Brits have a long tradition with tea and sitting down with a lovely cuppa is a quintessential thing to do when visiting the United Kingdom. Every town has cornerstone tea shops, cafes and restaurants that are more than happy to serve you the most British of drinks, but why not take it a step further and have your cup of tea where the view is as pleasant as the brew.
York, North Yorkshire
Founded by the Romans in 71 AD, York has been the centre of political change for almost 2000 years. The walled city has a mix of medieval architecture and modern structures that sit side-by-side, mingling easily with the city’s role as the ecclesiastic province for the Church of England.
Flickr/Matt Lewis (CC by 2.0)
Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms have been in the same place for nearly 100 years, serving tasty treats and tempting teas. The rooms are luxurious and if you get the chance, the afternoon tea is an old-fashioned luxury that shouldn’t be missed. Book ahead and you will walk right past the queue and be seated immediately.
Founded as a Roman fort in AD 79, the town remained Roman for 300 years. Chester remained important and is thought to be the site of one of King Arthur’s battles. Despite being occupied by a series of ruling cultures, the town has retained its charm along with Roman designs, medieval architecture, Victorian elaborations and all the modern additions brought by the Industrial Revolution. It’s one of the best preserved walled cities in the country and fun to wander through while window shopping.
Katie’s Tea Rooms are as quaint and old fashioned as anyone could possibly want. The re-purposed merchant’s house has sandstone walls and exposed beams. Other architectural features are visible throughout the building, making this a perfect place to have an entertaining cup of tea after enjoying the sights of the town outside. Come early because Katie's becomes an equally charming restaurant in the evening.
The Scottish Highlands
An historic region culturally different from the lowland regions, the Highlands contain the Grampian Mountains and the Great Glen. The sparsely populated area is filled with many mountain ranges, picturesque lakes and flat coastal regions. In addition to the natural beauty, the highlands are known for high-quality whiskey distilleries and even prehistoric trails.
Visiting the highlands would take weeks and a lot of planning, but there’s a simple and fun way to do the sightseeing. Afternoon Tea Tours take you to some of the best spots in the region and include a tea break in a lovely spot. One of the best itineraries ends at the beautiful, Scottish Baronial Cringletie House Hotel. You’ll drink your tea in luxurious digs surrounded by groomed gardens and new friends.
The Jurassic Coast, Dorset
The 155 km stretch of coastline along the Devon and Dorset shores has an ancient beauty that has attracted beachgoers for millions of years. Fossils lie buried in the sand and mud along the waterline and amateur archeologists can see the marks left by the centuries in rock formations that sit in the sheer white cliffs. Travellers firmly set in the present will still enjoy the chalk downs, clay valleys and stunning coves.
Abbotsbury is a small village near the coast made up of historic stone houses that are thatched in the traditional manner. Many buildings in town date from the 16th century and are listed by the English Heritage for their interest. There are dozens of tea rooms in town and the Abbotsbury Tea Rooms is one of the best located. The decor is traditional 17th century and the terrace is open in good weather.
The Italian-style village is delightfully picturesque, looking almost like something out of a fairy tale. The buildings are ornate and painted in pastel colours with whimsical statues tucked in surprising places around town. The copper-topped “pantheon” was added to the village....because they didn’t have one. The bell tower is a great attraction and is even nicer than the statue of Hercules.
Bert Kaufmann (CC by 2.0)
Hotel Portmeiron is as charming as the rest of the village and easily one of the highlights of a visit. It began as a mansion in 1850 and was added to by Clough Williams, the designer of the village. The hotel sits on the edge of the sea with a view that adds sweetness to even the plainest cup of tea. Ask for a terrace seat, or if they will be serving tea on the lawn to enjoy both the sea and the sight of the beautiful hotel.
Have you sipped tea in England, Scotland or Wales?
What was your favourite view?
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