There is nothing more quintessentially British than taking a cup of tea, and arguably the most popular brand of tea in the United Kingdom is Twinings. Twinings is one of the oldest importers of tea to Britain, beginning to ferry the good in 1706. The Twinings Shop on The Strand, London has been standing here for nearly as long – since 1717.
Originally, Twinings’ first business was coffee! Tom’s Coffee House, located just behind the existing shop, was popular for their coffee as, at that time, tea was far more expensive…around £160 for only 100g. However, as tea became more and more fashionable and easily available with the growing tea and spice trade, the public’s taste for tea far surpassed the taste for coffee – so Twinings cleverly switched gears and focused on tea, leaving coffee behind. Today their shop still does stock coffee, but you’ve got to look hard to find it as the store is packed to the rafters with tea!
Although not a big shop, Twinings stocks every type of tea the company produces including standards like English Breakfast and Earl Grey, as well as more exotic flavours like Chai, Cinnamon and Lapsang Souchong. Tea can be bought by the box, or even in individual packets for those who just want to try a single cup. Twinings also normally has a few teas out and available for visiting customers to try.
In the back of Twinings Tea Shop is one of the smallest museums in London, dedicated entirely to the brand of Twinings. Artefacts on display here include the original Royal Warrant Queen Victoria granted to Twinings (details below), antique tea caddies as well as old advertisements dating back centuries. Certainly small but absolutely charming, it’s definitely worth popping in to try, taste and enjoy this essentially British shop.
Guests to Twinings can notice that just above the entrance to the shop is the coat of arms of Queen Elizabeth II. This is the Royal Warrant – a credit that has been given to Twinings because the Queen drinks their tea! Originally it was Queen Victoria who granted the Royal Warrant (available to see in their museum) in 1837, but our current Queen also enjoys Twinings tea and it is her Warrant that is on display outside the shop today! Each box of Twinings tea you can purchase in the shop has the Royal Warrant printed on it – making them delightful little gifts to take home to friends and family!
Address – 216 Strand, London WC2R 1AP
Museum Cost – FREE
Monday to Friday: 9:30 – 19:30
Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday – 10:30 – 16:30
Nearest Underground Station – Temple
Website – www.twinings.co.uk
+++Tea fans should check out our blog post on where to get real Afternoon Tea in London. For more museums in the City of London check out our blog here!+++