London’s best alternative afternoon teas, from dog-friendly menus to Jurassic-themed treats

When it comes to afternoon tea, there’s a certain comfort that comes with the classic ritual you’ll find in most experiences you try. A charming atmosphere, a reliable display of the usual delicacies – it is reliably relaxed and enjoyable. In fact, you can find a full guide to the best (traditional) afternoon teas here.

But if you’re looking to push the boundaries of the lovable British staple beyond the iconic hotspots, London has plenty of alternative places to dip your toes in – no worries if you’ve got a furry friend you’d like to bring along, or if you fancy to check out the capital’s tourism hotspots while tucking into a cucumber sandwich.

For this year’s afternoon tea look, we roamed the capital to find the coolest and quirkiest alternative places to enjoy afternoon tea, from taking it back to the Jurassic period, to falling into the fictional world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Brigit’s bakery bus tour

    (Brigitte's Bakery)

(Brigitte’s Bakery)

Can you get more quintessentially British than afternoon tea on a double-decker bus? Brigit’s Bakery’s bus tour allows guests to enjoy what London has to offer, traveling around iconic sights across the capital while guests sip a cup of Earl Grey. Couples, families and friends can grab a stand, where they are offered a range of classic, tried-and-true finger sandwiches and delicacies to polish off as they wander through the city’s landmarks.

From Victoria Coach Station, the double-decker passes Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street and more. The bus is covered from head to toe in bunting and floral decorations, with timeless tunes played throughout the journey that you can shamelessly sing along to.

Alongside afternoon tea such as cucumber sandwiches, scones and smoked salmon, there’s also the chance to try quirky reinventions of familiar favorites and a generous list of teas and coffees. With a variety of different bus tours on offer, including gin lovers and Percy Pig themes, there’s plenty to enjoy.

£38, Victoria Coach Station, 164 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 9TP,

The Great Scotland Yard Hotel’s dog-friendly tea

    (The Parlor at Great Scotland Yard Hotel)

(The Parlor at Great Scotland Yard Hotel)

The Great Scotland Yard Hotel’s decadent Jubilee-themed Afternoon Tea offer is also dog-friendly. After testing the idea with a successful one-off event, the concept is here to stay until October 30.

The drawing room, where the tea is held, is lovely. The staff were nice and very accommodating to the five or six dogs that were present – if you feed a dog, you’ve made a friend for life.

For vegans, the tasty offering was diverse and delicious, and the Brit-themed cakes were amazing. The omnivore option was equally enjoyable, including a beautifully crafted rendition of a jaffa cake.

The dog-friendly treats offered to your furry friends are delivered on a delightful mini stand for them to enjoy alongside yours. Be warned though – one taste of the high life and your dog may never go back.

£65, 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, SW1A 2HN,

Berkeley’s ‘Prêt-à-Portea’

    (The Berkeley)

(The Berkeley)

Oozing style, The Berkeley’s couture-inspired afternoon tea is a must for any fashion lover. With Oscar de la Renta, Gucci and Lanvin, 2022 Prêt-à-Portea delivers a bold cake walk of sweets.

With exquisite detail, The Berkeley has recreated a number of this season’s catwalk hits, including a Michael Kors hero bag made from Victoria sponge, and Gucci’s pink silk tuxedo in a bourbon vanilla mousse.

The fine presentation of this menu is equally matched by its flavours, with each of pastry chef Mourad Khiat’s cakes tasting as good as they look. The range is also impressive, ranging from delicate wafer cones shaped in Richard Quinn’s yellow buttercup dress, to a towering Lanvin floral platform heel painstakingly affixed to a chocolate chip cookie.

The savory first course is just as delicious, offering a thoughtful menu of sandwiches and salads, along with teas, bubbles, cocktails and mocktails. Vegans and vegetarians are also well catered for, with full separate menus available, so no one misses out. Combine that with impeccable service and striking decor in the heart of Knightsbridge, and this tea is a pure lesson in luxury.

£75, Wilton Place, SW1X

Ampersand’s Science Experiment



The Drawing Rooms at The Ampersand is a beautiful setting for tea, scones and a quick science experiment. The tea blends physics and chemistry to provide a truly interactive experience: from making lemonade to pipetting a flavored sauce into a macaron, there are many nods to science and space. It seems appropriate to be neighbors with the Science Museum.

The traditional savory plate offers the likes of smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis, a seasonal quiche and a basil chicken casserole, which are particular highlights. The passion fruit cheese in a squeeze tube makes a fun addition to the scones course.

It’s the pastries that are truly spectacular, with a delicious chocolate and blackcurrant planet plus a raspberry, pistachio and almond mooncake. The dry ice adds to the occasion. While the classic tea and champagne are present, the cocktails are particularly noteworthy: Darwin Draft (Earl Grey-infused vodka), Marie Cure-all (gin and passion fruit) and Newton’s Prism (strawberry vodka and red wine syrup) are all divine.

£49.50, 10 Harrington Road, SW7

The ampersand goes back to the Jurassic period

    (Amy Murrell, The Ampersand)

(Amy Murrell, The Ampersand)

Ampersand doesn’t just have one offer for afternoon tea. Another place is the newly launched Jurassic afternoon tea. The prehistoric creatures are inspired by the time when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, to great effect; it is this attention to detail that makes this tea so special.

While the sandwiches and scones offer a satisfying familiarity, the spectacle is truly top notch. With caramel dinosaur eggs, blackcurrant mousse mountains and a raspberry volcano, the tea offers a fun alternative to sweet afternoon treats. It is interesting with many different colors and textures. Chocolate rocks, edible mountain moss and even chocolate slime to dig through for a fossil; all a lot of fun.

With a cocktail to complement each layer, Jurassic Afternoon Tea is a well-rounded affair, but also remains for the whole family. A children’s version – served on a giant dinosaur platter – offers even more fun colors and textures. With additions such as mini hot dogs and dinosaur-shaped sandwiches, there is something for everyone.

£49.50, 10 Harrington Road, SW7

The Sanderson’s Mad Hatter tea

    (Zodee Media)

(Zodee Media)

The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel is dedicated to detail, from playing cards with descriptions of themed teas – try the Queen of Hearts – to a little bottle of pink liquid that says ‘drink me’, everything is thought through.

Toast to a storybook afternoon with a glass of champagne as a selection of savory sandwiches appear – Tweedle Brothers Choux Pastry was a favorite – followed by desserts including Red Knight shortbread cookies and a blueberry and hazelnut caterpillar eclair. Afterwards, finish with classic homemade scones, jam and clotted cream. Unlike Alice, you won’t feel lost at all throughout this experience. In fact, you will feel at home.

£48, 50 Berners Street, W1T

The Mandevilles gentleman’s afternoon tea

    (Mandeville Hotel)

(Mandeville Hotel)

The Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea experience at the Reform Social & Grill at the Mandeville Hotel was fantastic and I would recommend going – everyone is welcome – this is not just for men!

The stylish interior and decor that oozes class, and the leather booths and dark wood furniture are sophistication personified. There is also a nice private dining area for larger groups.

The restaurant is accompanied by a lovely bar which is perfect if you want an after meal aperitif, cocktail or (for some) a break from all the lovely food!

The twist on the traditional afternoon tea menu is a fantastic idea at an affordable price compared to other central London hotels. The crispy haddock fish fingers and tartare sauce, the mini-Yorkshire pudding with chicken and sauce (beef available too) and the coronation chicken sandwich were particularly nice. There is also a nice selection of vegetarian options that can be served.

The cakes were also delightful, with ‘coffee opera’ tiramisu, lemon meringue tart and passion fruit cheesecakes being excellent choices. They also have a great selection of teas – with assam and masala chai both amazing. Perfect for the modern man!

£37, Mandeville Place, W1U

The Mayfair Chippy’s “afternoon sea”

    (The Mayfair Chippy)

(The Mayfair Chippy)

Tired of desserts? This one is for seafood seekers who love salt. From September, the Mayfair Chippy will serve up three levels of fresh, locally sourced seafood platters as part of their ‘Afternoon Sea’ experience.

Located just off London’s bustling Oxford Street, the award-winning restaurant has taken a quintessentially British experience and given it its own original spin.

The full spread includes delicately presented crab bruschetta and salmon; mussels, oysters, crab meat seasoned with radishes, king prawns, lobster and plenty of lemon wedges.

The shellfish selection comes with a bottle of champagne, a loaf of freshly baked bread and a choice of three dips: finely chopped onion in vinegar, pesto and a delicious spicy seafood sauce.

For those craving something sweet, try their delicious sticky toffee pudding.

£38, 14 North Audley Street, W1K 6WE,

Sherlock Holmes Afternoon Tea

    (The game is now)

(The game is now)

After entering an unsuspecting ‘optician’ in a west London shopping center, where a secret code must be given to enter, guests are led into a cosy, fully immersive lounge with an impressive log fire and a series of paintings, where it feels like Mrs. Hudson herself could walk in at any moment.

Sweet and savory treats come with a selection of freshly made sandwiches, including very British fillings such as cucumber and cream cheese. Tempting morsels are served from inside an antique box, adding to the Sherlock Holmes experience. These bits are all accompanied by both Earl Gray tea and prosecco, and there are mini-puzzles for those who fancy themselves detectives.

As for afternoon tea, this is a themed lover’s paradise, and the quirky details of board games and riddle mysteries will be right up the alley of any Sherlock Holmes fan. The experience is reasonably priced in the likes of London at just £30 per head, or £35 for a crazy twist including a choice of prosecco, draft beer or seedlip and tonic for 90 minutes.

£30, Ground Floor, West 12 Shopping Centre, W12 8PP,

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