13 of the best themed afternoon teas in London

From children’s stories to the bard himself, here’s our pick of the best themed afternoon teas in London.

Updated on • Written By Aoife Silke

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13 of the best themed afternoon teas in London

We love afternoon tea here at SquareMeal and will never miss a chance to get dressed up and oh-so-daintily stuff our faces with sandwiches, scones and pretty patisseries. Sometimes, though, the experience can be a little samey and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional afternoon tea experience, it’s nice to mix it up from time to time.

Enter: themed afternoon teas. While – for most of them, at least – there might still be sandwiches and scones up for grabs, there are also intricately designed cakes and savouries that centre round all sorts of things – from children’s storybooks through to fried chicken (yep, you read that right). The beauty of experiencing one of London’s best themed afternoon teas is the combination of traditional and modern, which we think sums up the city so perfectly. There might be tiered trays of treats, but there will also be unusual, carefully crafted patisseries or deliciously savoury treats that aren’t just your typical cucumber sandwiches (although no shade to cucumber sarnies, we have all the respect in the world for this British classiqué).


Whatever the event, a themed afternoon tea will give your gathering a sense of occasion. From celebrating a baby shower or hen do through to simply marking the middle of the week, there’s no excuse too big or small that afternoon tea can’t improve frankly. We love using this moment in the day as an excuse to get dressed up and take a couple of hours away from our screens to help us get back to what we do best… eating.

If you are looking for something a little different, don't fret - we’ve hand-picked the best themed afternoon teas in London for you to check out. None are too out-there – we like a change, but we’re still British – but all bring something a little different to the treat-laden table. Pinkies at the ready!

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at The Shard, London Bridge

champagne and pirate themed cakes

What: Where better to escape reality than up in the clouds with Peter Pan? This special themed tea celebrates J.M Barrie’s much loved characters with Tinkerbell cookies and Hook cakes, as well as sandwiches from The Lost Boys and all kinds of little surprising extras. Even drinks have been given a fairytale spin, with a magic cocktail for the grown ups and a fun, fruity mocktail for the kids, cleverly called Never Grow Up. 
Why: Perfect for special celebrations, this would make a gorgeous birthday treat for kids or a great way to escape reality for grown-ups. The added bonus of incredible views across London's skyline makes this an experience to remember. 
When: Thursday-Sunday, 12.15-4.15pm
 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
How much: £70 per adult or £55 for children
Book now: Peter Pan afternoon tea at The Shard

Beauty and the Beast Afternoon Tea at Homage at The Waldorf Hilton, Covent Garden

beauty and the beast themed afternoon tea

What: Afternoon Tea at Homage was always going to be a glamorous affair with its impressive columns, plush velvet seating and hanging chandelier. It's the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of fairytale magic, inviting guests to join for a Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea which has been carefully curated by chef Luke Rayment-Blakey. The menu here offers sandwiches, scones and a selection of delightful pastries that showcases the very best of British cuisine with its bold flavours and classic Waldorf twist.
Why: This spot has specific menus for your little ones, making it an excellent spot for the entire family. A combination of delicious cuisine and intriguing presentation is sure to be a hit, with several nods to the story. Take a seat at the rose petal laden table and enjoy a selection of teas from a Mrs Potts teapot and Chip mug that really add to the fun.
When: Weekdays, 1–3pm; Weekends, 1.30–3.30pm
Where: 22 Aldwych, WC2B 4DD
How much: £59 per adult, £35 per child
Book now: Homage at The Waldorf Hilton

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych, Covent Garden

Box of cakes with chocolate milk and candy floss

What: A tribute to the wonders of Roald Dahl’s magical story, this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed afternoon tea is bursting with pure imagination. Plates piled high with Wonka-worthy cakes, sweets, mousses and scones can be washed down with chocolate or lemon sherbet tea at this alternative afternoon tea experience.
Why: This one’s spot on for special occasions, particularly with children, though there’s no reason you shouldn’t book in for an indulgent afternoon simply for the pleasure of it as a grown-up. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the tastiest tales ever told, and this afternoon tea is a credit to it.
When: Wednesday-Friday, 12-3pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-4pm
1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ
How much: £50 per child or £70 per adult
Book now: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired afternoon tea at One Aldwych

Shakespearean Afternoon Tea at Swan at the Globe, South Bank

cakes and lollies with montague and capulet flags

What: If your theme is a little more cultural, look no further. The Swan afternoon tea serves Shakespearean creations just away from the Globe Theatre. Options could include a ‘Montague versus Capulet’ gold leaf lollipop, a ‘Titania Queen of Fairies’ mousse, or even San Marzano tomato and parmesan arancini inspired by The Duchess of Malfi.
Why: With views of St Pauls and Borough Market just around the corner, it’s a perfect spot for an afternoon bite followed by a walk by the riverside. And a little bit of history and culture is a great cheeky excuse for cakes and bubbles.
When: Monday-Sunday, 12-5pm
21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT
How much: £39 per person
Book now: Afternoon tea at Swan at the Globe

Chicken Wing Afternoon Tea at Randy’s Wing Bar, Hackney

Tiers of chicken wings, burgers, and cake

What: Think afternoon tea is all pomp and circumstance? Think again, as Randy’s Wing Bar in Hackney Wick has created the ultimate afternoon tea for lovers of all things wings. This three-tiered affair is loaded with burgers and dirty fries, followed by an array of chicken wings and a sweet finish of chocolate brownie bites to round things off. 
Why: This is the perfect antidote for any of your friends who think afternoon tea is boring, and it certainly will leave you fuller than dainty finger sandwiches. Why not play a little game of wing roulette with your selection (watch out for any spicy sauces!), or pair your tea with a glass of fizz from Randy’s drinks list, so that you still feel at least a little classy.
When: Monday-Saturday, 12-9.30pm; Sunday, 12-8.30pm
28 East Bay Lane, E15 2GW
How much: £75 for two people
Book now: Chicken wing afternoon tea at Randy’s Wing Bar

Afternoon Tea and Mini Mystery at The Mind Palace, Sheperd's Bush

Afternoon tea with sherlock paraphenalia

What: The Mind Palace is a Sherlock-inspired speakeasy bar complete with a hidden entrance via Doyle’s Opticians, where you can have a crack at solving a mini mystery over fluffy scones and Arthur Conan Doyle-themed patisseries. The savouries are just as noteworthy, with options like Stilton and leek muffins, pastrami and gherkin burgers, and a fresh pretzel with salmon and cream cheese.
Why: This is your chance to prove that you’re a crime-solving genius even with your mouthful. And, it’s suitable for ages ten and above, so bring the teens along and get your magnifying glass ready.
When: Thursday-Friday 1-3:45pm; Saturday-Sunday 12-3:45pm
W12 Shopping Centre, W12 8PP
How much: £39 per person
Book now: The Mind Palace

Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London, Holborn

Cake versions of bansky, campbell soup, and van gogh

What: This is a visual feast of an afternoon tea that is routinely inspired by a current London exhibition. Comprised of typically abstract-looking pastries, each taking its inspiration from different works of art, this afternoon tea is anything but conventional but is certainly a lot of fun.
Why: If you're a fan of art, or simply the abstract more generally, you won't find many better afternoon teas than this. It changes in line with what is currently being shown in London's best art galleries. Once you're finished tea you can always go and have a look around one afterwards for a full day of excitement.
When: Monday-Sunday, 12-5.45pm
Where: 252 High Holborn WC1V 7EN
How much: £68 per person
Book nowArt afternoon tea at Rosewood London

High Fashion High Tea at Town House, Kensington

Cakes and tea in blue crockery

What: A tribute to the stylish sophistication of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, this afternoon tea is a fashionable affair, perfectly tailored in every way. Set in a charming Georgian townhouse hotel with a welcoming homely atmosphere with Tiffany-blue porcelain plates, this afternoon pick-me-up is the most elegant way to end a busy day perusing the Victoria and Albert Museum fashion collection.
Why: We can’t think of any reasons someone wouldn’t want to step into Coco Chanel’s shoes and follow her mantra: ‘I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.’ So treat yourself to a glass of something and indulge in an orange and almond cake shaped like a Chanel handbag.
When: Monday-Sunday, 12-4:30pm
109-113 Queen's Gate, SW7 5LP
How much: £58 per person
Book now: Afternoon tea at Town House

Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel, South Kensington

Blue liquid poured into a cocktail glass with a flower

What: Inspired by the hotel's South Kensington neighbour, the Science Museum, this interactive afternoon tea experience is a whole lot of fun. Instead of the usual sandwiches and cakes, you can expect exciting and curious dishes including jelly served in a petri dish, fossils hidden in chocolate 'soil' and toppings such as freeze dried pineapple for your scones.
Why: Who doesn't want afternoon tea that involves dry ice? It's not just geared towards children, (though there is a kid's version available), grown-ups are sure to find this unique offering just as fun. Plus with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus available, it's an experience that everyone can take part in.
When: Weekdays, 12.30–6.30pm; Weekends, 12–5.30pm
10 Harrington Road, SW7 3ER
How much: £54.50 or £69.50 with a class of Charles Heidseick Champagne
Book now: Science afternoon tea at The Ampersand Hotel

High Chai at The LaLit, London Bridge

Platter of samosas, cakes and beer

What: This Indian-inspired afternoon tea experience will whisk you from the South Bank to the fragrant streets of India in one sip of masala chai. The menu includes savouries such as kathi roll and Mumbai bhel, while sweets include gajar ka halwar, plus there's a variety of teas from Camillia’s Tea House.
Why: Bright, beautiful and with views of the glorious Great Hall, The Gallery at LaLit London is a charming place to enjoy an Indian-themed afternoon tea. Plus, the authentic selection on offer promises to please even the most discerning High Chai enthusiasts.
When: Monday-Sunday, 12.30-4pm
181 Tooley Street, SE1 2JR
How much: £55 per person
Book now: High Chai at The LaLit

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson, Fitzrovia

Girl in Alice costume pours pink tea behind tiers of cake

What: A tea party beyond your wildest imagination, this gorgeous spread is brimming with tributes to Lewis Carroll’s much-loved children’s story. Discover menus hidden inside vintage books containing delights such as a Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodger, and a Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon.
Why: Few afternoon tea experiences can be more fun than this one. The attention to detail is outstanding and everything from the Alice-inspired tea infusions to the tiny bottle of ‘Drink Me’ potion are sure to make your experience down the rabbit hole one you'll never forget.
When: Monday-Sunday, 12-7pm
50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG
How much: £55 per adult or £76 with a glass of Champagne
Book now: Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at Sanderson

Japanese Afternoon Tea at Ginza Onodera, St James's

Japanese cakes and mini burgers with sake

What: Here you'll find a beautifully presented selection of mainly savoury bites, such as spider rolls, wagyu sliders, and crab croquettes, washed down with premium-grade green tea. Afternoon tea takes place in the modern surroundings of the restaurant, with its sleek marble sushi bar, pale woods and monochrome furnishings.
Why: For those lacking a sweet tooth, afternoon tea is generally a no-go, but this flavourful selection of Far Eastern bites bridges the gap nicely. Excellent presentation and tranquil surroundings make it ideal for parties looking to escape the usual buzz of an afternoon tea sitting.
When: Saturday-Sunday, 12-4pm
  15 Bury Street, SW1Y 6AL
How much: £49 per person
Book now: Japanese afternoon tea at Ginza Onodera

Indian-inspired Afternoon Tea at Cinnamon Bazaar, Covent Garden

colourful restaurant with green teapot and tiers of cake

What: This one's a colourful, Indian-inspired take on the quintessential tradition of afternoon tea. You'll find all sorts on this special menu at Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden, from chaat to sweet treats and wonderfully warming masala chai.
Why: The bespoke menu has been created by legend of the culinary world, Vivek Singh, and Great British Bake Off star Tamal Ray, so you can be sure everything will taste as good as it looks. Inspired by the duo’s shared family roots in Kolkata, this Indian-inspired afternoon tea brings a dose of fire and spice to the traditional tea-time spread.
When: Monday-Sunday, 12-4pm
 28 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7JS
How much: £27.50 per person
Book now: Indian-inspired afternoon tea at Cinnamon Bazaar

Looking for a more traditional afternoon tea experience? Check out our guide to the best afternoon teas in London for more classic affairs. 

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