Whittard of Chelsea
If you've traveled to London even once or received gifts from London, you most likely have heard of Whittard of Chelsea. The most popular gift from the United Kingdom is tea and biscuits (shortbread cookies to me). Whittard of Chelsea started back in 1886 during a huge boom in the British tea industry. Now Whittard is widely known for its strong selection of teas, classic British teapots and cups, and beautiful packaging perfect for gifting. The tea you can get from here often comes in beautiful floral packaging with one of their spring-handle tea strainers attached (this tea strainer is seriously the best tea strainer I have ever had).
Whittard of Chelsea has many locations scattered across London, but I am discussing the Covent Garden location specifically. This is one of the larger locations with two floors, complimentary tastings (for their tea, coffee and hot chocolate) and a separate sit-down tea room for you to taste their many creations. The tea room is full service with all of their teas on menu and some delicious pastries to pair. It may be a little dark since the tea room is underground, but there are some patio seats so you can people-watch all the Covent Garden shoppers.
I normally dislike floral teas and stick to strong black teas or asian green teas. However, their English Rose tea is my favorite as of now. It is basically English Breakfast black tea mixed with a hint of rose flavoring to lighten it. I like this one a lot because it is unique while still remaining a strong black tea, I'm obsessed with roses, and the slight light quality the rose adds makes it good even in hot weather. This trip I paired it with their English Rose with Pistachio and Cardamom cake and loved it. The cake was very sweet and complimented the bitter tea nicely. I would not suggest having the cake without tea just because it would be too sweet. As an added note here, I love that you can purchase literally everything used during your Tea Bar experience. This includes the tea, tea timer, teapot, tea cup and saucer, and strainers.
This is a perfect stop while you are shopping in the beautiful, busy Covent Garden. Since you most likely would shop at Whittard anyway, why not stop for a quick tasting or high tea service.
020 7836 7637