Top 3 Cheapest Restaurants for High Tea in London
London isn’t the city for saving your money. London is for extravagance; deluxe barista coffee, full English Breakfast, expensive pints, Covent Garden shopping, and luxury hotels. A traditional ‘London’ experience has to be enjoying high tea, surrounded by the beautiful buildings, bustling streets filled with double-decker buses, and true Londoners rushing around to their office jobs. We have rounded up three restaurants for high tea in London that won’t break the bank, so you can enjoy a ride on the Thames, go out to dinner, and enjoy some happy-hour deals without regretting the money you spent earlier in the day.
The Fan Museum
Starting of our list of the top three cheapest restaurants for high tea is The Fan Museum. If you’re looking to combine a unique experience with your traditional tea, then this is a great choice. The museum is situated at the edge of Greenwich Park, so you can take a stroll before or after your treat and gaze at the Thames. The park offers some of the best views in southeast London, and is one of the largest green spaces in the city. The museum lets you eat in the Orangery, gazing out to their garden, and providing you with a choice of cakes, scones with clotted cream and jam, and your choice of tea or coffee. In order to gain entrance into this spectacular setting, you have to pay the entrance fee for the museum, coming in at a whopping £5 – yes, we’re being sarcastic. For sitting in a beautiful atmosphere, and the chance to explore the museum afterward, £5 is a bargain unlike any other you might find in this pricey city. The best deal in this equation is the price of the tea itself; only £9. Looking at London, here is what else you can get for £9 – one pint in Soho, two adult underground fares in Zone 1, and a Big Ben paperweight. We recommend this tea instead. With a stunning view, a full selection of traditional English offerings, and free roam to the museum afterward, this is a bargain that is too good to pass up. The museum only does walk-ins and no bookings, so we recommend visiting on a day when you don’t have a strict tourist-schedule to adhere to.
When: Tuesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12.30pm- 16:30pm (last sitting at 16:00)
How Much: £9 (plus the £5 museum entrance fee)
PAUL: Covent Garden
Second on our master list of top three cheapest restaurants is PAUL. If you’ve spent any time around the city before, you’ve definitely heard or seen one of these locations. This chain provides a budget-tea that is comparable to more expensive venues in quality. This won’t be the quintessential traditional-English ambiance you will find in other locations, but this family-owned French bakery has a charm on its’ own. The traditional atmosphere and friendly staff make this chain eatery an affordable and tasteful choice for quality food and drink. Despite having many locations strewn about, the PAUL in Covent Garden, the massive shopping area that is swarmed with tourists and locals alike, is the one you’re looking for.
The cafe cleverly combines Parisian influences into the traditional British tea, slightly changing the classic staples into wonderful concoctions. The offerings of mini macaroons instead of scones will deter some die-hard British fans, but if you don’t mind passing on the clotted cream for a different treat, this unique high tea could make your vacation.
This combination of cultures will give you a different high-tea experience without breaking the bank, coming in at £14.95. If you want to spend a little extra, you can buy unlimited prosecco for a total of just £24.95. Despite all of us being on budgets when we explore this beautiful city, considering the price of drinks in London, the price of a prosecco bottle, and the price of even just a pack of gum in the city, we consider this an outrageous deal. And you can day drink – who doesn’t like that? If you’re not interested in drinking at high tea during the day, we’d say you came to the wrong city. Sure, Londoners like their pints more than any other food group, but the ‘classy’ city-folk take their bubbly seriously, and this can give you a chance to pretend you’re a fancy Londoner on lunch break.
When: Monday – Sunday 2:30pm-5:30pm
How Much: Starting at £14.95
To top off the list of cheap places for high tea in London, we stumbled across German Gymnasium. Don’t think of the hardwood floors and plain surroundings of a school gym now, but rather a beautiful gym that more resembles something from Harry Potter. The surroundings and high-class look are not reflected by the inexpensive prices, which are surprising considering it looks like you’re about to dine with royals. Once you’re seated, you’re given the choice between two different themed options, which might give some traditionalists some anxiety and guilt. You can decide if you want either ‘The German’ or ‘The Austrian’, both of which have their own respective country’s delicacies as part of the tea option. You won’t find the traditional tower of scones and tea sandwiches, but the apple strudel will be sure to tempt you to sway in a unique direction. If you’re questioning leaving behind the classic high tea, the building in King’s Cross was voted the most beautiful restaurant in the world. So, how could you pass this up? Especially considering high tea will only set you back just £18.50. Spending less than 20 quid to dine in the most beautiful restaurant seems like pennies for the experience you get. If you want traditional food offerings in a tea room, then this isn’t your best bet. If you want an atmospheric and culinary experience that you’ll be sure to never forget; well, here we are.
When: Thursday – Friday, 3:00pm-5.30pm, Saturday – Sunday, 4:00pm-5.30pm
How much: from £18.50
Dine Like a Royal Without Breaking the Bank
Dining in London doesn’t have to be an expensive experience, along with a rewarding one. You can find the best gems in the city without spending a fortune, and have pounds left over for other experiences (like double-decker bus rides or downing pints in Soho). Finding the best deals throughout the city is crucial to enjoying your holiday, budgeting during your daily life, or for taking your boyfriend’s mom out to a lovely tea without her questioning your low-paying job – it’s not your fault rent in London is thousands, okay?
The top three cheapest places for high tea might be cheap in price, but they don’t skimp in quality. Each venue offers a different experience, and it’s up to you to choose which kind of afternoon you’re looking for. From German to French-influenced cuisine, the variety of high tea restaurants in London are sure to make a long-lasting impact on your culinary trials from here on out.