It’s no secret that Brits love a cup of tea and lucky for us, they’ve got tea-making down to a fine art. The United Kingdom is filled with tea shops and spots where you can sip a freshly brewed cup of the good stuff, and whether you like a classic Earl Grey or a fruity infusion, you’re sure to find your perfect brew. In honour of National Tea Day on April 21st, here is where to find the best cup of tea in the UK.
There are six Bettys tea rooms across Yorkshire but you’ll still find people queuing – it’s that good. Opened in 1919 by Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont, it’s all about the history and the quality of the tea at Bettys. You’ll travel back to an era of sophistication, as waitresses wearing period costumes serve your dainty cakes, pastries and sandwiches on traditional silver cake stands. You’ll also get your tea fix, with 50 different loose teas to choose from. You might like to start with Betty’s own afternoon tea blend (Assam and Darjeeling with a floral finish), freshly poured in bone china cups.
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Twinings Tea Shop & Museum, London
Opened in 1706 by Thomas Twining, the Twinings tea shop is one of the oldest in the country. It also might be the smallest as it’s not much wider than the doorway! Before you enter, be sure to look up to see statues of a golden lion and two Chinese men, a nod to the origin of tea and the name of the first tea shop on this site. Once you’re inside, it’s all about tea, glorious tea. You’re sure to find the best cup of tea in the UK here, with dozens of brews to choose from. You can even browse the museum’s historic artefacts, or take a tea-making masterclass.
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Waterloo Gardens Teahouse, Cardiff
If you love tea, you’ve got to visit Waterloo in Cardiff. There are over 50 teas to try and it’s all brewed to perfection. The staff purify the water and brew at four different temperatures to get the ultimate cup of tea. While the menu changes with the seasons, you’ll always find the classics and you can even try local teas from farms so small they only produce around 100kg of tea every year. Add on some of their delicious cakes, scones, sandwiches and homemade truffles, and you’ve got one glorious afternoon tea.
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Fortnum & Mason, London
The first thing you’ll see when you enter this tea haven is the enormous display of tea. The selection of 80 brews is unrivalled including a Royal Blend tea created for King Edward VII and the Queen Anne tea, made to commemorate the reigning monarch at the time of Fortnum’s opening over 300 years ago. Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cambridge even opened the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in 2012, so you’re in for a right royal experience. If you’re not sure where to start, ask for advice from one of the expert ‘tea-ristas’. Or go for their most premium grade tea described as the ‘finest tippy golden flowery orange pekoe’. Sounds good to us!
Budock Vean Hotel, Cornwall
If you’re looking for the best cup of tea in the UK, you’ve got to try a ‘proper job’ Cornish afternoon tea. The Budock Vean hotel offers up a gorgeous rural location and the local produce to match. Your pot of tea will come from Cornwall’s Origin roastery, grown on the Tregothnan Estate, just 17 miles from the hotel. Pair it with clotted cream from Trewithen Dairy, jam from Boddington’s of Mevagissey and scones and cakes made with the pastry chef’s grandmother’s secret recipe, and you’ve got the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
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LEAF and Oh My Oh My, Liverpool
Most tea-loving Liverpudlians know about LEAF, the Bold Street cafe offering a large choice of loose-leaf teas with unlimited refills on weekends. But you also can’t miss their weekday café, Oh My Oh My, located opposite the Liver Building. The café itself is beautiful with high ceilings and large windows, and there’s plenty of great sandwiches, scones and mini desserts to try. As for the tea – it’s presented at the table so you can smell them first and find your favourite.
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If you’re after the best cup of tea in the UK, you’ll likely find it at the most famous afternoon tea spot in London. Claridge’s has been serving up London’s traditional afternoon tea for over 150 years and it’s a truly extravagant experience. First, admire the iconic hotel’s 1930s art-deco foyer. Then, indulge in their exclusive list of teas, including the rare Malawi Antler blend, not served anywhere else in the UK. With sophisticated service and the finest tea, Claridge’s is the place to go for a luxurious British afternoon tea.
Assembly House, Norfolk
Norfolk knows tea, and the Assembly House is one of the best places to get that delightful brew. Their tea list is all loose leaf and there’s a wide selection from green tea to fruit tea including their own bespoke blend. If you like to wash down your tea with a treat, you’ll love it here. There’s dainty Norfolk ham sandwiches, scones with ham and cream, three-cheese toasties and an ever-changing cake and dessert selection designed by Swiss-trained pastry chef Mark Mitson. And if you’ve got dietary requirements, you’ll be well looked after as they cater for everyone.
Crewe Hall, Cheshire
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Your search for the best cup of tea in the UK will take you back in time to a place of old-world glamour at this 17th-century mansion. This iconic hotel once hosted royalty and you can indulge in their afternoon tea in their regal oak panelled lounge with views of the immaculate gardens. It’s all about precision here and the tea even comes with a sand timer to ensure it’s perfectly brewed. If it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for us!
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Good & Proper Tea, London
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If you’re looking for something more down-to-earth, Good & Proper Tea is the place to go for a cosy brew. Originally starting in a van, this tea bar was founded so tea drinkers could enjoy the same quality and range that coffee drinkers enjoy. They now have a permanent site in Old Street – and they really know their stuff. Specialising in single-origin, loose-leaf teas, there are more than 25 teas to choose from. You can go from traditional black and Earl Grey to honey-sweet and fruity flavours. Every cup is custom-brewed so you can let the staff know your preference, and it’s a wonderful spot to relax and enjoy your perfect cup of tea.
What are your favourite UK tea shops and spots? Let us know where to find the best tea in the UK in the comments below!