As we eagerly await the end of lockdown on 2 December, The Resident picks out the best Christmas afternoon tea experiences at London’s top hotels and restaurants…
Lead image: Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea at Rubens at the Palace
1 The Chesterfield Mayfair’s Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park might have been cancelled this year due to Covid-19, but The Chesterfield Mayfair’s Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea is full steam ahead! Starting with a Mulled Wine Taster welcome drink, the festive treat features Christmassy sandwiches such as Pulled Ham Hock, Brie and Spiced Apple Chutney on onion bread and smoked salmon and cream cheese on beetroot bread. Freshly baked cranberry and chocolate scones will be served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, and festive pastries include chocolate Yule log, a pistachio and cranberry slice, gingerbread man cupcake, clementine macaron, cranberry and coconut Christmas ball and Christmas tree chocolate and coffee pot. Available 12.30pm-5.30pm daily from 3 December till 3 January 2021 (including Christmas Day) priced £47.50pp with a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, or £25 for under 12s. Upgrade with a glass of brut, rosé or white label Lanson Champagne for £56.50pp. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available upon request.
35 Charles Street, Mayfair W1J 5EB; chesterfieldmayfair.com
2 Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane Festive Afternoon Tea
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is serving a Festive Afternoon Tea throughout December. The quintessentially British tradition will be reimagined with festive flavours to capture the magic of Christmas. Delicate finger sandwiches made with traditional ingredients fit for the season are complimented by an array of pastries taking inspiration from the season crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Mariano Dileo. Set in the heart of Mayfair, the gem of a hotel has one of the best addresses in London. Plus, the Four Season’s famed outdoor terrace, an atmospheric setting for locals and hotel guests alike, has been transformed for the winter season with space heaters and blankets, serving up champagne and Christmas cocktails like the Park Lane Party, finished with a playful flavour-infused bubble, and Naughty & Nice, made with cognac and served with marshmallows and dipping chocolate. The Festive Afternoon Tea is £46pp and from £62pp with a glass of champagne.
Hamilton Place, Park Lane W1J 7DR; fourseasons.com
3 The Rubens at the Palace Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea
Rubens at the Palace serves up an afternoon tea ritual fit for royalty. Not only is the hotel located opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace – one of the finest working stables in existence – the experience was commended in the 2019 Afternoon Tea Awards. Served in the Palace Lounge overlooking the Royal Mews, the festive tea features a selection of Christmas and classic pastries and comes with unlimited mulled wine. Menu highlights include a Christmas turkey pie, a chopped steak and crispy shallot sandwich in a brioche bun, a gingerbread latte macaron and a Rubens yule log with mulled wine cream. Available from 3 December (Mon-Sun 12noon-5.30pm, Boxing Day 12.30pm-5pm, and New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day) priced £49 per adult and £19 per child under 12. Book before 15 November and get 20% off your bill. You can also enjoy the Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea on Christmas Day itself from 12.30pm-5pm, priced £69 per adult and £19 per child under 12 (in-house guests get £10 off). Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available.
39 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 0PS; rubenshotel.com
4 Fortnum & Masons Christmas Savoury Tea
Fortnum’s has launched its first ever Christmas afternoon tea. Served in the world-famous Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, the Christmas Savoury Tea features venison and apricot sausage rolls, classic finger sandwiches, seasonal patisserie like the Silver Bauble and Red Velvet Parcel, and cheddar truckle scones with truffle mustard butter. There’s also a Classic Afternoon Tea, which includes fruit scones, classic finger sandwiches and afternoon tea cakes. While there, explore the Fortnum’s halls, which are decked out in festive livery and bursting with gift options and delicious food for the all the family. Available from 3 December until 4 January 2021 priced £65pp with a pot of Fortnum’s Tea. Festive champagne cocktails are available from £12.50.
5 The Milestone Hotel and Residences Festive Afternoon Tea
The Milestone Hotel, a 5-star boutique hotel in Kensington with long-stay residences, is offering a Christmas afternoon tea themed with plenty of festive treats. Seasonally themed sandwiches include roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry, brie with mulled spiced pear and raisin chutney, and Dingley Dell ham with English mustard mayonnaise, while festive pastries include mini Christmas cake and mince pies, chestnut and white chocolate choux buns, and a spiced apple and gingerbread mousse. Available from 3 December till 4 January priced £55pp or £65pp including a glass of champagne. Served daily between 1pm and 5pm, except on Christmas Day. A children’s tea is also available.
1 Kensington Court, Kensington W8 5DL; milestonehotel.com
6 Festive Pink Afternoon Tea at Adam Handling Chelsea
To celebrate the first shipment of Prosecco DOC Rosé from leading wine-makers Villa Sandi, the pastry team at Adam Handling Chelsea, headed by Chris Underwood, has been working on a pink-themed festive afternoon tea. Think pink savouries including dill-cured smoked salmon with cream cheese, red onion and stilton tartlet and vegetarian stuffing sandwich with red cabbage and cranberry on tomato bread, plus sweet treats such as a pink parcel with blackcurrant mousse and vanilla brulée, and a Christmas bauble with coconut cream and passionfruit curd. The festive Afternoon Tea is served with a glass of Villa Sandi Prosecco DOC Rosé for £65pp, or £55pp with a range of teas from Newby, including a specially-selected Rosehip and Hibiscus blend. Available from 3 December until the New Year.
75 Sloane Street, Chelsea SW1X 9SG; adamhandlingchelsea.co.uk
7 Montague on the Gardens Unlimited Festive Afternoon Tea
Montague on the Gardens, a boutique hotel in Bloomsbury, is offering an Unlimited Festive Afternoon Tea with all the hot spiced cider, mulled wine or rich hot chocolate you like for 90 minutes. The seasonal afternoon tea includes festive treats like traditional mince pie and stollen cake, as well as traditional sandwiches like Norfolk turkey with celery and almonds, egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, smoked Scottish salmon and cucumber with cream cheese and chives. Executive Chef Martin Halls has carefully designed the menu to reflect the seasons and everything is made using only the finest of British ingredients. Available from 3-31 December at 12noon and 2.30pm seven days a week priced £50 per person.
15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury WC1B 5BJ; montaguehotel.com
8 Festive Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych
One Aldwych, a Leading Hotel of the World, is putting a festive spin on its Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea this Christmas. Plates will be piled high with sandwiches like turkey and cranberry on charcoal bread, cinnamon glazed brioche buns and festive fruit scones with all the jams and creams. Sweet shop-inspired treats include mazipan chocolate milk, home-made candyfloss, gingerbread and white chocolate pops with violet popping candy and cocoa bean financiers. A selection of award-winning seasonal loose leaf teas are also on offer and you can add a variety of champagnes or a fizzy cocktail. The hotel will also host a 25-foot Christmas tree, which last year was decorated with 130 snow domes. Served in Indigo and the Lobby Bar from 2 December until 1 January 2021 priced £52pp or from £63pp with a glass of champagne or fizzy lifting cocktail.
1 Aldwych WC2B 4BZ; onealdwych.com
9 Festive Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough Hotel
The Lanesborough is at its most magical during the holiday season, when it transforms into an enchanted mansion filled with beautiful displays. The hotel’s award-winning afternoon tea, served daily in the majestic surrounds of Michelin-star Céleste, or in the Withdrawing Room, will be giving its popular Peggy Porschen tea a sprinkle of festive magic. Founder and life-long baker Peggy Porschen held her first prestigious pastry chef position at The Lanesborough back in 1999, making this a very special afternoon tea treat indeed. Classically festive flavours will be beautifully presented in Peggy Porschen’s Insta-famous chic, pastel hues, with vegetarian and vegan options, as well as a children’s menu, also available. Available from 3 December to 4 January priced £75pp including a glass of Champagne on arrival.
Hyde Park Corner SW1X 7TA; oetkercollection.com
10 Egerton House Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea, Knightsbridge
The Egerton House Hotel, famed for its Doggy Afternoon Tea (also available in December), is offering a Festive Afternoon Tea with seasonal homemade cakes including chocolate orange brownie, mince pie, spiced chocolate Christmas tree cupcake, Christmas stollen, Christmas spiced Victoria sponge cake and coconut snowball. Freshly cut sandwiches including organic smoked salmon on Cape seed loaf, free-range egg mayonnaise on white bread, turkey and cranberry on brown bread, cucumber and cream cheese on sundried tomato bread, and Coronation chicken on granary bread. There are home-baked plain and fruit scones too, of course, served with clotted cream and preserves. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are also available. From £48 per person or £64.50 with champagne. Egerton House Hotel Festive Afternoon Tea is also available on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 30 Dec and New Year’s Day, priced £65pp or £81 with champagne.
17-19 Egerton Terrace, Knightsbridge SW3 2BX; egertonhousehotel.com
11 Taj 51 Buckingham Gate’s Mystic Christmas Afternoon Tea, Westminster
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate has launched a Mystic Christmas Afternoon Tea at Kona restaurant. The Covid-complaint dining experience begins with a spiced winter warmer hot chocolate drink, along with a selection of cranberry and plain scones. Savoury treats include a festive egg mayo and mustard cress pinwheel, rosemary roast beef roulade with English mustard cream, smoked salmon and orange flavoured horseradish sandwich and a nostalgic Yorkshire ham, cheddar and Branston pickle sandwich. The Christmas fairies will also be spreading festive sparkle with a selection of sweet treats like spicy gianduja Chocolate gateaux topped, Christmas pistachio cremeux cone, marron glace dome Snowman and a creamy yule log enriched with Baileys. Priced £55 per person and available daily from 2-25 December with seatings at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.
51 Buckingham Gate, Westminster SW1E 6AF; taj51buckinghamgate.co.uk
12 Festive Afternoon Tea at InterContinental London – The O2, Greenwich Peninsula
InterContinental® London – The O2 is serving festive afternoon tea featuring delights such as Valrhona chocolate and caramel cake, raspberry and pistachio petit gâteaux, artisan mince pie and clementine and cardamom choux. As well as the beautifully presented patisserie, the Christmas treat includes finger sandwiches of turkey and cream cheese cranberry mousse, hen’s egg truffle mayo and mustard cress, mature cheddar and red onion marmalade, and black olive tapenade with avocado, sun-dried tomato and rocket, all on a variety of artisan breads. There’s also a traditional prawn cocktail on a mini Yorkshire pudding, as well as spiced cranberry and plain scones with fig and strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream. Available throughout December until 4 January 2021 priced £42pp. Champagne and bottomless champagne afternoon tea options are also available for £55 and £95 respectively (per person).
1 Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0TW; iclondon-theo2.com