Afternoon tea isn't a particularly vegan-friendly meal, what with the meat and egg sandwich fillings, the cream to go with the scones, and the egg and dairy filled desserts. But more and more London venues are offering vegan afternoon teas now. Here are some of the most vegan-friendly afternoon teas in the capital. We've stuck to venues that openly have a vegan menu on their website. Many other venues do offer a vegan version of their afternoon tea, but tend to hide it away or only mention it when asked, leaving vegan diners as an afterthought.
Vegan Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson Hotel, Fitzrovia
Good news — one of London's most famous afternoon teas is available as vegan. The Alice in Wonderland themed spread at the Sanderson has a separate vegan menu. Savoury goodies include a White Rabbit cucumber sandwich, and a grilled vegetables, tomato and avocado super seed roll. The sweet part of the menu features a Queen of Hearts pecan, chocolate and coconut cookie and a Mad March Hare beetroot and almond Battenberg, showing that vegan food can be playful too.
Vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free versions of the afternoon tea are also available.
Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG.
Vegan afternoon tea at One Aldwych, Covent Garden
At first glance a chocolate factory may not seem the place for someone with special dietary requirements, but the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych is available in vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
The vegan version still has some of the favourites — that golden egg has been reworked to contain coconut cream, and of course, the candyfloss still features. Even the chocolate caramel milk has been replaced with a soya version.
Here's our video of the regular afternoon tea, which we tried in 2017:
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory afternoon tea, One Aldwych Hotel, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ. (Note: closed for refurbishment until April 2019).
B Bakery's vegan afternoon tea
Best known for its roving afternoon tea buses, B Bakery also has a bricks and mortar base in Covent Garden. But far from being just a gimmick, the chef team have created vegan, vegetarian, Halal, and gluten-free afternoon teas, in addition to the traditional menu.
The vegan menu includes meat and dairy-free versions of the traditional finger sandwiches — think beetroot and cucumber sandwich, avocado and carrot roll and mixed roasted vegetables on ciabatta. Follow it up with vegan chocolate mousse, lemon drizzle cake or a vegan cupcake, all while the Houses of Parliament, Royal Albert Hall and other London landmarks whizz past your window.
B Bakery's vegan afternoon tea, available at the Covent Garden bakery and on bus tours and boat tours.
Vegan afternoon tea at Drink, Shop & Do, King's Cross
King's Cross events venue and bar Drink, Shop & Do does more than just booze and quirky crafts nights. It has an extremely pleasant afternoon tea, every Saturday and Sunday — with bottomless prosecco available as an optional extra for two hours. A vegan option is available, as is a gluten-free one — just let them know when you book. Vegan sandwich fillings include sun-blushed tomato, tapenade & sweet herbs, or roasted red pepper hummus, carrot ribbons & paprika, and are followed up with a vegan cake.
Afternoon tea at Drink, Shop & Do, 9 Caledonian Road, King's Cross, N1 9DX.
Vegan Potion Room afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge, Soho
One of the most popular afternoon teas in London right now, this wizard-themed offering invites diners to don a cloak and take part in a potions class in a basement beneath the streets of Soho. Read our full review of the non-vegan menu and watch the video to get an idea of the theatricality of it
But what about vegans, you ask? They're catered for with a separate menu. Alas, the pie and Yorkshire pudding items from the main menu aren't suitable, but they've been replaced with a selection of sandwiches, including hummus and avocado & roasted vegetables. The rock cake scones are served with a vegan cream, and dessert is a vegan chocolate cauldron cake and a knickerbocker bite. Expelliarmus to that.
Potion Room at Cutter & Squidge, 20 Brewer Street, W1F 0SJ
Vegan afternoon tea at Egerton House Hotel, South Kensington
Sit down to afternoon tea in the elegant Drawing Room of this South Kensington hotel, which offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free versions of its traditional afternoon tea. The impressive-sounding vegan sarnie options include grilled vegetables on granary baguette, guacamole and rocket on white bread, chickpea-coronation on granary bread, cucumber on brown bread and tomato and olive tapenade on sun-dried tomato bread. Got more of a sweet tooth? Tuck into home baked vegan plain and fruit scones, and vegan cakes including iced chocolate brownie, vanilla and coconut sponge, and lemon drizzle cake.
Afternoon tea at Egerton House Hotel, 17-10 Egerton Terrace, South Kensington, SW3 2BX
Vegan afternoon tea at Cafe Forty One, Bayswater
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Cafe Forty One is entirely vegan — it claims to be London's only vegan French patisserie — so no need to worry that you've been given something from the main menu by mistake.
Aubergine 'bacon', cream (vegan) cheese and smoked carrot 'salmon' all make appearances on the sandwich section of the afternoon tea menu, while the sweet course is a selection of the cafe's patisseries of the week.
Afternoon tea at Cafe Forty One At La Suite West, 41-51 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, W2 3JN.
Vegan high tea at Lady Dinah's, Shoreditch
Take tea among the feline residents of London's original cat cafe, Lady Dinah's. Pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options are available, featuring a selection of finger sandwiches, scones (soya-based spread in the vegan option), and cakes — lemon shortbread, layer cupcakes and berry cupcakes are examples given on the vegan sample menu, but may vary depending what's available when you visit.
Predictably, this one books up months in advance, so plan well ahead.
High tea with cats at Lady Dinah's, 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2 6DG.
Vegan afternoon tea at Cake Boy, Battersea
This little-known Battersea cafe is a bit off the beaten track, but that's not stopping it from keeping up with London's foodies. The vegan afternoon tea launched in 2018, and all sounds very fancy; red velvet cake, French raspberry macarons, and avocado and Peruvian cup. Oh, and there are savouries too (olive sourdough with Moroccan coriander humus, gluten-free mini loaf with pistachio pesto), but really, if you're going to Cake Boy, you're going for the cake.
Afternoon tea at Cake Boy, Unit B, Kingfisher House, Battersea Reach, Juniper Drive, SW18 1TX
Vegan Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel, South Kensington
Ampersand Hotel's Science Afternoon Tea is another of London's themed offerings which caters for vegans. The extensive, explosive meal was put together in collaboration with the nearby Science Museum.
Here's our video of the regular Science Afternoon Tea, when it launched with a Big Bang Theory theme in September 2018:
Vegan amateur scientists can tuck into sandwiches including guacamole and vegan cheese, mixed grill vegetables and carrot, watercress and pickled beetroot. Homemade scones are served with strawberry preserve and vegetable butter, followed up by elderflower and strawberry petri dish, chocolate spaceman, and a dark chocolate mini dinosaur fossil.
Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, South Kensington, SW7 3ER.
Dukes vegan afternoon tea, Mayfair
Things are kept traditional at Dukes, where afternoon tea is served on a tiered stand in the Drawing Room and Conservatory, overlooking a courtyard garden. Vegans are catered for with sandwiches in the form of oat cakes filled with cucumber and cress, and guacamole, coriander and black onion seeds, among others. Vegan sultana scones are provided, and pastries include vegan walnut and chocolate brownie, and blueberry ganache.
Afternoon tea at Dukes, 35 St James's Place, Mayfair, SW1A 1NY.
Other vegan afternoon teas in London:
- There is a vegan alternative on the afternoon tea menu of The Rubens At The Palace, near Buckingham Palace.
- The entire focus at Ethos in Fitzrovia is meat-free dining, but gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free versions of the afternoon tea are available.
- Ham Yard Hotel offers its afternoon tea in 'healthy' versions, including sugar-free, gluten-free, or vegan.
Where have we missed? Let us know in the comments.