But where exactly do you go when you want a cuppa and a slice of cake we hear you ask. Well, luckily for you, we’ve decided to give you a push in the right direction and list ten of the capital’s best places to go for botanical-inspired pastries, salmon and cheese sandwiches, piping-hot cups of tea and much more besides. Inspired by the Duchess of Bedford, who invented the trend all the way back in 1840, here’s our rundown of some of the loveliest London tea rooms:
1. Botanica at 100 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington
Filled with plants and flooded with natural light, ‘Botanica’ is the perfect setting for wiling away the hours scoffing yourself full of tea and cake. Situated on the ground floor of the esteemed 100 Queen’s Gate in South Kensington, it’s an elegant spot that is designed to reflect the calm and leafy heritage of this area of London – and that’s before you’ve even heard of all the goodies on offer.
They offer a carefully-selected blend of teas from the famous Whittard of Chelsea – all complemented by delicious finger sandwiches, sweet pastries and freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and a range of different preserves. Fancy going a bit more glitz and glam? Well you can with some added champers – oh darling!
You’ll find Botanica at 100 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, London, SW7 5AG. Nearest station is South Kensington.
2. The Teahouse at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond
If you’ve never ventured this far south, take it from us: Richmond is a lovely little slice of London. Aside from boasting a lovely park, a whole host of deer, and one of the prettiest cafes in the capital, it’s also home to the picturesque Petersham Nurseries. Part garden centre, part foodie haven, this is one of those places that simply needs to be on any aesthetic-obsessed Londoner’s bucket list.
After a wander around the foliage-filled interior of the greenhouse – which needless to say is one of the prettiest areas of London – then make your way to the aptly-named ‘Teahouse’. It’s home to lots of yummy seasonal treats, hearty, homemade cakes and whole leaf teas – and is well worth a visit whenever you’re in this part of town.
You’ll find The Teahouse at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 7AB. Nearest station is Richmond.
3. Pembroke Lodge, Richmond
Sticking around the Richmond area, and you’ll find yourself another of London’s loveliest tea rooms. Located in the scenic Richmond Park, it’s a scenic, Grade II-listed Georgian mansion which has award-winning tea rooms and the only licensed venue in one of London’s Royal Parks.
On top of being a popular wedding venue, Pembroke Lodge is also home to the ‘Butler’s Pantry’ – a self-serving tea room which offers a delectable selection of British sweet treats as well as tea, coffee and more.
You’ll find Pembroke Lodge at Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HX. Nearest station is Richmond.
4. Kensington Palace Pavilion, Kensington Gardens
Listen up readers! Kensington Palace Pavilion is the only place in London where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the grounds of a royal palace. No, seriously – so you don’t want to miss out on a visit to this one!
Overlooking the beautiful Sunken Garden and its ornamental flower beds, it really deserves a spot on this roundup of the best London tea rooms. After all, where else can you tuck into a slice of cake while being surrounded by over 300 years of royal history, hey?
You’ll find the Kensington Palace Pavilion at Kensington Gardens, London, W8 4PX. Nearest station is Queensway.
5. The Ampersand Hotel, South Kensington
Just down the road lies The Ampersand Hotel, whose in-house team room ‘The Drawing Room’ has been making waves with their Science-themed afternoon tea – which coincidentally has been a previous winner of the best-themed afternoon tea at the ‘Afternoon Tea Awards’.
It’s a popular, contemporary spot with large Victorian windows which, as the name suggests, has been designed to replicate a typical English drawing room. They’ve got vegan and gluten-free options, and they’ve also got a fantastic Jurassic Park-themed tea here too in the ‘Apero’ bar-come-restaurant.
You’ll find The Ampersand Hotel at 10 Harrington Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 3ER. Nearest station is South Kensington.
6. Gatsby’s Room at The Beaumont, Mayfair
With a grand piano tucked away in the corner, and large paintings and ceiling-high bookshelves punctuating the walls, the ‘Gatsby’s Room’ at the five-star Beaumont is an opulent space, fit for the likes of Jay Gatsby himself. As if that wasn’t enough, they also do a fantastic afternoon tea here, which offers everything from devilled-egg mayonnaise sandwiches to New York ‘blackout’ cakes – accompanied by a selection of teas from China, Sri Lanka and India.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are also tea-infused cocktails, vegan and gluten-free options – phew! So, if you’re looking for the quintessential British tea experience with a light American touch thrown in for good measure – get yourself to The Beaumont in Mayfair!
You’ll find The Beaumont at Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London, W1K 6TF. Nearest station is Bond Street.
7. Tea and Tattle, Bloomsbury
Packed full of character and charm, the quaint ‘Tea and Tattle’ is a traditional tea room set below the Arthur Probsthain Oriental and African Bookseller – which has been selling books since it first opened in 1903.
Right opposite the British Museum, it’s a great place to come if you’re looking for some sustenance after exploring some of the city’s signature sites. On the menu here you’ll find fresh leaf tea in pot and bone china, scones with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches and tasty cakes too.
You’ll find the Tea and Tattle at 41 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3PE. Nearest stations are Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.
8. Tea House Theatre, Vauxhall
Based in an old Victorian pub that opened all the way back in 1886 on the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, the Tea House Theatre is a neat little spot that doubles as a tea room and a theatre. Dog-friendly, it’s a great spot to bring your four-legged friend, and they do a wide selection of afternoon teas here as well as breakfast, lunch and Sunday roasts too.
You’ll find the Tea House Theatre at 139 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL. Nearest station is Vauxhall.
9. Candella Tea Room, High Street Kensington
Our penultimate entry onto this London tea rooms roundup is Candella Tea Room – a charming, family-run spot just a short stroll from the magnificent Kensington Palace. With gilded ceilings, chandeliers and friendly service, it’s a great spot to spend some time, and they offer an extensive array of goodies for you to tuck into – think finger sandwiches, clotted cream scones and an assortment of homemade patisseries.
Add in optional bubbles and an extensive brunch menu with classics like avocado on toast, croque monsieur and eggs benedict and you’ve got yourself a tea room for the books!
You’ll find Candella Tea Room at 34 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4HA. Nearest station is High Street Kensington.
10. The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Rounding off this list of the best London tea rooms is The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at the prestigious Fortnum & Mason. Opened by Her Majesty the Queen no less in 2012, it’s ‘the undisputed home of afternoon tea’ – and for good reason.
On the menu at this award-winning spot are precisely-cut sandwiches, freshly-baked cakes, melt-in-the-mouth scones and the main ingredient – tea of course. It’s well worth a visit here if you’re ever in Central London and fancy a cuppa or two.
You’ll find The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on the fourth floor of Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London, W1A 1ER. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
So there you have it – the Secret London roundup of some of the loveliest London tea rooms. So if you’re wanting to celebrate this two-century old tradition, then you know where to go!