No one does afternoon tea quite like the Londoners. If you’re anything like me, the concept of afternoon tea usually brings connotations of grandeur and feels as if it’s reserved for the high-flyers in society. 

With so many varieties of this quintessentially English experience available, there’s been a surge in affordable alternatives. This means you don’t have to completely empty your wallet for an afternoon of piping hot tea, British style!

Below, you’ll find all my top picks for affordable afternoon tea in London ahead of your next elegant outing. I’ve personally visited all of these tea houses when putting together an itinerary for our Eating Europe London Food Tours, so I’ve only included the best for you to enjoy a cheap cuppa.

Tea and Tattle

tea_and_tattle_london

Photo credit: Tea and Tattle London

Tea and Tattle was one of the first afternoon tea spots to put budget-friendly alternatives to this typically upmarket experience on the map in London. I initially came across this spot after a stroll around the British Museum, as the two are within walking distance of each other.

Though not as flashy or swanky as many of the other spots featured on this list, Tea and Tattle has a warm, homely interior that makes the experience feel much more wholesome. The dark wooden furnishings, fine china, and vintage pictures that adorn the walls are a pure feast for the eyes.

As most of us are all too aware, London is certainly not a low-cost destination, so I welcomed the affordable tea-for-one option, which came in at £24.00. This package consisted of a tea of my choosing, a lemon drizzle cake, a scone, and a selection of sandwiches.

The zesty combination of bergamot orange rind from the Earl Grey tea and fluffy lemon drizzle cake was so light on the palate, as was the delicate sandwich filled with crisp cucumber and flaky smoked salmon. 

Tea and Tattle (€€)41 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3PE, United Kingdom, Monday to Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The Wolseley

the_wolseley_afternoon_tea_london

Photo credit: The Wolseley

If you’re keen to dabble in an afternoon of high tea in a more luxurious setting without causing your bank account too much distress, stop by the Wolseley. It’s in the heart of Mayfair; I had to pop in and treat myself to their cream tea offering the last time I was there.

I must admit, the high ceilings, grand archways, and hanging chandeliers elevated the entire experience, and I could see why this hotel draws so many in for its lavish surroundings. Unlike many of its counterparts, The Wolseley’s afternoon tea menu is surprisingly affordable.

For less than £20.00, I secured some delightful fruit scones and traditional tea with the cream tea package, among the most affordable of its kind I’ve come across in Europe, particularly in a city as pricy as London.

Simple but oh-so-tasty, the scones were lightly crisped on the outside yet soft and buttery on the inside. When they were dropped on the layer tray, my mouth was watering at the sight of butter dripping off them. I could tell they had just come from the oven when the cloud of steam evaporated when they were placed on the table.

On top of each scone was bold strawberry jam that sat upon a layer of thick, silky cream. When it was teamed with a strong pot of English breakfast tea, the sweetness of the scones was paired back and subtle.

The Wolseley (€€)160 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom, Monday to Friday, 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

Those of you familiar with The Ivy, an ever-popular restaurant chain, will know that this spot is an unlikely addition to this list. I think you’ll be as shocked as I was once you find out the prices for afternoon tea!

With its sophisticated, colorful decor, plant-filled interior, and sleek wood paneling, the Chelsea Garden location is as Instagram-ready as every other location. However, few branches are as acclaimed for afternoon tea as this one.

For the reasonable price tag of £32.95, I was presented with a gorgeous cakestand filled with tasty scones, bite-sized desserts, and dainty sandwiches. Craving something light to balance out the food, I went for a refreshing pot of malty Afternoon Blend tea.

The chicken and truffle mayonnaise sandwich stole the show for me, as the indulgent, creamy mixture paired so well with the subtly sweet brioche roll. That being said, the extra touches, such as the fresh strawberries accompanying the scones, really enhanced the experience.

The Ivy Chelsea Garden (€€)197 King’s Rd, London SW3 5EQ, United Kingdom, Every day, 3:00 pm to 4:45 pm

The Tea Terrace Restaurant & Tea Room 

the_tea_terrace_restaurant_and_tea_room_london

Photo credit: The Tea Terrace Restaurant & Tea Room

Affordable, over-the-top, and decked out in perfectly pink furnishings, the Tea Terrace Restaurant & Tea Room isn’t the kind of polished afternoon tea environment you might expect, but that’s all the more reason to visit!

Located on Oxford Street, I initially overlooked this place as its vibrant decor and fairytale ambiance didn’t really entice me, only to later be proved wrong after hearing some glowing reviews from friends. On my next visit to London, I was ready to give the Tea Terrace a shot.

Feeling rather peckish, I ordered the traditional afternoon tea package for just £27.95. The menu also featured vegan, gluten-free, and celebratory alternatives, with the latter featuring a glass of prosecco.

Branching out, I went for a pot of tea, the citrussy pomegranate option, to enjoy with mouthwatering bites. It was full of notes of cinnamon, ginger, and mint served up in an adorable rose-covered pot.

The Tea Terrace Restaurant & Tea Room (€€) Ground Floor, House of Fraser, 318 Oxford St, London W1C 1HF, United Kingdom, Every day, 11:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Number Twelve

number_twelve_afternoon_tea_london

Photo credit: Number Twelve

Conveniently positioned in the Bloomsbury district of central London, Number Twelve is a slick restaurant offering some of the best afternoon tea packages in a relaxed setting. On my quest to uncover some affordable London teahouses, I came across Number Twelve far later than I would have liked.

I was super impressed with how inexpensive their menu was, but the generous servings garnered Number Twelve serious brownie points. When you factor in the friendly staff and efficient service, you’ll quickly learn why this is among my top affordable afternoon tea spots in London.

At just £26.50, the spread of tartlets, scones, macaroons, and traditional British tea was superb. The tea itself was incredible. It was quite bitter with some earthy wooden notes, but a drop of milk gave it a lightly sweetened edge and softened the bitterness.

The tender beef and spicy English mustard sandwich was a winner for me, though I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the tangy pickled cucumber alternative. 

For dessert, I had a couple of macaroons. It’d been a while since I’d tucked into some of these colored snacks; the nutty flavors mixed with the satisfying crunch went down a treat.

Number Twelve (€€) 12 Upper Woburn Pl, London WC1H 0HX, United Kingdom, Monday to Friday, 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm, Saturday, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and Sunday, 2:00 to 6:00 pm

Ladurée Covent Garden

ladurée_covent_garden_afternoon_tea_london

The iconic Parisian-inspired patisserie Ladurée is celebrated for its classic afternoon tea packages in their Covent Garden branch. Had I known this long-standing chain boasted such an exquisite high tea menu, I’d have paid a visit long ago.

As stunning as the outdoor seating area looked, I felt that the crushed velvet couches, pastel wallpaper, and striped upholstery were a little more fitting for a French-style afternoon tea, so I decided to grab a table inside.

Although their full prosecco package was £38, I’d had a pretty sizeable lunch, so I stuck to the small cream tea option. Comprised of two scones, two macaroons, and a hot drink, this was fantastic value at just £16 per person.

The cool, mild mint tea let the confections do all the talking. Though small in size, the scones were covered with a light, caramel-like glaze and were almost as flavorful as the pistachio macarons, which were filled with a smooth, rich cream cheese filling inside a slightly chewy exterior.

Ladurée Covent Garden (€€€) 1 The Mkt, London WC2E 8RA, United Kingdom, Every day, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

The Wallace Collection

Perhaps the most unorthodox afternoon tea location on this list, the Wallace Collection is a magnificent museum that happens to double as a tea room. Set in the inner courtyard of a regal townhouse in Marylebone, this easily ranks among the finest spots for wallet-friendly afternoon tea.

Though it’s not quite as economical as it once was, with their delicious afternoon tea now costing £45 or £54 with a glass of champagne, it remains noticeably cheaper than that of similarly high-end establishments.

Once inside the dining area, I was greeted by the gracious staff, who showed me to my seat, where I spent a few moments admiring the adorable pink walls and quirky furniture. Within minutes, a slick black pot of floral, crisp chamomile tea arrived alongside an incredibly full cakestand.

This succulent chicken peppered with cumin, turmeric, and ginger was even more mouthwatering in sandwich form. It was followed by warm, raisin scones that were lightly sweetened with a delicious crumble.

The Wallace Collection (€€€)Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN, United Kingdom, Every day, 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm and 14:30 pm to 17:00 pm

The Melody Restaurant

the_melody_afternoon_tea_london

Similar to the Wallace Collection, I was shocked to learn of how reasonably priced afternoon tea was at the Melody Restaurant. Considering the upscale surroundings, £31 per person is an absolute steal for a traditional tea service.

Situated in St. Paul’s Hotel near West Kensington, the Melody Restaurant serves afternoon tea every day in its chic yet unpretentious, on-site dining area. So far, I’ve only managed to sample the goods here once, but it’s right at the top of my to-do list for my next London getaway.

The choice of teas and assortment of sandwiches and sweet treats like cakes, pastries, and scones here changes frequently. The waiter explained each item on the cake stand in detail as it was dropped.

The gentle herbal and woody flavors of my honey-like jasmine blossom tea paired nicely with the buttery airy scones; I loved how they were sprinkled with icing sugar, giving them a sweet kick

The Melody Restaurant (€€)153 Hammersmith Rd, London W14 0QL, United Kingdom, Every day 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

MAP Maison

Last but most definitely not least is MAP Maison, a beautiful vintage eatery in the funky Dalston district that’s become as loved for its unique afternoon tea experiences as it is for its stellar whiskey collection. The packages here start from only £27.50!

Though I’d consider MAP Maison among the city’s best affordable afternoon tea spots, it’s also one of the most original. Swapping finger sandwiches for plates inspired by their tapas menu, including mini baguettes and Iberico sliders, you won’t want to skip this place.

On the menu was a diverse tea selection. I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the vanilla-hued Peruvian chocolate variety (no prizes for guessing; it was just as incredible as it sounded!). If you’re keen to push the boat out, I spotted a bottomless afternoon tea option available, too.

Some of the wonderful tapas-style treats I was presented with included savory bites like juicy, candy-like, saccharine-tasting cherry tomatoes on toasted salty sourdough bread spread with briny black olive tapenade. 

The luscious mini eclairs, bursting with cream and topped with intense dark chocolate, were the perfect finish to this eclectic tea party package. The dark chocolate gave them a bitter sourness, but the cream on the inside added some rich, lightly buttered notes to each bite.

MAP Maison (€€)321 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4DL, United Kingdom, Tuesday and Wednesday, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Thursday 3:00 to 7:00 pm, Friday, 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Saturday, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Sunday, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Conclusion

Who knew afternoon tea in London could be so affordable? With the beauty of such variety comes a wealth of options for all budgets, including many budget-friendly afternoon tea packages. 

Whichever one you choose to have your next cuppa, you’ll experience this ancient British tradition in true fashion.



We have a really, really good newsletter

Join over 100,000 food travel experts. Subscription is free.