13 Unique Afternoon Teas in London You Must Try (2023)
London is lousy with afternoon tea spots, as it's one of the top things to do when visiting London. However, not all afternoon teas are created equal. I've compiled the 13 most unique afternoon tea spots in London in this list, ones that will stand a head above the crowd and provide an afternoon to remember.
After all, afternoon tea in London is not exactly cheap, running between £30-£80 per person on average. Most travelers can only afford to do it once during their trip. So you may as well choose a uniquely themed afternoon tea experience to make. it all the more fun.
Take a look at the unique afternoon tea spots on this list, and find one that tickles your fancy, but remember the number one rule for afternoon tea in London: book well in advance! Afternoon teas sell out days or weeks in advance, so it’s not really something you can decide to do last minute and expect to get a seat somewhere!
Here’s a look at 13 unique afternoon teas in London, 8 of them selected by fellow travel bloggers, and 5 more that I think look incredibly promising. Many of these are literary-inspired afternoon teas, because if you're new here, literary travel is kind of my thing.
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More Unique Afternoon Teas in London (with a bookish twist!)
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Whenever possible, I recommend buying books at local bookshops or through Bookshop.org, because shopping there puts the profits right into the hands of indie bookstores all over the country.
London Afternoon Tea with Cats
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium Afternoon Tea is without a doubt one of the best themed afternoon teas in London! With its unique and quirky concept that combines a delicious afternoon tea with the company of adorable cats, what’s not to love?! Visitors can enjoy their tea while being surrounded by playful and affectionate rescue cats, so it’s a perfect destination for cat lovers and those seeking a one-of-a-kind experience.
Situated in London's trendy Bethnal Green neighborhood, the tea room is decorated with cute cat-themed décor and set over two different floors, both with stunning and creative themes - The Basement Forest and the Mad Catter’s Tearoom!
For afternoon tea there’s an assortment of teas and “cattacinos,” sandwiches, cat-shaped scones (adorable!) and lots of delicious and creative cat-inspired pastries and treats.
It does get busy so it’s best to book in advance! This unique London afternoon tea costs £27 per person, making it a very reasonably priced and memorable activity! They also cater very well to dietary restrictions, and have gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan options.
The nearest Tube station to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is Shoreditch High Street, which is just a short walk away, making it easily accessible. It’s just around the corner from the famous Brick Lane Market as well so you can pop there afterwards!
Submitted by Catrina from 24 Hours Layover
Mad Hatter’s Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea
When it comes to themed afternoon teas in London, Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea, located at Sanderson Hotel on the north edge of Soho, stands out as a whimsical and enchanting experience that transports you to the magical world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Amidst the city's wealth of afternoon tea options, this tea party with a twist offers a unique adventure for your taste buds.
What sets Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea apart as one of the most unique afternoon teas in London is not just the theme, but also the carefully crafted food selection. In addition to the trusted favorites like sandwiches and scones, here you can expect an array of whimsical treats and delicacies inspired by the characters and moments from Alice in Wonderland.
From "Drink Me" potions to pocket-watch macarons and Queen of Hearts-themed pastries, each bite is a delightful surprise. And with an average price per person of around £50-£70 (depending on whether you opt for bubbles and which one), it is definitely one of the more affordable London afternoon teas.
Those with dietary restrictions, don't fret! Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea in London can accommodate various needs. In addition to offering a dedicated vegan menu (at all times!), they can also cater to other dietary requirements. However, it's best to inform the venue beforehand to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience.
Now that you have booked your table (reservation highly recommended!) and specified your dietary requirements, how do you get there? It's easy! The nearest tube stations are Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street (all less than 10 minutes walking distance), making it super accessible from all around London. So, you have no excuse not to step into Wonderland and embark on a tea experience like no other indulging in the magic, savouring the delectable treats, and letting your imagination run wild in this enchanting tea party adventure!
Submitted by Goya from GoyaGaleotta.com
Tip: If you are a traveling book lover, make sure you visit the Charles Dickens Museum in London.
The Secret Garden London Afternoon Tea
Taj 51 is a luxurious hotel located in London near Westminster and has one of the best themed afternoon teas in London. The Secret Garden Afternoon Tea is inspired by the children’s book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
This unique London afternoon tea will transport you into this timeless tale and has the most beautiful design. The snacks and dessert come out in a golden birdcage adorned with butterflies. Some of the desserts mirror that of a flower pot, and the flower pot is edible! You can even eat the dirt!
At the Secret Garden Afternoon Tea, you also are brought a menu that, upon opening it, a butterfly emerges, making a wonderful surprise to the start of your unique afternoon tea here. Other fun surprises include a box which you can open with a key… inside is another butterfly.
Vegetarian and vegan afternoon teas are available upon request and 48 hours' notice. The cost of the afternoon tea starts at £75 and with alcohol, it is £90. Add this unique experience to your non touristy London itinerary!
This unique London afternoon tea is only available from Thursday to Sunday at 12:00,14:00 and 16:00 hrs. For reservations, you must call +44 (0) 20 7769 7766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Jackie from Jou Jou Travels
Related: Check out these companies that make bookish tea flavors
Sketch Afternoon Tea London
Sketch is one of London’s most iconic venues for afternoon tea, offering tourists and locals alike a step inside an opulent setting to enjoy a delectable range of goodies.
Once simply known as “the pink restaurant with amazing toilets,” this London establishment has recently been made over and is now styled in muted colors and sumptuous fabrics. But once your eye has taken in the decor and of course the egg-shaped toilets (you won’t believe it until you see them for yourself) it is the delicious and unique afternoon tea that is the star of the show.
Served by your dedicated waiter, at Sketch afternoon tea in London you will be able to enjoy a range of exquisite sandwiches, pastries, and of course scones with jam and cream, which is a must for all afternoon teas in London.
Sketch is one of the most unique afternoon teas in London. The menu is based on traditional English delights such as egg and soldiers with caviar, a play on the children’s breakfast; truffled brioche rolls, which add a touch of luxury to the tea; and Battenberg cake, a favorite from children’s parties in the 1970s,
Don’t be fooled by how your delicacies look, as you might find they taste completely different from what you expect. That’s a little treat waiting for you to discover.
Afternoon tea at Sketch is £69 and with champagne between £30-£40 more depending on your choice of bubbles. Gluten-free options are available.
Make sure to book a table well in advance, as Sketch is one of London’s most popular afternoon teas. The nearest tube stations are Bond Street and Oxford Circus.
Submitted by Angela from whereangiewanders.com
Tip: The Sketch Afternoon Tea London is only one tube stop away from the famous Sherlock Holmes Museum! Make sure to include that in your London itinerary.
Brigit’s Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Brigit's Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour offers one of the most unique afternoon teas in London: afternoon tea inside an iconic double-decker bus!
The afternoon tea bus tour departs from Victoria Coach Station and takes guests on a 90-minute scenic drive around some of the city's most famous landmarks. During the afternoon tea bus tour, you’ll enjoy ongoing music and commentary about the places as you pass them, while enjoying delicious afternoon tea treats.
Brigit’s Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus offers several afternoon tea themes, including the Classic Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, the Blamtastic BEANO Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, and the Grinchmas Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.
Each theme in this unique London afternoon tea features a different menu of food and drinks and some fun activities and games. You’ll enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and a range of cakes and pastries.
The Blamtastic BEANO Afternoon Tea Bus Tour features a more playful menu, offering items like Bangers & Mash-up Chocolate Cupcake and a Cucumber & Cream Cheese Finger on Charcoal Bread. The Grinchmas Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is a festive affair, with a menu that includes Christmas treats like mince pies and gingerbread.
Whichever theme you go for, it’s hard to argue that Brigit’s Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is one of the most unique ways to have afternoon tea in London.
The average price per person for a Brigit's Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is £45.
Brigit's Bakery can accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions for their afternoon teas. Guests can request a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free menu. They can also request a specific type of tea, such as English Breakfast tea, Earl Grey tea, or green tea.
The Circle, District, Victoria, and Jubilee lines serve Victoria station, where the tour begins.
Submitted by Ruma from The Holiday Story
Harry Potter Afternoon Tea at Georgian House Hotel
At the Georgian House Hotel, you can one of London’s most unique afternoon teas: a Harry Potter-themed afternoon tea, with a wizard’s hat and all!
This afternoon tea is inspired by the Harry Potter books written by JK Rowling and is held in the cellar of the beautiful Georgian House Hotel. As soon as you walk down the steps, you can hear Harry Potter music, transporting you to Hogwarts.
Every guest at the Harry Potter afternoon tea is given a wizard’s hat to wear for the duration of the meal, and before you get your food, you can even brew a steamy potion in a cauldron! Okay, it’s just hot water poured over ice cubes, but the steam coming out of the cauldron looks very magical.
The food is served in a tray that looks like Hedwig’s cage. You’ll get to enjoy different kinds of finger food, a traditional English scone with jam and cream, and a pot of tea per person. If you’re not already stuffed, you can also enjoy a number of small dessert bites.
The Harry Potter afternoon tea at the Georgian House Hotel costs £40 per person, with an optional surcharge for a vegan menu. This afternoon tea is only available on Saturdays and Sundays, and visitors can choose amongst the following: Standard menu, kids menu, vegetarian menu, or vegan menu.
Having a magical afternoon tea like that is one of the best Harry Potter things you can do in London. And if you want to make your stay in London even more magical, you can stay overnight at the Georgian House Hotel in a Harry Potter-themed enchanted chamber.
Submitted by Tina Riegelnegg
Afternoon Tea in a Library
An absolute dream for book lovers, the Library Afternoon Tea at County Hall is one of my favorite spots for afternoon tea in London. Located just across the Thames from the beautiful Parliament Buildings, there are views of Big Ben (well, Queen Elizabeth Tower if we’re going to be accurate), from every window.
You’ll enjoy a delicious tea surrounded by beautiful bookshelves, which divide up the room and give the visitor a more private experience. The menu is inspired by the newly renovated Big Ben/Queen Elizabeth Tower, with the desserts beautifully reflecting the iconic London landmark.
This unique afternoon tea in London offers an incredible tea selection, and you can see and smell the loose leaf teas before making your choice. The food is delicious, the ambience unmatched. Afternoon tea at the Library is a true delight.
Afternoon tea at the Library in London costs £55 per person, with optional add-ons for champagne. Vegan menu options are available by request.
The nearest tube stops for this unique London afternoon tea experience are Lambeth North and Waterloo.
Selected by yours truly, Constance from A Well-Read Wanderer
Garden Afternoon Tea London Escape
The Garden Afternoon Tea at Petersham Nurseries is a whimsical yet elevated afternoon tea experience in London, with seasonal gardening at its heart.
Located in a greenhouse at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, the location for the afternoon tea is stunning right off the bat. The greenhouses at Petersham Nurseries are bedecked with flowers and vines and bring so much natural light into the space.
This unique London afternoon tea is an ode to the English garden. The glass cake tiers are topped with vases filled with seasonal flowers picked that morning from the garden.
The menu changes seasonally to reflect what is growing, but everything is delicious and fresh and often uses edible flowers to make the food even more pretty. From vegetable romesco tarts to clementine and pomegranate cakes, every item on the menu is stunning and far from the predictable cucumber sandwiches of usual afternoon teas.
After you’ve finished enjoying your sandwiches and desserts, a server delivers a basket of fresh scones, jam, and clotted cream and offers to refill your tea.
The Garden Afternoon Tea in London is £45 per person, with upgrades available for prosecco or champagne. A vegetarian menu is available on request.
The closest Tube station to Petersham Nurseries is Richmond, followed by a short bus ride or lovely walk down the riverside.
Petersham Nurseries is almost like a secret garden escape from London, and the Garden Afternoon Tea is a special experience you won't want to miss. Not only a greenhouse, there is also a beautifully curated shop at the nursery filled with treasures. Wandering Petersham Nurseries is one of the loveliest things to do in South West London.
Submitted by Hannah from Art Distance
Other unique afternoon teas in London I can’t wait to check out:
The above 8 unique London afternoon teas have all been personally recommended by fellow travel bloggers. But if you're still looking for more unique afternoon tea ideas in London, check out the following venues I haven't yet been but find promising based on my research.
I’ve especially looked for London afternoon teas that are inspired by books, since I'm all about literary travel.
Sherlock Holmes Mind Palace Afternoon Tea
This truly unique afternoon tea in London is another one with a literary theme, this time inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.
Once you have received the proper security clearance, guests at the Sherlock’s Mind Palace afternoon tea work together to solve a mystery while enjoying themed treats.
The Sherlock Holmes Mind Palace afternoon tea in London costs between £39 to £49 per person and is only available Thursday through Sunday. Vegetarian, Vegan, Halal, and Gluten-free options are available.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea
Here’s another fun, book-themed afternoon tea in London: the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych, inspired by beloved children’s author Roald Dahl. This afternoon tea experience is full of sweets, including chocolate tea and punch cocktails.
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea costs £70 per adult, £50 per child, with optional champagne upgrade. Children’s, vegetarian, and vegan menus are available.
Macbeth Afternoon tea at the London Swan
Next to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, you can enjoy a unique London afternoon tea at the Swan. The Macbeth afternoon tea takes a theatrical twist, with a menu inspired by Shakespeare’s lyrical prose. You’ll find treats on the menu inspired by Macbeth’s Scottish setting, like Scottish whiskey and orange curd-filled macarons.
Afternoon tea at the Swan is the ideal venue for Shakespeare lovers in London and costs £40.50 per person. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, as is a “Gentleman’s Tea”.
Related: Read about how to visit the real-life castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kronborg Castle in Denmark
Bridgerton Afternoon Tea
The Lanesborough London is currently, for a limited time, hosting a Bridgerton-themed afternoon tea. Come in your best regency attire if you want to really go all-out (otherwise smart casual dress is acceptable), and enjoy a unique London afternoon tea under a domed glass ceiling and a lavishly decorated dining room.
The Bridgerton afternoon tea was such a hit when they launched in 2022 that in 2023, visitors can indulge in a Queen Charlotte themed afternoon tea, based on the new Netflix Bridgerton story. This is definitely a unique afternoon tea to check out in London if you’re a fan of the Netflix series or the Julia Quinn novels that inspired them.
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and children’s menus are available.
Wicked Afternoon Tea at the Clermont
Only a 3-minute walk from the Apollo Victoria Theatre where you can see Wicked: The Musical, you can enjoy a Wicked-themed afternoon tea! This afternoon tea in London is inspired by the musical, which is inspired by the Gregory Maguire book, of course.
The Wicked Afternoon Tea in London embraces a green theme, unsurprisingly. You can also enjoy a pre-show drink of your choice: The Wicked or the Good. This is one of the more affordable London afternoon teas at £40 per person.
Finding Accommodations in London
As you look for somewhere to stay in London, I recommend checking for lodging on Hotels.com. I almost always book my accommodations through Hotels.com, because you can earn rewards for every night you stay without having to choose only one hotel chain to be loyal to. You can even book locally owned aparthotels and bed and breakfasts.
Travel Resources At-A-Glance
All of the following are links to sites and services I actually use to book and plan my travel or to purchase books or travel gear.
For flights: Skyscanner is my number one go-to resource for booking flights. I love using the “explore” function to find the cheapest places I can fly during a given time, or using the fare calendar to identify the cheapest days to fly.
For hotels and lodgings: For hotels, hotels.com and for vacation rentals, VRBO.com. I’ve had much better experiences with private rentals through this website than through other popular private vacation rental websites.
For car rentals: Kayak allows comparisons across a wide range of booking agencies and lists reviews of companies as well. I’ve found this to be the most user-friendly and efficient way to compare car rental prices.
For tours & excursions: Viator is my top choice for booking excursions and tour experiences in a new destination.
Best travel credit card: My favorite travel rewards credit card for European travel has been the Chase Sapphire Rewards card. Visa is accepted just about everywhere in Europe, and there are no foreign transaction fees on the card. Some of the travel benefits I love on the Chase Sapphire include free TSA pre check or Global Entry (worth it every time), an annual $200 travel credit, an annual $200 hotel benefit, built-in rental car and trip insurance, and points are worth 50% more when used to book travel. I travel around Europe a LOT, and I end up with many free flights and hotel stays from using my points on my Chase Sapphire.
For books: Bookshop.org often has prices as good as Amazon or sometimes better, but profits go to indie bookstores all over the country. Whenever possible, consider buying your books from this online indie bookshop resource.
London has no shortage of afternoon tea venues, but my recommendation is to find one with a fun theme. It will make your experience having an authentic London afternoon tea all the more memorable. What do you think of the afternoon tea options on this list?
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