An afternoon tea is great any time of year, but there’s something extra special about having one during the festive season. The Resident picks out the best Christmas afternoon tea experiences at London’s top hotels and restaurants so you can treat yourself this winter…
Photo: The Milestone Hotel and Residencies
1 The Rubens at the Palace Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea, Westminster
Rubens at the Palace serves up an afternoon tea ritual fit for royalty. Not only is the hotel located opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace, the experience was commended in the 2019 Afternoon Tea Awards. For the festive season Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Houghton (Bake Off: The Professionals 2021 finalist) incorporates fresh, festive twists to this long-standing English tradition. Served in the Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews, the festive tea features a selection of Christmas and classic pastries and comes with unlimited mulled wine. Also available on Christmas Day, when you can enjoy a glass of champagne too. Vegan, vegetarian, halal and gluten-free options are available too.
When: November 15 – January 2, 2022
Price: From £65/£19 adult/child
Address: 39 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0PS
2 The Chesterfield Mayfair’s Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea
The exceptional Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea starts with a glass of mulled wine, followed by a selection of seasonal sandwiches, including prawn and marie rose; pulled ham hock, brie and spiced apple chutney; smoked salmon and cream cheese on beetroot bread; and turkey with mayonnaise and cranberry. The next tier features cranberry and chocolate scones, with delicious pastries to finish, and a Christmas tree chocolate and coffee pot. Available Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.
When: November 19 – January 2, 2022, including public holidays
Price: From £55/£62/£31 adult/with a glass of champagne/child
Address: 35 Charles Street, Mayfair W1J 5EB
3 Festive Afternoon Tea at Corinthia London
In the Crystal Moon Lounge (where you can bask in the warming glow of 1,001 Baccarat crystals), the Festive Afternoon Tea includes new pastries such as the spiced pear mousse and chai chantilly, and a seasonal gtuglhupf of pain d’épice and candied chestnuts. There’s also the new Caviar Afternoon Tea (from £130pp) should you want even more indulgence.
When: Now until January 4, 2022
Price: From £80/£50 adult/child
Address: Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD
4 Festive Afternoon Tea at Pan Pacific London, City
Featuring a selection of hand-made patisserie that combine traditional flavours with an Asian-inspired twist, the Pan Pacific’s Festive afternoon Tea is sumptuous, delightful and decadent. Sweet treats include The Night Before Christmas (lemon shortbread and passionfruit caramel), Christmas Tree (pistachio mousse, financier and sour cherry compote) Chocolate Bauble ( moist chocolate sponge, dark chocolate and dulcey crémaux) and A Gift from Santa ( spicy clementine mousse and citrus peel Victoria sponge). These are paired with cranberry and plain scones, and sandwiches filled with carrot and speculaas; honey, stilton and wild berries; and smoked trout with dill creme.
When: November 11 – January 10, 2022
Price: £72 or £82 with a glass of Nyetimber Classic Cuvée
Address: 80 Houndsditch, EC3A 7AB
5 Festive Afternoon Tea at Cafe Biltmore, Mayfair
Take a break from the Christmas shopping and treat yourself to a festive treat. Taken in hotel’s impressive Tea Lounge, delights adorning the tea stand include sandwiches filled with Roast bronze turkey and cranberry sauce or Lake District roast beef and horseradish. For the sweet treats, there’s warm sultana and buttermilk scones with Cornish clotted cream, raspberry, and strawberry reserve, The Biltmore fruit cake and spiced gingerbread. On selected dates (Dec 4,11,18) Father Christmas, and the Sugar Plum Fairies host their own afternoon tea. This comes with the same fare as the Festive Afternoon tea, and a family friendly performance of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky from The Nutcracker.
When: December 1-31
Price: £55/£28 adult/child or £55/£35 for the Sugar Plum Fairy version
Address: 44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, W1K 2HP
6 Four Seasons Hotel London at 10 Trinity Square Festive Afternoon Tea, City
Near the banks of the River Thames and served in the glorious Rotunda bar & Lounge, the Four Seasons Hotel London at 10 Trinity Square is serving a Festive Afternoon Tea throughout the festive season. The quintessentially British tradition will be reimagined with festive flavours to capture the magic of Christmas, in a menu designed by Executive Pastry Chef Sylvain Goujon. Pastries include The White Forest – a chocolate biscuit with creamy chocolate cremeux, cherry confit and chocolate Chantilly in the style of a Christmas tree; The Bauble Tart – a chestnut and blackcurrant tartlet with a sphere to create the appearance of a festive bauble; The Snowman – created with rice pudding, coco and cinnamon; and Rudolf the Reindeer – a gingerbread reindeer with pear. Take your tea up a notch with a glass or two of Delamotte Champagne.
When: November 26 – January 16
Price: From £50pp
Address: 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ
7 Festive Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park Corner
The Lanesborough is at its most magical during the holiday season, when it transforms into an enchanted mansion filled with beautiful displays. The hotel’s award-winning afternoon tea, served daily in the majestic surrounds of Michelin-star Céleste, or in the Withdrawing Room, will be giving its popular Peggy Porschen tea a sprinkle of festive magic. Founder and life-long baker Peggy Porschen held her first prestigious pastry chef position at The Lanesborough back in 1999, making this a very special afternoon tea treat indeed. Classically festive flavours will be beautifully presented in Peggy Porschen’s Insta-famous chic, pastel hues, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, as well as a children’s menu, also available.
When: November 12 to January 5, closed Christmas Day
Price: From £75pp with a Paradis chocolate martini
Address: Hyde Park Corner SW1X 7TA
8 Taj 51 Buckingham Gate’s Mystic Christmas Afternoon Tea, Westminster
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate has launched a Mystic Christmas Afternoon Tea at Kona restaurant. While the menu is still to be firmed up, expect to fill up on warming and filling festive flavours. Last year, the tea started with a spiced winter warmer hot chocolate drink, along with a selection of cranberry and plain scones. Savoury treats included a festive egg mayo and mustard cress pinwheel, rosemary roast beef roulade with English mustard cream, smoked salmon and orange flavoured horseradish sandwich and a nostalgic Yorkshire ham, cheddar and Branston pickle sandwich. There was also a Christmassy selection of sweet treats like the Christmas pistachio cremeux cone, marron glace dome Snowman and a creamy yule log enriched with Baileys.
When: December 1 – January 2, 2022
Price: From £51
Address: 51 Buckingham Gate, Westminster SW1E 6AF
9 Festive Afternoon Tea at InterContinental London – The O2, Greenwich Peninsula
InterContinental London – The O2 is serving festive afternoon tea featuring delights such as Valrhona chocolate and caramel cake, raspberry and pistachio petit gâteaux, artisan mince pie and clementine and cardamom choux. As well as the beautifully presented patisserie, the Christmas treat includes finger sandwiches of turkey and cream cheese cranberry mousse, hen’s egg truffle mayo and mustard cress, mature cheddar and red onion marmalade, and black olive tapenade with avocado, sun-dried tomato and rocket, all on a variety of artisan breads. There’s also spiced cranberry and plain scones with fig and strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream.
Price: From £55
Address: 1 Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0TW
10 The Landmark London Christmas High Palms High Tea, Marylebone
Hosted in the stunning Winter Garden Restaurant, the five-star Landmark London in Marylebone has launched an indulgent Festive Afternoon Tea featuring a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and an assortment of Christmas cakes and pastries, including a gingerbread and dark chocolate mousse with chocolate brownie; mandarin and cinnamon Yule log; redcurrant, honey and mascarpone opera; and macaron with macerated fruits, hazelnut and chocolate ganache.
When: From December 1
Price: £68 including a glass of Champagne Brut
Address: 222 Marylebone Road NW1 6JQ;
11 Festive Nineteen Twen-Tea Afternoon Tea at Sheraton Grand Park Lane, Piccadilly
Palm Court’s Nineteen Twen-Tea Afternoon Tea has received a festive make-over with sandwiches filled with smoked salmon and orange crème fraîche, roast bronze turkey and cranberry compote and egg mayonnaise with winter truffle and micro cress. There’s also a selection of delightfully named pastries including the Yule Log, Snow Ball, Festive Tree and Paris-Brest. If dining with young ones, the Palm Court also has a delightful Kid’s Afternoon Tea. Little faces will light up at the sight of a selection of cakes of London icons such as the London Eye, London Red Bus and Big Ben, as well as bite-size sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a choice of hot chocolate or tea.
When: From November 25 – January 3, 2022
Price: From £49
Address: Piccadilly W1J 7BX
12 The Milestone Hotel and Residences Festive Afternoon Tea, Kensington
The Milestone Hotel, a 5-star boutique hotel in Kensington with long-stay residences, is offering a Christmas afternoon tea themed with plenty of festive treats, which is taken in the elegant Park Lounge, Conservatory or Cheneston’s Restaurant. Seasonally themed sandwiches include roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry, brie with mulled spiced pear and raisin chutney, and Dingley Dell ham with English mustard mayonnaise, while festive pastries include spiced apple and gingerbread mousse, cranberry and orange tartlet and a chestnut and white chocolate choux bun. A children’s tea is also available.
When: November 24 – January 2, 2022, excluding Christmas Day
Price: From £58/£27 adult/child
Address: 1 Kensington Court, Kensington W8 5DL
13 The Hatter’s Christmas Tea Party at Egerton House Hotel, Knightsbridge
The Egerton House Hotel, is offering a festive take on their Hatter’s Tea Party with seasonal homemade cakes including caramel yule log, chocolate orange torte and spiced pear pudding with creme anglaise. There are home-baked plain and fruit scones too, of course, served with clotted cream and preserves. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
When: From November 15
Price: From £56
Address: 17-19 Egerton Terrace, Knightsbridge SW3 2BX