I love afternoon teas – they are the perfect excuse for hours of gossip and sweet tooth indulgence.
But just before Christmas, the experience is a special kind of wonderful (hint, I quite like the festive season).
It’s the time of the year when hotels and restaurants pull out all the stops to incorporate a taste of Christmas into their menus.
And it’s definitely not just about the fancy turkey sandwiches and delicate mince pies.
Here are 10 festive afternoon teas to try in London this month.
Podium, the ground floor restaurant at Hilton Park Lane, has some spectacular cakes and pastries as part of their festive afternoon tea offering.
Alongside that, you also get a selection of their signature open sandwiches, including smoked salmon with horseradish cream and cucumber, chive and cream cheese on malted seed bread and coronation chicken on ciabatta bloomer.
It’s priced at £39 per person and is available from December 4 until January 2.
The Malmaison festive afternoon tea features all the Christmas classics: fruit cake, mince pie, ginger bread biscuit, yule log and sherry trifle.
Throw in some turkey, cranberry and stuffing wraps, mini sliders, hot dogs and scones and it’s a veritable feast.
It’s available from now until December 31 for £25 per person and just £2.50 more to include a glass of prosecco. Bargain.
Charlotte Street Hotel’s festive offering features chocolate praline yule log, gingerbread Christmas tree and of course, mince pies.
On the savoury side, you have choices like roast turkey with chestnut and sage stuffing on granary bread and mushroom, tarragon and Gruyere croquette.
All this is available for £26 per person until January 7, and you can also order your favourite pastries separately.
The Chesterfield Mayfair’s afternoon tea is themed on the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park this year.
On the menu are delights such as chestnut macarons, yule logs, Christmas tree chocolate and coffee pots and black forest cupcakes. And you even get a shot of mulled wine to start.
The afternoon tea offering is priced at £38.50 per person, until December 31, and there’s a children’s version for £19.50.
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has shunned many of the flavours traditionally associated with Christmas and gone for something more seasonal.
On the tiered platter, you will find items like cherry and rose mousse with white chocolate, pumpkin feuillantine crunch; banoffee pie with William pear and honey jelly; and crayfish with caviar lemon creme fraiche and pickled cucumber.
The offering is available until January 1 and costs £42 per person.
The Christmas flavours at The Park Tower Knightsbridge can be found in the likes of their marrons glace lollipops, chestnut and praline Christmas log and rich dark fruit cup cake with brandy butter.
Though if you go during the week, there’s also free-flowing prosecco, which will certainly put you in a festive mood.
Available only in December, it costs £39 per person (which includes that mid-week free-flowing prosecco).
The Dorchester have a very fancy festive afternoon tea, featuring seasonal inspired pastries and sandwiches.
But it’s the setting that really, well, sets the scene – there’s a live children’s choir singing all the Christmas carol favourites while you enjoy the experience.
It’s only on at the weekends until December 24 and costs £85 per person. A festive afternoon tea with piano accompaniment is served during the rest of the week and is slightly cheaper.
The Royal Garden Hotel have decked their three-tier afternoon tea offering with Christmas flavours such as mince pie macaron, Baileys and chocolate choux bun and Christmas pudding scones.
And as well as the selection of finger sandwiches, you also get some dainty slices of cake too.
It’s available now until December 24 and costs £31 per person.
The pastry selection for Intercontinental at The O2 is frankly adorable – I mean, look at that Rudolph’s nose.
You also get some fancy sandwiches, including roast turkey with red currant cream cheese on cranberry bread and truffle egg mayonnaise on a brioche bun.
All very delicious at £31 per person, until December 23.
Bluebird’s festive afternoon tea is one of the most affordable at £21.50.
It still features the usual suspects – from turkey sandwiches to mince pie and Christmas cake.
The offering is only available on Friday, Saturday and Sundays in December.