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What to wear to afternoon tea in London

What to wear to afternoon tea in London

Afternoon tea in London is a must for any UK or London bucket list and is a British institution with a very British etiquette. In this guide we cover what to wear to afternoon tea in London to make sure you don’t break any British high tea rules.

What to wear to afternoon tea in London /Afternoon Tea Dress Code

The Afternoon dress code is something visitors to London tend to stress about. Afternoon tea is not an everyday activity and most people who are having a London afternoon tea tend to dress up for the occasion and although every afternoon tea is different and each has slightly differing dress code but generally speaking we recommend

Ladies Afternoon Tea Dress Code


For me the ultimate afternoon tea outfit is a dress. And I don’t know why but I usually pick a floral dress when attending an afternoon tea. Depending on whether I am visiting in Winter or summer I will normally pair is with a pair of sandals or smart winter boots. 

Blouse and Trousers

While I normally prefer to wear a dress to afternoon tea, it is not a rule that ladies have to wear a dress. If you don’t want to wear a dress to afternoon tea then a smart blouse and trousers is an acceptable alternative.

What to Wear to Afternoon Tea for Men

While some men will wear suits to afternoon tea it isn’t compulsory (unless explicitly stated on the hotel website). My husband hates suits so will never wear one to afternoon tea. Instead he usually opts for a smart pair of trousers and a shirt. Long or short sleeves are acceptable depending on the time of year you go. 

If a tie and jacket are required then it will be stated on the hotel website. 

What to Wear to Afternoon Tea for Kids

Believe it or not there are lots of afternoon teas in London that are suitable to take kids too for instance the science tea at the Ampersand Hotel or the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tea at One Aldwych. Generally speaking so long as your children are dressed in a smart casual way it will be fine for afternoon tea. 

What not to wear to high tea in London

What to wear to Afternoon Tea

What to wear to Afternoon Tea



Sportswear and team jerseys etc are generally not considered appropriate attire for an afternoon tea. 


If a hotel website doesn’t specify or you are unsure I would recommend not wearing jeans to a hotel afternoon tea. If not then smart casual jeans are fine but do check with your venue first


Although many tourists are attending high tea in London as part of a busy London itinerary it is generally considered unacceptable to wear trainers to afternoon tea. 

What to wear for afternoon tea in winter?

If you are wondering what to wear for afternoon tea in Winter I would say the same afternoon dress code rules apply. I recommend pairing dresses with smart cardigans and tights for ladies and men adding a jumper to their outfit. 

And if you do get some nice snaps while at high tea, be sure to check out our best afternoon tea instagram captions and quotes to help you caption your photo!

Afternoon Tea Dress Codes at different venues

What to wear to Afternoon Tea

What to wear to Afternoon Tea

What to wear to afternoon tea at the ritz?

The Ritz is perhaps the most famous afternoon tea in London and as such also has the strictest afternoon tea dress code. At the Ritz jeans are unacceptable and a jacket and tie is expected for men. 

What to wear to afternoon tea at the Savoy?

The afternoon tea dress code at the Savoy is smart casual.

What to wear to afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons?

Afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons does not enforce a dress code however most people who attend hight ea there do still dress up therefore we recommend still dressing smart casual. 

Are there less formal high teas?

Yes there are less formal afternoon teas in London. I would recommend doing one of the hotel teas such as the Ritz to get the paper full experience but if you don’t have time or can’t get a booking or simply want a less formal experience you could consider doing one of the afternoon tea buses which combines afternoon tea and a bus sightseeing tour


What to wear to Afternoon Tea

What to wear to Afternoon Tea

Can you wear jeans to afternoon tea in London?

This really depends on where you are having afternoon tea. Check with your venue before turning up in jeans and if jeans are acceptable be sure to wear smart casual ones. 

Can I wear a jumpsuit to afternoon tea?
Yes. A key to afternoon tea dress codes is being smart casual so if you have a smart casual jumpsuit this would definitely be acceptable high tea attire.
Do you have any other questions about London afternoon teas? Leave a comment and we can get back to you 


Saturday 31st of December 2022

I have plantar fasciitis. I wear birkenstocks or tennis shoes. My daughter and I are going to London and want to include tea at Dalloway Terrace. I'm nervous. I don't want to insult but I also don't want to have a flare up on a 10 day trip touring London, Edinburgh and Dublin for 10 days. Any advice?

Wandermust Daddy

Wednesday 4th of January 2023

Dalloway Terrace is different from other teas as this is outdoors and doesn't have a dress code like other locations therefore I would advise picking your shoe on weather primarily. I think either of these would be fine for this venue


Wednesday 20th of July 2022

Yes I have a question - can you give me an example of "smart casual" for an afternoon tea in September (late summer.)

Wandermust Daddy

Thursday 25th of August 2022

Hi Donna - where are you having afternoon tea ? It might affect my answer but I would for September usually go with a tea dress and cardigan with some flats or a smart pair of trousers and a nice blouse generally