You're never short of afternoon teas in London, from the traditional to the quirky to the vegan. And new ones are always being added to the selection too, including the ones below. Drag queens, a fashion house, gin and comedy all feature, because there's so much more to afternoon tea than cucumber sandwiches and plain scones.
Fancy Tea at Lyaness, Sea Containers
Mr cocktail himself, Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) is taking a bold step into cakes. His new cocktail bar Lyaness doesn't just focus on hard booze — a Fancy Tea is now available. The menu is a playful take on the high-end 80‘s dinner party, featuring devilled eggs sausage rolls and fruit trifle . Other highlights include roast beef, rosemary mayo and rocket focaccia sandwiches, a sunflower salt tea cake and strawberry and mascarpone eclairs.
As you'd expect, it's paired with a selection of cocktails whipped up by the Lyaness team, including the Glasshouse Spritz (Ultra Raspberry, cherry tomato, bubbles) and Carter Cobbler (Infinite Banana, Grey Goose, green tea Bianco).
Fancy Tea at Lyaness. £58 including four cocktails/Champagne tea £48/Boozeless tea £38.
Available: Thursday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm.
Afternoon tea at Huffkins, inside John Lewis, Kingston
Huffkins bakery is a Cotswold-based brand, but it's taking it's first steps into the big city by opening a tea rooms inside John Lewis & Partners in Kingston.
Founded in 1890, it's fair to say that Huffkins knows its way around a cake by now, and afternoon tea is one of the offerings in the new venue. Things stay on the traditional side, with delicate finger sandwiches, freshly-baked scones, and cakes. Prosecco is optional, and younger customers can dine on a teddy bear's picnic afternoon tea.
Huffkins Bakery at John Lewis & Partners, Kingston.
Available: Huffkins opens in Kingston on 18 June 2019.
Summer Blossom Afternoon Tea at Scoff & Banter, Canary Wharf/Bloomsbury/Kensington
Florals rule at three branches of modern tea room Scoff & Banter, where the usual afternoon tea menu has been replaced with an eye-catching Summer Blossom menu. Floral-decorated macarons and rose-iced cupcakes are the main changes, with edible flower-infused prosecco available to wash it down.
Summer Blossom Afternoon Tea at Scoff & Banter, Canary Wharf/Bloomsbury/Kensington (not the Oxford Street branch). £30 per person/£36 with prosecco.
Available: Monday-Friday 2pm-4.30pm, Saturday-Sunday 1pm-4.30pm. Until 18 August.
Classic afternoon tea at Thomas's Cafe, Burberry Regent Street
For such an iconically British brand, we're surprised Burberry hasn't jumped on the afternoon tea bandwagon before. Now, Thomas's Cafe, located within the flagship Regent Street store, serves up traditional fingers sandwiches, scones and cakes — and the less traditional crumpets.
Highlight is the passionfruit and milk chocolate Burberry bar, topped with the house’s monogram, showing the initials TB interlocking.
Classic afternoon tea at Thomas's Cafe, Burberry. Fancy Tea at Lyaness. £32 per person/£44 with a glass of 2014 Gusbourne Rosé.
Available: Thursday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm.
Mr Ma's afternoon tea at The Academy Hotel, Fitzrovia
Chinese-inspired pastries meet exotic teas at Mr Ma's afternoon tea. The menu is named the novel Mr Ma And Son by Lao She, a Chinese novelist who lived in the Bloomsbury area in the 1920s. Tea is served in an Asian-inspired tea service, and the menu combines traditional British savouries and Chinese sweet offerings. In summer months, there's the option of dining in the courtyard.
Mr Ma's afternoon tea at The Academy Hotel. From £30 per person, £10 supplement for wine or gin.
Available: Daily, 12pm-6pm
What's the Tea? at W Hotel, Leicester Square
They don't do things by halves at Perception Bar. Drag queens are the theme of the new all-singing, all-dancing, all-glittering What's The Tea? menu, with fantastically themed food served in a sparkling cosmetics case.
The Glitter Ball is a white chocolate-coated lemon and blueberry cake-pop, while the chocolate and vanilla Red Velvet roll is named Red Lip Sync. Best of all are the scone toppings — Clotted Night Cream and Lip Jam.
One Sunday a month, drag artists The Globe Girls perform life at tea extravaganza as you tuck into your sarnies.
What's the Tea? at W Hotel. £39 per person/£44 with a glass of prosecco/£49 with a KiKi cocktail.
Available: Daily, 1pm-5pm
Devonshire Club X East India Company afternoon tea
Private members' club The Devonshire Club resides in a building that used to be an East India Company warehouse — the company responsible for first bringing tea to England. So the two organisations collaborated for this new afternoon tea, which takes inspiration from the goods and spices that were traded between Europe, South Asia and the Far East in the 18th century.
Scones are served with rose petal preserve, and sweet highlights include a Oolong tea infused crème brûlée and Dark and white chocolate, pink peppercorn and nutmeg Delice.
The afternoon tea can be eaten on the outdoor terrace, or while watching Wimbledon and cricket match screenings in the Garden Room.
Afternoon tea at The Devonshire Club (available to both member and non-members). £28 per person.
Available: Friday-Sunday, 1pm-5pm (Monday-Thursday it's available to members only).
Summer afternoon tea at The Savoy
If you're feeling swanky, head to The Savoy, where afternoon tea has been given a summer update, in partnership with JING Tea.
Tuck into six light, floral pastries made from seasonal ingredients including strawberries and mirabelle plums. The showstopper is the summer fruit tartlet, and there are plenty of teas to choose from to wash it all down. It's served in the hotel's Thames Foyer, a wonderfully light and airy room, with a piano accompaniment throughout the afternoon tea.
Summer afternoon tea at The Savoy. Summer Seasonal Traditional Afternoon Tea £65 per person/Traditional Summer Seasonal High Tea £70. Add a glass of Laurent-Perrier for an additional £10 or £15 for a glass of Deutz Rosé.
Available: Daily, 1pm-5.45pm
Afternoon Tea at Sexy Fish, Mayfair
We're still not OK with Sexy Fish as a restaurant name... and then they went and threw (not literally, thankfully), the above afternoon tea stand at us, and now we don't know if we'll be OK with anything ever again. If serpent-haired goddess Medusa and chef Heston Blumenthal had a love-child, we imagine the result would be thus.
Seriously though, if you like your seafood, this one's for you. The menu is heavily Japanese-influenced, with smoked salmon and pickled cucumber in a steamed bun, and a Thai chicken sandwich with puffed rice bread among the sarnies. A matcha, cherry and rose eclair, and chocolate, banana and soy caramel bring things to a sweet conclusion.
If anyone needs us, we'll be in the corner wondering what's going to come slithering out of that sinister hole.
Afternoon Tea at Sexy Fish. £58 per person, or £70-£85 with a glass of champagne.
Available: Throughout the summer, Monday-Friday 2.30pm-4.30pm
Bombay Sapphire afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
Saturday 8 June is World Gin Day, but the celebrations last all month at Georgian hotel and restaurant Dean Street Townhouse. Chefs have teamed up with gin brand Bombay Sapphire to produce items including coriander and cassia bark cake and gin & tonic cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches.
Of course, gin cocktails also feature on the menu — choose from Afternoon Fizz (gin, prosecco, lapsang tea, mandarin, lemon, orange bitter), Chelsea 75 (gin, champagne, jasmine tea, italicus, lemon) and Three Roses Negroni (gin, Sacred Rosehip liqueur, Rose Vermouth, atomized rose water).
Bombay Sapphire afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse. £21 per person, or £32 with a Bombay Sapphire cocktail.
Available: until the end of June, 2pm-6pm
A Right Royale Tea at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross
Comedy meets afternoon tea at this Charing Cross hotel, where an immersive comedy theatre performance takes place around you as you tuck into sarnies and scones. The 1920s cast includes Lord and Lady Right, mischievous maids, boisterous butlers and a sumptuous songstress — and it's billed as 'interactive', so if you're not one for audience participation, you should probably swerve this one.
A Right Royal Tea at Amba Hotel Charing Cross. £59.95-£77.50.
Available: Saturday 15 June (preview), then every Sunday, 23 June-1 September.