Three Afternoon Teas Near London Sights You Want to See

Holiday lights are up in London and there is a definitive chill in the air—and nothing beats warming up and refueling with a delectable Afternoon Tea, especially after a long day of sightseeing around the capitol or before a show in the West End. With that in mind, we’ve picked three we love that are also convenient.

Sights: Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge

Venue: COMO The Halkin

Vibe: Bali-meets-Belgravia

We love this Afternoon Tea because it is innovative and healthy. Executive Chef Ruben Briones brings the taste of Bali to the heart of Belgravia with COMO’s Shambhala cuisine. The guilt-free menu comprises a delightful blend of savory and sweet delicacies, accompanied by refreshing COMO Shambhala juices and teas, bringing a wellness-focused twist to this cherished British tradition.

The experience starts with the offer of hot towels infused with the signature COMO Shambhala scent, which is slightly citrusy with a hint of lavender, as well as essence-infused hot stones, creating a sensory ambiance reminiscent of a COMO Shambhala retreat—except you’re in the Halkin Bar, a cosmopolitan, quiet setting with comfortable chairs, a secret slice of London that sits just behind the new Peninsula, but much more understated.

Back to the food: It’s delicious. You start with a two-hour-brewed ginger and honey tea along with small glasses of fresh pressed juices—a green one and a beetroot one, an immediate natural boost. This is followed by small plates presented atop a beautiful wooden board; dishes include a sweet corn and basil soup, a rice cake with seeds and avocado, spiced crispy prawns and a marinated chicken lolly with rice salad and pomegranate seeds. Light and savory, you are left with room for the guilt-free indulgences: A refreshing cucumber jello with apple and avocado sorbet, a mini-banana waffle with peanuts and yogurt sauce, and mango and passionfruit cheesecake. The finale is a small edible Zen garden, comprising a protein rock, chocolate stone and matcha cake. Tip: Each dish can be found in the acclaimed COMO Shambhala cookbook, "The Pleasure of Eating Well," which you can buy to take home.

Booking: Call +44 20 7333 1000, or email [email protected]. Twenty-four hours notice is required to book. 

Sights: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Venue: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

Vibe: Classic elegance with legit historic cred

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square's Afternoon Tea

The Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, a luxurious retreat that stands as a testament to London's rich past and timeless elegance. Adjacent to the Thames, the Grade-II listed building was originally erected at vast expense as the Port of London Authority headquarters in 1922, with imposing columns at the front and topped with a sculpture of Old Father Thames proudly holding his trident, an homage to the trade between nations. The heart of the building was a central rotunda topped by a magnificent glass dome, inspired by the nearby St. Paul’s Cathedral. Badly damaged in World War II, the rotunda was rebuilt with mid-century flair.

Fast-forward to 2017, after a meticulous six-year renovation, the property was converted into a 110-room Four Seasons with 43 residences, while retaining the building's original charm (think: high ceilings, marble floors and a glorious focal point—the Rotunda). This is where the Afternoon Tea is held. The light-filled room has nests of comfortable sofas and chairs dotted around an elevated grand piano, whose music sets a lovely mood for tea.

As you would expect from Four Seasons, everything on the menu is flawless, including the classic crustless sandwiches filled with cucumber, smoked salmon, coronation chicken, pastrami and egg salad. This is followed by warm scones accompanied by seasonal jams, lemon curd and Devonshire clotted cream, and delightfully decadent pastries inspired by classic British sweets, such as Ode to Terry, a delicate orange delight with chocolate cookie, chocolate mousse and orange confit and glaze, or the Gingerbread Man, a delectable soft gingerbread biscuit with pear confit and festive spiced mousse. You can enjoy with a glass of bubbly and choose from a selection of black, green, oolong and decaf teas. Heavenly!

Bookings: Call +44 203 297 9201 or through OpenTable.  

Sights: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Soho and Chinatown. Nearby many of the West End theaters, we love this tea as a pre-show option as most start at 7:30 pm.

Venue: W London

Vibe: Sexy bar-meets-artsy flair

W London's Afternoon Tea

Located in a modern glass building overlooking the bright lights of Leicester Square, entering the W London gets you into the party mood (the hotel has some 660 disco balls scattered throughout). Afternoon Tea is held in the W Lounge, a long, slender room with dramatic lighting and raised booths along floor-to-ceiling glass windows with clear views of Chinatown. The W lounge is lively but not loud at tea time, and the spacious booths provide a blank canvas for what comes next: A colorful collaboration between Brighton-based artist Lois O’Hara and Spanish pastry chef Leyre Pedrazuela, who create a modern and distinctly artistic interpretation of the traditional Afternoon Tea experience. 

Before we even get to the food, a curvy open cake stand arrives layered with colorful sandwiches, scones and stunning pastries in the shapes of spheres, boxes and rolls in vibrant pink, blue, green, and orange—genuine works of art. Pastry Chef Leyre has risen to the challenge of creating savories and desserts that embody the essence of Lois’ art, while staying true to her ethos of using natural ingredients with reduced sugar content.

As tasty as it is good-looking, there is a good assortment of sandwiches, with flavor twists from beetroot-cured smoked Scottish salmon, cream cheese, dill and tobiko to smoked chicken with tarragon mayonnaise, cucumber and Dorset mint butter. The delicate, artful pastries’ flavors range from lemon and blueberry to the classic combo of chocolate and peanut. In addition to a well-stocked selection of teas, the hotel has created a special cocktail; aptly called “Joy,” it is a fusion of Boxer gin, oolong tea, pandan, vanilla and lemon—a revitalizing aperitif in a vibrant chartreuse hue. The whole affair is decadent, but not heavy.  And certainly, fun. 

Bookings: Must be done online, through Design My Night.

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