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Timberyard tea room
© Jael Marschner

The best places to drink tea in London

Fancy a cuppa? You won’t go far wrong with our guide to the number of places that have got the art of tea-drinking down to a tee

By Steph Dye
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It’s hardly a secret that we Brits love a cup of tea. For those of you who strive for something slightly more original than your standard builder’s brew, we’ve put together a list of the best places to drink tea in London. These are places that have made tea-drinking an art, so whether you go mad for matcha or crazy for chai, these spots are worth seeking out. Prices are per pot, unless otherwise stated. Do you agree with our choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

The best places to drink tea in London

OrangePekoe_creditMichael Franke008.jpg
© Michael Franke

Orange Pekoe

Restaurants British Barnes

A yummy mummy hangout in Barnes, even the name of this tea room lends itself to the pursuit of good quality tea; referring to a highly refined grade of tea presented to Dutch royalty when it initially arrived in Europe. While the tea might be posh, the café sure isn’t – its informal vibe and low prices make for a friendly, warm atmosphere.

Tea from £3.90. 

Postcard Teas

Restaurants Tea rooms Mayfair

The first tea company in the entire world to deal exclusively with farms of under 15 acres. There’s no café as such at their HQ, but Postcard Tea’s ceramics store doubles as a tasting space and if you buy the tea, the tasting is on the house. Keep it real and try one of their ‘London Blends’, such as the Lemon Pekoe (basically an Earl Grey infused with lemon instead of bergamot).

Tea from £3.

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Afternoon tea in London, Sketch Gallery
Photograph: Sketch

Sketch

Restaurants Contemporary European Mayfair

A destination that quenches the hunger for exquisite design, just as their tea quenches the thirst. Using high-quality brand Jing Tea, the list of options is petite but thought-through. The playful, quirky surroundings and somewhat haughty staff all add to the unusual experience.

Tea from £4.50.

The Goring

Restaurants British Victoria

The Goring was recognised in 2013 as the home of the best afternoon tea in London by the UK tea guild. The extensive tea offering, flawless service and smart casual dress code are perfect for a special occasion (all of which is reflected in the prices). Tea is only available to drink as part of the afternoon tea package, so make the most of it and enjoy the ‘Dragon Well’ green tea, which is picked just once a year before the Quing Ming Lunar festival.

£42.50 as part of an afternoon tea for one. 

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The Original Maids of Honour

Restaurants Kew

Taking its name from one of Henry VIII’s favourite cakes, this small bakery has managed to keep running for over 120 years – for that reason, expect a tearoom akin to your great aunt’s front room. If that’s your thing, you’ll probably also enjoy the cheap and cheerful vibe, with friendly service and bottomless tea.

Tea from £3. 

The Savoy

Restaurants British Strand

One of the biggest names on the city’s tea-drinking scene, the Thames Foyer of the Savoy is dominated by a huge, ornamental birdcage, which epitomises the early-twentieth-century feel. The tea menu is large, but for the full regal experience check out the ‘Oriental Beauty’, an oolong blend that’s reportedly one of the Queen’s favourites.

Tea from £6.50. 

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The Tea Rooms

Shopping Vintage shops Brick Lane

Pale colour schemes, floral prints and mismatched china are the uniform of the vintage, high-street tearoom and this small café in Stoke Newington upholds this aesthetic with pride. This is no bad thing; the buzzy weekend vibe proves popular with locals and tea tourists alike. Tea selection is wide but sticks closely to black and green varieties.

Tea from £2.30.

Timberyard

Restaurants Coffeeshops Seven Dials

Set in the heart of theatreland, it’s no wonder that Timberyard puts on a show with its tea. Served with an egg timer and a recommended brewing time, the staff make it clear that they want you to have the best brewing experience possible. It may all be a little hipsterific – the ‘reverse osmosis’ water and laptop-toting clientele don’t help – but it’s easy to forget all that when the tea is this good.

Tea from £3. 

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Urban Tea Rooms

Restaurants Cafés Soho

The pursuit of great tea here is truly admirable. All tea is hand-sourced and blended and the take-away tea sacks are even hand-sewn. While the selection is strong, you won’t find anything hugely adventurous, although it’s worth splashing out on an English strawberry infusion. The interior is basically your standard hipster café joint, with lots of exposed brick, low-lighting and unvarnished wood.

Tea from £1.90. 

Yumchaa

Restaurants Tea rooms Primrose Hill

The seriousness with which these guys take their tea can be seen in their name, which means ‘drink tea’ in Cantonese. They only use loose-leaf tea in order to ensure freshness and while the cafés (two in Soho, two in Camden, one in King’s Cross) are relatively basic, the large range of teas, free wifi and friendly staff should make you feel at home. Be brave and try their ‘pu erh’ tea, a fermented tea which, when processed badly, takes on the smell of squid or smelly feet.

Tea from £2.55. 

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