Olive Magazine
Best Christmas Afternoon Teas in London, 2018 Guide

Best festive afternoon teas in London

Published: December 2, 2021 at 3:12 pm
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Looking for a festive treat? We’ve found the best spots to take friends and family over the Christmas season. From traditional afternoon tea at The Ritz to contemporary afternoon tea at Sketch

Treat loved ones and dine in style over the festive season with one of these festive afternoon teas. Including Sketch Christmas afternoon tea, Savoy Christmas afternoon tea or why not even try the Ritz afternoon tea over the Christmas period?


If you're not after a Christmas theme, check out the best afternoon teas in London and the best across the UK, too.

Castle Howard Afternoon Tea patisseries © Victoria Harley

Here is our selection of the best festive afternoon teas in London:

Best traditional festive afternoon tea

The Ritz, Palm Court, Piccadilly

The Ritz will be serving its traditional afternoon tea in The Palm Court with a fun festive twist from 20 November - 30 December. Listen to the Ritz Choir singing carols while you feast on classic cheddar and chutney, ham and mustard mayonnaise, and traditional smoked salmon sandwiches; Christmas-inspired British pastries and freshly baked mince pies; and a bespoke Ritz Christmas spiced tea.

Price: £85 pp; £50 per child (up to 15 years old)

Address: 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR

Click here to read our full review of traditional afternoon tea at The Ritz

Christmas at The Ritz, Palm Court

Fortnum & Mason, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Piccadilly

Fortnum & Mason serves its seasonal afternoon tea in The Diamond Jubilee Tea salon, where you can expect savoury favourites such as Fortnum’s smoked salmon with orange caper butter, Suffolk cured ham with mustard and truffled celeriac remoulade.

Still-warm scones are served with Somerset clotted cream and wild blueberry preserve, while cakes and patisserie highlights include a festive-flavoured battenburg and a rich chocolate torte jewelled with juicy cranberries. Festive champagne cocktails include a chai-infused negroni, and mandarin and ginger bellini.

Price: £70 for traditional or vegetarian afternoon tea with a pot of Fortnum’s Tea and £16.25 for a glass of Fortnum’s Blanc de Blancs.

Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER

Thames Foyer at The Savoy, The Strand

The festive afternoon tea at The Thames Foyer is available from 15 November-2 January. You can expect classic sandwiches with a Christmas twist, such as Burford brown eggs & Wiltshire truffle on white bread; coronation turkey on cranberry bread; and Scottish salmon gravlax with fennel pollen on spinach bread. Traditional freshly baked plain and raisin scones come with winter marmalade and clotted cream to accompany festive spiced teas.

To finish, enjoy a cluster of seasonal cakes and pastries such as the Mont Blanc, a chestnut sponge encased in recurrent jelly and whisky and the Snowflake, a mini globe of white chocolate ganache with spiced morello cherry compote.

Price: Afternoon tea starts at £75 pp (£85 pp on weekends) and £15 for a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne

Address: Strand, London WC2R 0EZ

Click here to read our full review of traditional afternoon tea at The Savoy

Festive afternoon tea at The Savoy, including plain and fruit scones, finger sandwiches, pastries and two flutes of champagne

Claridge’s, Mayfair

Claridge’s will be offering a selection of pastries, classic scones and traditional sandwiches with a festive twist for its Christmas afternoon tea. Cambridge bronze turkey, cranberry, pork and chestnut stuffing on malt bread, Truffled Burford brown egg mayonnaise on white bread, Severn & Wye smoked salmon, horseradish cream and French sorrel on rye bread. This is followed by a selection of homemade pastries:

“Bûche de Noël” with Alézia and chocolate mousse, Christmas Bauble” with pineapple and passion fruit and Claridge's Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.

Price: £95pp; £50 per child

Address: Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR

Claridge's Festive Afternoon Tea pastries

TĪNG Shangri-La, The Shard

Channel the flavours of Austria with this alpine-inspired afternoon tea from TĪNG at the Shangri-La. The first thing you'll notice are the striking views of London from the heights of The Shard. The stunning scenery makes this trip worth it alone.

You'll be greeted with the cinnamon infused 'welcome tea' complete with a dazzling ceremony. Then choose from the extensive list of signature teas or add a festive cocktail or glass of champagne. The savoury selection is full of unique options such as turkey and cranberry sausage rolls, smoked trout and pretzels spread with liptauer.

The freshly baked scones were light and fluffy with a gorgeous golden finish. The intricate traditional Austrian pastries were the star of the show, including the black forest gâteaux, dobos roulade and sachertorte.

Price: £62 per person, £72 with a glass of champagne or cocktail

Address: 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU

TING Restaurant Alpine Afternoon Tea

Best contemporary festive afternoon tea

Sketch, Mayfair

Two key features make the festive afternoon tea at Sketch stand out. Firstly, the undeniably eye-catching and Instagram-friendly baby pink venue. Secondly, the sheer quantity of the spread – unrivalled by others we’ve tried.

Tea is held in the fully pink Sketch gallery, with pink velvet banquettes and quirky David Shrigley artworks lining the walls. Don’t miss a trip to one of London’s most quirky and famously designed bathrooms, too.

As part of the festive tea, a ballerina performs once an hour (magical for children, who can enjoy a children’s afternoon tea menu complete with jam sandwiches) and there’s a live band trio that performs throughout. The concise tea menu delivers on strong flavours; we enjoyed punchy blackcurrant and hibiscus, refreshing fennel and peppermint and delicate whole rosebud teas. For a festive treat, upgrade to the English sparkling or champagne offering.

The afternoon tea has five courses, kicking off with a modern take on ‘eggs and soldiers’ that includes caviar served by the ‘Caviar Lady’ complete in a pink suit and top hat. The five intricately decorated sandwiches tick classic flavour boxes. Chicken, smoked salmon and cucumber are all present and correct – but with twists on presentation – plus, creamy egg gougères and intense truffle brioche buns. A second round of sandwiches are offered, but you may want to pace yourself as there’s a lot more to come.

The patisserie round is especially generous, with six cakes per person. These are on the particularly sweet side, including a slice of cranberry battenberg and a sugary blackcurrant macaron. A mini lemon cheesecake adds some welcome tartness, whilst a cherry and coconut globe is a Christmassy standout. Next up are warm scones (choose sultana or plain) with a choice of strawberry or fig jam. And just when you think you’ve had your fill, there’s a slice of Yule log to round things off. If you can’t eat it all, you’re not alone. Most diners leave with a pink Sketch box to take the leftovers home.

Price: £75 pp, from £87 pp for English sparkling or from £92 pp for champagne

Address: Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG

Click here to read two more reviews of traditional afternoon tea at Sketch (classic afternoon tea and caviar afternoon tea)

olive sketch afternoon tea

The Crystal Moon Lounge, Corinthia Hotel

The Corinthia will be serving its festive afternoon tea in The Crystal Moon Lounge with a selection of festive treats from 12th November. Relax in the stylish lobby and listen to grand piano playing in the background while you feast on a chestnut, vanilla and rum tartlet; spiced pineapple and vanilla éclair; and Maple syrup sponge, pear and cranberry compote with lemon chantilly.

Price: Festive afternoon tea £80 pp, champagne afternoon tea from £90 pp

Address: Whitehall Place, Westminster, London SW1A 2BD


Click here to read our full review of afternoon tea at the Corinthia Hotel

Jodi Hinds Food Photographer London

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