Afternoon tea in Croydon gives Knightsbridge a run for its money

By - Friday 3rd October, 2014

Danielle Lowe indulges herself in a truly English tradition – the Croydon way

Plates of sandwiches and cake at the Croydon Park Hotel

Stacks of gorgeous delights at the Croydon Park Hotel.
Photo author’s own.

Originally for those of the highest social classes, afternoon tea was created as a sophisticated way to gather with acquaintances over expensive teas and fancy desserts and to see and be seen in the ritziest establishments and department stores of London.

You surely can’t get more socially exclusive than Harrods, and a couple of months ago I took my mum there for tea as a late Mother’s Day gift. It was absolutely fantastic. We were treated like royalty and presented with desserts that had little bits of edible gold leaf on. They even trusted us with the finest of china. It was a truly memorable and unique experience.

If you look at a Knightsbridge price tag then you probably can’t afford it – and our tea set us back £29 per person. (If we’d fancied a splash of alcohol, it would have been £36). It is perhaps worth reserving for the most special of occasions.

This got me thinking about classy treats closer to home. So how does afternoon tea in Croydon compare?

For £17 per person you can get all sticky-fingered

Turns out that down our way, anybody can enjoy the spectacular experience of afternoon tea in a wide variety of places at accessible prices – and they’re not just for people in touch with their feminine side. Some places even do more substantial – dare I say ‘manly?’ – afternoon teas.

There are plenty of places providing things you can get your teeth stuck into without feeling the requirement to hold your little finger out and slowly nibble the food – and one of these is Croydon Park Hotel on Altyre Road, just a five minute walk from East Croydon station.

Strawberries, macaroons and a jar of fruity creamy joy.

Extra little sweet treats provided with the pink afternoon tea.
Photo author’s own.

As I discovered on a recent afternoon of indulgence, for £17 per person you can get all sticky-fingered by enjoying a pink themed afternoon tea that includes a glass of pink bubbly, pink iced scones and a lot of strawberry-based bites. That’s along with a variety of sandwiches, scones with more than enough jam and cream and a wide variety of cakes and pastries. We had so much we had to ask the waiter if we could have a bag for the leftover macaroon, swiss roll slice and blueberry and custard tart.

The traditional afternoon tea at Croydon Park, priced at £15, comes with scrumptious finger sandwiches, fruit-filled scones and ravishingly sweet desserts with a variety of drinks. Best of all, each person’s tea pot contained an impressive four cups of your choice of tea or coffee.

And it’s not all girly – they offer teas with mini burgers around Father’s Day. (A man-tea, perhaps?) I’ve definitely put that one on my to-do list.

The music was quiet but helped add to the ambience, and whilst conversations were happening on tables around us, these weren’t too overpowering to stop us talking amongst ourselves. We felt truly pampered. SW1 – nibble your heart out!

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you give afternoon tea, CR0 style, a try. To attend an afternoon tea at the Croydon Park Hotel, book at least 24 hours in advance. You can get the details here from or by ringing 020 8680 9200. To find other local afternoon tea options you can click here.

Danielle Lowe

Danielle is a student at City University London and fascinated by all things food, culture, politics and sport. You can often find her in the food and drink section of Croydon Central Library. Lived in Croydon since August 2014. Find her on twitter @DanniiLowe.

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  • Anne Giles

    We used to take my mother out for afternoon tea on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, I am wheat free, cream free and caffeine free. Sounds lovely though!

    • Danielle Lowe

      Sounds like a foodies nightmare! I’m sure if you contacted them enough in advance they might be able to arrange something for you.

  • Andrew Dickinson

    Hi Danielle. Welcome to Croydon and thank you for the advice..

    • Danielle Lowe

      Hi Andrew. Thanks for the welcome, much appreciated.

  • Anne Giles

    Best place I ever went to was Alexandra House in Turners Hill.

    • Danielle Lowe

      I’ll look into it. Thanks for the advice Anne, much appreciated.

  • Adrian Winchester

    Sounds great – please considering turning this into a series if you can manage any more afternoon teas!

    • Danielle Lowe

      I’ll be sure to see what I can do Adrian! Will certainly be on the look out for more places to try out.