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The 15 Best Afternoon Tea Experiences in London

According to historians, Afternoon Tea began at the time that kerosene lanterns had been introduced, and it became fashionable to have dinner later in the evening. This left many very hungry between the primary meals at that time of breakfast and dinner, and they needed an afternoon snack. Over the years, it continued to evolve and was not only part of the daily routine for many everyday people and families, but it also became a favorite pastime for ladies of leisure.

Afternoon Tea, also known as Low Tea, was enjoyed on lower tables, such as coffee tables, while relaxing in comfortable chairs and enjoying the tea service. Typically, you have the option of three Afternoon Tea services: Cream Tea includes the tea with a light selection of scones and cream, Light Tea also includes a selection of sweet treats and/or fruit, and finally the tea service we generally see today is Full Tea that includes all of these along with savory selections and finger sandwiches.

High Tea was originally served on high tables, and included meat and fish dishes, as well as additional heavier dishes. High Tea was for the working class, and served after they returned from work… Of course, many people still use the term “High Tea” to simply sound more regal, without taking the time to educate themselves about the history of this iconic tradition.

Afternoon Tea is a ritual in London, and one that every traveler should make sure to include during their visit. While many choose the traditional service at iconic locations such as Claridge’s or The Dorchester (both never disappoint), London also has local favorites like Cake Boy and Sketch, and new twists on tradition at Ting and Sosharu. Regardless of where you choose to take the time to savor an Afternoon Tea service customized just for you, know that you are enjoying a timeless tradition that dates back to the mid-1800’s. To get you started, we have created this collection of 15 of our favorite Afternoon Tea options in London. Enjoy!