Tea is truly a central part to the English identity and there is no shortage of relaxing tea shops throughout London to take a break from your busy day or an afternoon of sightseeing. The tradition of afternoon tea began in the early 19th century and high tea, afternoon tea and cream tea is still commonplace throughout the city. Once you’ve booked Gatwick car hire and scheduled your list of things to see and do, don’t forget to check out a couple of these tea shops in Central London to experience what this city really has to offer the zen traveler.
202 Cafe London
This small organic restaurant is a favorite with the locals and sits among the fashion shops of Westbourne Grove. Along with a comfortable setting, this modern cafe has a very light aqua theme with open spaces and a great selection of tea to try, from the tried and true chamomile to the popular Pomegranate Oolong tea. One of the most popular options is their Rooibos Chai tea, a black herbal tea with no caffeine and a slight reddish color from the cloves cinnamon and rooibos.
While the Orangery definitely seems to appeal more to tourists and sits near the Kensington Palace Gardens, it’s absolutely worth your time. The Orangery is actually a 300-year-old green house that was converted into a tea house years ago. You’ll feel like you’re really sitting with royalty here surrounded by female statues and high stone ceilings. This formal tea house also has a wide range of teas from England, including the Tregothnan Afternoon Tea. They do not serve bagged teas and this is really one of the best places to go for authentic English tea time.
The Wolseley is a flashy cafe complete with a trendy black color scheme and chandeliers and a nice stop if you want something a bit different. While you’re here, be sure to try their Assam tea, an Indian tea with a truly bold flavor. If you love tea, make the trip just for this. They also offer a nice variety of teas from China, such as the smoky and woody Lapsang Souchong tea.
Drury Tea & Coffee Co
Drury is a family-owned business and has been a part of London for over 75 years. They have more than 100 varieties of tea available and use their own tea tasters to ensure everything is blended to their high standards. They have friendly staff who can help you choose something new with a gift shop so you can take some of your favorites home as well.
Whittard of Chelsea was established in 1886 and now has branches throughout London. They have one of the largest selections of tea and blend and infuse them in-house. They have the classic teas you expect as well as some very rare teas. While it is a chain shop, they still don’t sacrifice quality and it’s always a relaxing experience to browse their selection and try something new when you have the chance.