‘Tis the season for unashamed over-indulgence, so it’s definitely time for a Christmas afternoon tea.
Few things are as quintessentially British and indulgent as an afternoon tea – but with a Christmas afternoon tea, that indulgence kicks into overdrive. Cute cafes and fancy hotels alike have been unveiling the best Christmas afternoon teas in London, and we really do want them all. Ah go on, it’s Christmas – we all deserve this!
1. The Savoy
Starting with the big dogs of the Christmas afternoon tea game isn’t exactly a cheap endeavour. But sixty-eight of your hard-won English pounds will win you a mouthwatering selection of carefully prepared sandwiches, with fillings such as champagne-cooked English brown shrimps, or smoked salmon with lemongrass & star anise butter. The Savoy’s “delicate afternoon tea pastries” are equally inviting, with such delights as chestnut & cassis Christmas tree and prune & Armagnac Yule log on the board. There’s also the option to add a glass of fizz, but this will, unsurprisingly, push the price even higher. Find out more here.
The biscuit-makers par excellence go ever bigger at Christmas. As you’d expect, this Christmas afternoon tea includes a smorgasbord of festive biscuits, in the shape of trees, presents, and festive jumpers. Biscuiteers are also a dab hand at patisserie, so this tea also boasts treats like Christmas pudding macaroons, figgy scones with mulled winter jam, and a coconut snow cake. Which feels a little like showing off, TBH. The tea costs £30, and you can find out more and book here.
For a rather fancy London hotel, the Royal Lancaster does a very reasonable Christmas afternoon tea. Starting at £35, you’ll be enjoying a menu of delectable sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats before you can say “bring us some figgy pudding”. The standout offerings here are the roast ham and apple sandwich, topped with crispy pork crackling, and a roasted chestnut choux that just screams Christmas. Here’s all the info.
4. The Ned
Running until December 23rd, The Ned’s festive afternoon tea might be the best in the City of London. In-house British restaurant Millie’s Lounge is another spot opting for the sandwiches-and-sweets approach, but their menu is bolstered by the cute-as-you-like addition of gingerbread reindeer. They won’t pull your sleigh tonight, but they are damned delicious. The tea starts from £40, or £50 if you add champagne – time for a treat yo’ self moment? Bookings available here.
We’ll try get through this one without mentioning Ansel’s most famous creation. His festive afternoon tea is a pretty affair, with each treat dressed up as a Christmas character. Santa, for instance, is an orange mousse flavoured with cranberry and black cherry, whilst his reindeer are chocolate mousse, with hints of nutmeg, ginger, and caramel. Savoury treats are tree-shaped bites of salmon, egg salad, and wild mushrooms, but knowing Ansel’s love of sugar, I think we can all agree the sweet stuff is the star of the show. Find out more here.
It’s never been made clear whether The Chesterfield’s Winter Wonderland afternoon tea is inspired by the nearby Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – what we do know is that you could do ’em both in one super-festive day! This Mayfair hotel boasts finger sandwiches and sweet treats, with the salted caramel chocolate tart and the clementine and pistachio slice standing out. It also begins with a shot of mulled wine, which is never a bad idea in our book… All the information can be found here.
Another Mayfair hotel, another fab festive afternoon tea. They’ve gone down a more conceptual route for their offering, calling it a Twelve Days of Christmas Afternoon Tea. That means sweet treats including a golden goose egg, a choux swan, and a Christmas spiced drum. The partridge, meanwhile, is no longer in the pear tree but inside a pie, which is bad for the partridge but pretty tasty for you. It’s normally £36, but if you pay £65 it comes with unlimited champagne – and let’s face it, that’s where you’re making your money back… Check it out here.
8. B Bakery
There’s one distinct advantage to this Christmas afternoon tea: it rolls around town, showing you the sights of London with a cup of tea in hand. Having commandeered a Routemaster bus for a more delicious purpose, B Bakery now run the B Bus Tour, with afternoon tea included. Spinach and goats cheese quiche, smoked salmon blinis, and snow cupcakes all grace this menu. There are five tours per day, and prices start from £45 – book yourself on one here.
The former social spot of lords and ladies, Taj 51 is now notorious for their themed afternoon teas. This Christmas, they’ve gone with a Great Gatsby-inspired offering, complete with ‘Roaring Twenties’ Yule log and ‘Jazz Me Up’ gingerbread cookies. The standout treat has to be ‘The American Dream’ – eggnog cheesecake with salted caramel. Now I’m no American, but that sure sounds like a dream to me! Sittings start from £40, and you can find out more here.
10. 108 Pantry
Not quite in the Christmas spirit yet? Ease yourself into the festive swing of things at 108 Pantry, where they’re serving a not-massively-Christmassy English Garden Afternoon Tea. Yes, there’s still turkey and mince pies, but the English sparkling wines and the quince fool have more than a hint of summer about them. Best of all, there’s a gluten-free menu, so no-one has to feel left out this Christmas. You can nab a sitting for £32, and they’re available here.