For fans of tea, travel and pastries, there’s no better item for your travel bucket list that I can think of than having afternoon tea in London. Maybe that’s just my love of tea and pastries talking. But afternoon tea is a creation, afterall, of the English. For this month’s Must See Travel Bucket List, I’m highlighting five locations in London whose afternoon tea I’d love to try: from the traditional to the not so traditional.
A traditional afternoon tea has several components. First, there are finger sandwiches. Then there are warm scones served with clotted cream and jam. The whole thing is topped off with tea cakes and pastries. Oh, and there’s tea. The tea never stops flowing. Or rather, brewing.
Before visiting any of these or any other restaurants or tea rooms be sure to do your research. At the very least give them a phone call. Many restaurants require reservations to be made ahead of time.
Harrods’ The Georgian
If you’re going to do afternoon tea might as well commit, right? Harrods has a restaurant on the fourth floor of their famous department store. The Georgian Restaurant offers a luxurious and decadent afternoon tea experience. Your afternoon tea is all based on how much you’re looking to spend. You can even “upgrade” your tea choice to one of the restaurant’s exclusive blends. And tea doesn’t have to be your only beverage. Champagne and cocktails are also an option. Without a doubt, The Georgian’s afternoon tea is a true indulgence that lives up to the Harrods brand.
Harrods’ The Georgian, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7XL
B Afternoon Tea Bus
B Afternoon Tea combines the traditional English afternoon tea with the iconic English red double-decker bus. How is that for modern? Run by Brigit’s Bakery, it is part afternoon tea and part sightseeing tour. For an hour and a half the bus traverses a set route past the notable sights you can’t miss during a trip to London. I have no doubt that the Queen looks out longingly when she sees the bus go past Buckingham Palace. The B Afternoon Tea has all of the fixings you’d expect from a typical afternoon tea. If tea on a bus doesn’t appeal to you, they also offer afternoon tea at their brick and mortar bakery at Covent Garden.
B Afternoon Tea Bus departs from 8 Northumberland Avenue and Victoria Coach Station
Just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, The Goring is the cream of the crop of afternoon tea. Or so says The British Tea Guild Council (it’s a thing, apparently). They have awarded the luxury hotel their Top London Afternoon Tea Award. This is English tradition at its finest level. Expect classics done well.
The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW
Afternoon tea can start seeming all the same. That certainly isn’t the case with Sosharu. The Japanese restaurant serves an afternoon tea of that style. The menu features pairings like tuna temaki with matcha iced fingers and a kukicha with cherry blossoms. With Sosharu, your afternoon tea experience is anything but traditional. And that’s what makes it so tempting.
Sosharu, 64 Turnmill St, London EC1M
While afternoon tea in London is a tradition that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun — or a little eccentric. Sketch has raised afternoon tea to a form of art. In fact, they go a step further and serve afternoon tea in David Shrigley’s Gallery. While you take in the walls covered in art, you will be dining in style. Sandwiches are made with rich ingredients like caviar and quail eggs while pastries are specially made.
Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG
What’s your favorite spot for afternoon tea in London? Or where do you dream of having a cuppa? Share in the comments below!
Photos from the website or Facebook page of each respective restaurant.