From loose-leaf tea bars to afternoon teas with a twist – these are London’s best boutique tea rooms for the next time you feel like a flavoursome brew.
Good & Proper Tea, Old Street
With individual jars of loose-leaf loveliness, this twee tear bar has the ability to charm even the most committed coffee drinker. Good & Proper Tea is all about bringing handpicked, single origin tea to a coffee-crazed capital. This crowd-funded tea bar was the first in the country to feature a Steampunk brewer – a kind of ‘futuristic kettle’ that lets you customise brewing time, temperature and agitation level.
G&P baristas will happily talk for hours on crafting the perfect cuppa in their high-tech kettle, which is just as well because after one bite of their homemade sourdough crumpets, we didn’t want to leave.
Can’t get down to the shop? You can buy their teas on the Good & Proper website:
Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Filled with shelf upon shelf of fine tea, Fortnum & Mason is any tea lover’s safe haven. The luxury department store has been selling Britain’s favourite beverage for nearly 300 years, and played a major role in the introduction of tea. The Diamond Jubilee Afternoon Tea gives you the chance to enjoy their famous tea blends in a sublime tea salon setting, which was originally opened by the Queen.
There are no less than 79 teas to tempt you, from traditional to rare, black to Oolong, and everything in between. Afternoon tea includes traditional finger sandwiches, like the Rare Breed Hen’s Egg and classic Coronation Chicken, as well as cream-filled pastries, chewy macaroons and more.
Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Room, Brook Green
Perfect for birthdays, hen parties and girly get-togethers, Betty Blythe’s tea room serves 1920s afternoon tea in a charming vintage setting. It’s the ultimate grown-up tea party with Great Gatsby attire ready for you to try on. The tea room is hidden away from prying eyes, so you’re free to dig into the dress-up boxes and experiment with the feathers, fascinators and fringed flapper-wear.
Their Roaring Twenties-inspired afternoon tea includes a delightful selection of sandwiches, canapés, scones and sweet treats, all served on dainty vintage dinnerware.
Lord’s Cricket Ground, St John’s Wood
Perfect for cricket and tea fans alike, afternoon tea at Lord’s is a simply unmissable occasion. Steeped in sporting history, the Lord’s Long Room transforms into a sophisticated tea spot several times a year. High ornate ceilings, hanging chandeliers and large windows overlooking the outfield provide the perfect setting for a majestic afternoon of tea tasting.
The afternoon tea (with unlimited refills) includes flavoursome finger sandwiches, crumbly scones and dainty pastries from the Lord’s pâtissier – as well as a long and indulgent loose-leaf tea list. Afternoon tea also includes a guided tour of the Pavilion and MCC Museum. So you’ll get a glance at where the players prepare for the pitch and, as history tells, where they once enjoyed a tea or two.
In 1706, Tom Twining became one of the first to sell tea from his now world-famous store. Shortly after, tea became England’s most sought-after luxury and in 1837, Queen Victoria labelled Twinings her official supplier of tea. Nearly 200 years later and that same store still stands – filled with an abundance of tea-based artifacts.
As well as its mini tea museum, the Twinings store includes a Loose Tea Bar where you’re free to sample their hundreds of unique blends. Each tea has its own story and history, which the store’s tea masters will happily guide you through.
The Drawing Room, Flemings Mayfair
Hidden in the heart of Mayfair, Flemings hotel serves fine afternoon tea from its glamorous Georgian Drawing Room. This secret tea haven in one of London’s oldest and most historical hotels, is a great alternative to the large-scale grandeur of the Savoy or the Ritz. Their afternoon tea includes possibly the most influential tea brand in the world: The East India Tea Company. From traditional tipples to something more exotic, the seasonal teas are chosen by the hotel manager, who regards tea drinking as serious business.
Afternoon tea in the Drawing Room is a classy, yet cosy affair, with velvet banquettes and a hand-painted wall depicting a traditional Indian setting. There are four, afternoon teas to choose from, including the Ruinart Rosé Afternoon Tea which comes with a fabulously fruity half bottle of Ruinart Champagne. It was the perfect accompaniment to the creamy pistachio macaroons and rich, multi-layered chocolate mousses that we just couldn’t get enough of.
Eteaket Tea Club
Now you can get the perfect cuppa delivered to your door thanks to Eteaket’s Tea Club. The concept is simple: once a month, Eteaket’s loose-leaf tea experts will post you a beautifully packed box of tea from their award-winning collection. All teas are carefully sourced from as far away as China, India and Japan, and your monthly delivery does include enough tea to make upto 40 pots in a month.