With the possible exception of the Queen, double decker buses and Harry Potter, there's nothing more British than a decent cup of tea. In England, tea is more than just a beverage - it's a social lubricant, a defense against the cold and a cure for just about any kind of emotional distress. If you're planning a trip to London, immerse yourself in this tea-loving culture by visiting one of the capital's many tea suppliers. Whether you're looking for an artisan brew to enjoy during your stay or a memorable souvenir to take back home, you'll find what you're looking for in these quintessentially British shops.
This article was updated and re-written in part by Jessica Macdonald on June 19th 2018.
teanamu, Shepherd's Bush
teanamu is a small, independent tea supplier run by Pei Wang, a tea and Chinese culture expert. He holds tea appreciation classes and runs free tastings at Chaya Teahouse in the Shepherd’s Bush district. Afternoon tea is available by reservation only. Alternatively, you can browse teanamu's products online, with a page dedicated especially to rare and aged teas.
Address: 4 Melina Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 9HZ
East India Company, Mayfair
The East India Company was established 400 years ago during the Elizabethan era. Its English merchants traveled to India, Burma, Malaya, Java, Indo-China and beyond to bring back new food and drink, including fine teas and tea-making accessories. Today, The East India Company has 13 stores in venues all over London, including a flagship store in Mayfair.
Address: 7-8 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XF
Good & Proper Tea, Clerkenwell
Good & Proper Tea's flagship store on Leather Lane is an exquisite space with wooden floors and exposed brick archways. From tea bags to loose tea, herbal teas to green teas and black teas, the shop is a veritable cornucopia of different brews. Iced tea bags are a specialty, with flavors including rooibos with orange; and hibiscus with rose hip and ginger.
Address: 96A Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TX
Twinings, The Strand
Twinings has had a tea shop on The Strand in London since 1717. It stocks a wide range of specialty teas as well as fruit and herbal infusions, iced teas and coffee blends. There's a great range of gifts including teapots, cups, biscuits and chocolates. There is also a small museum that tells the history of the Twinings family, along with artifacts and unusual items from the world of tea.
Address: 216 The Strand, London WC2R 1AP
Postcard Teas, Mayfair
The English, Japanese and Chinese owners of Postcard Teas have spent 20 years traveling far and wide in search of the best teas. They exclusively sell tea from small producers with farms of 15 acres or less and are passionate about provenance. Each of the 60 teas sold at the company's delightful store (near Oxford Street) proudly displays the maker's name and location.
Address: 9 Dering St., Mayfair, London W1S 1AG
Operating out of an Instagram-worthy store on Broadway Market, Tiosk is a hipster haven specializing in premium loose leaf teas and tea pyramids. From Kenyan orange pekoe to milk oolong, there's a flavor to suit every palette. Tiosk also sells tea-related lifestyle goods, including matcha whisks and Japanese clay teapots. Gift sets are the perfect souvenir for friends back home.
Address: 33 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH
The Tea House, Covent Garden
The Tea House on Neal Street in Covent Garden is a well-known local landmark. It sells over 100 tea varieties from around the world as well as associated tea paraphernalia. Novelty tea pots, matching tea sets and quirky infusers are the perfect accompaniment to the many different tea varieties. These include matcha, spiced, oolong and whole fruit blend teas.
Address: 15 Neal Street, London WC2H 9PU
Drury Tea & Coffee, Covent Garden
Drury Tea & Coffee is a family-owned business founded in 1936. Today, they supply restaurants, hotels and cafés all over the world with fine teas - including 30 customers with Michelin stars. The company also has its own premises in Covent Garden. Here, you can choose from over 120 loose leaf teas and tea bags, all tested by Drury's professional tea tasters.
Address: 3 New Row, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4LH
Bird & Blend Tea Co., Angel & Borough
Award-winning tea supplier Bird & Blend Tea Co. has several stores across the UK. In London, you'll find one in Borough, and one in Angel's Camden Passage. Both stores sell an incredible range of tea products, from Eton Mess-flavored fruit infusions to ginger beer-flavored rooibos. You can even have your favorite flavor crafted into a bespoke tea resin pendant.
Address: 7 Park St, London Borough, SE1 9AB, 26 Camden Passage, Islington, N1 8ED
Tea2You, Borough Market
Borough Market on the Southbank is home to Tea2You, a tea supplier that specializes in Darjeeling varieties imported from the best estates in Darjeeling, Assam and Nepal. At the store, you can taste blends and flavors personally selected by the owner. Buy your favorites to take home, then order resupplies through the shop website which now exports to the United States.
Address: Bedal Street, Borough Market, London SE1 1TL
Whittard of Chelsea
Founded in 1886, Whittard of Chelsea now has many branches located across London and the United Kingdom. The stores stock fine tea, coffee and cocoa from all over the world, and although you can't handle the tea before purchasing, the pre-packaged tea bags and loose teas make wonderful gifts. You can also buy beautiful teapots, strainers, travel mugs and hampers.
Address: Use the website's store locator to find your closest shop.
Artisan supplier TEAS sells a wide range of loose leaf teas, tea bags and tea accessories online to addresses in Europe and the US, but also has its own tearoom in Spitalfields. Here, you can try before you buy from a carefully curated menu that features the shop's best teas and infusions. The shop also serves Monmouth coffee and Artisan du Chocolat hot chocolate.
Address: 40 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6AG
Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason is the most famous purveyor of luxury foodstuffs in London. The historic flagship store in Piccadilly is a great place to stock up on beautifully packaged teas. Browse collections including Rare Teas, Single Origin Teas and Oddi-Teas. The latter features novelty teabags in flavors such as Bloody Mary or Chilli & Ginger.
Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER
Camden Tea Shop, Camden
Located in Camden's The Stables Market, Camden Tea Shop sells every imaginable type of tea, from traditional black teas to ayurvedic teas and premium imports. The Experience Japan collection is a particular highlight, featuring the finest Sencha and Gyokuro leaves as well as the popular Samurai Matcha. The shop also sells various tea-making accessories.
Address: 832, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd NW1 8AH
Probably the capital's most iconic shopping destination, luxury department store Harrods is said to sell almost anything - and that includes fine teas. Shop for souvenir canisters of loose tea and packets of teabags; or splurge on a themed gift set instead. These range from matcha starter kits to a selection of Harrods' own heritage blends packed in a keepsake box.
Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge SW1X 7XL