Put your slippers on, sit in your comfiest chair and make a nice brew, because it’s time for Episode Four of Helen and Olly’s Great British Questions:
Where’s the best cup of tea in Britain?
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In which you will find us visiting:
• Brighton seafront, where the rain poured, and so did the tea.
• Twinings on the Strand in London, a veritable embassy of tea.
• Braunston in Rutland, England’s smallest county. A big paper plate of cakes and two cups of tea for £1.50? That, friends, is why Britain is still great.
• Emma Bridgewater, Stoke-on-Trent, where we were instructed that tea can get you laid. If only it were that simple.
• Tregothnan tea plantation, Cornwall, where they are considering building a tea theme park. Please, Tregothnan. MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
• Grasmere in the Lake District, home of Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread, a legendary snack with a secret recipe. I guess Sarah Nelson is the English equivalent of Colonel Sanders.
• The Balmoral hotel, Edinburgh. Apparently having tea here features in one of those ’1000 things to do before you die’ lists, so we’re now one step closer to the End.
Let’s raise a cup of char to the people who helped us along the way:
Stephen Twining and Matthew Rice – we’d like to see them face off against other in a duel to determine who is the quintessential English gent;
Marion, who showed us around the Emma Bridgewater factory and taught us the full birthing cycle of their beautiful ceramics – almost as demanding as the human one;
Neil Bennett, head gardener at the Tregothnan estate, who had a heavy cold and should probably have been safely tucked up indoors rather than traipsing around the huge estate with us;
Joanne Wilson from Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread, a woman who can wrap a stack of gingerbread in paper at the speed of light. You might not think this exciting, but, like the teapot-knobbing, when you see it live you could watch it for hours;
Harry Fernandes at the Balmoral hotel, for letting us have a big fancy tea, climb up onto the roof, and pretending that we weren’t just a pair of overgrown five-year-olds;
and an extra portion of Jammy Dodgers goes to Tess Longfield and Rachel Aked of VisitBritain.
Please return next Tuesday for the final installment of Great British Questions, which is all about Great British Bathrooms; and below are some photos from our tea tour.
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Helen and Olly’s Great British Questions
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