate. With 24 hours notice, kids can get crafty, decorating their own cupcakes, assisted by hotel staff.
The Milestone Hotel really do go that extra mile: kids can ask for another of the treat they enjoyed most; while adults get unlimited top-ups of tea or coffee. A short stroll away is Princess Diana's Memorial Playground, centred on the huge wooden pirate ship: perfectly placed for your little ones to burn off that post-tea sugar high.
The Milestone Hotel, 1 Kensington Court, W8 5DL
Adult afternoon tea, from £48; Little Prince and Princess Tea (under-12s only), £24
Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea, Sanderson
The super-stylish Sanderson inspires a sense of childish wonder whatever your age: in the foyer, there's the most eye-catching seating just begging to be tried out: a hanging bubble chair, Salvador Dali's red lips sofa, a seat made of vast slabs of wood… and the Mad Hatter's themed tea is exquisitely detailed, with literary references to test even the most ardent Alice fan.
Feast on magic marshmallow mushrooms, red velvet ladybirds and white rabbit pocket watch macaroons, and enjoy passionfruit ice cream in a flowerpot with chocolate soil and edible flowers, while sipping the cleverly layered 'drink me' potion.
Betty Blythe Children's Tea Parties
Little girls who love to dress up will adore this chance to adorn themselves with pearls, gloves, fascinators and hats for a photoshoot on a chaise longue, before sitting down to an introduction to tea-time etiquette.
Tea begins with teapots full of hot chocolate, pretty teacups, napkins and flowers. To eat: cheese, cucumber, ham or jam sandwiches followed by girly pink wafer biscuits, popcorn, mini muffins and mini cupcakes. Additional activities on offer are biscuit decorating, jewellery-making, chocolate cookery and china painting, from £85. Perfect for a posh birthday treat.
Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Room, 73 Blythe Road, W14 0HP
£145 for a group of eight
B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea
Ding-ding! Climb aboard for double the fun on a double decker bus: a one-and-a-half-hour sightseeing tour and afternoon tea that's perfect for kids, with the B Bakery Bus.
Play spot-the-London-landmark as you pass the likes of Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, Nelson's Column and the London Eye while sampling scones, sandwiches, mini quiches, mini cupcakes, macarons and pastries fresh from Brigit's Bakery in Covent Garden.
B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea, daily departures from 8 Northumberland Avenue, and Victoria Coach Station
Adults, £45-£63; six- to 11-year-olds, £35-£43. Minimum age for passengers is five
Children's Tea, City Cruises
If buses aren't your thing, what about indulging in some tasty treats afloat on the Thames? Kids can enjoy a traditional array of sandwiches, pastries and scones with City Cruises. The exact route of the 90-minute cruise depends on the tide, but along the route are Tower Bridge, Westminster, the London Eye, the Golden Hinde, The Shard and St Paul's. If the river views prove irresistible to youngsters, you can pop outside for a breath of fresh air and to wave at passers-by on the river's banks and on other boats.
City Cruises, Tower Millennium Pier, Lower Thames Street, EC3N 4DT
Adults, £32; children aged five to 12, £22.
Departing daily at 3.30pm
Afternoon Tea inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, One Aldwych
A scrumdiddlyumptious treat of a tea, perfectly placed for theatre trips to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Blending fantastical creations and classic favourites, the menu features homemade candy floss, raspberry trifle, retro-bottled chocolate caramel milkshake, and a glistening golden egg (as coveted by Veruca Salt) filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango purée. On the savoury side: leek and Stilton tart and roast beef and mustard sandwiches. Scones are not forgotten, served warm with homemade jams and clotted cream.
One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ
£39 for adults (£49 with glass of champagne or Cocktail Charlie); £29 for under-12s, in Indigo and the Lobby Bar, Monday-Saturday 12.30-3.30pm, Sunday 12.30-4.30pm
Grover's Children's Tea, Grosvenor House Hotel
The kids' tea menu, served in the hotel's Park Room, sensibly concentrates on the sweet stuff (what child would choose a sandwich over a chocolate brownie?).
There's a Victoria sponge cupcake, chocolate brownie, mini knickerbocker glory, and a fresh fruit skewer as a nod to healthy eating. If the sugar rush isn't exciting enough, kids can take a free Grover soft toy dog home.
Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, W1K 7TN
Adults, from £42.50; children £15
Origamitea, Gallery Mess, Saatchi Gallery
After visiting this gorgeous contemporary art gallery, housed in a military building from 1810 (think bare brickwork and vaulted arches) let your little ones express their artistic side: decorate a little cupcake with paint tubes of chocolate sauce and jam in this afternoon tea that also includes sandwiches, a frothy babyccino and an origami kit.
Saatchi Gallery, Duke Of York's HQ, King's Road, SW3 4RY
Adults, £17.50; children, £7.50