Nowhere in the world is tea more revered than in Great Britain and nowhere in the world do they take the ceremony of drinking afternoon tea in London to new heights. So, rather than go in for all the pomp and circumstance of high afternoon tea, we scoped out our Top 5 picks for unique London tea in the afternoon.
- Brigit’s Bakery Tea Trolley has to take the top slot as our favorite. You hop aboard an old red double-decker bus and step inside a magical world of tea cakes and sweets treats to defy your imagination. Picture it, tiered china trays of petits fours and sandwiches all while riding high above the fray below. The friendly staff is obliging in every sense of the word and gives you a lovely pink box to take home any leftover treats. The bus bumbles through all the spots too crowded to walk through, The London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, Marble Arch and more. You can board in two spots, Northumberland Avenue near Trafalgar Square or the Victoria Coach Station, although we much prefer Northumberland. Do book ahead as they are quite busy, even at £45-63 depending on where you sit. We seriously can’t rave enough about Brigit’s Bakery. By the way, if you can’t get enough of her treats, pop into the actual bakery in Covent Garden.
- SoHo’s Secret Tea Room (29 Greek Street) is a hoot and a holler just to find the place. Tucked in the back of SoHo, just off Charing Cross and a block from Chinatown, is the Coach & Horses Pub. The pub was made famous by its landlord in a West End play called “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell.” Now, this tea room is so secret that there’s no sign to announce you’ve arrived at anything more than a pub. With a wink and a nod and maybe the day’s password, the bartender just might let you crawl under the bar to climb the rickety back stairs. It’s an adventure and then you enter a world of mismatched china and an eccentric tea room hostess. There’s a variety of tea and burnt scones which are offered, while old jazz music makes you feel like you’ve stepped into WWII era London. It’s reasonably priced, with creamed tea starting at only £7.50, and worth it for the stories you’ll take home.
- The Victoria & Albert Museum offers a Victorian Afternoon Tea in one of the prettiest settings you can imagine inside a museum. Stained glass windows and crystal chandeliers, ooh la la! It’s intimate but crowded and oh so proper. A menu of sconelets and spicey sandwiches will run £30 per person.
- One Aldwych (One Aldwych) we just love everything about the One Aldwych Hotel, especially their creative menus and afternoon tea. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory comes to life inside this modern venue. The afternoon tea is a bit on the pricey side with kids at £36 and Mummy at £42 but with golden chocolate eggs and candy floss, you can’t go wrong.
- The British Museum’s Great Court Restaurant (Great Russell St.) is special because of it’s location, perched above the glass-domed entry lobby to the museum, one of our favorites in the whole city. The tea is nothing fancy but any reason to walk among mummies and the ruins of the Parthenon is a good reason to visit. Tea starts at £19.50.
There are so many spots for unique teas in London, we think another trip is in order to sample more.