If you’re looking for the best places in the UK for afternoon tea, then read on. Long gone are the days when teatime is for grannies. More and more millennials are setting out for crumpets and curd. So, if you’re in the UK, you’ll want to check this delight off your list of things to do.
Where Did Teatime Even Come From?
The origin of tea is most definitely Chinese, but it is the English culture that made it truly famous. Britain discovered the beverage in the 17th century and has been its greatest champion ever since. As an emblem of British lifestyle, the value of imported tea reached over £313 million by 2017, which is approximately $412 million.
Businesses, from retail to hospitality and tourism, are connected to the tea market in one way or another. And even visitors to the UK honor the historical brew by exploring tea-related destinations. Here are three of the most important ones.
The Top Three Places in the UK to Get Afternoon Tea
The capital is bursting with places for afternoon tea. The most prestigious and historic venues are part of the so-called London Tea Trail. It includes Garraway’s Coffee House, Twining’s Tea Shop & Museum and the East India Arms pub. These establishments have roots in the history of imported tea and its distribution through the UK and beyond.
A fun fact is that Queen Victoria was especially fond of cannabis. Even today, there are different methods of making cannabis tea, depending on the desired effects. While the 19th-century Queen preferred brews infused with cannabis fat, like special oil or honey, you can also steep raw cannabis with a favorite tea for relaxation, pain relief and more.
Tea shops in London can be depended on to offer a range of traditional and more exciting flavors making this one of the best places in the UK to get afternoon tea.
Harrogate for Teatime at Bettys
This is the home of one of the most iconic tea rooms in the UK.
Bettys’s story began with Fritz Bützer, a baker and confectioner who moved from Switzerland to England in 1907. His dream of a new life at Harrogate led him to the new surname of Belmont, the title of Chocolate Specialist and, in 1919, the founding of the celebrated venue and brand still adored today.
Bettys offers delicious teas, coffees and cakes, as well as a warm atmosphere complete with fine décor, service and entertainment. You can even buy some signature delicacies to take to friends. If Harrogate is not convenient, there are tea rooms in many other locations around the country, including York and Northallerton.
So, if your budget and travel plans allow it, an afternoon visit to Bettys will not disappoint.
The Willow Tea Rooms was opened in 1903 by Catherine Cranston. Its significance is not just that it was among the first to provide tea services since traders crossed oceans with the stuff. The building was also entirely designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and is now being restored by the Willow Tea Room Trust.
As for Cranston’s famous afternoon teas, they are still offered today under the care of Anne Mulhern. You can choose from a selection of loose leaf teas, like Pai Mu Tan and a special Mackintosh blend, and sweet or savory cuisine, from sandwiches and scones to tarts and shortbread, decked on a three-tier cake stand. Breakfasts here are just as delectable.
Tea and charming venues serving flavorful brews can be found everywhere in the UK. Look at where your trip will take you and choose the best places in the UK for afternoon tea so you can immerse yourself in the experience and history of the famous drink.