Top 10 Tea Rooms and Afternoon Tea


Here in Britain we take our tea seriously. Each day we sink 165 million cups of it. It’s our national drink – classless, timeless and tasty. But where to go? Join us for a teatime trip around Britain’s best places to savour a cup of the brown stuff.

Betty's tea room, Harrogate (c) James Cridland

Betty’s tea room, Harrogate (c) James Cridland


The Wolseley, London

Sitting sedately on grand London thoroughfare Piccadilly, The Wolseley was designed as an art deco car showroom in the early 1920s. These days it serves one of the best teas in London in a gorgeous space with high vaulted ceilings and striking black and gold décor. Order tea with scones, homemade jam and a selection of pastries in these imposing but surprisingly relaxed surroundings.

Bettys, Harrogate

Opened in 1919 by Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont, the sense of history at Bettys is matched only by the quality of the tea tasting experience. Before you go in, pause under the wrought iron canopy and take in the sumptuous seasonally changing window display. Select a brew from 50 teas and get stuck into a bewildering array of cakes, tarts, pastries and sandwiches.

Attic, Bristol

The Attic is chic, simple and sophisticated. The emphasis at this minimalist tea house is firmly on the quality of the tea, about which the management are passionate. You won’t find heaps of cakes or fussy decor, just clean lines, designer china and refreshing, expertly prepared tea.

The Tea Cosy, Brighton

Swathed in Royal paraphernalia, The Tea Cosy in Brighton brings you a choice of regal teas with names like the “Queen Mother 100th Birthday Memorial Cream Tea”. House rules include the prohibition of dunking biscuits and resting elbows on the table and recent patrons have included a drag Camilla Parker Bowles. Kitsch, camp and with its tongue firmly in its cheek, The Tea Cosy gives you a fabulous taste of what makes Brighton so fun.

Llangoed Hall, Mid Wales

This 17th-century hall deep within the Welsh countryside makes a great setting for afternoon tea. Try the Welsh Tea with traditional Welshcakes or go all out for the Full Afternoon Tea with homemade scones, sandwiches, biscuits, fruitcake and pastries. Llangoed Hall is a classy and historic setting for tea and they serve champagne if you fancy something a little stronger.

The Tea Cosy, Brighton (C) Wordridden

The Tea Cosy, Brighton (C) Wordridden

Time for Tea, London

One for fans of tea in times gone by, Time for Tea is a 1940s-themed tea shop in the East End of London. You’ll find an immaculately revamped 40s interior with bone china cups, vintage furniture and gently jazzy, retro tunes. They also run events and parties. Open Saturday and Sunday 1200-1900 for tea and cake.

Tchai-Ovna, Glasgow

Tucked down an alley in Glasgow’s leafy West End, Tchai-Ovna is a relaxed hangout with eclectic furnishings and dark, comfy corners. This ‘magic teashop’ serves 80 teas and flavoursome vegetarian food. Order a pot of Darjeeling First Flush (or similar), settle back and play board games, read a book and while away the day in a low-key, Bohemian atmosphere.

The Balmoral, Edinburgh

Take tea at the supremely elegant Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. Waiters in immaculate black, a harp plucking gently in the background, stands festooned with cakes brought to your table – it’s tea as it should be. Tea in the Bollinger Bar (the Palm Court) is traditional and very classy, the perfect way to end a day exploring Edinburgh’s elegant streets.

Leaf Tea Bar, Liverpool

This ‘punk’ tea bar pairs tea with late-night DJ sets, Wi-Fi and wine in a cool, modern space in Liverpool’s arty Elevator Building. It sells 24 loose-leaf teas and there are also tea tastings, live music and exhibitions. Head to the Leaf Tea Bar, stay all day and see it morph from relaxed daytime tea house to cool late-night club.

The Rose, Oxford

A sanctuary from Oxford’s busy streets The Rose prides itself on providing the very best – whether this means ingredients sourced from the local area or exotic teas from a little further afield. Who could resist a tea called Phoenix Pearl Dragon? The Classic Afternoon Tea arrives with organic smoked salmon and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches followed by homemade scones and cake.

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11 Responses to “Top 10 Tea Rooms and Afternoon Tea”

  1. Monica
    April 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I have missed a good old cup of English tea! I particularly like the cosy tea rooms around North Wales where you can have Welsh cakes and bottomless teapots!

  2. We are lucky to be near Bettys'
    April 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Guests staying with us at have the choice of going to visit Bettys’ in Northallerton.York or Harrogate. If they travel a bit further there is one in Ilkley too .They do the most amazing Easter eggs too and anyone living to far away can buy goodies on -line.

  3. Huw
    April 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny has been awarded The Tea Guild’s prestigious Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award 2011. Officially a great place for a spot of afternoon tea –

  4. Tim King
    April 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    How about the Rocke Cottage Tearooms at Clungunford in Shropshire recently named top place for tea in the UK by the Tea Council?

  5. Kris
    May 25, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Hi Pleasance,

    There are some great suggestions for places to enjoy a good cuppa. I am sure I contribute more than my fair share of the 165 million cups of the stuff each day.

    I wanted to comment because we are currently running a competition on our facebook page for all the British tea fans out there. (I hope you don’t mind the shameless plug). We have chosen two very individual tea pots to put in our hotels individual rooms and are asking which teapot people prefer? Let us know and you could win an individual stay at the Waterhead Boutique Hotel, Ambleside, Lake District, UK.

  6. Simon
    August 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Highcliffe Castle in Dorset should also get a mention. Was there yesterday truly traditional teas and super homemade cakes. Plus sunshine and sea views. Perfect!

  7. "Catmint"
    September 22, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I have to recommend the Tudor teashop in Lichfield. They’re also choclatiers – yummy!

  8. Vivian
    March 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Best tea ever, in Bradford on Avon, in 500 year old tea shop near the stone arched bridge. MMMMM

  9. David H
    October 1, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    ATTIC ( is a great place for experiencing what tea is about. They specialise in Chinese teas and provide ‘tea tastings’ so you really get to know each tea. Very friendly owners too who are more than happy to chat and answer any questions. Highly recommended!

  10. john wallbridge
    March 22, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Nowhere beats the Soup Kitchen in Stafford

  11. Tea Specialist
    April 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I have visited two of them :D

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