Review: Christmas afternoon tea at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey afternoon tea, London

Book a festive treat with afternoon tea at Westminster Abbey for a real behind-the-scenes feel

Next time you visit London’s Westminster Abbey, why not bypass the crowds queuing outside the East entrance and enter through the much less known Dean’s Yard entrance?

Not only will this lead you under the 13th-century cloisters to the beautiful (and still rather secret) Abbey Gardens, but you can also stop off at the Cellarium Cafe & Terrace for afternoon tea in Westminster Abbey.

Afternoon Tea is served year-round and typically includes homemade raisin scones alongside a generous selection of handmade cakes, sandwiches and a pot of loose-leaf tea, for £17.50 (add a glass of Prosecco for £21.50).

However, for a really special treat, book in for the Christmas Afternoon Tea (available from 27 November to 31 December, £21.50/£25 with Prosecco), which includes a twist on the obligatory Coronation chicken sandwich with Norfolk turkey, alongside such inspired savoury delights as brussels sprout, melted onion and stilton tart.

For the sweets, prepare to feel very festive indeed with a mini mince pie with crumble topping and a gingerbread star with chocolate ganache.

For seating, choose between the modern terrace restaurant upstairs, which is flooded with natural light – in summer you can even sit outside and take in views of the Abbey as you eat – or downstairs in the historic Abbey cellars.

It’s not as fancy as some Afternoon Tea locations in the capital but it’s pretty special taking tea in a place whose history of hospitality stretches back centuries – the Abbey’s Benedictine monks kept their stores of food and drink here.

Unfortunately, though technically the cafe is inside the cathedral, you will have to buy an entrance ticket to look inside the abbey properly. Westminster Abbey tickets cost £20 per adult when booked online and they are well worth it – seeing the monument to the embattled sisters Queen Elizabeth I and Mary I with its poignant inscription ”Partners in throne and grave, here we sleep Elizabeth and Mary, sisters in [the] hope of the Resurrection“ is an unforgettable experience.

For a really insightful tour, book a verger-led tour of Westminster Abbey for an additional £5.