Royal Afternoon Tea at the Rubens at The Palace Hotel

Afternoon tea, British, Halal·

SquareMeal Review of Royal Afternoon Tea at the Rubens at The Palace Hotel

The Rubens Hotel makes the most of its proximity to Buckingham Palace and brings out the flag-waving royalist in all its guests, British subjects or not. Tea is served in the Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews (as close as most of us will get to taking tea with His Majesty). In descending order of grandeur, choose from the Queen’s, the Royal or the Rubens. All include traditional sandwiches such as coronation chicken or prawn-cocktail bridge rolls, as well as fine home-baked cakes and pastries including Scottish thistle shortbread, summer pudding slice and, of course, scones with clotted cream. There's also a vegan option. As well as a decent choice of traditional, herbal and oriental teas, there are no fewer than six Champagnes by the glass (including Laurent-Perrier Rosé). A children’s tea is also available.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Afternoon tea, British, Halal
Eat at Home
Home delivery, Supper, Takeaway service
Cosy, Fine dining, Fun, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury, Quirky, Romantic, Themed, Traditional, Unique, Widely spaced tables
Food Occasions
All day dining, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views
Special Features
Dog friendly, Gluten-free options, Live music or dancing, Vegan options, Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
Perfect for
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


The Rubens at The Palace might be the most glamorous setting for afternoon tea in London, if not the entire UK, and the hotel offers vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and halal menus, as well as a special kids afternoon tea. This stunningly-restored five-star hotel overlooks Buckingham Palace and boasts two restaurants, three bars and one of the city’s largest living walls. Given the hotel’s sense of history and tradition, the afternoon tea offering feels surprisingly up to date too. 

The primary offering is the royal afternoon tea, which is a masterclass in British elegance. Diners can start with a ‘little sparkle’, such as an Imperial Paloma, Espresso Martini or The King's Swan, a mix of gin, Maraschino liqueur, citrus, cucumber and grapes, served with Lanson Champagne.

As usual, finger sandwiches open up proceedings, but The Rubens at The Palace offers something more elevated than your standard beef and horseradish. There's roast beef, rocket and English mustard on beetroot bread, Souchong-smoked salmon with capers and chive sour cream on brioche, and roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing in a black charcoal bread. 

After that, freshly baked plain, fruit and cheese scones arrive with a range of condiments, jams and curds, before immaculate patisserie steals the show. Executive pastry chef Sarah Houghting may be recognisable to some for her appearance on Bake Off: The Professionals in 2021, when she was a finalist. Her precision sweet treats include 'The Crown' - a dark chocolate mousse with grapefruit confit and chocolate brownie; a berry violet tart with strawberry marmalade, red berries, violet cremeux, vanilla yoghurt and basil spone, and a hazelnut pate a choux with pear and a praline and coffee ganache.

As any afternoon tea enthusiasts know, what’s in the cup is just as important as what’s on the plate. Here, this rule is very much followed, with excellent teas aplenty and recommended pairings for each one too. Other brews include Himalayan Hand Rolled, Chai Cinnamon, Imperial Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon.

Menu Highlights

Main Courses
Royal Afternoon Tea - £70.00

Our Royal Afternoon Tea is inspired by the flavours and orchards of the Royal household. We will be delighted to accommodate your Afternoon Tea with any special dietary requirements that you and your guests may have. If requested, we will ensure no nuts in the Afternoon Tea offering; however, our food is produced in an environment where nuts are used, and we cannot guarantee that our food is 100% free from nuts or nut traces. Our Afternoon Tea is prepared fresh daily; therefore, we request 24-hours notice for any allergies or dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free requests.

Golden Tips Experience - £500.00

Enjoy our freshly baked scones, pastries and finger sandwiches alongside Ceylon Golden Tips, in partnership with specialist tea merchants PMD Tea. With white-glove service, this delicate tea is weighed with precision at The Rubens using golden scales; each tip is placed into the silver teapot individually with golden tweezers. The tea, which is showcased in a mahogany box lined with velvet, is infused with still mineral water to produce an extraordinary liquor and a smooth, light and mellow texture, with hints of fruity notes. Price: £500 for two people, which includes a bottle of Lanson Champagne (750ml) that will be sabred at your table.

Bottomless Champagne Afternoon Tea - £115.00

Enjoy an exceptional Bottomless Champagne Afternoon Tea in our Palace Lounge, overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. Delicious vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten-free alternatives are available. Price: £115per personMaximum seating time: 1.5 hours

Prince and Princess Afternoon Tea - £35.00

SANDWICHES & SAVOURYOn white bread & caraway seeded breadStrawberry Jam & Peanut ButterHam & CheeseChicken & SweetcornCucumber, Apple & Dill Crème FraîcheSCONESTraditional PlainFestive Spice & FruitServed with homemade strawberry preserve & clotted creamSWEETRubens Ginger BiscuitSanta’s BaubleHazelnut & Chocolate Pâte à Choux

Afternoon Tea Parties: Baby Showers - £70.00

Celebrate your baby shower at The Rubens with a unique and memorable Baby Shower Afternoon Tea. Share this joyous occasion with your loved ones and enjoy baby shower-themed biscuits alongside our classic Royal Afternoon Tea offering. Private rooms are available for parties of 8 + guests

Afternoon Tea Parties: Bridal Showers - £70.00

Celebrate your upcoming wedding with an enchanting Bridal Afternoon Tea. Delight in the elegant atmosphere as you savour bridal-themed delicacies, creating unforgettable memories as you toast to the bride-to-be amidst the refined ambience of our distinguished venue. Private rooms are available for parties of 8 + guests


Are there vegan options on the menu?

Yes there are vegan options.

Helpful? 0

Are there gluten-free options?

Yes there are.

Helpful? 0

This venue also offers

Videos and 360 tours

The Rubens at the Palace experience


39 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, London, SW1W 0PS

020 7834 6600 020 7834 6600


Opening Times

Afternoon Tea
Mon 12:00-17:00
Tue 12:00-17:00
Wed 12:00-17:00
Thu 12:00-17:00
Fri 12:00-17:00
Sat 12:00-18:00
Sun 12:00-17:00


Share your thoughts with other diners

Write a review

2 Reviews 

Alison S

03 February 2023  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Great afternoon tea experience - with royal connections!

A beautiful tea lounge, we had a window table looking over the Royal Mews, a great spot for people watching! Delicious cakes and pastries, very friendly staff and a great atmosphere. My guest was Vegan, this was easily accommodated with the menu widely available and the cakes when they arrived look no different to mine. 

Really worth a visit if you've not already been. We are already planning a return visit!


30 May 2021   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 2.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 2
Value 2
Ordinary at best

Disappointed in oversll ambience snd standards 

Delivery or takeaway

Order takeaway from Royal Afternoon Tea at the Rubens at The Palace Hotel by calling 020 7834 6600.
Book a table

Call Royal Afternoon Tea at the Rubens at The Palace Hotel to make a booking on:

020 7834 6600 020 7834 6600

Visit their website

Sorry, you cannot spend SquareMeal vouchers here yet.

Other restaurants we like near Royal Afternoon Tea at the Rubens at The Palace Hotel

Check availability