The so-called Afternoon Tea is one of Englad’s most popular traditions and – let’s face it – those tiny sandwiches and shiny cupcakes look delicious. A full Afternoon Tea is a proper meal, it will hardly do as a post-lunch treat or a pre-dinner break. Unless you choose the ‘Cornish Tea’ (tea and scones), make sure to be hungry enough for this experience!
An Afternoon Tea in London can be quite expensive. Some of the most popular tearooms – like Fortnum & Mason’s in Piccadilly - are definitely worth their fame and prince. And yet, you can still find enjoyable and affordable solutions, with a little bit of research.
The Cambridge Pub, Soho (£10.95pp)
Finger sandwiches, scones with jam & clotted cream, a selection of cakes and your pot of tea: just all you need for a first taste of Afternoon Tea, a yummy and also strategic break, as you will be righ in the city centre.
Canteen, Royal Festival House (£12.50pp)
As soon as you spot a ray of sunshine, don’t waste a second: make your way to this informal yet quite fashionable place at the Southbank Centre. Take a seat outside and enjoy being in the most lively and vibrant area in London, as well eating some fine sandwiches, home-made giant (seriously giant) scones. A special treat: instead of the regular salmon sandwich, you will have a soda bread roll with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
You can also find a Canteen restaurant in Spitafield Market and in Canary Wharf.
The Arts Cafe, Leicester Square (The Petite £9pp, The Grande £14)
An Alice in Wonderland-themed café inside one of London’s favourite theatres – The Arts Theatre. They have amazing loose tea blends, all served – as they put it – ‘in an ingenius way’, perfect for all seasons as they offer several fruit teas as well. Their menu is not exactly traditional, yet there is little doubt you will enjoy the mini canapes and the brownie bites, as well as the daily desserts.
Muriel’s Kitchen, Soho (£16.75 pp)
‘Sweet’ is the only word to describe this cosy bistrot in Old Compton Street: pastel tones, wooden furniture and even a table with swings instead of chairs! Although they do not offer a wide selection of teas, the food is simply delicious. On top of that, you will get a special treat with your tea – one of Muriel’s famous smoothies.
You can also find a Muriel’s Kitchen restaurant in South Kensington and in Richmond.
Kingsway Hall Hotel, Covent Garden/Holborn (£22.95 pp)
Do you want to go the extra mile and find something a little bit more posh for your afternoon? What about a fancy hotel in the city centre, ideally, with a great selection of the best blends? Look no further, because this is the right place: a traditional Afternoon Tea served in the tearoom of a 5-star hotel. For the same price, you can also have a Vegetarian of Gluten-free option, which is not that easy to find in old-fashioned tearooms.
Looking for a last-minute Afternoon Tea, since you are not the most organised traveller?