Welcome to our very merry guide to the best Christmas-themed afternoon teas in London.
Christmas, the most wonderful time of year, is particularly so because of all the eating and drinking it entails. From deliciously foodie advent calendars to alcoholic Christmas crackers and of course, all those dinner parties and the big day itself, there’s lots of excuses to indulge. And we’re about to give you one more.
Be it full-out luxury or niche and unique, we love an afternoon tea at the best of times. But these Christmas-themed afternoon teas are a next level of fabulousness. Classically festive ingredients and flavourings give the usual scones and finger sandwiches a totally new taste, from turkey and cranberry chutney bites to dark chocolate and cherry yule log.
Check out our edit of the best Christmas afternoon teas in London, and toast your teacup to the jolliest of Decembers.
Festive Afternoon Tea with Liberty at The Langham
You might think that afternoon tea is as quintessentially English as it gets - but you’d be wrong. It’s actually possible to make this infamous pastime even more British, as proven by five-star-hotel The Langham. The long-standing occupant at the top of Regent Street has teamed up with another iconic name in the area, Liberty London, to put on the quaintest afternoon tea imaginable, complete with Liberty print details, just in time for Christmas.
This special festive tea starts with seasonally-themed savouries, including sandwiches with roast turkey, apricot and marjoram stuffing with watercress on cranberry bread and farmhouse stilton, with port and red onion chutney on walnut bread. After some yummy pastries, tuck into Christmas-themed desserts like the Cinnamon and Spice, a pear compote with caramel cream nestling inside a lightly spiced sable pastry case and the Yuletide Hymn, a French opera cake, made with layers of almond sponge, coffee syrup, ganache and coffee cream, glazed in chocolate.
And it’s not just the tea that has a festive feel to it. The Langham’s beautiful lobby is also having a seasonal Liberty-themed makeover, decorated with sparkling Christmas trees with flourishes of the print and Liberty’s signature purple, and baubles that nod to the carved wooden animals that adorn the Liberty’s historic panelling.
When: From 12 until 5pm every day.
How much: £79
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Ned
We can’t think of a more fabulously festive venue than the ever-grand, The Ned. With luxurious dark wood features, marbled columns and a live band playing in the center of a myriad of restaurants, it doesn’t get more atmospheric than this. This Christmas, in the blush pink-themed Millie’s Lounge, their traditional afternoon tea is being sprinkled with magic thanks to some deliciously festive touches.
Served on bespoke Burleigh china tea sets, guests will enjoy mince pies, gingerbread reindeer, vanilla choux snowballs and other festive cakes, plus scones with seasonal jam and clotted cream, and a selection of sandwiches. Get ready to fill your (ski) boots.
When: 28 November to 23 December
How much: from £40
Biscuiteers Christmas Afternoon Tea
There is no biscuit like a Biscuiteers biscuit. This adorable brand has carved out quite the name for itself thanks to its creatively designed and immaculately iced biscuits, all created in their great icing hall. Seeing as charming seasonal sweets are what they’re known for, it makes perfect sense that they would put on a themed array of delights especially for Christmas.
Hosted in both the Notting Hill and Northcote Road icing cafes, the Christmas afternoon tea serves up miniature versions of their most loved cakes and patisseries in seasonal flavours. From the freshly baked figgy scones with mulled winter jam and handpiped Christmas pudding macarons to the festive salted caramel brownies and mini frangipane mince pies, you’re in for a sugar rush.
When: From the 12pm every day, from 12 November to 31 December
How much: £30
Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
London’s iconic The Dorchester hotel looks as though it’s the place to be this Christmas, putting on a special festive edition of its famed afternoon tea. In a twist on the classic scones and finger sandwiches, pastry chef Sarah Barber has created some festive pastries, served with freshly-baked scones and a chilled glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne.
The tea will be held in the hotel’s beautiful The Promenade and decorated accordingly.
When: Weekdays from November 19 to January 4
How much: £85
Festive afternoon tea at Nobu Hotel Shoreditch
The fabulous Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch will be hosting a festive afternoon tea in the Nobu Café from Thursday 1 November, giving a new twist to the quintessentially British tradition.
Instead of the usual fare, this special tea swaps egg cress sandwiches for beef tenderloin on a multigrain roll with shichimi miso mustard and snow crab tempura creamy spicy with ikura on shokupan bun. While Christmas-themed desserts come in the form of a gingerbread ganache sphere, coconut snowball with white chocolate ganache and a Santa Claus whisky macaroon.
When: Daily from 12pm until 5pm
How much: £30
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Savoy
The Savoy is one of London’s most famed establishments, making it a perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea. This year The Savoy is holding a glitzy festive afternoon tea at the heart of the hotel in the Thames Foyer.
The new menu starts with sandwiches like turkey, cranberry chutney and walnut bread and a spiced pumpkin and ginger tartlet, before giving warm scones the seasonal treatment with winter preserve and lemon curd. After that, enjoy a festive fruit cake, soaked in sherry and candied fruits and Christmas bauble, with salted caramel cremeux and tatin apples.
When: 26 November to 6 January
How much: from £68
Festive Afternoon Tea at Royal Lancaster
Pop over to Paddington for a tremendously festive afternoon tea at the Royal Lancaster, a five-star hotel with a super sleek lobby and a penchant for Moët & Chandon.
Highlights on the menu include truffle duck egg and wild cress sandwiches, cranberry scones with cranberry and clementine jam and dark chocolate and cherry yule log.
When: from 26 November to 6 January, between 1pm and 5pm
How much: from £35
Corinthia Hotel London’s festive afternoon tea
The creamy colour schemes of the Corinthia Hotel’s Crystal Moon Lounge make for a decadent setting for your festive afternoon tea. From the spectacular Baccarat chandelier to the live tinkle of a Steinway piano, it’s got all the charisma you could want for Christmas. For the hotel’s special seasonal menu, finger sandwiches will include Roast Norfolk Bronze turkey with caramelised apple and stuffing and Marmalade cured Severn and Wye salmon. While festive cakes include a vanilla, white chocolate and cranberry snowball and traditional Christmas loaf cake.
When: from 16 November to 31 December, 2pm to 6pm on Monday to Friday and 12 noon to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday
How much: from £55
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Landmark London
When: 28 November until 6 January, Monday to Friday 3pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm
How much: £58
Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea at The Chesterfield Mayfair
Starting with a warming glass of mulled wine, The Chesterfield’s Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea features a selection of finger sandwiches with festive ingredients like the pulled ham hock, brie and spiced apple chutney on onion bread and a prawn and Marie Rose slider, as well as freshly baked cranberry and chocolate scones served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. Guests can also tuck in to festive pastries such as chocolate Yule Log, cranberry and coconut Christmas ball and gingerbread man cupcake.
When: 26 November to 6 January
How much: £45
Images: Courtesy of venues