Unusual afternoon teas

Lovefood Team
by Lovefood Team  |  25 August 2014  |   18 comments

Our favourite weird and wonderful afternoon tea experiences, including an Alice in Wonderland adventure and edible flowerpots.

Unusual afternoon teas

Freshly-cut cucumber sandwiches, a selection of petite pastries and cakes, a china pot of tea leaves… afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition.

But if you’ve done the sandwiches and scones thing a few times, here are some different takes on the traditional afternoon tea. 

Diner Hard Teas

The Diner - Burgers'The Diner', an American-style chain, use a gorgeous selection of iced teas (the Super Berry Tea is probably the best), fruit, and a splash of spirits to create their Hard Teas (pictured above).

These are perfect cocktails to enjoy on a warm and sunny day. We recommend the Kraken Berry Cooler: a rum and Super Berry concoction with a twist of lime – utterly refreshing. There's no finger food here; so tuck into a burger stacked to the ceiling instead. The Juicy Lucy is of particular note, a breaded pulled pork patty with spicy sauces served on a glazed bun.

Where: London, various locations. Find your nearest restaurant here.
Cost: Hard Teas £8 each. Burgers from £7-£10.

Not Afternoon Tea

teaAn afternoon tea without finger sandwiches? Good grief! The OXO Tower Brasserie pulls it off though, by replacing all things savoury with little sugary morsels, and swopping a cup of Earl Grey for a fruity cocktail. Each dessert plate (you can chose from four - 'wild thing', 'chocolate sensation', 'autumn fools' or 'Taywell preserved') is matched with its own cocktail, and you can expect treats such as whisky and honey cobnut cake, chocolate stout cake, pumpkin walnut cake, and raspberry and honey vodka jelly. And it has to be said, pastry chef Penny Wabbit is an expert at perfecting the humble English pudding. You'll be buzzing all the way home! 

Where: OXO Tower Brasserie, Southwark, London
Cost: £22.50 per person

Prêt-à-Portea – the tea that changes with the seasons

Just like the fashion world itself, the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea at London’s Berkeley Hotel (pictured at the top of this article) changes its designs with the seasons. So you could be served a Stella McCartney polka dot sponge cake dress or a Burberry Prorsum stylish black and white double breasted chocolate biscuit coat with snow white vanilla icing.

Where: The Caramel Room, The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London
Cost: From £37.50 per person

An artistic tea

The Art Tea from Dublin's Merrion HotelIf you fancy indulging in some edible art, then head for the Merrion Hotel next time you’re in Dublin. Its Art Tea features cakes inspired by the works of artists such as Jack Yeats, John Boyd and Louis le Brocquy.


Where: The Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin
Cost: From €36 per person

Tumble down the rabbit hole

Heston Blumenthal would surely approve of the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel. Among the sensory delights are exploding hazelnut praline ice cream lollipops, chocolate rabbit’s clocks and a rainbow array of finger sandwiches on beetroot, saffron and spinach breads.

Where: Courtyard Garden, Sanderson London, 50 Berners Street, London
Cost: £35 per person

Fondant fancies

If you fancy a spot of cabaret with your tea, why not try the Voluptea or Afternoon Tease at the Volupté supper club? As well as sandwiches, scones, tea and a glass of bubbly, you’ll also enjoy some top-class burlesque and cabaret.

Where: Volupté, 9 Norwich Street, London
Cost: £42 per person (tea and show)

Indulge in some ceremony

“We’re putting the tea back into the ritual” says the blurb on TeaSmith’s website. To that end, its afternoon tea ceremony features cakes and chocolates paired with teas, rather than the other way round. You’ll also learn a lot more about the huge range of teas they serve.

Where: TeaSmith, 6 Lamb Street, London
Cost: £20 per person

Got time for more tea?

Five top afternoon teas

Britain's best tearooms

Betty's Tea Shop: A Yorkshire tradition

This is a classic lovefood article that is constantly updated