Interested in a family afternoon tea in London on your family vacation? Some teas are better for families than others.
Afternoon tea may seem deeply rooted in British culture, but the concept wasn’t introduced until approximately 1840. The seventh Duchess of Bedford was served tea and an assortment of sandwiches and cakes in her room in the late afternoon because she grew hungry before dinnertime. As she invited friends and loved ones to enjoy her afternoon tea, the custom caught on beyond the Royal family.
Many restaurants and cafes now offer teatime experiences, and there are many reasons you may want to add at least one to your itinerary. For starters, it’s a part of the London experience. It’s also a relaxing way to take a break from sightseeing. You get to experience new dining venues throughout the city and can relax your feet and refresh your mind.
Family afternoon tea in London is also an opportunity to talk about your vacation experiences with your family. The question is what ages are appropriate for teatime in London.
The Afternoon Tea Experience in London
Does the thought of family afternoon tea in London make you think of ladies in elaborate dresses and fancy hats sipping from delicate cups with their pinkies up? Teatime in London doesn’t have to look or feel that stuffy. It’s often a relaxed, enjoyable experience with delicious tea and an assortment of small sandwiches, cakes, cookies, and other treats.
Stopping by for tea allows you to experience some of the larger hotel restaurants and fine dining venues that are perhaps on the more expensive side for full meals. They often have affordable teatime deals that allow you to sample some of their foods while sipping the tea of your choice.
There are some tea experiences designed just for families traveling London with kids. Those are the best options if you have younger children because the entire experience is set up with them in mind. Some of the best kid-friendly tea experiences in London include:
- Grover Children’s Afternoon Tea – The Park Room does children’s tea right with delicious food and a toy for each child to take home. Kids up to age 12 can enjoy sandwiches and sweet treats like fruit skewers and raspberry-filled cupcakes. The menu is mom-approved, but the take-home Grover dog is little-one approved.
- Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea – The Sanderson Hotel is full of whimsy when kids tumble in for this special afternoon tea session. From bottles of potion marked “drink me” to kings and queens on the teapots, the details are what make this event fun for Alice in Wonderland fans. The mix of sweet and savory snacks and colorful drinks are sure to win most parents over as well. Available for children between the ages of 4 and 11.
- Kids’ Sci-Fi Afternoon Tea – The biscuits are cute dinosaurs. The cheese straws are rockets. What more would you expect from a sci-fi-themed afternoon designed just for the littlest brainiacs? Some of the food is served in petri dishes, but rest assured they’re sanitary. Oh, and the fossils are entirely edible!
- Little Prince & Princess Tea – Let your little ones under the age of 12 feel like Royalty with this prince and princess-themed afternoon tea experience. They’ll enjoy an assortment of sandwiches, scones, and pastries while sipping hot chocolate, milkshakes, soda, or just the customary tea. You also have the option of adding a masterclass that introduces your kids to the art of pastry making.
- OXO Tower Children’s Afternoon Tea – There’s no theme for this afternoon tea other than it’s designed just for children. It’s often held for about 90 minutes in the afternoon throughout the summer, so consider it a seasonal event that you need reservations to attend. The food is sweet and scrumptious, and the restaurant flaunts some spectacular views for the grownups.
- Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour – Take your tea on the run with Brigit’s Bakery. The tour rolls past some of the biggest London attractions while serving pizza, finger sandwiches, cakes, tarts, hot chocolate, and the required tea. The tour is suitable for parents and children of all ages. Check online on the last day of each month to see tour dates for the upcoming month.
What Ages are Appropriate for Family Afternoon Tea in London?
This is a tricky question because it comes down to the venue chosen for family afternoon tea in London and the child’s ability to enjoy the experience without disturbing other diners. If you go with one of the child-friendly tea experiences listed above, you can take children of all ages without concern.
If you’re going to a hotel, restaurant, café, or other establishment and it’s not themed for children, consider the following points:
- Environment – Is the dining room suitable for children during other mealtimes? If they have a kid’s menu or are family-oriented, then chances are high that they will welcome children in for tea. If they frown upon children under a certain age for dinner or lunch, then you can assume kids of that age are not acceptable for tea either.
- Maturity – Is your child likely to sit through teatime in a moderately quiet dining room without outbursts? If you have a young child who needs to burn off some energy or a baby who may cry, then you need a tea venue that is responsive to the behavior of younger children. Some upscale restaurants prefer children to stay quiet and behave much like adults, which isn’t always possible as every parent knows.
- Refreshments – Will the venue serve teatime treats that your child will enjoy? The more enjoyable the food and tea, the more likely your child will respond well regardless of the environment and other factors.
Rather than trying to decide if your child is the appropriate age for teatime, try to match their age and energy level to the tea venue. More relaxed, casual restaurants and cafes are often great choices for family afternoon tea.
Tips for Enjoying Afternoon Tea with Kids
- Select the venue with care. Look for restaurants and cafes that cater to the full family or that at least offer comfortable seating away from bars and other adult-focused entertainment centers. If you can find a restaurant or café with views of the Thames River or other attractions, you will have something for your child to focus on other than the dining room.
- Turn teatime into a known experience before you head off to London. If you’re planning in advance, get your children excited about tea. You can buy child-sized tea sets and enjoy tea during playtime. Or go all in and purchase a tea set for your kitchen and enjoy proper teatime with cucumber sandwiches and small pieces of cake at the kitchen table.
- Pick the right time for tea. Breaking up a long day of sightseeing and adventure allows children of all ages to relax. It may prevent a temper tantrum, making the rest of your day more enjoyable. Planning teatime around the attractions you want to visit is similar to planning breaks so that your kids aren’t overwhelmed.
- Bring a form of quiet entertainment just in case your child gets bored or otherwise needs some distraction from the experience. Coloring books, handheld video games with headsets, and books are good choices.
Children can enjoy afternoon tea in London! It’s just a matter of picking the right spot for your family.
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