‘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 London’s best Christmas afternoon tea experiences
1 A Savoy Christmas by Penhaligons
Step into the Savoy this Christmas and you’ll be greeted by a huge Christmas tree and whimsical features reminiscent of Christmas in Victorian London, created exclusively for Penhaligon’s by artist Kristjana Williams. Penhaligon’s interactive installation will take the form of a beautifully illustrated festive pop-up story-book with elaborate arches revealing a vintage car on its way to deliver bundles of presents. The Scents of Christmas Penhaligon’s Afternoon Tea has been created to echo their new Christmas in is in the Air fragrance, with refined pastries crafted to evoke nostalgic Christmas scents and aromas (think chestnuts, brandy mousse and gingerbread). The Festive Afternoon Tea is £68pp or £120pp with a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal Vintage, produced only during the best years. Available from 27 November until 1 January 2018.
The Savoy Strand WC2R 0EU; fairmont.com/savoy-london
2 Royal Lancaster London
This year, the Royal Lancaster London, which has just reopened following an £80 million renovation, is raising Christmas spirit to a whole new level with its Festive Afternoon Tea. Filled with all of the classics of acclaimed Executive Chef Ben Purton’s signature high tea – white chocolate and raspberry lollypops, homemade macaroons, freshly baked cupcakes – but with a Christmas twist, it’s priced £35pp or £45pp with a champagne upgrade. Available from 22 November 2017 until 7 January 2018.
Lancaster Terrace W2 2TY; royallancaster.com
3 Tale as Old as Time Tea at Town House
Missed the Tale as Old as Time afternoon tea at the Town House at The Kensington? Worry not as the Town House has brought back the acclaimed theme with a festive twist for the month of December. The tea, complete with Mrs Potts and Chip Potts teacups, is themed according to the film Beauty and the Beast. The food ranges from bite-size roast venison with Yorkshire pudding to turkey sandwiches, mince tarts and a Specaloos dress marzipan. The festive tea is £38.50pp or £50pp with a glass of Perrier-Jouët.
109-113 Queen’s Gate SW7 5LR; townhousekensington.com
4 One Aldwych
One Aldwych’s Festive Afternoon Tea is inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this year. Created by Executive chef Dominic Teague, the scrumdiddlyumptious treats include a golden chocolate egg, chocolate caramel milk, home-made candyfloss, gingerbread and white chocolate pops, plus cocoa bean financiers. The chocolate extravaganza is levelled out with the traditional warm scones and seasonal sandwiches. Priced £42pp and £52pp with a Cocktail Charlie or glass of Lallier Grande Réserve Champagne. Served from 12.30pm-3.30pm Monday-Friday and 12.30pm-5.30pm on Sundays.
1 Aldwych WC2B 4BZ; onealdwych.com
5 Festive Tipsy Tea at Mr Foggs
This December, head over to Mr Foggs for a boozy twist to the traditional high tea. The Festive Tipsy Tea Sip comes with two bottomless booze opt-ins; the bottomless pot of gin tea (£68pp) or the bottomless pot of champagne tea (£78pp). A parade of mini Christmas puddings and mince pies, as well as turkey and cranberry sandwiches, ought to stop you from getting too tipsy… The Festive Tipsy Tea with just one pot of gin tea or Champagne tea is £45pp.
15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair W1J 6JD; mr-foggs.com
6 The Chesterfield Mayfair
Enjoy the Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair, an intimate five-star hotel located conveniently close to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland attraction. Begin with a warming shot of mulled wine before choosing one of the hotel’s 18 loose leaf teas and enjoying a selection of finger sandwiches and sweet treats like the salted caramel chocolate tart present, clementine and pistachio slice, and chocolate Yule log. The Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea is £38.50pp or £45.50 with a glass of 125ml brut, rosé or white label Lanson Champagne. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free tea options, as well as a Little Elves Afternoon Tea for £19.50.
35 Charles Street W1J 5EB; chesterfieldmayfair.com
7 A Festive Afternoon Treat at The Royal Garden Hotel
Looking for the perfect spot to celebrate before a show? The Royal Garden Hotel, overlooking Kensington Gardens and just a short walk from the Royal Albert Hall, is hosting A Festive Afternoon Treat tea this December. Enjoy Christmas-themed finger sandwiches, scones and cakes, plus loose leaf tea and a glass of bubbles. Priced £31pp or £41pp with a glass of champagne and strawberries with a balsamic drizzle. Available from 1-24 December 2017.
2-24 Kensington High Street W8 4PT; royalgardenhotel.co.uk
8 Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz
Transport yourself this holiday season and take a vacation at The Ritz’s Palm Court. Enjoy one of the most famous afternoon teas in London, this time with a festive twist, including a choir singing Christmas carols and an Edwardian winter wonderland complete with a lavish Christmas tree. The adults can celebrate with style with a glass of Ritz champagne and the children will be given a Ritz teddy bear. The Christmas tea (£80 per adult and £50 per child) is available from Saturday 25 November to Saturday 30 December 2017 with 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm sittings.
150 Piccadilly W1J 9BR; theritzlondon.com
9 Classic Christmas Tea at 108 Pantry
Head to 108 Pantry for their Classic Christmas Tea filled with hearty savoury favourites like Caldecott Farm free-range turkey sandwiches, black truffle sausage roll and festive sweets like the chocolate Yule log and eggnog gingerbread trifle. For £32pp you get to enjoy an array of sweets and savouries on top of your choice of 108 Pantry’s rare tea collection. Add a boozy touch to your afternoon with a glass of champagne mulled wine for £42pp. Available from 1 November 2017 until the end of the holiday season.
47 Welbeck Street W1G 8DN; 108brasserie.com
10 Scandal Water Penhaligon’s Tea The London Edition
The award-winning Punch Room at The London Edition has big news for perfume and tea lovers alike. Take part in the experience of a lifetime by enjoying their new Scandal Water menu, in celebration of Penhaligon’s Portraits Collections. The collaboration includes pairings such as Penhaligon’s Monsier Beauregard Orris and cinnamon scent with The Edition’s jasmine tea and chicken rouillard. Offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday priced at £35pp.
10 Berners Street W1T 3NP; editionhotels.com
11 Christmas Carol Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
The Dorchester’s Christmas Carol Afternoon Tea combines a decadent afternoon tea with the super sweet sounds of a children’s choir singing Christmas classics. The afternoon tea includes decadent finger sandwiches, scones and festive-themed pastries. The Christmas Carol Afternoon Tea is priced at £85pp with Laurent-Perrier NV Champagne or Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé. Served weekends from 18 November to 24 December 2017.
53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA; dorchestercollection.com
12 Hotel Café Royal’s Festive Diptyque Tea
Hotel Café Royal’s Christmas afternoon tea is not to be missed this holiday season. Complete with festive sandwiches like the Norfolk Bronze Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce. Sweet seasonal treats include a pistachio cake filled with jasmine tea, a hazelnut with caramel and chocolate cream pastry and a raspberry and lemon mousse tart. Priced at £55 per person or £65 paired with a glass of Laurent Perrier NV, the tea located in the Oscar Wilde Bar will be an experience for both your nose and your taste buds.Taking inspiration from their favourite wintry Diptyque scents, Hotel Café Royal’s Afternoon Tea will get you in the Christmas spirit. The magic doesn’t go away once leave the hotel as you will be sent home with a 70g Baies candle from Diptyque.
68 Regent Street, W1B 4DY; hotelcaferoyal.com
13 Claridges Festive Afternoon Tea
From the second you step into Claridges foyer and hear the angelic voices of carollers, you are transported to a Christmas wonderland complete with sweets and champagne. First, you choose from 24 teas all across the world, then enjoy seasonally themed finger sandwiches and scones followed by festive pastries and Christmas pudding. You’ll even leave with a surprise gift making you feel like it’s actually Christmas day. The tea, which includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne, is priced at £85pp from Monday to Friday and £90pp on Saturday and Sunday.
Brook Street, Mayfair W1K 4HR; claridges.co.uk
14 A Taste of Nordic Christmas at the Intercontinental London Park Lane
Have a Nordic twist on your usual Christmas tea at the Wellington Lounge at the Intercontinental London Park Lane. With favourites like turkey and cranberry scotch eggs and smoked duck with blueberry relish, Intercontinental’s Nordic Christmas Tea is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. The set menu pairs traditional tea treats like scones with jam and clotted cream with more festive additions like mince pies and a cinnamon-infused eggnog panna cotta tart. Priced £48pp.
One Hamilton Place, Park Lane W1J 7QY; parklane.intercontinental.com
15 The Connaught’s Festive Afternoon Tea
Chef Jean-George Vongerichten at the Connaught is pulling out all the stops for its first ever Festive Tea, which features candy floss, chocolate fondue and gingerbread men. Other delicious sweets include black forest chocolate mousse, chestnut tart and mulled wine jelly with almond praliné coconut rocher. The tea will also include traditional finger sandwiches and scones, ensuring you don’t leave the table with any room left. Available from 20 November 2017 until 1 January 2018 from £75pp.
Carlos Place, Mayfair W1K 2AL; the-connaught.co.uk
16 Festive Afternoon Tea at Jumeirah Carlton Tower
Stop by Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower for a Festive Afternoon Tea that includes winter favourites like the roast Norfolk turkey bridge roll with a chestnut crumb and cranberry and date relish, an open sandwich of Stilton bread with Sussex goat’s cheese and fig, as well as a Christmas pudding macaroon and mince pie custard tart. £45pp or £55 with champagne. Available from 20 November until 1 January 2018, when Jumeirah Carlton Tower will transform into a Christmas wonderland.
Cadogan Place, Ground Floor, Jumeirah Carlton Tower SW1X 9PY; jumeirah.com
17 York & Albany’s Festive Afternoon Tea
Stop by Gordon Ramsey’s York & Albany for a Christmas-themed afternoon tea menu featuring decadent festive finger sandwiches like roast turkey and cranberry sauce, and brie and red onion. The sweets include cranberry cheesecake, mulled wine macaroons and mince pies. And then there’s York & Albany’s expansive list of specialty teas including lemon grass and ginger and spearmint and liquorice. The festive afternoon tea is priced £24pp or £30pp with a cup of mulled wine.
127-129 Parkway NW1 7PS; gordonramsayrestaurants.com
18 The Egerton Hotel’s Festive Afternoon Tea
Enjoy festive favourites like Christmas cake, Stollen, gingerbread men, mince pies, chocolate brownies and orange macarons at The Egerton Hotel’s Festive Afternoon Tea. The finger sandwiches include organic smoked salmon on Cape seed loaf; free-range egg mayonnaise on white bread; roast ham and English mustard on brown bread; cucumber and cream cheese on sun-dried tomato bread; and, of course, turkey and cranberry on granary bread. Priced £40 or £55 on 24, 25, 26 and 31 December 2017, as well as 1 January 2018.
17-19 Egerton Terrace SW3 2BX; egertonhousehotel.com
19 The Lanesborough’s Festive Afternoon Tea
The Lanesborough’s award-winning Afternoon Tea will take a seasonally-sweet festive twist as Head Pastry Chef, Gabriel Le Quang reimagines Christmas classics. Served in the spectacular setting of Céleste, those taking tea can expect festive treats such as spicy Christmas muffins, apple and cinnamon doughnuts, mulled wine and pear cake, chocolate coconut fingers, orange mousse spheres and Croustillant caramel sable, alongside festive favourites such as mince pies, chestnut tart and praline Rocher, served with a chilled glass of Taittinger Champagne. The Festive Afternoon Tea costs from £65pp and is available until 30 December 2017.
Hyde Park Corner SW1X 7TA; oetkercollection.com
Rosewood London has updated its award-winning Art Afternoon Tea, inspired by London’s top galleries, especially for the festive season. Try finger sandwiches like roasted turkey breast with honey and cranberry sauce, soft bath cheese and truffle, smoked duck and orange, and lobster, crayfish and fennel, before tucking into sweet pastries inspired by Jeff Koons, Kandinsky, Bansky, Jackson Pollock and Hubert Le Gall. There are scones to finish off, as well as an extensive list of teas, champagne and cocktails to choose from. Served in the Mirror Room and available until 31 December from £55pp (champagne and cocktails incur an additional cost).
252 High Holborn WC1V 7EN; rosewoodhotels.com