‘Tis the season for giving, but it’s nice to treat yourself too! What better way than heading out for a Christmas-themed afternoon tea with family or friends? The Resident picks out the best Christmas afternoon tea experiences at some of London’s top hotels…
Lead image: Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Savoy
1 Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz
An absolute classic, Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is hard to beat. In fact, it’s nearly booked out for Xmas 2019 already – so move quickly! The Ritz’s festive makeover launched on Saturday 24 November last year, and it looks like this year it’ll be Saturday 23 November, when you can start enjoying The Ritz’s famed Christmas afternoon tea served in The Palm Court, which will be transformed into an Edwardian winter wonderland with a lavishly decorated Christmas tree in the centre of the room. In addition to the finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and an assortment of teas, there will be mince pies and festive pastries and cakes, plus carols from The Ritz choir. The afternoon tea includes a glass of Ritz Champagne for adults and a Ritz teddy bear for children. From £80 per adult and £50 per child (up to 15 years old). Available from 23 November-30 December 2018 at 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm sittings, excluding Christmas Day, when Father Christmas will make a special visit to The Ritz with presents for the kids at their 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm and 5.30pm sittings.
150 Piccadilly W1J 9BR; theritzlondon.com
2 Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel
The iconic Waldorf Hilton Hotel is giving its traditional afternoon tea a Nutcracker-inspired make-over this Christmas. As an homage to Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet and its beloved character, the ruler of the Land of the Sweets, the Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea offers a magical twist on the Waldorf’s signature offering. Running from Monday 25 November in the Waldorf’s grand dining room, The Homage Restaurant, the festive afternoon tea will include an assortment of finger sandwiches and savouries including smoked salmon blinis, house smoked beef on pumpernickel rye bread paired with an array of floral spreads. Complete with freshly baked scones accompanied by clotted cream and specially created sugar plum jam, the sweet treats on offer include vanilla choux crown cakes, decorated biscuits, and bags of lemon and raspberry bonbons. The Nutcracker will be performed at the London Coliseum this Christmas, which is just a 10-minute walk from The Waldorf Hilton Hotel on Aldwych, making the Sugar Plum Fairy afternoon tea the perfect pre-theatre treat for ballet fans. The Sugar Plum Fairy Afternoon Tea, priced from £39pp, is available to book for a limited time only.
Aldwych, London WC2B 4DD; waldorf.hilton.com
3 Festive Afternoon Tea at The Savoy
The Thames Foyer at The Savoy is serving an opulent Festive Afternoon Tea featuring sandwiches of Coronation turkey on cranberry bread and Morecambe Bay shrimp with champagne Mary Rose sauce on charcoal bread, as well as a smoked venison open sandwich with chestnut cream on brioche bread. You can also add a high tea supplement of seared scallops and Avruga caviar with fennel cream for £6. The elegant selection of pastries include a Savoy Christmas Cake, traditional mince pie with spiced streusel topping, and chocolate Christmas tree with peppermint pine ganache. Available from mid-November, Monday to Thursday from £78pp, Friday to Sunday from £85pp, and on Christmas Day itself with the addition of an intermediate course and a glass of champagne for £180pp. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are also available.
The Strand WC2R 0EZ; savoychristmas.com
4 Festive Afternoon Tea at The Langham
The Langham serves a quintessentially British Festive Afternoon Tea options in the glorious Palm Court. Feather-light scones and seasonally themed savouries feature, alongside exquisite patisserie that use spices in surprising and inventive ways. You can even enjoy a Christmas Eve Afternoon Tea for £70pp or Christmas Day Afternoon Tea for £84pp. Otherwise, the Festive Afternoon Tea served during the Christmas season starts at £70, rising to £84 with champagne, and £120 with Dom Pérignon. There’s also a Children’s Festive Afternoon Tea priced £35 for ages 3-12. Available from mid November.
1c Portland Place, Regent Street W1B 1JA; langhamhotels.com
5 Festive Afternoon Tea with Christmas Wreath Workshop at The Egerton House Hotel
Chelsea Flower Show’s official florist, Jane Wadham, will be offering visitors to The Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge a unique opportunity to enjoy a festive afternoon tea followed by a Christmas wreath-making workshop. The one-off afternoon, taking place on Thursday 5 December at 2pm, will conclude with a 45-minute workshop with Wadham, when you’ll learn how to make a Christmas wreath arrangement to take home. The event costs £90pp including a glass of champagne, English sparkling wine or a flowering cocktail. To book see designmynight.com.
17-19 Egerton Terrace, Knightsbridge SW3 2BX; egertonhousehotel.com
6 Christmas Afternoon Tea at London Hilton
Designed by Pastry Chefs Emmanuel Bonneau and Sam Leatherby, crowned the winners of Bake Off: The Professionals 2018 – the Christmas Afternoon Tea at London Hilton on Park Lane’s Podium Restaurant is not one to be missed, especially if you’re heading to Winter Wonderland just across the road in Hyde Park. The Christmas Afternoon Tea at the hotel’s Podium Restaurant . The festive treat offers three tiers of seasonal delights, including festive open sandwiches and freshly baked scones layered with a filling of your choice – praline chocolate spread, clotted cream or strawberry jam – as well as decadent festive-themed miniature fancies. You can also choose from a selection of Hope & Glory teas. Available weekdays 2pm-5pm and weekends 12.30pm-5pm from late November priced £39pp or £49 with a glass of Pommery Champagne (not served on Christmas Day).
22 Park Lane W1K 1BE; podiumrestaurant.com
7 Festive Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych
One Aldwych, a Leading Hotel of the World, is putting a festive spin on its Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea this Christmas. Plates will be piled high with sandwiches like turkey and cranberry on charcoal bread, cinnamon glazed brioche buns and festive fruit scones with all the jams and creams. Sweet-shop inspired treats include mazipan chocolate milk, home-made candyfloss, gingerbread and white chocolate pops with violet popping candy and cocoa bean financiers. A selection of award-winning seasonal loose leaf teas from Canton Tea is also on offer and you can add a variety of champagnes or a fizzy cocktail. The hotel will also host a 25-foot Christmas tree, which last year was decorated with 130 snow domes. Served in Indigo and the Lobby Bar from 27 November until Sunday 5 January 2020 from £47pp.
1 Aldwych WC2B 4BZ; onealdwych.com
8 Christmas Afternoon Tea at TĪNG at The Shangri-La Hotel
The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard serves what is probably the highest afternoon tea in London. This Christmas, you can enjoy a festive afternoon tea with glorious views over London at TĪNG Restaurant and Lounge on level 35 – 125 metres above the capital. This year, the team is inviting you to keep it ‘glassy’ with a high tea in the most literal sense. Start with an Atlantic prawn ‘cocktail’, followed by freshly made sandwiches of turkey with cranberry and roast beef with horseradish cream, alongside baked scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Delicate Christmas treats include mulled wine and pear compote, mint chocolate ganache with blackcurrant and hibiscus mousse, and passion fruit and cardamom mousse as well as traditional Christmas cake. Available from 18 November priced £68 or £78 with a glass of Champagne. You can also enjoy Christmas afternoon tea with an overnight stay from £785 from 18 November until 5 January (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day).
31 St Thomas Street, London Bridge SE1 9QU; ting-shangri-la.com