You can’t get much more quintessentially British than afternoon tea. The brainchild of the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840, today England is renowned for this elegantly rich tradition and London has some of the best afternoon tea experiences for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. Crustless finger sandwiches, clotted-cream and jam-topped scones, a diversity of cakes, pastries and endless cups of tea – there is an incredible selection of afternoon teas in London to choose from.
However, while The Ritz or Claridge’s or The Savoy might be on the top of everyone’s must-try afternoon teas in London, there is an abundance of fabulous budget afternoon tea options that are just as impressive and just as tasty. We have put together a list of the 20 best affordable afternoon teas in London 2021 that undoubtedly do Britain justice. So, read on to discover where to go for London afternoon tea on a budget.
The 15 Best Budget Afternoon Teas in London 2021:
28 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden, London
Idyllically situated in London’s Covent Garden, Cinnamon Bazaar invites you to enjoy an Indian-inspired afternoon tea at an affordable price. Created by head chef Vivek Singh, along with Great British Bake Off star Tamal Ray, this London afternoon tea comprises a colourful spread of both savoury and sweet treats to savour.
Perfectly blending the punchy flavours of Indian street food with eastern-flavoured patisserie, this affordable afternoon tea in London will certainly have your taste buds tingling. Savoury bites include Masala fish finger sandwich, Kadhai chicken spring roll, Vivek’s signature Papdi Chaat and even vegetarian alternatives such as Bombay sandwich and Kadhai Spiced Paneer Roll. Meanwhile, the sweet treats include saffron macaron, Shrikhand cheesecake and coriander pistachio cake. Enjoy your budget afternoon tea alongside Indian spiced teas or go all out and add a glass of Prosecco for for £4.50.
47-48 St John’s Square,
The Modern Pantry at Clerkenwell offers a delicious but affordable afternoon tea menu at just £22.50 or £27.50 for a glass of bubbles on the side. Putting a trendy and modern twist on the traditional afternoon tea, the light and airy interior of these London restaurants contradicts the usual old-fashioned, stuffy atmosphere often associated with afternoon tea. Created by chef Anna Hansen, this imaginative London afternoon tea menu superbly compliments the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that has already become a favourite among the hip Clerkenwell food scene.
Well and truly considered one of the best affordable afternoon teas in London, visitors can dine on savoury delights including a feta, corn, mint and chilli filo tartlet, a chorizo scotched quail egg and a roast courgette, pea and pecorino fritter served with roast tomato curried yoghurt and pickled mustard seeds. While scones are a staple of a traditionally British afternoon tea, The Modern Pantry live up to their name by taking things one step further by adding flavours of cheddar, chive, garlic, basil and black pepper to their scones. If you’re one for the sweet treats then you won’t be disappointed with vanilla and raspberry Battenburg cake, a mojito and gooseberry lamington and a peach marshmallow.
28-30 Seymour Street
Located on peaceful Seymour Street, it is easy to forget that bustling Oxford Street is just a stone’s throw away. The Zetter Townhouse is the ideal spot to escape the crowds and sit down to enjoy a relaxing and affordable afternoon tea in London. Stepping into this Georgian townhouse feels like being transported back in time to the 1890s – think mahogany wood and busy decor, with every space filled with a pattern or texture. This budget afternoon tea is based on two characters: wicked Uncle Seymour and great Aunt Wilhelmina, which makes it even more entertaining.
What makes this one of the best budget afternoon teas in London is its unique theme, divided into Uncle Seymour and Aunt Wilhelmina. This means that, while both teas have the same sweet treats, you can choose which savoury options you prefer the sound of. Uncle Syemour’s tea is meatier with a Lincolnshire pork pie with piccalilli and a haggis sausage roll, while Aunt Wilhelmina’s tea is a little more delicate, comprising of sloe gin glazed ham finger sandwiches and Chapel & Swan smoked salmon on herb crème fraîche. For afters, you can enjoy a selection of winter punch jelly, macaroons, chocolate cakes and of course, scones.
195, 197 King’s Rd
As one of the best affordable afternoon teas in London, the Ivy Chelsea Garden is packed every day of the week, so it’s a good idea to try to book as early as possible, especially for a weekend. Yet, this London afternoon tea spot is truly worthy of its popularity for the beautiful venue alone. Situated behind the restaurant is a stunning terrace decorated with floral installations and trees, along with botanical-themed artwork and vintage posters on pastel coloured walls. For afternoon tea, you can also sit in the conservatory amongst the palms, ferns and all-year-round hanging plants.
As for the menu at The Ivy, you’ll find freshly baked fruit scones served with Dorset clotted cream and strawberry jam; a truffled chicken brioche roll; a marinated dill and cucumber finger sandwich on basil bread and smoked salmon on beetroot bread with cream cheese and chives. Moving onto the second tier, you’ll find a colourful selection of cakes, including a lemon and raspberry doughnut with pink lemonade; a vanilla meringue butterfly; a chocolate caramel flower pot and a pistachio nasturtium crème brûlée. All this is then perfectly tied together with a choice of teas, infusions or coffees.
For a proper traditional afternoon tea experience, you’d be hard pushed to beat The Orangery at Kensington Palace. We thought afternoon tea in London was almost as British as you could get, but afternoon tea in London in a Royal Palace – that could be taking it too far? Kensington Palace is the only royal palace in London where you can sit down and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. Built for Queen Anne in 1704, The Orangery is an elegant, airy garden pavilion. One upon a time, this is where the monarch grew her citrus trees and hosted lavish parties. Today, this mesmerising building and its peaceful setting create a true sense of occasion for visitors coming to try their afternoon tea.
This London afternoon tea features classic dishes, including orange zest and currant scones with clotted cream and jam which commemorate Queen Anne, as well as Coronation chicken and egg mayonnaise-filled sandwiches. To make this afternoon tea even more regal, you are served the afternoon tea on the Royal Palace tea set, made from fine bone china and finished in 22 carat gold. Sit back and relax in the elegant Orangery with its towering windows and sparkling white exterior, overlooking the neatly pruned palace gardens. At just £27.50, this budget afternoon tea is certainly fit for a queen.
Renowned for its speciality macarons, millefeuilles and tartes, Ladurée isn’t usually the first restaurant that comes to mind when you think afternoon tea in London. For more than 100 years, the prestigious Ladurée has gone hand in hand with pastry innovation, famous for creating delicious treats using the finest flavours and the best quality ingredients. However, the patisserie’s piece de resistance is definitely their signature L’heure du Thé (Afternoon Tea).
Laduree is set in a Parisian-style cafe and patisserie in the trendy Covent Garden, paying homage to the family’s roots at their Paris 16 rue Royale bakery in 1862. This Parisian tea room is home to two stunning areas, both elegantly decorated with pastel shades, velvet furnishings and antique paintings on the walls. When it comes to the food, the master chef patissiers do not disappoint. Start proceedings with a selection of classic finger sandwiches, presented on a traditional silver-tiered stand. Next, move onto the mouth-watering mini artisan viennoiseries and pastries of your choosing. Finally, not to be missed are Ladurée’s famed macarons – select your sweet treats from a vast array of exciting flavours and colours. This is the best affordable afternoon tea in London for anyone who enjoys the aesthetic just as much as the taste of their delectable treats.
House of Fraser
318 Oxford St
The Tea Terrace, one of the best budget places for afternoon tea in London, is located on the top floor of the Oxford Street House of Fraser department store. This is the best affordable afternoon tea for anyone who wants to feel like Cinderella. This heart-warmingly quirky cafe aims to revive the old English tradition of afternoon tea. Here, you can enjoy a unique princess-themed afternoon tea in an authentic tea room. You will be made to feel like a true princess, with vintage-style crockery and powder blue and baby pink decor.
At The Tea Terrace, there isn’t just one afternoon tea menu – here, you can choose from four different types of afternoon tea. For a lighter option, you can opt for the traditional cream tea which comprises the classic clotted-cream and jam-topped scones with tea or coffee. Or, if you’re really hungry, you can choose from the Indulgence Afternoon Tea, the Celebration Afternoon Tea or the Traditional Afternoon Tea. All four of these options are served on a Royal Albert fine bone china 3-tier cake stand. The bottom tier is reserved for sandwiches of which you can choose from six different fillings. Beware, this tea room really is unlike any other, serving their egg mayo sandwiches on green coloured bread and the cheese and pickle on pink. The middle tier is kept for their delicious buttery scones which can be topped with clotted cream and a selection of preserves. Saving the best till last, on the top tier you will find a whole range of delicious cakes.
Although the Crusting Pipe is best known as a wine bar with outdoor seating, there is more to this London restaurant than just wine and al fresco dining. This trendy Covent Garden venue also serves up traditional afternoon tea, as well as options with a few modern twists. Situated in the heart of the Covent Garden Market, this is the ideal spot to relax in the covered courtyard or escape inside to one of the dining room’s cosy corners, away from the hubbub of some of London’s busiest streets. Customers seated in the outdoor terrace might even be lucky enough to enjoy an impromptu performance from a local musician or actor – just the thing to top off an afternoon tea in London.
Visiting the Crusting Pipe for afternoon tea, you can indulge in a selection of freshly cut finger sandwiches and savouries, fresh out of the oven scones and pastries and your choice of Clipper teas. Make your afternoon tea stop a special occasion with a glass of champagne or opt for something a little different with a British cheese selection and some vintage port.
Head to the extraordinarily opulent Wolesley for one of the best affordable afternoon teas in London. This grand European-style all-day eatery offers great value afternoon tea in expensive surroundings. Step through the velvet curtain at the door to find groups of formally-dressed people being served tea from silver pots in the grande-dame dining room.
The afternoon tea menu us just as exciting as the decor at The Wolesley – classic finger sandwiches include smoked salmon and smoked chicken. There is also a rather eclectic vegetarian selection too – no need to settle for the usual egg and cree or cheese and pickle here. Instead, you can choose from avocado, cucumber with mint and celery with cream cheese. All these delicious sandwich fillings come served on a variety of breads, including sundried tomato, seeded or traditional white. Next come the scones, perfectly proportioned with fruit running throughout, kept under a cloche to keep warm before being topped with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam. Finally, finish off your charming London afternoon tea with the fabulous selection of pastries and cakes – think pistachio friand, baked cheesecake and salted-caramel eclair.
4-6 Russell Street
Enter Balthazar, a New York-style, Covent Garden restaurant that serves up one of London’s best budget afternoon teas. Step into the Gatsbyesque venue,with art deco lighting, vintage mirrors, maroon leather furniture and shimmering floor tiles. Join the hustle and bustle of the many smartly-dressed diners enjoying their lunch. This lively atmosphere, along with the suave decor, make Balthazar one of the best spots for afternoon tea in London.
So, what makes this budget afternoon tea any different to all the others? The answer, New York! Aside from the brassy sound of Frank Sinatra filling the room, the afternoon tea at Blathazar is totally New York-themed from top to bottom. Instead of your usual glass of champagne to accompany your afternoon tea, you can, instead, select a whiskey cocktail (the Yankie) to keep with the theme. Meanwhile, the scones also have a New York twist, being extra sweet, drowned in buttermilk and vanilla cream. But it is the cakes that truly take you to the big apple – try the Cookies ‘n’ Cream tart: a red, white and blue doughnut-shaped treat of white chocolate cookies, coconut mousse and lemon curd. On the menu is also the Liberty: an indulgent peanut butter and jelly eclair.
The Bloomsbury Hotel
16-22 Great Russell Street
The Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel offers an affordable afternoon tea that changes with the seasons. Every couple of months, The Dalloway Terrace gets a full revamp to fit in with the changing seasons, switching from a warming cosiness in winter to an elegant and airy spot in spring. This summer, the secret garden has been inspired by the Amalfi Coast, with monochrome-striped awning, towering green foliage and glowing yellow lemons covering the walls. It is the perfect London afternoon tea spot to transport you all the way to a colourful Italian retreat beside the sea.
Meanwhile, the menu follows the same theme, taking inspiration from Amalfi’s most famous export: the lemon. Finely sliced finger sandwiches are filled with lemon-marinated cucumber, smoked salmon and creme fraiche. Freshly baked scones come in the form of Tahitian vanilla or classic currant and are slathered with Devonshire clotted cream and raspberry jam. At the top of the tea stand, you will find a fantastic selection of delicately decorated sweats: bittersweet white chocolate and blood orange profiteroles; gin and tonic trifle and tart lemon velvet parfait.
69 – 71 Dean Street
At Dean Street Townhouse, you will find a hungry crowd lunching alfresco as they seek sanctuary from the hubbub of trendy Soho. The decor of this London afternoon tea spot is rather similar to the afternoon tea itself: traditional but subtly stylish. Step inside and you will feel like you’ve been transported back to a bygone era. Offering an affordable menu, set in a lavish setting, The Dean Street Townhouse is certainly one of the best places to have afternoon tea in London. The exclusively decorated lounge area provides the perfect atmosphere to sit and nibble on scones and sip tea throughout the late afternoon. Other savoury options also include Welsh rarebit, scoth egg, sausage roll and fish fingers.
Aside from the impressive decor, the afternoon tea menu also manages to uphold the quintessentially British feel. As per tradition, the bottom tier of the cake stand holds delicately placed crustless finger sandwiches. Find classics like ham and egg and cress, as well as some more adventurous options like smoked salmon. Move onto the middle tier, where you will find four fruit scones, tasted, warm and ready to melt in your mouth. Yet, perhaps the prime tier of the cake stand is right at the top, occupied by a mouth-watering selection of mini cakes and sensationally sweet pastries. Choose from classics like the strawberry tart, the Battenberg or the chocolate eclair and enjoy something a little different with he custard tart and a raspberry-filled creme brulee.
350 King’s Road
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Bluebird restaurant as one of the many stages of the popular reality TV show, Made in Chelsea. Bluebird Chelsea brings a real slice of refinement to London with one of the very best affordable afternoon teas. The setting of this London afternoon tea spot really is impressive, located in a Grade II listed Art Deco garage that was transformed into a restaurants in the 1990s by Sir Terence Conran. Inside the fairly industrial garage-gone-restaurant, you will find overgrown greenery and an alfresco courtyard that once housed petrol pumps.
The restaurant and bar serves up a stunning three-tiered cake stand complete with a selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes. The sandwich choices include Scottish smoked salmon with cream cheese, coronation chicken, the timeless cucumber and egg and cress, alongside a delicious slice of leek and mushroom quiche. The next tier holds an array of warm plain and raisin scones served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. The final tier, and probably the one you’ve all been waiting for, comprises a whole host of sweet delights – from chocolate and raspberry macaroons and strawberry tartlets to carrot cake topped with citrus cream frosting and a light and airy Victoria sponge. Wash this all down the a wide range of teas or a glass of British sparkling wine.
The Floral Hall
Located right in the heart of Borough Market, Roast is hard to beat when it comes to trendy and affordable afternoon teas in London. With an elevated setting, within the Floral Hall, this light-flooded space overlooks the infamous Stoney Street and the stalls of the market below, creating a refreshing atmosphere. As you enter the venue, you will surely be greeted by animated chatter from the hungry crowd. Nibble on cakes and sandwiches as you sip a cup of tea and enjoy the sunshine that streams through the windows.
As the cake stand appears laden with an impressive array of sandwiches, cakes and scones, you will notice that Roast’s afternoon tea menu doesn’t stray too far from the traditional but manages to put their own twist on things. Think roast beef, smoked salmon, coronation chicken, cucumber and cream cheese and tomato sandwiches to start. Next, move onto the tier of delicious cakes – the Victoria sponge steals the show, with plenty of cream and a true tang from the fresh raspberries. Follow up your sponge with a delectable slice of sticky date pudding, alongside a lemon-posset shot with a biscuit topping, carrot cake with candied carrot swirls and a selection of scones. The best thing about this London afternoon tea spot is the generous portion sizes – the top tier cakes are the size of any regular coffee shop slice. Finally, with so many teas to choose from, you could be there for a while – whether you want the standard Earl Grey, Assam and mint or a more exotic Pai Mu Tan, Roast has it all.
140 Park Lane
Price: £22.50 per person
Situated on Park Lane, Lanes of London is an affordable afternoon tea spot that is steeped in history and provides stunning views onto Hyde Park and Marble Arch. The setting is chic and contemporary but maintains some classic features, including the archetraving in the ceilings, which give it a truly homely feel. This London restaurant offer a Botanical afternoon tea which comprises floral cocktails, an array of scrumptious sandwiches and sweet treats inspired by English gardens.
Using only British produce, Lanes of London’s afternoon tea features a range of unique sandwich options, such as fennel-cured salmon, beetroot crema and pineapple sage or egg with oak leaf and Chervil mayonnaise. Meanwhile, the sweet tier includes a boozy elderflower, gin and lime marshmallow; jasmine, apricot and nasturtium cones; a blackcurrant and hibiscus tea mousse served in a chocolate cup; and a rose, rhubarb and chocolate soil pot. No afternoon tea would be complete without scones – and Lanes of London certainly don’t disappoint with their classic and earl grey and raisin options, both served with lashings of clotted cream and orange and kafir lime jam.