Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea in London

The British are known for afternoon tea, so going for tea in England is a must-do if you’re visiting the country. If you’re lucky enough to be spending time in London, there are plenty of lovely afternoon teas to choose from, spanning from traditional to fun interpretations. 

One of my favorite interpretations is the Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at The Sanderson hotel.

The Sanderson offers a Mad Hatter afternoon tea, as well as tipsy evening tea, and I’ve been to and enjoyed both. I enjoyed the evening tea a bit more, but I suspect that’s because it combined two things I enjoy: cocktails and desserts.

At both teas, your experience begins in the garden, which is gorgeous, with menus hidden inside vintage books.


At the afternoon tea, the tea options are based on characters, and you’re asked to choose a tea by sniffing mini bottles. If you’re a traditionalist, there are also standard tea options- like breakfast available. You also have the option of ordering a cocktail from the drink menu or glass of prosecco.


Once you choose a tea, it’s delivered in a teapot adorned with a king or queen, and topped with a paper crown. Our waiter also set a pink musical box on the table, which contained sugar cubes and a twirling fairy that danced to Somewhere Over the Rainbow.


In the evening, you start with a mini cocktail flight- Kir Royale, white wine and red fruit punch, Kamm & Sons ginseng with orange and elderflower tonic water, and a mini martini.


The savory bites are the same whether afternoon or evening: smoked salmon Scotch quails egg with caviar and cream cheese, stack of King of Hearts ham and parmesan croque-monsieurs, cornish crab bridge roll with dill, lemon, creme fraiche and avocado, and a White Rabbit cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on pesto bread. 


In the afternoon, you’re served scones with an assortment of jams and clotted cream. Whereas in the evening, the scones are on the savory side- flavored with whole seed mustard and mozzarella, & served with herb butter.

The sweets are also similar from day to night, although, there are a few changes-

Afternoon sweets:

  • Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodger
  • Mocha chessboard gateau
  • Tweedle Dee lemon curd financier
  • Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon
  • Chocolate and pistachio Blue Caterpillar
  • Wonderland marshmallow magic mushrooms
  • Mad Hatters lost carrot and fennel meringue
  • Alice’s cinnamon, apple and peach “Drink Me” potion

Evening sweets:

  • White chocolate Pear Williams truffle

  • Dark chocolate and rum chessboard gateau

  • Tweedle Dee lemon and Limoncello curd financier

  • Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon
  • Wonderland marshmallow magic mushrooms

  • Mad Hatters lost carrot and fennel meringue
  • Alice’s naughty orange and Cointreau “Drink Me” potion


The main difference? The evening sweets are alcohol infused :).

At both teas, I particularly enjoyed the lemon financier, vanilla macaroon, magic marshmallows and chocolate gateau. This tea is one of my favorites because there’s a good balance of sweet flavor profiles- citrus, chocolate, some rich, some light.


The whole experience is whimsical, like a journey back to childhood. However, I found both the afternoon and evening teas a tad pricier- £10-15 per person more than I’m used to in London.

All in all, the tumble down the rabbit hole was worth it both times. And, The Sanderson takes reservations so you needn’t worry about getting a table.


Have you ever been to a themed tea you enjoyed? Any can’t miss teas I should experience while I live in London?

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