Bringing London to St. Louis: The London Tea Room

Living in a new city is full of unexpected surprises, and even as a sophomore, I continue to find new places all across St. Louis. The most recent hidden gem that has caught my attention is The London Tea Room, which is located in Tower Grove. 

   As I prepare to study abroad in London in the fall, I have been dabbling in British eccentricities. From my recent finish of “Downton Abbey” to obtaining a proper peacoat and religiously listening to the “Harry Potter” score, visiting The London Tea Room was the perfect outing to continue preparing for my abroad excursion.  

   The London Tea Room offers two options for customers. There is a small and quaint walk-in area, but with only six spare tables that fill up quickly, I would suggest making a reservation instead. When you make a reservation, it is no simple ordeal for a cup of tea. A reservation comes with an entire pot of tea for each individual as well as an array of sandwiches, scones and sweet desserts. They offer options for people with allergies, as well, which is a ways a plus to see in smaller establishments. 

   There are also countless teas to pick from. From traditional Earl Gray tea to unique blends of black Tea and white Tea, there are options for everyone, whether you are a tea person or not. I opted for The London Tea Room blend to fully immerse myself into an English mindset, and I pleasantly enjoyed it with a splash of milk. Ask for cream or drink it plain—there is no wrong way to do tea!

The best part of this secret treasure in the heart of St. Louis is how it demands leisure and selfless contentment.

When you walk into the tea room, you’ll forget you are in St. Louis at all! The decor is comforting and feels like something out of Jane Austen, bound to make you feel like you have left the Midwest completely and instead entered the quaint countryside of England. Each table comes decorated with charming blue china in mismatched patterns, and everyone comes dressed in their best, truly making the whole experience one of care and dedication. 

   The entire establishment is subtly inspired by Jane Austen, great author of famous works like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility.” An inspiration of classic tea time and female heroines, each table has a bookmark with Austen quotes for patrons to take, and there are imprints of her work in copies of books scattered throughout the tea room and art on the walls. There is something about the tea room that makes you just want to crack open “Sense and Sensibility” yet again or watch Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfayden swoon on the screen. 

   The best part of this secret treasure in the heart of St. Louis is how it demands leisure and selfless contentment. Reservations last for an hour and a half, meaning you truly have no choice but to savor the time with good conversation, enjoyment of the sweet treats and the simplistic motions of sipping tea and refilling your cup. As my friend and I remarked, it felt like stepping into an hour of silence and reflection, an hour that you did not owe to anyone except the navy pot of tea sitting before you. Especially on a Sunday, when college students are wired to stress about the pile of homework sitting on their desk or regretting choices from the night before, time to relish in rich tea and good company is always worth it. 

   In a world that is always bustling and moving, consider taking some time for yourself and your companions by visiting The London Tea Room and escaping this world for an English oasis.