The Best Afternoon Teas Near London's Tourist Attractions

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 57 months ago

Last Updated 13 August 2019

The Best Afternoon Teas Near London's Tourist Attractions
View over the Thames and Big Ben from London Eye
Image: Shutterstock

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

The London Eye and County Hall, seen from across the river
Image: Shutterstock
Afternoon tea with a view of Big Ben
Food with views at The Library at County Hall

Afternoon tea near Buckingham Palace

Front of Buckingham Palace with colourful flowers
Image: Shutterstock

Afternoon tea near St Paul's Cathedral

Afternoon tea laid out on a table at Bea's of Bloomsbury near St Paul's Cathedral
Afternoon tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury

Afternoon tea near London Zoo

Giraffes outside London Zoo giraffe house
Image: Shutterstock

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 Great Court restaurant underneath the glass dome roof of the British Museum, London
Image: Shutterstock
  • 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

Frontage of Harrods in Knightsbridge, London
Image: Shutterstock

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

The Morris Room at the V&A's restaurant - afternoon tea in South Kensington
Image: V&A
  • 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

Tower Bridge against a blue sky
Have afternoon tea either side of the river. Image: Shutterstock
  • 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

Afternoon tea served on a three tiered stand in the garden of St Ermin's Hotel near Westminster
Afternoon tea at St Ermin's Hotel
  • 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

Afternoon tea at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone, near Baker Street and Madame Tussauds
Afternoon tea at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone
  • 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

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on South Bank, London
Tuck into afternoon tea near Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Image: Shutterstock
  • 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

Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park
Have afternoon tea near Kensington Palace. Image: Shutterstock
  • 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

Afternoon tea at Corinthia Hotel on Northumberland Avenue, near Trafalgar Square, London
Afternoon tea at the Corinthia Hotel is a rather fancy affair
  • 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

Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, London
Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason
  • 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 Cutty Sark in Greenwich
Have afternoon tea underneath the Cutty Sark. Image: Shutterstock
  • 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

Afternoon tea at Dolly's in Selfridges, Oxford Street, served on a three-tiered stand
Afternoon tea at Dolly's in Selfridges

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

Afternoon tea plates laid out on a table at Palm Court Brasserie, Covent Garden
Afternoon tea at the Palm Court Brasserie, 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

Mary Poppins afternoon tea served at Aqua Shard in The Shard, London
Mary Poppins afternoon tea at Aqua 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.