It’s Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, a very big deal across the pond, and marking her majesty’s 70 years on the throne is enough to turn many of us into Anglophiles.
What better way to get in touch with all things regal than indulging in a proper British tea?
In the Greater Boston area — despite our history of tossing tea into the harbor to protest royal rule — there’s a wealth of spots to savor a true cuppa.
The basic afternoon tea is called “cream tea,” and includes a fresh pot of tea, freshly made scones and clotted cream and jam. A full tea has all that plus more — finger sandwiches, other baked goods and, sometimes, a bit of bubbly or another concoction to drink first.
Some local tea rooms have other additions, 21+ teas (something the queen, who loves an afternoon cocktail, would approve of) and other twists.
Consider these spots to raise a china cup to the queen, or just enjoy a civilized respite.
Shelly’s Tea Rooms, 51 Court St., Plymouth: Shelly and Sean Sinclair fell in love with New England — and Plymouth in particular — when they first visited decades ago.
As operators of tea rooms in the U.K., there was one thing, Shelly said, she could never find around these parts when visiting: “I really wanted a good cup of tea and I could not find one.”
So when they moved here, they decided to change that with the opening of Shelly’s (shellystearooms.com) on the main strip of historic downtown Plymouth.
Shelly’s, they say, is very much like their former Britain-based shops, down to the decor and ambiance.
The tea room is quaint and comfortable. It’s not unusual to find ladies in fine hats and fascinators enjoying tea.
The tea room focuses on a classic British tea experience, with cream tea, finger sandwiches and more available, as well as a long list of unique teas to choose from.
There are little touches, the owners say, that are truly British — like their choice of croissants that are the classic type served in British tea houses.
They are open daily and serve tea (as well as some other selections) all day long. They hope to hold a special Street Party in honor of the Jubilee, but until then, you can settle in, sip from your lovely china cup and nibble away.
Wenham Tea House, 4 Monument St., Wenham: A classic tea takes time. That’s why the Wenham Tea House (wenhamteahouse.com) advises you to put aside at least 90 minutes for your experience there.
For the classic tea, you’ll be served a steaming pot paired with the classic three-tiered serving setup one expects, filled with a selection of scones, Devonshire cream, lemon curd, jams, assorted petite tea sandwiches and more creations made on site by their pastry chef.
The Tea House serves a greater purpose as well, helping fund programs via the Wenham Village Improvement Society, as the Tea House (which opened in 1912) has been doing for years. The Tea House has helped fund everything from scholarships to pickleball courts.
Newly reopened after the pandemic, the Tea House — said to be the oldest running tea house in America — now serves dinner as well. Tea service is offered daily, in a setting that weaves cozy and historic. And the tea pots — each a unique piece — make it all the more special.
Dunbar House Tea Room & Wine Bar, 1 Water St., Sandwich: The Dunbar House (thedunbarhouse.com) could rest on its location alone. Set in a 1920s carriage house tucked into historic Sandwich, the tea room features original wood planked floors and wood trim throughout.
Inside, it’s cozy and just right for tea. On a warmer day, their garden setting is lovely as well. The tea room looks out over the many historic buildings on Water Street. A post tea walk is the perfect addition to a visit.
Dunbar’s offers tea (and other goodies) all day. And while everyone should try a true tea service, their menu offers other choices, such as mini beef wellington and charcuterie boards.
They serve all loose-leaf tea, and have a tea sommelier available to help you pick the right one for you. There are caffeine-free choices as well, and you can take home leaves of your favorite from their tea shop.
Dunbar, under the direction of both a new chef and pastry chef, now offers a popular 21+ Tea as well, in which they serve “Tipsy Teatails,” wine-based cocktails with tea as an ingredient.