Think of Britain and you think of tea. It’s a connection as old as time and one we couldn’t be more proud of. The British Isles are covered in more tearooms serving scrumptious scones, creamy cakes and Grey Earl tea than anywhere else – and we know where to find the very best ones. If you want to enjoy life at a slower pace, with a perfectly brewed cuppa in hand, then here are ten of the best tearooms and country cafes in the UK.
Wilderness Woods Café
Location: Hadlow Down
Best for: Delving into the wilderness.
Wilderness Woods Cafe isn’t just a tearoom; it’s a whole world waiting to be explored. Amongst 62 acres of chestnut trees and giant sequoias, sits this quaint wood-beamed cafe. Inside, you’ll find a variety of food and drink that’s been plucked, almost entirely, across the Sussex countryside. On chilly days, there’ll even be hot soup served by the roaring log fire.
But, the best part of Wilderness Woods is its surroundings. The woodland around the tea house is filled with swings, zip wires, hands-on dens and a forest school where the kids can learn all about the wonders of the great outdoors.
Best for: Being surrounded by history.
Mrs Burton’s may seem like just a cosy tea and cake room, but it’s in the centre of one of the most historic spots in Britain. The quaint cafe site almost directly across from Battle Abbey, atop the blood-stained fields of the Battle of Hastings.
Here, you can indulge in scones and cakes beneath a 16th-century wood-beamed ceiling or enjoy ice cream in the garden and look around at the fields which once hosted the Battle of Hastings. When it’s busy here, which it often is, you can expect to be rubbing shoulders, as the space is relatively small. But this only adds to the character, ambience and gentle homely feel.
Mary’s Traditional Tea Room
Best for: A traditional tea room experience.
On the edge of Dymchurch and a short stroll from the sea is Mary’s Traditional Tea Room. Popular with both locals and tourists alike, Mary’s is traditional in every sense; from the embroidered tablecloths to the bone china tea sets, down to the unmistakable smell of loose leaf tea that fills the cafe air.
Every morning, Mary herself is up with the sun, freshly baking the cakes and pastries that will be for sale that day. If you’re looking for a tea room that reminds you of those wholesome trips to grandma’s house, only with much better tea, then this is the place for you.
Waterloo House Tea Room
Best for: A hearty English breakfast.
Tea time doesn’t get much cosier than this. Nestled in the medieval market town of Cranbrook, Waterloo House Tea Room is a little slice of its local community, served with a relaxed and laid back air. Renowned for its friendly staff and scrumptious homemade cakes, the comfy feel is made complete by exposed brick walls and a quaint, wood-beamed ceiling.
This wholesome tea salon is a particularly good place to head for breakfast. In the morning, when the smell of freshly baked cake is in the air, it serves a hearty, traditional English breakfast That’ll give you all the energy you need for a long day wandering Cranbrook’s cobbled streets.
Q Tearoom, Studio & Gallery
Location: St Agnes
Best for: A traditional Cornish cream tea.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of St Agnes, a wholesome village on the South West northern coast, Q Tearoom, Studio and Gallery is a place that embodies everything rural Cornwall is about. Radiating a cheerful, welcoming feel, it’s a cafe that loves its local community and its loved back in return.
Inside, the walls are bright with the works of local artists and the spicy smell of homemade soup fills the air. Of course, no cafe can call itself truly Cornish, without serving a terrific traditional cream tea. With clotted cream so thick you can turn your scone upside down without it falling on the floor, this is the place to find out what makes tea time in Cornwall so special.
The Boat Shed Cafe
Best for: A brew with a view.
Lulworth is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Best known for its cove, a silky ribbon of sand, that cuts into the coast to make a natural swimming pool, the best place to soak up Lulworth’s stunning views is The Boat Shed Cafe.
Once a lock-up for local fishing boats, this rustic cafe immerses you in Lulworth’s nautical past. Inside, the remnants of old ships deck the walls, while the salty smell of sea air seeps in from outside. Take your tea outdoors to gaze across the tranquil cove and you’ll understand what makes Cornwall one of the most popular holiday spots in Britain.
Foyers Tea Room
Location: East Rudham
Best for: A brilliant Bakewell tart.
Nestled in Norfolk, a little way from the northern coast, the village of East Rudham is one of those places made for enjoying life at a slower pace. On days when the sun is shining, take a seat outside Foyers Tea Room and watch the world wander by, with tea from a bone china cup in hand.
When the weather is windy, head inside and settle down around a traditional wood-burning fireplace. While here, make sure you try a slice of the beautiful Bakewell tart, or if you prefer a fruity flavour, a sliver of orange frangipane cake.
Urban Tea Rooms
Location: Soho, London
Best for: A tearoom for the 21st-century.
From morning coffee to evening cocktails, midday croissants to sunset cheeseboards, Urban Tea Rooms is the perfect place to head at any time of day. This Soho spot aims to put a modern twist on traditional tearooms, blending the hip and jazzy feel of London’s coolest coffee bars, with the quaint and cosy vibes of England’s rural cafes. As well as serving some of the best teas in London, all its ingredients are ethically sourced, meaning a cup of tea here doesn’t just taste good, it feels good too.
Rock Pool Cafe
Best for: Taking a little bit of me time.
Gazing out across the Celtic Sea, Mousehole is the quaint and quiet fishing village you see when you close your eyes and count to ten. The salty smell of sea air wafts down its cobbled streets, cleaning your lungs and clearing your mind. At sunset, its sandy beaches are bathed in a soft pink glow and if you gaze out across the clear blue water, it’s impossible not to smile.
Somewhere that captures the gentle and comforting feel of the village, while also serving an incredible cup of tea, is the Rock Pool Cafe. On a fine day, you can’t beat sitting on one of the benches outside, indulging in a private tea tasting, as you work your way through the cafe’s many fantastic flavours.
Gillams Tea Room & Grocer
Best for: Dining with the locals.
Lots of places call themselves ‘a pillar of the local community’, but when Gillams Tea Room and Specialist Grocer says it, it’s really true. Since 1892, the Gilam family has been an integral part of their local area, providing their community with fresh fruit and vegetables alongside a warm and welcoming smile.
Today, Gillams has gone even further in opening its arms to its neighbours, by giving them a place to spend their mornings and enjoy a delicious cup of tea. Over the years, the store has retained almost all of its original features and old-world charm. From its fireplace, high ceilings and tea-lined shelves to the quality of service and pretty storefront.