London’s quaintest establishments and charming tea rooms in which to celebrate Britain’s most time-honoured tradition
Words Helen Brown
We Brits love a good cuppa so it should come as no surprise to hear that it has its own national day of celebration. April 21 marks National Tea Day where it’s wholly encouraged to drink as much of the stuff as you possibly can. We’ve rounded up some of the finest London tea rooms where you can do just that.
Highness Café and Tea Room
Highness Café is one of Islington’s many little gems. It’s warm, cosy interior seems a world away from the busyness of Highbury Park outside. It’s a mass of mismatched wooden chairs and maintains a simplistic, rustic atmosphere. The place boasts an excellent selection of baked treats, as well as an in depth menu of loose leaf tea. Look out for the more unusual concoctions such as orange and orange peel.
Yumchaa holds one of the largest selections of loose leaf teas in London. It an edgier and more modern representation of Britain’s quintessential tea rooms. Here you’ll find young professionals whiling away afternoons with a book or laptop. Or else catching up with friends. Try before you buy by taking a whiff of each tea from the cute counter-top teapots. Aside from the classics, Yumchaa offers an array of unusual combinations. There are fruits, flowers, herbs and spices, all with delightful names like ‘Wanderlust’. For a tea that packs a serious punch, go for the ‘Chilli Chilli Bang Bang’. And if you can’t get enough of your chosen tea, each is available to purchase in sweet little bags to take home.
Beas of Bloomsbury
Renowned for its literary heritage and easy-going pace, Bloomsbury lends itself perfectly to a tearoom or two. Here you’ll find Beas cafe – the perfect place to indulge in a novel and an afternoon tea. Bea used to be Nobu’s pastry chef so you can expect the best. Full afternoon tea on weekends includes cakes, meringues, brownies and blondies.
Tea and Tattle
It’s a tiny little place hidden away from passers by in the basement of an independent bookshop. It’s an incredibly charming little gem, offering respite from the bustle of Bloomsbury. Even better, a full afternoon tea comes in at a purse-friendly £15 per person.
Urban Tea Rooms
The Urban Tea Rooms is another venue putting a modern twist on this oldest tradition. Its sits just off bustling Regent’s Street and offers a generous range of teas and local British produce. There is an outdoor terrace too, ideal now that the weather is warmer.
Teanamu Chaya Teahouse
The tea rituals of China and Japan are fiercely observed at Teanamu. This tearoom invites you to mix bespoke fusions in an afternoon tea with an oriental lean. While you’re there, feast on dim sum and sesame cookies. A pleasing antidote to cucumber sandwiches.