Taking tea is a quintessentially British institution, and nowhere offers a more dizzying array of different choices for "a cuppa" than the capital. Venture into the best tea rooms and tea shops in London to sample everything from cream teas to tea-inspired cocktails.
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
The essence of stylish, refined Britishness, Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was opened by none other than the Queen herself. This tea room is a perfect spot for a civilised break, away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly. Make sure to enjoy a tea tasting offered by Fortnum’s expert "Tearistas" before you savour a full afternoon tea.
Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms
Try high tea at the elegant Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms, where they serve unusual brews such as Rooibos Tiramisu and Lavender Dream supplied by tea specialist Newby Teas. Located in Oxford Street, the team invites you to match your tea with scones or a full afternoon tea, which you can compose yourself from numerous sweet and savoury options. Book afternoon tea at Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms.
Located a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace, the opulent Edwardian The Goring hotel will not disappoint those in search of a special high tea or afternoon tea London experience. You can enjoy your time underneath Swarovski crystal chandeliers, or al fresco beneath the open skies on the garden bar and terrace. Book afternoon tea at The Goring.
Mint Gun Club
Widen your tea-sipping taste buds at the Mint Gun Club in Stoke Newington, where the tea menu is no less than eight pages long. Explore teas from all over the world, with various colours and scents to discover. Try the rotating club blends, such as chocolate and pineapple mint, or the popular Milk Oolong. If you find yourself still there in the evening, this neighbourhood spot is also an aperitivo bar.
Tea and Tattle
Take in some culture with your food at Tea and Tattle in Bloomsbury where you can enjoy one of the best tea rooms in London before you wander into the adjoining Oriental and African bookseller, Arthur Probsthain. Opt for simple cream tea with scones, clotted cream and your choice of jams, including the recommended strawberry and black pepper variety, or enjoy a full afternoon tea with sandwiches and cakes as well.
Candella Tea Room
Experience a touch of class at the elegant Candella Tea Room in Kensington. Sample more than 50 teas and delicious light food choices in a cosy environment. This is your chance to try Lakrysiew, Palm Paradise, Morrocan Mint or something more traditional, like Lavender Earl Grey.
The Teahouse at Petersham Nurseries
Relax amid the greenery in south west London with tea and cake at the charming Teahouse at Petersham Nurseries. Pair your selection from the numerous loose teas on offer with a salad, soup or baked treats in the light-filled glasshouse, before browsing the quaint nursery which is crammed full of all sorts of green-fingered goodies. Afterwards, work off any sweet treats with a stroll along the river or across Petersham Meadows to nearby Richmond.
Twinings - 216 Strand
An essential stop for any true tea lover, Twinings on the Strand is the best place to not only sample world-class tea in London, but learn a little about its history too. Visit the oldest shop in the City of Westminster to have a look around the charming in-house museum, before sampling some truly delicious Twinings blends at the Loose Tea Bar.
Tea House Theatre
One of Vauxhall’s quirkiest hidden treasures, the Tea House Theatre is located in a cosy Victorian pub, where the antique furniture is endearingly mismatched and the teapots come wrapped in hand-knitted cosies. It serves a selection of loose leaf teas, cakes and full English breakfasts alongside evening theatre performances, open mic nights, ballroom dancing classes and even a weekly knitting club.
In Cantonese, Yumchaa means “drink tea”; while in English slang, it translates as “tasty tea” – which is exactly what this pleasantly relaxed tea house on Berwick Street in Soho delivers. The enormous selection of aromatic teas is almost a little overwhelming, so the friendly staff encourage you to smell before you buy if you’re having trouble deciding – nonetheless, you’re sure to make multiple return visits to sample the ones you missed!
Drink Shop Do
If you’re the type who’d prefer to squeeze some fun crafts and activities into your teatime break, then Drink Shop Do near King's Cross Station is the place for you. On top of its menu of afternoon teas, it offers a number of different classes and workshops ranging from jewellery-making to vintage make-up tutorials.
Urban Tea Rooms
Tucked away in St James's Market in St James's, Urban Tea Rooms is one of London’s trendier tea rooms. Peruse its choice of delicious loose leaf tea blends, or opt instead for a tea-infused cocktail. Make sure to browse the mouth-watering savoury menu, from which almost all options are British-sourced, organic and free-range.
Soho Secret Tea Room
If you prefer to take your tea with fine bone china, vintage decor and 1940’s swing and jazz crackling from a retro gramophone, then Soho’s Secret Tea Room is the tea room for you. Located not-so-secretly above the Coach & Horses pub in Soho, a dizzying array of different sponges, scones and fairy cakes await, alongside 16 different loose leaf teas and champagne by the glass.