Afternoon tea is a popular way to end a day out in the capital — but after trekking round that museum or department store, you probably won't want to walk too far for your sandwiches and scones. Here are some ideas for where to have afternoon tea near London's most popular tourist attractions.
Afternoon tea near the London Eye
- A quintessentially English afternoon tea served in The Library at Marriott County Hall, the hotel right next to the London Eye.
- Skylon at Southbank Centre serves a traditional afternoon tea — and offers fantastic views of the boats going past on the Thames.
Afternoon tea near Buckingham Palace
- Rubens at The Palace makes a big deal of its neighbour, operating a royal theme on its afternoon tea menu.
- Kona restaurant at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate is an excellent place to have afternoon tea with a bit of luxury. It usually has two or three different menus going at once on various themes (currently Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland, previously Sherlock).
- A little further afield, Dominique Ansel Bakery offers an innovative menu, served against a flower wall backdrop — one for the Instagrammers.
Afternoon tea near St Paul's Cathedral
- You can have a cream tea in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral itself, in a tearoom operated by Searcy's.
- The One New Change branch of Bea's of Bloomsbury serves afternoon tea, but is a rather petite space, so book a table in advance.
Afternoon tea near London Zoo
Being located in Regent's Park, there's nowhere very close to London Zoo for afternoon tea.
- For general cakey goodness after a day at the zoo, try the petite but homely Primrose Bakery, just five minutes walk away — delicious cupcakes and enticing baking smells.
- Otherwise, head to Camden Market for a full afternoon tea at the well-hidden Basement Tea Rooms.
Afternoon tea near the British Museum
- The nearest location is in the building itself — you can have afternoon tea at the Great Court Restaurant, right underneath that famous glass dome.
- Right across the road from the museum is old-fashioned tearoom Tea and Tattle, which serves afternoon tea Monday-Saturday.
Afternoon tea near Harrods
Knightsbridge and surrounding areas aren't short of high-end hotels, each serving their own take on afternoon tea.
- Patisserie cafe chain Caffe Concerto has a branch right across the road from Harrods' world-famous façade, serving various cream tea and afternoon tea options
- For a Chinese twist, tuck into a dim sum afternoon tea at Le Chinois inside Millennium Hotel on Sloane Street.
- The Lowndes Street branch of famously-pink cafe Elan is a bit further away than the branch right outside Harrods, but it's worth the short walk, as it now serves high tea.
Afternoon tea near Science Museum, Natural History Museum, The V&A and the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington
- Only served on Fridays, the V&A's Victorian afternoon tea is a recreation of the meal as Queen Victoria would have known it — and as a bonus, it's served in the historic Morris Room, which was part of the first museum restaurant in the world. Historic indeed.
- It's possible to have afternoon tea within the historic walls of the Royal Albert Hall. Afternoon tea has been served here for over 100 years, and today it has a musical theme, inspired by some of the acts which have graced the world-famous stage.
- The Franklin, Gore and Pelham hotels all belong to the same chain, and all serve afternoon tea. At any one time, at least one of them is usually offering a themed afternoon tea menu, often linked to current exhibitions at the V&A (previous options have included Winnie the Pooh, Frida Kahlo and Christian Dior).
Afternoon tea near Tower Bridge and Tower of London
- Byward Kitchen and Bar is located in the courtyard of St Hallows by the Tower, the church next to the Tower of London. Afternoon tea is served every day, but 24 hours notice is required.
- For a fancy bite to eat, Rotunda restaurant within the Four Seasons Hotel serves a Heritage afternoon tea underneath a rather lovely domed ceiling.
- On the south side of the river, close to Tower Bridge, The Ivy offers afternoon tea and cream tea for two hours every day.
Afternoon tea near Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster
- The Cellarium Cafe inside Westminster Abbey offers an impressive menu, including afternoon tea and cream tea. Plenty of wine options, too.
- The Tattershall Castle, a floating restaurant and bar moored up towards Hungerford Bridge, offers afternoon tea — as does its equally waterborne neighbour, R.S. Hispaniola.
- The Tea Lounge at St Ermin's Hotel by St James's Park station offers a traditional afternoon tea in plush settings — rather welcome after a day of sightseeing.
Afternoon tea near Madame Tussauds
- The Landmark London hotel is famous for serving one of London's more glamorous afternoon teas, in its elegant Winter Garden.
- If you can bear to walk a little bit further, head down to the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square, where afternoon tea is served in a gorgeous enclosed courtyard.
Afternoon tea near Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe
- It appears more gastropub than tea shop from the outside, but The Swan at Shakespeare's Globe serves A Midsummer Night's Dream themed afternoon tea up on the top floor. Request a table near the window to watch the river traffic chugging past below
- In the opposite direction, the various restaurants and bars at Sea Containers often offer seasonal afternoon tea menus.
- Otherwise, cross the Thames via the Millennium Bridge, and explore the area around St Paul's Cathedral (above).
Afternoon tea near Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park
- The Orangery Restaurant at Kensington Palace offers a chance to eat afternoon tea in the grounds of a royal palace, surrounded by formal gardens.
- Candella Tea Room, just a few minutes walk from Kensington Palace, specialises in varieties of tea, but provides the sandwiches, scones and cakes to go with it in the form of a cream tea and afternoon menu.
- The Park Terrace restaurant at the Royal London Hotel serves an award-winning afternoon tea with views over Kensington Gardens.
- On the eastern end of Hyde Park, Podium Restaurant inside the Hilton Park Lane offers a chocoholics' afternoon tea — the chocolate chip scones come with chocolate praline spread.
- It's also worth looking at the area around Harrods and the South Kensington museums (above) as they sit just to the south of Hyde Park.
Afternoon tea near The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Trafalgar Square
- The National Dining Rooms at The National Gallery offer views over Trafalgar Square to accompany your afternoon tea. The gallery's National Cafe also serves afternoon tea, albeit in a less opulent, more whimsical setting.
- Next door, the Portrait Restaurant and Bar offers similarly goggle-worthy skyline views, with a traditional afternoon tea on the menu.
- The Amba Hotel is situated right above Charing Cross station, its Terrace bar and restaurant offering views onto Strand as your tiered afternoon tea is served.
- For something a bit fancier, head down Northumberland Avenue to the rather posh Corinthia Hotel. Afternoon tea is served on hand-painted china in the Crystal Moon Lounge, a live pianist tickling the ivories as you tuck in.
Afternoon tea near Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square
- The rather hip W London hotel is situated in the same block as M&M's World, but its Perception Bar is a world away from its garish bright lights. The theme of the afternoon tea changes on a regular basis — currently it's drag, with the food served in a cosmetics case.
- Over the other side of Piccadilly Circus, Le Meridien Piccadilly is one of our favourite afternoon tea spots in London. The meal takes place in a light and airy Victorian conservatory, the traffic of Piccadilly chugging past below.
- For a budget-friendly option, take the lift to the top floor of Waterstones Piccadilly. 5th View restaurant offers afternoon tea for two for a total of £29.95 — bargain.
- The Big Daddy in Piccadilly's afternoon tea crown is of course Fortnum & Mason. The department store's Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon serves a high-end, traditional afternoon tea in rather grand surroundings.
Afternoon tea near Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory in Greenwich
- The National Maritime Museum serves its own afternoon tea — a Royal Afternoon Tea nonetheless — in the Parkside Terrace overlooking Greenwich Park.
- Similarly, Cutty Sark visitors can tuck into afternoon tea in Cutty Sark Cafe, located right underneath the tea clipper.
- We've said it before, we'll say it again: The Orangery at The Fan Museum is one of London's best secret tearooms. You do have to pay museum admission to get in (but that's only a fiver), but once you're in, you can dine in a beautifully elegant conservatory-style dining room.
- A traditional cream tea is served in the Pavilion Cafe at the top of the hill in Greenwich Park — well worth the climb.
Afternoon tea near Selfridges, Oxford Street and Regent Street
See our guide to eating and drinking near Oxford Street for further suggestions in the area, but for afternoon tea try:
- Selfridge's own art deco-inspired cafe, Dolly's.
- The excellent-value Tea Terrace inside House of Fraser on Oxford Street. If you're having an extra-special day out, book a Cinderella carriage to dine in. Otherwise, kick back on the range of pink and blue chairs and admire the eclectic decor.
- Scoff & Banter is also located on Oxford Street, and is a traditional British tea room serving afternoon tea.
- One of London's more famous afternoon tea venues, Sketch sits just off Regent Street. It's the Gallery part of the restaurant you want for afternoon tea (the infuriatingly complicated website doesn't make this easy to find out) — and don't forget to check out the famous pod toilets while you're there.
Afternoon tea near Covent Garden
More than most areas, the bustling Covent Garden is awash with afternoon tea options. Here are just a sample of our favourites:
- American brasserie Balthazar lives up to its heritage with a New York City inspired afternoon tea, including Key lime pie.
- On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Royal Opera House serves afternoon tea in its Piazza Terrace Bar — no need to have a ticket to a performance to book.
- Parisian-style Palm Court Brasserie serves afternoon tea in its intimate interior. Luxurious cocktails are available at an extra charge to wash it down.
- Famous Richmond restaurant The Petersham now has a Covent Garden outpost, which serves afternoon tea with a focus on quality seasonal produce.
Afternoon tea near The Shard
- If you're looking for afternoon tea around The Shard, your best bet is to look in The Shard. 31st floor Aqua Shard is currently serving a charming Mary Poppins afternoon tea, with views to make you float away.