Our round-up of the finest venues for the most indulgent of treats.
BEA’S CAKE BOUTIQUE
27A Devonshire Street, W1 (020 7486 9669, beas.london). From £24.50 per person
Best for To-die-for cakes
The home of the Duffin (a doughnut-muffin cross) also offers a more traditional array of red velvet, lemon meringue and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.
Wilton Place, SW1 (020 7235 6000, the-berkeley.co.uk). From £52 per person
Best for On-trend bites
Now in its 11th year, Prêt-à- Portea is every fashionista’s afternoon tea fave. Expect delectable couture cakes inspired by the world’s greatest designers.
Albemarle Street, W1 (020 7493 6020, roccofortehotels.com). From £55 per person
Best for A tea-torial
Try a lower-calorie Tea-Tox tea. Or join a Tea-Torial cookery demonstration (£115 per person), complete with recipes and sweet treats to take home.
CUTTER & SQUIDGE
20 Brewer Street, W1 (020 7734 2540, cutter andsquidge.com). From £29.50 per person
Best for Fantasy fancies
This very special Potions Class afternoon tea (pictured above) is a treasure trove of loveliness, where delicious food and magical potions combine in a world of fantasy.
FORTNUM & MASON
181 Piccadilly, W1 (020 7734 8040, fortnumandmason.com). From £49 per person
Best for An elegant vibe
Three centuries of history plus the sublime eau de nil and gold décor make this a traditional favourite (pictured above), as do its 82 varieties of tea.
Various locations around London (0207 625 0060, gailsbread.co.uk). From £20 per person
Best for Take away tea
Collect a classic tea to enjoy in a sun-drenched park or have it delivered, featuring Sultana Scones with Rodda Clotted Cream and GAIL’s Organic Strawberry Jam.
THE LALIT LONDON
181 Tooley St, London SE1 2JR (www.thebaluchi.com) From £47 per person
Best for An Indian twist
The LaLiT High Chai gives traditional English favourites a signature Indian twist, such chickpea cake served with tomato jam, and Punjabi samosas with tamarind Imli chutney.
27 Poultry, EC2 (020 3828 2000, thened.com). From £30 per person
Best for Wow architecture
The chefs at the City’s hippest hangout have created an authentic Japanese afternoon tea (pictured above). Treats include steam buns with kumquat compote and sesame caramel choux.
1 Aldwych, WC2 (020 7300 0400, onealdwych.com). From £42 per person
Best for Scrumdiddlyumptious treats
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to life with all kinds of Willy Wonka-inspired goodies, including golden eggs, candyfloss and lemon and raspberry cake pops.
2-4 Bedale Street, SE1 (020 7378 8226, hotelchocolat.com). From £30 per person
Best for Cocoa devotees
After restoring the 250- year-old Rabot Estate cacao plantation in Saint Lucia, Hotel Chocolat has brought a taste of the tropics to Borough Market, offering a cocoa-inspired take on afternoon tea.
150 Piccadilly, W1 (020 7493 8181, theritzlondon.com). From £54 per person
Best for Gourmet quality
Since 1906, birdcage chandeliers, gilded ceilings and a tinkling fountain have made the Palm Court an elegant setting for the famous afternoon tea.
ST. PANCRAS RANAISSANCE HOTEL
Euston Road, NW1 (020 7841 3540, stpancraslondon.com). From £38 per person
Best for Romance
Sit back beneath the soaring Gothic girders of the Hansom Lounge and tuck into an exquisite coffee and almond opera cake with a cup of Indian muscatel tea imagining sunnier climes…
50 Berners Street, W1 (020 7300 1400, morganshotelgroup.com). From £48 per person
Best for A magical feast
Tumble down the rabbit hole for the magnificent Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, with menus hidden inside vintage books, teapots adorned with kings and queens and chocolate-covered pocket watch macaroons.
9 Conduit Street, W1 (020 7659 4500, sketch.london). £59 per person
Best for Sublime sensations
‘Eat music, drink art’ is the motto here. Afternoon tea (pictured above) designed to be a treat for all the senses, including macaroons, live performances and a special art installation.
10 Wardour Street, W1 (020 7758 1000, wlondon.co.uk). £37 per person
Best for Rebellious souls
The ‘Tea Total’ modern remix of afternoon tea (pictured above) includes experiential English garden-inspired sweet creations and signature cocktails.
160 Piccadilly, W1 (020 7499 6996, thewolseley.com). From £29.75 per person
Best for Celeb spotting
The soaring ceiling, Byzantine light fittings and geometric marble floors make a rather magnificent scene for enjoying the Best of British Afternoon Tea, including individual Victoria Sponges and Sherry Trifles (pictured below).