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As I wrote recently, a traditional afternoon tea in one of London’s top hotels can be a costly, if memorable way to spend an afternoon. But it doesn’t have to be and there are many venues that offer the best budget afternoon teas in London that are great value for money.
So here is my list of some of the best value afternoon teas London has to offer ranging from £9 to £40 per person.
Be warned, some require you to pre-book and some may charge a cancellation fee if you don’t give notice.
After a morning taking in the delights of St James’s Park, the Mall and Buckingham Palace, you might well feel the need to sit down with a nice cup of tea and slice of cake. The English Rose tea shop is an independent family run café located at 4 Lower Grosvenor Place, just an 8 minute walk from the Palace gates.
Afternoon tea for two costs just £30 (£15 per extra person) and you can add a 200ml bottle of Prosecco for £6.75 per person. The mixed selection of finger sandwiches is followed with warm scones (with clotted cream and jam of course), cakes and a pot of tea for two served on a tiered cake stand.
If you fancy recreating your afternoon tea at home, the Tea Shop sells a selection of traditional teapots from £18 plus cups and saucers, teas and preserves.
Before setting off keep in mind that The English Rose is closed Monday to Wednesday. No need to book but you may wish to call on 020 7976 6280 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) just to be sure.
Where? : The English Rose Café & Tea Shop, 4 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EJ
Transport ? : Victoria tube station or bus routes 2, 16, 36, 38, 52, 73, 82, 148, 436 and C2
When? : Closed Mon-Wed, Thurs-Fri 10-4pm, Sat & Sun 10-5pm (kitchen closes at 3.45pm)
Cost? : £30 for two, £15 each additional person.
Website? : http://theenglishrosecafe.co.uk
Located on the King’s Road, the free to enter Saatchi Gallery is a 70,000 square foot art space devoted to contemporary art.
Afternoon tea is served in the Saatchi Gallery Bar & Brasserie Gallery and their afternoon tea in partnership with Wedgwood is available until the end of November.
The Chelsea afternoon tea (£35 per person) includes a starter, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and perserves, a variety of cakes & pastries and a choice of Newby Teas or coffee. For an extra £10 per person you can add a glass of Louis Pommery English Sparkling Wine and for £79 per person the Limitless Afternoon Tea includes limitless afternoon tea items and English Sparkling Wine for 90 minutes.
Younger visitors can enjoy the Children’s afternoon tea complete with sandwiches, scones, pastries and a tea or soft drink.
Where? : The Saatchi Gallery Bar & Brasserie, 90 Duke of York Square, London, SW3 4LY
Transport ? : Sloane Square tube station
When? : 3pm and 5pm on selected dates. Book online.
Cost? : £35 pp plus 12.5% service charge.
The Wallace Restaurant serves visitors to the Wallace Collection, an art gallery on Manchester Square and a short walk from Baker Street or Bond Street underground stations. The free to enter museum is home to works by Titian, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Velazquez and perhaps it’s best known work, ‘The Laughing Cavalier’ by Fran Hals.
The restaurant is operated by Peyton & Byrne and tea is served in an indulgent covered courtyard with plenty of natural light bathing the salmon pink walls of this double height atrium.
The £19.50pp Wallace Afternoon Tea is served on a three tier stand. The finger sandwich selection includes cucumber with dill cream, egg, smoked salmon with cream cheese and coronation chicken. Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam then follow. A selection of mini cakes and pastries finish the meal which may include lemon meringue pie, white chocolate cheesecake and a chocolate and raspberry heart.
There are a good selection of black and green teas (from the lighter Earl Grey to the smoky Lapsang Souchong) plus herbal and fruit infusions.
Where? : The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN
Transport ? : Baker Street tube (to the North) or Bond Street tube (to the South)
When? : Monday to Sunday 2.30 to 4.30pm. Booking required.
Cost? : £19.50pp plus 12.5% service charge. Champagne afternoon tea is £30.50pp
The Tea Terrace operates from two branches of House of Fraser in Central London; one on the fifth floor of the Oxford Street branch and the other on the second floor of the Victoria Street branch.
Stepping into the Tea Terrace is a bit like stepping into the pages of Alice in Wonderland. The decor is quasi-modern with Victorian regal throne chairs and ornate sofas and a colour theme of white and pastel pinks and blues. The tea theme is everywhere with quotes about tea on the walls, chandeliers made of teapots, teacups and teaspoons.
Traditional afternoon tea is served on Royal Albert fine bone china on a three tier cake stand. The bottom tier has sandwiches with a choice from up to six flavours – egg mayonnaise, cheese & chutney, smoked salmon & cream cheese, ham & tomato, cucumber & cream cheese or tuna mayonnaise.
The scones are the real star with a wider selection than those normally on offer. Choose two from plain, fruit, cranberry & white chocolate, or ginger, all served with clotted cream and jam. If you prefer savoury there are cheddar cheese & herb scones.
To finish comes three square slices of traditional English cakes plus French petits fours. The tea selection is extensive and includes Tregothnan English herbal teas from Cornwall including infusions of nettles, Manuka honey, Echinacea and Lemon Verbena.
Variations on the Traditional Afternoon Tea are the “Indulgence” which comes with four mini Belgian chocolate desserts (£24.95) and the “Celebration” with a glass of Prosecco (£27.75). There is also a gluten-free alternative (£25.75).
Where? : House of Fraser, 5th Floor, 318 Oxford Street, W1C 1HF and House of Fraser, 2nd Floor, 101 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QX
Transport ? : Oxford Street – between Bond Street and Oxford Circus tube stations. Victoria Street – between Victoria and St James’s park tube stations.
When? : Daily from 12 noon.
Cost? : Traditional afternoon tea is £22.75 for one, £44.95 for two. No booking required. No service charge.
Website? : http://www.theteaterrace.com/
For a quirky afternoon tea head south out of town to experience Little Nan’s Bar. In 2013 it first opened in the backroom of a nightclub off Deptford High Street serving teapot cocktails. In 2014 Little Nan’s Afternoon Teas started and proved to be a great hit. The Deptford Bar now occupies three arches close to Deptford train station and a second home was opened in 2017 at Catford Broadway Theatre.
Afternoon tea comes on a three tier stand with vintage china. Finger sandwiches of smoked salmon & cream cheese, egg mayo, ham & mustard plus a seasonal flavour and veggie filling. Followed by (you’ve guessed it) scones with cream and jam and finally Victoria Sponge, a selection of mini pastries & cakes and a seasonal treat. You enjoy your afternoon tea to a soundtrack of Disco Anthems and 90s hits.
Tea (of course) and for an extra £5 a boozy teapot cocktail.
Where? : Deptford :Little Nan’s Bar, Arches 13-15, Deptford Market Yard, SE8 4BX Catford : Broadway Theatre, Catford Road, SE6 4RU
Transport? : Deptford: Deptford Train Station (from London Bridge) Catford : Catford Bridge Train Station (from London Bridge)
When? : 3-5.30pm Thurs & Fri, 4-5.30pm Sat & Sun.
Cost? : £30pp. Booking required.
Website? : https://www.littlenans.co.uk
Nothing to do with the Reform Club in Pall Mall, The Reform Social & Grill gives the air of a gentlemen’s dining club with its button back leather sofas, marble topped tables, large station waiting-room clock and menus printed in handbill typefaces.
The Great British Afternoon Tea is inspired by the 1940s and 50s with classic finger sandwiches made up of the usual suspects – cucumber & cream cheese, chicken tikka with mint chutney mayonnaise, tuna & horseradish mayonnaise, smoked salmon & cream cheese and egg with sping onion and followed by the scones with clotted cream and jam.
The sweet bites include macarons, raspberry financier, lemon tart, Crème brúlée and chocolate cheesecake.
There is a good selection of teas or for £37pp you can have a glass of champagne.
If you would rather swap the sandwiches for something more substantial the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea includes a mini smoked salmon bagel, roast beef in a Yorkshire pudding, a chicken tikka sandwich and crispy haddock fish fingers with tartar sauce.
Children haven’t been left out as the Reform offers a Mini Afternoon Tea (£12.50) with a peanut butter and jam sandwich, fish finger and ketchup sandwich and a BBQ chicken slider. The sweet bites follow with a fruit and chocolate chip scone washed down with a strawberry milkshake with gingerbread man dipper. Finally there’s a chocolate and marsh mellow lollipop, jelly and custard and a jammy dodger (two shortbread biscuits (cookies) with a jam filling).
Where? : Mandeville Hotel, Mandeville Place, W1U 2BE
Transport ? : Bond Street tube station
When? : 3-5.30pm Thurs & Fri, 4-5.30pm Sat & Sun.
Cost? : £26.50pp plus 12.5% service charge. Booking required.
The Strand Palace Hotel sits close to the north end of Waterloo bridge just opposite the Savoy Hotel and offers a traditional afternoon tea for those on a budget, for less than half the cost of its up market neighbour.
Served in the eclectic new afternoon tearoom at Haxells, Afternoon Tea starts with a selection of finger sandwiches served in interesting breads. Egg & cress on white bread, cucumber cream cheese on beetroot bread, smoked salmon & dill sour cream on rye bread and grilled ham & cheese on brioche.
Scones with clotted cream and jam are next and a selection of cakes follow including a classic Victoria sponge, lemon meringue, pistachio bakewell and chocolate champagne bomb all accompanied by a selection of loose leaf and herbal teas. You can also enjoy bottomless bubbles with one and half hours of Prosecco (£35pp), Veuve Clicquot Yellow (£40pp) or Rose (£45pp).
Where? : The Strand Palace, 372 Strand, WC2R 0JJ
Transport ? : Covent Garden, Temple or Charing Cross tube stations.
When? : Daily Noon – 6pm (last serving 5pm)
Cost? : £25pp plus 12.5% service charge. Booking required.
The Zetter townhouses are a pair of Georgian boutique hotels oozing with quirky character, the decor inspired by the collection of Sir John Soane with mismatched antique furniture and red toned walls decorated with an array of frames and curiosities.
In Marylebone tea is served in Zetter’s Uncle Seymour’s Parlour whilst the Clerkenwell property, owned by their Great Aunt Wilhelmina, it is served in the Cocktail Lounge.
You can choose from two afternoon tea menus. Aunt Wilhelmina’s has the more traditional finger sandwiches of smoked chicken with roasted corn and tarragon, egg mayonnaise, salt beef and smoked salmon with prawn mayonnaise, lemon & chervil. For a more heartier start choose Uncle Seymour’s menu with a pasty, devilled egg, truffled sausage roll with brown sauce and a mini Croque Monsieur.
Scones with clotted cream and jam follow and you finish with a selection of cakes including a black forest macaroon, toffee apple choux and a banana, brown butter & honey cake. There are, of course, a wide selection of teas or you can enjoy a tea infused cocktail.
There is also the option of a vegetarian afternoon tea, just let them know when you book.
Where? : Clerkenwell : 49-50 St John’s Square, EC1V 4JJ Marylebone : 28-30 Seymour Street, W1H 7JB
Transport ? : Clerkenwell : Farringdon & Barbican tube stations Marylebone : Marble Arch tube station
When? : Clerkenwell : Every day 2-5pm Marylebone : Every day 12-5pm
Cost? : £39.50pp plus 12.5% service charge. With tea infused cocktails or bubbles £49.50.
The Wolseley, located at 160 Piccadilly, was orginally a car showroom for the Wolseley Motors Limited who, in 1921 commissioned the English architect William Curtis Green to design its showroom with its Venetian and Florentine inspired details. Later a bank, the Wolseley opened as a restaurant in 2003.
Classic afternoon tea (£29.75pp) comes with an assortment of finger sandwiches, fruit scones with cream and jam and a selection of pastries washed down with tea from the Wolseley collection (including Jasmine Bud Chocolate Tea and Caramel Tea). Add a glass of Pommery Brut Royal champagne for £40pp.
If you would like a lighter affair the Cream Tea costs £12.75pp with fruit scones, cream, jam and tea.
Where? : 160 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EB
Transport ? : Green Park tube station (Victoria, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines)
When? : M-F 3 – 6.30pm, Sat and Sun 3.30 – 6.30pm. Booking advised but some tables held for ‘walk-ins’ on the day.
Cost? : £29.75pp. With Champagne £40pp. Cream tea only £12.75pp. All plus 12.5% service charge.
Roast is located in the Floral hall of Borough Market, close to London Bridge. Borough Market is one of London’s largest and oldest food markets in the capital with a market on the site dating back to the 12th century.
Roast’s afternoon tea comprises of 4 courses including sandwiches, savouries, scones, cakes and a selection of teas.
Finger sandwich fillings include coronation chicken, roast beef with horseradish, dried and semi-dried tomatoes, cucumber with cream cheese and smoked salmon & creme fraiche. Savouries of a sausage roll and cheese and onion pasty follow.
Sweet selections are fruit scones with clotted cream & rhubarb jam, ginger rum and date tea loaf and a blood orange drizzle cake.
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free alternatives are avaiable with 72 hours prior notice.
Where? : The Floral Hall, Borough Market, Stoney St, SE1 1TL
Transport ? : London Bridge tube station (Jubilee and Northern lines)
When? : Mon to Sun Noon to 6pm
Cost? : £30pp. With Champagne £35pp. Plus 12.5% service charge. £20pp cancellation charge for less than 24 hours notice.
The home page of the To a Tea website simply states three things “Unpretentious”, “Uncomplicated” and “Homemade Just for You”. Opened in 2010, To a Tea it takes its tea seriously and offers over 50 loose leaf teas to tickle your taste buds. Its two branches are both a 5 minute walk from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral and make for a welcome break after exploring Tate Modern and St Paul’s.
Afternoon tea costs £25 per person for which you get unlimited tea and coffee for 90 minutes and an extra £10 gets you unlimited Prosecco (steady now!).
Finger sandwiches include Red Leicester Ploughman’s (that’s a cheese), egg & watercress, beef and horseradish, prawn mayo, ham & mustard and smoked salmon with cream cheese. Fruit and plain scones come next with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
There’s also a mini raspberry & rosewater cheesecake and a selection of Petit Fours including a lemon tartlet, opera square, raspberry financier (not the chap who looks after your money but a French almond cake), pistachio rectangle, coffee & chocolate éclairs, apple & blackcurrant square, apricot flan & a chocolate tartlet.
Where? : To a Tea at 14 Farringdon Street, EC4 4AB and 11 Bow Lane, EC4M 9DL
Transport ? : St Paul’s tube for Farringdon St and Mansion House tube for Bow Lane
When? : Book by phone on 020 7248 3498 or email email@example.com
Cost? : £25 pp or £35 pp with unlimited Prosecco
Website? : http://toatea.com/
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