Throw tradition out the window with our round up of the most innovative afternoon teas around.

Best for… creatives

Think jam and clotted cream concealed in 30ml paint tubes, edible canvasses, finger sandwiches, art print pastries and freshly baked scones, all served in painting boxes (pictured above)ARTea at Lancaster London is celebrating the hotel’s affinity with London’s art scene. The ARTea experience, in collaboration with Pommery Champagne, will feature reminders of their current exhibition: on modernist Irish artist Norman Teeling, with menus printed alongside replicated paintings.

Lancaster London | Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY | £31 with tea, £43.50 with a glass of Sipsmith Gin Tonic, £45 with a glass of Pommery Brut, £50 with a glass of Pommery Summertime

Best for… midnight munchies

afternoon tea

Who says afternoon tea should be in the afternoon?

K West Hotel & Spa is turning afternoon tea on its head and serving a Rock ‘n’ Cocktails Midnight Tea for night owls, from 10pm ’til midnight. They are switching traditional hot tea with five cocktail shots or one cocktail. We’re not complaining. The music-themed, midnight tea includes fresh blueberry ‘rolling scones’ with clotted cream and homemade jams, as well as a selection of summer-inspired eats, such as Summer Berries Panna Cotta, White Chocolate Truffle LolliesRoasted Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes on focaccia, Savoury Sliders and Chocolate Cherry Apples.

K West Hotel & Spa | Richmond Way, London W14 0AX | The Rock ‘n’ Cocktails Midnight Tea is served Sunday to Thursday, 10pm-12pm | £36.50

Best for… posh picnic

afternoon tea

Picnic in the park with The Arch London’s afternoon tea

You don’t need to sacrifice catching some summer rays to enjoy afternoon tea; just grab a takeaway hamper from The Arch London, offering a taste of Hunter 486 restaurant’s critically acclaimed Best of British menu. Settle yourself in nearby Hyde Park and enjoy the likes of Smoked Salmon Sandwiches with lemon butter and cracked black pepper; Homemade Crisps with sea salt, lemon and sage; Poached Free-Range Chicken Breast with tarragon vinaigrette; and Homemade Macaroons all washed down with half a bottle of Tattinger Champagne.

The Arch London | 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD | From £45 per person

Best for… gluten-free (and celeb spotting)

afternoon tea

Sweet Things Bakery offer lots of gluten-free options

If you need gluten-free options then look no further than Sweet Things Bakery‘s gluten-free alternative of afternoon tea. Created by MasterChef finalist and founder of the bakery Natalie Allen, the gluten-free offerings stand out from the crowd. We know, we’ve tried and tasted. In fact, the gluten-free Clementine Cake is a bestseller and Natalie puts it down to her pursuit for perfection. “I only want to make cakes that taste good and these cakes are made without flour because they taste better without it, not because it’s a substitute.” And with a fan base that includes David BeckhamJools Oliver and Hugh Grant, you’ll be in good company.

Sweet Things Notting Hill | 8 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 1NN | 8.30am-5pm

Best for… cooling down


Fortnum & Mason have launched an ice cream range inspired by their famous afternoon tea. The flavours include: Rose Ripple (a take on the the rose éclair), Cucumber and Mint, Strawberry and Scones (with generous chunks of Fortnum‘s handmade scones) and… wait for it, Coronation. They’ve managed to perfect this traditional sandwich in ice form by using mayonnaise, spicy paprika, curry powder, mustard, all offset by a sweet citrus zing of lemon and lime juices and mango purée.

Fortnum & Mason | 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER | £4.95 each, available at Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly

Best for… a southern twist

afternoon tea

Ma’Plucker afternoon tea

Ma’Plucker‘s afternoon tea adds a southern twist to an English classic. The savoury selection includes Fried Crispy Coated Chicken teamed with a maple waffle and a maple and chilli glaze; Coronation Chicken in a brioche bun and a Hickory Spiced Pulled Chicken Burger with crunchy coleslaw. Next attack the sweets, including Ma’s Scoffle (the southern take on the classic scone); Ma’s Waffle served with cream and strawberry jam; Fresh Mini Doughnuts with hot caramel sauce; and the signature: Ma’s Chocolate and Corn Flake Scotch Egg. Wash it down with a glass of fizz or opt for a boozy (or non-boozy) Ice Tea.

Ma’Plucker | 75 Beak Street, London W1F 9SS | Served Monday to Friday from 3-6pm and weekends from 12-6.30pm | £16.50

Best for… gin-lovers

 Afternoon Tea

Tea-infused gin cocktails

Balans Soho Society Restaurant have twisted afternoon tea into G & Tea with five special tea-infused gin cocktails especially for Afternoon Tea Week. Cocktails include A Swoon Around Noon which mixes Imperial Noon infused gin, with rich double cream, rhubarb syrup, smooth egg white and soda water, and is garnished with a miniature chocolate brownie and a raspberry. Then there’s the Souchong Lapdance with Lapsang Souchong infused gin, Chatreuse Liqueur, lime purée and egg white, served with a smoked salmon and sourdough canapé. While The Irrelevant Time of Day combines Orange and Passionfruit tea-infused gin with Grand Marnier, blood orange syrup and soda water. A miniature teacake complements the citrus zing.

Balans Soho Society Restaurant | 60 Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1d 4UG | The limited edition cocktails are served each day from 2-6pm during Afternoon Tea Week, 8-14 August | £12 each

Don’t Miss…

Hosting a party? You can order in B Afternoon Tea straight to your door. B Bakery’s afternoon tea will arrive in an original London Taxi, offering finger sandwiches, cakes and freshly baked scones, plus French-inspired tarts, along with a range of British teas. To create the perfect display, you can also buy a three-tier afternoon tea stand for just £12. The menu offers gluten-free, halal and vegetarian options, just specify when booking.

B Bakery | B Afternoon Tea | Priced from £19 per person, 24 hour notice required | 10% off for bookings for over 10 people

Check out our Pick of the Best: Bottomless Brunches…

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