Taking afternoon tea in London is a must for both residents and visitors of all ages and genders. Whether you’re a fan of this quintessentially British pastime or not, there really is nothing quite like settling into grand surroundings and being presented with delicate sandwiches and patisserie as you sip a superior cup of tea from a bone china teacup. Perhaps there’ll be a smartly-dressed pianist tickling the ivories of a grand piano, or maybe you’ll spot a famous face; whatever your motivation, afternoon tea is an experience everyone should try at least once.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve made it your mission to sample every last one of the best afternoon teas in the capital, from themed afternoon teas to vegan varieties, but if you only have the time or budget for one, the choice can be pretty overwhelming. We could recommend a long list, from afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason to The Ritz’s world-famous Palm Court afternoon tea experience, but one you’d be mad to miss is afternoon tea at Harrods.
Harrods is the most famous department store in the world, so if you’re into glitz and glamour it’s definitely worth a trip to Knightsbridge to visit. The brand is synonymous with luxury, so whether you’re visiting the store to shop, dine or relax in the spa, you can expect to enjoy an exemplary level of care. Naturally, this exceptional service extends to afternoon tea, whether you opt for the classic afternoon tea in the Harrods Tea Rooms, or its brand new Tiffany Tea in The Tiffany Blue Box Café.
We’ve lots to say about Harrods’ afternoon tea offerings, so in order to help you make the most of your visit, we’ve put together this guide to afternoon tea at Harrods. We’ve provided tips on how to dress – Harrods has a dress code, you know – as well as further information about times, prices and, most importantly, the menus. Enjoy!
History of the Harrods Tea Rooms
Did you know that in 1911 Harrods Tea Rooms (then known as The Georgian) was the largest restaurant in London?
The fourth-floor restaurant now known as Harrods Tea Rooms was actually christened The Georgian in honour of George V, who was crowned king the same year it opened. Soon after the First World War, The Georgian became famous for its tea dances, which took place on the restaurant’s sprung dance floor (now hidden under the carpet).
In 1928, the classical interior was lightened by the addition of an Art Deco skylight and soon after The Georgian became a popular spot for regimental dinners, such as the annual Royal Engineers’ Dinner. The Georgian then underwent two refurbishments, first in 2014 and then again in 2018 when it became The Harrods Tea Rooms as they are today.
When to go
There’s no such thing as a bad time for afternoon tea at Harrods, but here are a few things to think about…
Think you can just rock up for a fancy afternoon tea at Harrods? Well it turns out you can, as Harrods does reserve a small number of tables for walk-ins, but to avoid disappointment we always recommend booking in advance.
Afternoon tea at Harrods is served between 11.30am and 7pm, depending on which experience you choose, so it’s worth thinking about how you’ll be shaping the rest of your day around this special experience. Book one of the earlier slots and you can forgo lunch without being too full for dinner (especially if you’re planning on walking it off in Harrods’ 4.5 acres of shops).
Or perhaps you’re someone who prefers to earn their calories before consuming them, in which case plan a day’s shopping followed by a late afternoon/early evening afternoon tea. And if you’re worried about the freshness of the food, don’t be – Harrods wouldn’t dream of serving stale anything.
What to wear
Unless you’re an A-lister, you’re not going to get away with sloppy attire at Harrods. Check out our advice on how best to dress for a smart Harrods afternoon tea.
We doubt anyone would be brazen enough to turn up to afternoon tea at Harrods dressed in old joggers (except perhaps Kristen Stewart, who can pull anything off), but there are a few guidelines for visiting the department store you should know about when planning your afternoon tea.
The proprietors kindly ask that guests refrain from wearing clothing that reveals intimate parts of the body, or that portrays offensive verbal or pictorial messaging. Helmets are also a no-no, as are large items of luggage (though these can be stored in Harrods’ left luggage facility for £25 per item). That said, you needn’t dress like you’re attending Ascot, so somewhere in the realms of smart/casual should be just fine.
Which to choose
Both of these Harrods afternoon tea experiences are tempting, so it really just comes down to traditional versus themed.
Afternoon tea at The Harrods Tea Rooms
What: A pretty array of delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a seasonal selection of patisserie, plus a variety of speciality teas chosen by Harrods’ very own Tea Tailor.
Why: Plush burgundy velvet seating, a stunning Art Deco skylight and an eye-catching tree lend the fourth-floor tea rooms an air of majesty that befits the quality of the tiered treats that await guests partaking in afternoon tea here. Everything is made by the in-house chefs meaning those with dietary requirements can be easily accommodated. The special ‘free-from’ afternoon tea is made without gluten, meat, dairy or nuts.
When: Mon-Sat, 12pm-7pm; Sun, 12pm-5pm
How much: £59 per person
Tiffany Tea at The Tiffany Blue Box Café
What: Dainty finger sandwiches with premium fillings, freshly baked scones and a selection of beautiful patisserie inspired by Tiffany & Co.’s heritage, and your choice of loose leaf tea.
Why: Anyone who’s ever dreamed of breakfast at Tiffany’s will be thrilled to discover The Tiffany Blue Box Café at Harrods. Modern-day Holly Golightlys can tuck into breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner in Tiffany-blue surrounds, which include Tiffany jewels, amazonite stone features and hand-painted Tiffany motifs. Savouries on the afternoon tea tower include egg and truffle butter sandwiches and a warm Parisian Madeleine, while sweet treats include a Tiffany blue egg filled with lemon curd and mascarpone.
When: Mon-Sat, 11.30am-6.30pm; Sun, 1.30pm-6.30pm
How much: £69 per person
Hungry for more in this fashionable part of London? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Knightsbridge.