Whether it's the traditional sandwich and scone combination or a more decadent and unique long ladies lunch, we've sought out the top high teas in Sydney just for you.
High tea – it's an English tradition that conjures up images of ladies in gowns, pinkies in the air, the tiniest and most fragile of teacups and Kirsten Dunst in a high-mop wig. Don't deny it, the image crossed your mind too.
From the most lavish venues where you won't feel remiss in dressing like a lady to your budget-friendly three tiers of scones and sandwiches, we've cherry picked your best options for your high tea style. Try one, try them all. We've tried quite a few (and we've included our thoughts on them below, too!)
Psst – don't forget to check out our high tea coupon codes and deals section to see how you can save on your next high tea adventure!
Here’s a round-up of the best options.
Best for decadence: The Langham from Open Table
Set within the walls of the esteemed Langham Hotel, whether you're popping the question or celebrating large, this is the place to splash the cash at. Sittings are available daily with the option for a glass of Perrier-Jouet Champagne or Perrier-Jouet Rose Champagne to accompany your three-tiers of dessert delight.
- Location: 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
- Options: Afternoon Tea with glass of Perrier-Jouet Champagne (from $90pp) or with a glass of Perrier-Jouet Rose Champagne (from $100pp).
- Tea times: 12pm-5pm, daily
- What we love about this place: It's the kind of place you dream of staying in but can't afford, so the next best thing is to dine surrounded by 5-star quality.
Best for business meetings or date night: The Gallery from Open Table
For something excessively indulgent and undeniably opulent yours has to be the high tea experience with bubbles at Sheraton on the Park. It's a true crowd pleaser located in the heart of the city where smart casual attire is a must. As is the option for tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
- Location: The Gallery Tea Lounge, Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth St, Sydney
- Options: High tea experience with bubbles ($59pp), weekend high tea buffet ($59pp).
- Tea times: Monday - Friday 12:00pm
- What we love about this place: It's accessible and suave, making it the ideal location to woo your clients or your date.
Best for budgets: Passiontree Velvet from Open Table
There aren't too many chains that serve high tea in Sydney but one of the best is Passiontree Velvet. Located in Macquarie, Balgowlah, Broadway and Castle Towers its high teas are a brilliant display of colour and craft that won't see you overspend the budget with options from $9.95 to $38.95 per person available.
- Location: Macquarie, Balgowlah, Broadway, Castle Towers
- Options: Devonshire cream tea ($13.50), the duchess full high tea ($34.95), macaron high tea ($38.95) and teddy bears picnic ($9.95 - for the kids).
- Tea times: Varies depending on opening hours of store
- What we love about this place: It's super accessible and casual, being located within shopping centres, so you don't have to go out of your way to dress up for it.
Best for big eaters: The Cortile from Open Table
If you're afraid a high tea miniature desserts and finger foods won't satisfy, The Cortile offers a weekend buffet high tea that doesn't judge you for returning with your plates for seconds, thirds or fourths. From macarons to praline cakes, buttermilk vanilla scones to goat cheese arancini balls, there's enough here also to satisfy every tastebud.
- Location: 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney
- Options: High tea ($62pp), high coffee ($75pp, weekends only), weekend high tea buffet ($68pp)
- Tea times: 11am-4pm weekdays, 1pm-4:30pm weekends
- What we love about this place:It challenges the norm by giving coffee lovers a chance to indulge in their beverage of choice and couples the chance to bring their other half along without having to send them to Maccas to fill up afterwards.
Best for quirk: Stillery at InterContinental Sydney Double Bay from Open Table
You'll need to return a few times to test the high tea options at Stillery, which become exponentially more intriguing as you run down the list. Sure, there's your standard signature high tea but you've also got a chocolate high tea and the most interesting of all: oriental high tea. Stick around and book a tea reading while you're there. You never know what the future might hold.
- Location: 33 Cross Street, Sydney
- Options:Signature high tea ($69pp), oriental high tea ($69pp), children's high tea ($25pp), chocolate high tea ($59pp)
- Tea times: 11am-4pm daily
- What we love about this place: It proves that tea doesn't have to be paired with dessert. Sure, the oriental high tea might look more like yum cha, but we're buying into the novelty and are keen to see what it comes up with next.
Best traditional high tea: No.1 William from RedBalloon
It's not fancy and it's not schmancy but it's as stock-standard and traditional as it gets - and at $35 per person, it's right on the money mark especially when you consider the views over Hyde Park. Your meal includes ribbon finger sandwiches, sweet pastries, scones and your choice of tea or coffee.
- Location: Level 4, No. 1 William Street, Sydney
- Options: High tea ($35pp)
- Tea times: 10-11:30am, 2-3:30pm, daily
- What we love about this place: It's located on the rooftop of the Australian Museum so you can tuck in before or after exploring the venue.
Best for views: Gunners' Barracks Sparkling High Tea from RedBalloon
There's so much competition for high teas with views but Gunners' Barracks wins our vote for its sweeping 180 degree views of the harbour and it's million dollar location. The offerings might be standard but the view is definitely not.
- Location: End of Suakin Drive, Georges Heights
- Options: Morning tea ($35pp), traditional afternoon tea ($50pp), children's traditional afternoon tea ($35pp), sparkling afternoon tea ($65pp), champagne afternoon tea ($70pp).
- Tea times: From 10am, daily
- What we love about this place: Surrounded by bushland with impressive views over the harbour, iti's difficult not to want to steal away to Gunners Barracks for any meal or occasion.
Best for Western Sydney: Atura Hotel from RedBalloon
Sydney is not purely confined to the city and if you're closer to the west than the CBD you have high tea options that tick all the boxes. At Atura, the theme is hip and retro with trays made of vinyls, tea sets that scream "hippy" and Roadside diner-inspired treats such as cheeseburgers.
- Location: 32 Cricketers Arms Road, Prospect
- Options: Hip high tea ($45pp)
- Tea times: Saturday 12-2:30pm
- What we love about this place: It's down to earth and fun. Wear your best rock "n" roll frock and go with it!
Best for events and parties: Embellish Atelier from RedBalloon
Hens party, birthday party, team building workshop or fun weekend activity, whichever you're after Embellish Atelier gives you the chance to learn millinery skills while indulging in a high tea with its Hats and High Tea events.
- Location: 128 Victoria Road, Rozelle
- Options: Hats and High Tea ($198 for two people)
- Tea times: Wednesday-Saturday upon request
- What we love about this place: More than a meal Embellish Atelier offers an experience and the chance to come home with a unique creation.
Best for visitors: Captain Cook Cruises from Experience Oz
Pair a tour of the city by boat with a decadent afternoon tea for the ultimate taster of Sydney's icons. Captain Cook Cruises is one of the biggest names in the business and features daily sailings and traditional high tea fare.
- Location: Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour
- Options: Sydney Harbour high tea cruise ($65pp)
- Tea times: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday 2:30pm-2:45pm
- What we love about this place: It takes you on a relaxing 1 hour 15 minute cruise to see the sights with a high tea that features Australian favourites such as Crystal Bay prawns and Brown Brothers sparkling.
Best for themed high teas: The Westin
If you're a high tea connoisseur, then you've heard of – nay – you've experienced this before: an Alice in Wonderland inspired high tea that’s guaranteed to have you tumbling down the rabbit hole in glee.
Fanciful and fun doesn’t even begin to describe the experience of one of The Westin’s Mad Hatter offerings. These offerings include A Mad Tea Party (served with bottomless tea or coffee), The Modern Twist (comes with a SuperFoodsRX Cocktail) and Ruinart’s Afternoon Tea (with a flute of "R" de Ruinart Champagne).
All that's left for you to decide is how far down you'd like to tumble.
Location: 1 Martin Pl, Sydney.
Options: A Mad Tea Party ($54pp), Down The Rabbit Hole ($64pp, includes cocktail), Ruinart's Queen of Heart's ($74pp, includes Champagne). Non-themed afternoon teas are also available for the same price.
Tea times: Daily 12pm-6pm.
What we love about this place: It's fancy, housed within a beautiful heritage building and doesn't deny you the chance to dress up as Alice in Wonderland. In fact, it encourages it!
Best for atmosphere: The Tea Room, QVB
This one's strictly for queens and princesses seeking a traditional high tea in the grandest of settings.
Located on the top floor of the Queen Victoria Building, The Tea Room offers one of Sydney's most established and esteemed high tea services and plates up its finger sandwiches and homemade scones on authentic Royal Albert china.
All its teas and tisanes are of the high-quality single-estate loose-leaf variety and are imported from China, India, Japan, Sri-Lanka, Taiwan and Africa. You've pages of options, so choose wisely.
Location: Level 3, North End, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney.
Options: Morning tea ($35pp), children's high tea ($35pp), traditional high tea ($50pp), sparkling high tea ($55pp), cocktail high tea ($65pp), champagne high tea ($70pp).
Tea times: Daily 10am-close.
What we love about this place: It feels as though we've stepped back in time and space to Elizabethan spaces in London where ladies of class dressed up and lunched for hours.
Best for a change of scenery: Vaucluse House Tea Rooms
How better to experience high tea than on the beautiful colonial estate of Vaucluse House? Its dedicated tea rooms boast views overlooking the 10 hectares of gardens that stretch all the way down to the banks of Sydney Harbour.
Dating back to the 1830s, this sandstone estate is a quiet oasis away from the busy city life. The Tea Rooms' High Tea is a tour through English dining history, offering scones with berry preserve and clotted cream and chicken and tarragon Harry's Bar sandwiches.
Location: Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse.
Options: High tea ($55pp).
Tea times: Wednesday to Friday 10am-4pm, Weekends 8am-4pm.
What we love about this place: It's the ultimate summer dining venue with well-groomed gardens you can sit in and while the day (or afternoon) away in.
Best for culture vultures: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth
Every visit to the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth is a unique one as its themes change according to the arts and entertainment scene. For example, during the Archibald Prize, bespoke high teas come complete with live performances by the Australian Youth Orchestra and ticket to the exhibition.
Location: 61-101 Phillip St, Sydney.
Options: Archibald high tea ($69pp), Archibald Gala high tea ($109pp), Evita high tea ($69pp).
Tea times: Subject to availability. Contact the restaurant for details.
What we love about this place: It supports the arts, hosting exclusive Archibald Prize events as well as musical-themed menus to coincide with current productions.
Best for chocolate lovers: Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La
And finally: the high tea dark horse. The Shangri-La often gets overlooked as a high tea destination.
Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t always put its hand up for events such as Good Food Month’s Ultimate High Tea, but it should not be discounted – have you seen this hotel’s dessert bar?!
While high tea isn't on the list, afternoon tea is in a multitude of forms. There's your standard afternoon tea with live music offerings and then there's the Shangri-La’s signature Wickedly Sweet Chocolate Afternoon Tea experience. You know which one we're opting for.
Location: 176 Cumberland St, The Rocks.
Options: Chocolate high tea ($48pp), traditional high tea ($55pp).
Tea times: Daily 11:30am and 6pm.
What we love about this place: It has a chocolate high tea. Need we say more? Oh, and the desserts at Shangri-La are the genius of none other than Anna Polyviou.