England is known for tea, and for good reason too. Afternoon tea is considered such a treat that there are now thousands of tea rooms in the capital alone. While nothing will replace a proper afternoon tea, coffee has become increasingly popular over the last few years too. Here are a few places to choose from for either a traditional cuppa – with or without milk – or for a creatively crafted mug of coffee: Costa and Starbucks need not apply.
Starting off this list is the very posh Dorchester Hotel. Located right next to Hyde Park, this spot is great for tea after a stroll, a day of site seeing, or shopping in Knightsbridge. The Dorchester is a member of the famous and prestigious Tea Guild and last year received their Award of Excellence. Though a bit pricy, if you want a traditional afternoon tea to make you feel like royalty then this is the one for you.
This cafe mixes the old and the new with old vaulted ceilings coupled with fresh modern terrace. Located across the street from Westminster Abbey, it sit’s in the heart of London and actually used to serve as a store house for the abbey dating back to the 14th century.
Teanamu Chaya Teahouse
As you may have guessed from the name, this is not your traditional English tea house. The Teanamu Chaya Teahouse is an Asian inspired tea room with dim sum instead of scones and exotic teas instead of Earl Gray. Make sure to book in advance because this little tea room is only open Saturday and Sunday. If you desire to make your own Asian tea at home, you can buy loose leaf teas from the shop. They also offer master classes, so you can perfectly brew a cup of your own Anxi Iron Goddess of Mercy (yes, that is the name of a tea) at home.
While not in the centre of the city, Orange Pekoe a little shop out near Barnes Bridge has a huge and devoted following. With its quaint atmosphere and massive selection of teas, Orange Pekoe has earned its reputation. Catch them on a quiet day and this is the perfect place to escape the chaos of central London for an afternoon. After tea, enjoy a walk along the Thames, which runs right beside their shop.
The Goring Hotel
The final tea room on this list is perhaps the finest in the land. The Tea Guild named the Goring the best place to have afternoon tea in all of London. Located just half a mile from Buckingham Palace this century old establishment is the epitome of the English tea room. The hotel housed Kate Middleton before the royal wedding and its afternoon tea is just as famous as its guests. If you want the very best of London’s afternoon tea, then the Goring Hotel’s tea room is the place.
Prufrock epitomises London’s coffee movement. It is a smart and trendy coffee shop near Farringdon that has a devoted following of the young and hip. Though don’t think it’s all design and no substance, this place is the real deal for coffee. One of the directors of the cafe Gwilym Davies won the world barista championship in 2009, so when going to Prufrock, expect excellence.
If you are around Tottenham Court Road and fancy a coffee, but are loath to stop by at your typical chain then check out one of TAP’s three locations. Enjoy great coffee and friendly staff. If you want sit down and work or just grab a cup to go then TAP offers an appealing selection and location for both.
For the homesick Australian, Allpress Espresso is just the thing. Stop by their first UK based cafe located in Shoreditch for an espresso that’s simply tops. Not only do they make a great coffee, but they also serve good food, which makes it an excellent place to stop by for a quick bite to eat. If you are in Shoreditch stop by and try their unique Redchurch espresso.
If you fancy a spot of breakfast to go with your amazingly crafted coffee then look no further than Caravan. Unlike the others on this list, Caravan is first and foremost a breakfast place, but it also happens to serve great coffee. Whilst there, check out their famous Cornbread French Toast with paprika maple syrup. There are two locations; one in Exmouth Market and one in Kings Cross.
Want good Australian coffee, but don’t want to go all the way to Melbourne… or Shoreditch? Check out Soho’s Flat White. Flat White’s speciality is as the name suggests, flat white, an Australian coffee drink that is similar to an espresso only with more coffee. Known more for their standard coffee over their espresso, Flat White has earned its spot among coffee fans in Soho.
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