It’s no secret that we love tea in Britain, read our guide to the top 10 places to savour a cup of English tea, from grand hotels to quirky tea shops.
People queue for hours to get into Bettys,which has six tea rooms across Yorkshire. Served on a traditional silver cake stand, by waitresses in period costume, Bettys takes you back to an era of sophistication. Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms was founded in Harrogate in 1919 by Frederick Belmont who immigrated to England from Switzerland.
The Orangery at The Fan Museum, Greenwich, London
Take afternoon tea after a spin around the Fan Museum, home to around 3,500 fans dating from the 11th century. Tea is served in the Orangery, which exudes an enchanting atmosphere, with its beautifully detailed murals. Overlooking a ‘secret’ Japanese-style garden, it offers the perfect space to unwind over delicious teas, which have garnered much praise. It’s also great value for money.
Head up to the North Yorkshire coast and, at the historic port of Whitby, with its cobbled streets and ruined clifftop abbey, you’ll find Botham’s, founded in 1865 by Elizabeth Botham and still run today by her great-grandchildren. It has a delightful ‘olde-worlde’ atmosphere, with waitresses wearing white aprons, and the cakes and pastries are made from original Victorian recipes.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
The St Pancras Renaissance London hotel is a luxury hotel in London, uniting Victorian splendour with contemporary style and service, where you can sup on bespoke loose-leaf tea that is brewed to perfection in the Gothic bar area, all washed down with a cocktail or two.
The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny
Abergavenny’s Angel Hotel regularly wins awards for its top-tier afternoon tea. Freshly baked scones, cakes and pastries from local specialist baker Sally Lane are served in the charming Wedgewood room.
Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire
The tradition of afternoon tea is said to have been invented by the 7th Duke of Bedford’s wife, Duchess Anna Maria, a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria, in the 1830s/40s. Anna Maria is believed to have ordered the sweet and savoury treats be served to guests at Woburn Abbey to stave off the hunger between luncheon and dinner time. Emulate the duchess’s style in Woburn Abbey’s Duchess’ Tea Room.
Badgers Tea House, Alfriston
Alfriston is home to the National Trust’s first property, the Clergy House, and Badgers Tea House is housed in a former bakery just off the Market Square. All of the cakes and scones are baked daily, and you can take tea in the walled garden, if the weather allows.
Fortnum & Mason, London
Her Majesty The Queen, along with the Duchess of Cambridge, opened the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason in 2012. With more than 80 teas on offer amid one of the most elegant spots in London, sipping a cuppa here is an unforgettable experience.
Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
This traditional English-style tea room, with an array of food and beverages, has to be seen to be believed. The decor is a nod towards a Tim Burton film, while chefs create unique specialities alongside traditional favourites too.
Brown’s Hotel, London
The English Tea Room at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, London, is famed for the quality of its tea service. James Brown established his hotel for ‘genteel’ folk in 1837 and Agatha Christie later wrote At Bertram’s Hotel here, no doubt enjoying afternoon tea in The English Tea Room. It would be rude not to follow suit.
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