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This Chanel-themed afternoon tea is here in time for London Fashion Week

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Megan Murray
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Afternoon tea lovers, we’re about to take your love of scones and finger sandwiches to new heights with this expertly selected round-up of unique and themed afternoon teas in London. 

Once the reserve of garden parties and twee church fetes, the humble afternoon tea is getting a snazzy makeover. 

The oh-so-British tradition has been reinvented with some imaginative twists - from tea inspired by the latest catwalk trends to classic literature like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Whether you’re all tea-ed out and looking for something to reignite your passion for mini-deserts, you want to support a worthy cause or have something special to celebrate and want to do it in style, we think one of these might just do the trick. 

Take a gander at our favourite themed and unique afternoon teas in London and treat yourself to some imaginative indulgence. 

Chanel Afternoon Tea at London Hilton on Park Lane

Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Chanel afternoon tea at London Hilton on Park Lane

In celebration of this year’s London Fashion Week and in honour of the late legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld, iconic hotel London Hilton on Park Lane is putting on a stylishly sweet treat, in the form a beautiful Chanel-themed afternoon tea.

As well as classic sandwiches and chocolate chip scones (with salted caramel spread!), the menu includes some delicately crafted desserts like a handmade mandarin praline handbag and coconut macaroon. To wash it all down, Hope and Glory teas are offer with an exciting and imaginative menu, including organic flavours such as Masala Chai, Red Velvet and Jasmine Pearls. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, order a chilled glass of Pommery Champagne to go alongside it, too.

When: 13 to 22 September

How much: from £39 per person.

Make a reservation here.

Pink Pegasus Afternoon Tea at Brasserie of Light, Selfridges

Pink Pegasus Afternoon Tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Pink Pegasus Afternoon Tea at Brasserie of Light

The Pink Pegasus Afternoon Tea is just as magical (and pink) as the name might suggest.

Themed to match the Brasserie of Light’s soaring Pegasus centrepiece which looms over the diners below, the tea has an elegant and delicate feel that’ll leave you feeling suitably pampered.

Served on a purpose-made cloud-shaped platter fit with a Pegasus centrepiece of its own, the tea comes through the restaurant with dry-ice steam erupting over the sides.

Alongside your glass of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé (each tea comes with its a bottle to share between two), you can enjoy savoury treats including fresh smoked salmon on rye bread and a lobster, mango and avocado cocktail, and sweets including pink meringue and a mini Pegasus pie.

If all of that wasn’t enough, on Wednesdays the tea is also themed around the phrase “on Wednesdays we wear pink,” so you’ll get to enjoy your tea accompanied by music and entertainment with a pink twist.

When: Wednesday and Saturday until Saturday 5 October.

How much: £65 per person.

Make a reservation here.

What’s the tea? at The Perception Bar, W London 

Themed afternoon tea: What's the tea? drag queen
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: What's the Tea? at W London

Has your tea been missing a side of sass recently? Ours has too, but don’t worry, because What’s the tea? is here to serve you a steaming, hot cup of fabulousness. 

Inspired by the drag scene, this playful afternoon tea experience promises to deliver colour and style to your plate, presenting edible cosmetics and bejeweled cakes in a sparkling cosmetics case. The Ageless Queen, for example, is a violet sugar-dusted pot of Créme Catalan all ready for you to sink your teeth into. 

Personally, we can’t wait to try the Glitter Ball, a white chocolate-coated lemon and blueberry cake-pop. Scones are served with lashings of clotted ‘night cream’ and ‘lip jam’, whilst runway-ready sandwiches are served on mini-rolls, naturally coloured with turmeric, sumac and chlorophyll.

The wonderful Globe Girls do one performance a month, so check the site for the next performance if you want some extra sparkle. 

When: Everyday, from 1-5pm.

How much: from £39

Make a reservation here.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Afternoon Tea at The Gore London

The Gore London afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Rock and roll afternoon tea at The Gore London

Thought that afternoon tea was a passtime reserved only for the likes of The Queen? Think again, as it turns out finger sandwiches and scones can be as rock and roll as the Rolling Stones. 

The Gore prides itself on having a special connection with rock stars, since 1968, when the Rolling Stones picked the hotel for the launch party of their Beggars Banquet album, an event which the decor of The Gore’s Bar 190 still pays homage to. 

Not only is the tea’s aesthetic fabulous, but a lot of work has gone into creating treats that taste as good as they look. You can feast on the Goodbye Ziggy (a chocolate ganache cake), The Lizard King (a tangy mango and smooth chocolate mousse), or the Whisky A Go Go (a mini madeleine with a whiskey ganache and chocolate heart), not to mention savoury treats like the chipolata hot dog and sandwiches.

When: Monday to Sunday, 12pm - 4pm

How much: £35

Make a reservation here. 

Mary Quant afternoon tea at The Pelham London

Themed afternoon tea in London: Mary Quant
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Mary Quant afternoon tea at The Pelham London

Celebrate the swinging Sixties and the arrival of the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A with this afternoon tea, entirely themed on the iconic fashion designer. 

Boutique hotel The Pelham London, which sits close to the museum in South Kensington, has designed the Sixties Mod experience in partnership with luxury event planners La Fête. The menu draws on the history of the famous originator of the miniskirt with a selection of brightly coloured treats and Sixties-themed foods. 

Snack on dainty finger sandwiches of chives, butter and salmon or cooked ham and light mustard on spinach bread, try the Quant’s Crayons which are vibrant multi-coloured mini buns filled with cherry tomato and mild cheddar; and cucumber and aromatic cheese. Punchy sweets will include Bazaar, an open macaron topped with whipped cream, a variety of raspberries and dulcey raspberry coulis that has been creatively encased in a Quant-inspired nail varnish bottle and The Dame, a quintessentially British Victoria sponge cake.

Guests can sip on Forever Mini cocktails, named in celebration of Quant pioneering the mini skirt, which combine rum, gin, blue Curacao, vodka, tequila, lemonade and orange garnish.

The most fabulous thing about booking in for this fun new tea, though, is that you’ll get a free ticket to go along to the exhibition, too. We can’t think of a more fashionable day out!

When: Daily, between 3-5.20pm. 

How much: £55

Make a reservation here. 

Gin Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St James 

Gin afternoon tea London
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Gin afternoon tea at Conrad London St James

This little fact may be hard to believe for fizz enthusiasts, but here it goes: not everyone likes champagne. Which means, while we imagine the cakes, scones and tasty sandwiches in an afternoon tea are pretty universally liked, champers-hating folk may find the boozy part a bit of a drag. Thankfully, this is a problem that Conrad London St James has been keen to solve, coming up with a new gin-themed tea, perfect for those who’d take Mother’s Ruin over wine any day.

The hotel’s executive pastry chef and Emmeline’s Lounge Manager has established a partnership with the award-winning City of London Distillery to create a gin-infused menu and a selection of cocktails to compliment these delights as well.

Notes of juniper berries, fresh orange and lemon and coriander seeds in the Square Mile Gin have been expertly paired with a charred lemon and pink grapefruit tart with rosemary meringue.

Whilst the Six Bells Gin, with its tasting notes of zesty lemon sherbet with sweet hints of vanilla and lemongrass will be served alongside the elderflower jelly honey cake and pear mousse delice. Finally, the Indian Dargi’n’ Tonic will accompany the juniper spiced chocolate crust cheesecake with bittersweet orange compote.

All the cakes and cocktails are served with freshly baked scones, a selection of delicate sandwiches and a wide variety of teas from Lalani & Co.

When: daily, 1.30-6pm

How much: from £39

Make a reservation here

Peter Rabbit™ Afternoon Tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly

Le Meridien Piccadilly afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Peter Rabbit afternoon tea at Le Meridien

What’s more dreamy than an afternoon tea, laden with cream-covered scones and adorably tiny sandwiches? Why, a nostalgically-themed afternoon tea, of course! 

Le Méridien Piccadilly gives us just that, with this gorgeous Peter Rabbit tea which rebuilds an edible version of Mr. McGregor’s garden.

Tasty treats include a flower pot hideout chamomile chocolate pot, an eye catching magnificent mushroom of strawberry ganache with a crunchy meringue stem, vegetable patch sandwiches and a caught in a twist smoked salmon and sun-dried tomato pinwheel. The whole thing is then served on a tiered slate planter, to keep within the theme.

When: Monday to Sunday, 12.30-5pm

How much: from £35

Make a reservation here

The Queen of Afternoon Teas at Hotel Café Royal

Hotel Cafe Royal Queen Victoria Afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: The Queen of Afternoon Teas at Hotel Cafe Royal

Afternoon tea is, in our humble opinion, a genius concept. Who wouldn’t want a warm scone slathered in clotted cream and jam, some dinky finger sandwiches and a selection of desserts to keep them going in the space between lunch and dinner, after all?

Well, we have Queen Victoria to thank for this famous British mini-meal time, who turned it into a real social affair and jazzed up the menu with the likes of her favourite sponge cake adorned with fresh cream and raspberries (aka the Victoria Sponge). And, as 2019 marks the formidable royal’s 200th birthday, Hotel Café Royal has created a delicious tea in her honour, with a menu that nods to many of her favourite foods. From pink peppercorns and cucumber sandwiches (a recipe that was dreamed up by Her Majesty), to a dollop of Albert’s favourite sauce on the rare roast Angus beef bite, it’s clear from the lip-smacking yumminess of this tea that Queen Victoria knew what was up when it came to taking tea.

The Queen of Afternoon Teas is served in the gold-gilded Oscar Wilde room (so named because it is where the writer reportedly fell in love with Lord Alfred Douglas) which, with floral installations and a painted ceiling, is sure to wow.

There’s a selection of champagne pairings available, all priced separately.

When: Monday to Friday from 1pm - 4pm, weekends from 12pm - 5.30pm.

How much: from £55

Make a reservation here

Prêt-à-Portea: The Dior Collection at The Berkeley 

The Berkeley Dior afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Dior-themed afternoon tea at The Berkeley

We can’t think of an afternoon tea more fabulous than one themed around the legendary fashion house, Dior. In celebration of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s monumental fashion exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, luxury hotel The Berkeley has created a simply beautiful afternoon tea featuring biscuit bags and fondant frocks.

Each delicious morsel is inspired by an actual Dior design, from the Junon Dress worn by Theo Graham at Le Pré Catalan in Paris 1949, to the Bar Jacket (synonymous with Dior since it took to the catwalk in 1947). This is an experience real fashion fans will love.

Menu highlights include a rose pink Miss Dior eau de Parfum lychee and raspberry cake topped with lychee pata de fruit and an oversized bow, this season’s J’dior slingback pump vanilla biscuit with royal icing finished with an edible sugar ribbon and the Lady Dior handbag gifted to Princess Diana by France’s first lady, Bernadette Chirac, sandwiched with strawberry ganache and iced with red chocolate miroir.

Of course, the tea is served with… well, tea – but you can also opt for a glass of bubbles, too. The Berkeley serves a wide selection of champagne, so we don’t think you’ll have any problems finding something you like.

When: 1-5.30pm, daily
How much: from £60

Make a reservation here

London Landmarks Afternoon Tea at Town House  

Landmark London afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: London Landmarks afternoon tea at Town House

Could there be anything more brilliantly British than visiting a decadent West London establishment for an afternoon tea inspired by the capital’s most iconic buildings? We think not.

At Town House in Kensington, the Shard, Gherkin and London’s red telephone boxes have all been re-imagined as tasty treats, sculpted and crafted from delicious materials. Presented on a mini London eye, the afternoon tea leads diners on a tour of the capital’s architectural feats and culinary traditions, while paying tribute to London’s most famous structures.

Tuck into a Big Ben-inspired lemon curd tart, a carrot cake and milk chocolate Shard and a red phone box made from rhubarb mousse – then wash it down with a glass of champagne.

When: Every day from 12-4
How much: from £42

Make a reservation here

Squiffy Picnic at Cahoots 

Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Squiffy Picnic at Cahoots

This vintage-themed spectacular isn’t technically an afternoon tea, but it most certainly is one of the most unmissable dining experiences in London. Underground bar Carhoots, in Carnaby Street’s Kingly Court, is known for its quirky concept transporting guests back in time to a post-war 1940’s disused underground tube station, with real train carriages for seats, vintage themed cocktails and a speakeasy feel. 

Every Saturday the venue puts on a unique, ‘tipsy tea’ take on the usual afternoon tea set up, swapping scones and finger sandwiches for picnic treats like hot pies, dips and crisps, generously filled sandwiches and, most importantly, unlimited cocktails. Unlike traditional teas, your choices are not limited to bubbly, but a whole range of seriously delicious alcoholic drinks. From the creamy Mornin’ Mr Milkman to the zingy, gin-based Down the Apples and Pears, we think you’ll enjoy filling your boots. 

But what makes this experience stand out from all the others? Well it has to be the fabulous live entertainment, which will have you laughing from start to finish. Lois ‘Legs’ Laurelle is your host, and between the jokes, conga line and serenading, there’s absolutely no way you won’t have a good time. With a group of a friends, this is the ultimate way to spend a Saturday. 

When: Every Saturday from 1pm
How much: Prices start at £46

Make a reservation here

Image: Johnny Stephens Photography

Sheraton x Lock and Co afternoon tea at Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

Sheraton Grand afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Sheraton x Lock and Co afternoon tea at Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

Since opening in 1927, Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has enjoyed sharing a patch its patch of Mayfair with the renown milliners Lock & Co, who set up shop there in 1676. For just short of a century, the two establishments have existed side by side and to celebrate their history they have decided to create a special, hat-themed afternoon tea. 

You see, Lock & Co is no ordinary shop, just as Sheraton Grand London Park Lane is no ordinary hotel. Lock & Co is steeped in history, having served notable figures like Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill. Served in the hotel’s The Palm Court, guests can dine on exquisitely made sandwiches and pastries, inspired by the world’s most recognisable hats. Elegantly presented in a Lock & Co. hat box, treats such as The Worsley (a cocoa nib tart with pineapple jam), The Bowler (a kalamansi and caramelised chocolate mousse with Oreo biscuit) and The Fedora (mandarin jelly, alunga chocolate mousse and red velvet biscuit) are expertly balanced and are as delicious as they are beautiful. 

If that’s enough to tempt you, you should also know that The Palm Court celebrated a sought-after ‘Highly Commended’ certificate at the 2017 Afternoon Tea Awards. Fancy, right?

When: Everyday with seatings at 12p, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm
How much: From £39

Make a reservation here.  

Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard

Mary Poppins afternoon tea at Aqua Shard
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Mary Poppins themed afternoon tea at Aqua Shard London

This playful afternoon tea acts as a tribute to the much-loved character Mary Poppins and all of her magical adventures. Taking inspiration from the books, rather than the Disney adaptation, even the menu attempts to imitate the gold gilded mirror that acts as a symbol for Mary’s vanity and “practically perfect” reflection throughout the literature series. Other impressively attentive details include the tiny kites you’ll find in your champagne flute, and a tiered stand shaped like the mystical nanny herself. 

Both savoury and sweet dishes stick to a quintessentially British format, with a slight contemporary twist. Think Devon crab and cucumber brioche and mini crumpets, served with smoked salmon and cream cheese. While sweet treats come in the form of a gingerbread star and black “cherry tree lane” mouse covered in dark chocolate.

When: Everyday from 1-5pm
How much: From £49

Make a reservation here.  

American CUTcakes and Tea at 45 Park Lane

45 Park Lane afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: American CUTcakes and Tea at 45 Park Lane

Park Lane may be one of the most iconic British addresses around, but this luxe hotel has decided to take a walk on the American side when it comes to serving afternoon tea. The team at 45 Park Lane have swapped delicate, porcelain sandwiches and piano music, for a feast of delicious American teatime favourites.

Menu highlights include lollipop fried chicken wings and mac and cheese with black truffles, a mini milkshake and red velvet cupcakes. Yum!

When: Monday to Saturday, 2.30pm and 3.30pm 
How much: from £55

Make a reservation here

Parisian Afternoon Tea at Maison Assouline

Assouline Maison afternoon tea
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Parisian Afternoon Tea at Maison Assouline

Maison Assouline is what happens when all of the right stars align. By that we mean, this charismatic cultural destination is not only a place where you can browse design-lead tomes and rare first editions of classi titles. But, as well as a gorgeous book shop, it also happens to be a museum of eclectic artifacts, concept store and Parisian style eatery and bar. Can it get any better?

Well apparently, yes it can. Maison Assouline, which is housed in a former bank’s Grade II listed building in Piccadilly, is now serving afternoon tea themed on the most romantic city in the world. Take a trip to its Central London location and feast on French fancies such as L’Ami Louis foie gras, chocolate, hazelnut, and apricot cakes with your choice of earl grey tea and house champagne. Bon appetit! 

When: Everyday from 3-5.30pm 
How much: £35

Make a reservation by calling 020 3034 3092 or visit assouline.com.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at Ethos 

Vegan afternoon tea Ethos
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Vegan Afternoon Tea at Ethos

Afternoon tea is a sociable affair, so Ethos has made sure that everyone can partake in it, whatever their dietary requirements. 

Their vegan and gluten-free menu includes healthy black bean brownies, banana bread and lemon drizzle cake, and you can wash it all down with a cup of Black Sheep coffee, Harrogate fine tea or a glass of prosecco if you fancy some fizz. 

When: Everyday from 3-5.30pm
How much: £20

Make a reservation here

Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Sketch afternoon tea London
Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Sketch

Although not specifically themed, the afternoon tea at the artistically designed restaurant Sketch, is a particularly unique experience. 

Stepping inside the restaurant-slash-bar-slash-tea-parlour is like falling down the rabbit hole. Push aside a thick velvet curtain and you’ll see the outline of a hopscotch on the floor (feel free to practise your playground skills), neon signs interspersed with avant-garde artworks on the walls and utterly over-the-top décor and furniture. And this is nothing compared to the completely millennial pink room where the tea itself is served. 

Aside from the spectacular decor, the food and presentation is also show-stopping. Classic cucumber finger sandwiches are replaced with caviar and quail egg fillings and a fois gras tartelette. And the deserts will have you exclaiming ‘oh la la’ as soon as they hit your lips, with many taking a French turn, like the mini caramel and chocolate eclair. 

When: Daily from 11.30am-4.30pm
How much: from £58                                                                                                         

Make a reservation here

Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea at The Swan

Best unique and themed afternoon teas in London: Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea at The Swan

Literary lovers unite for this whimsical afternoon tea served at The Swan, celebrating the great Bard himself and one of his most adored plays, A Midsummer’s Night Dream.  

The tea’s creators invite you to “eat your way through the twists and turns of Shakespeare’s ethereal romantic comedy” as they theme each bite to a different character or part of the story. 

From the pea flower of Oberon’s love potion, the apricots Titania feeds to Bottom and the mulberries from the lovers’ tree, every morsel has a meaning.

We particularly like the sound of the “magical” love potion cocktail, which mixes Earl Grey infused gin, honey from the London Honey Co, blackberry puree and prosecco, topped with fresh blackberries. 

When: Daily from 12-3pm
How much: from £28.50                                                                                                                                    

Make a reservation here

Although we love taking a walk on the wild side, can anything beat London’s most iconic and luxurious spots for afternoon tea? After all, it is quite literally, the food of queens. 

Check out our list of opulently classic afternoon teas in the capital here. But if some of those pull at the purse strings ever so slightly too tightly, don’t worry, we’ve also found some of the most affordable (and utterly delicious) afternoon teas in London, too. 

Images: Raw Pixel / Courtesy of venues 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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