The Willow Tea Rooms
217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, United Kingdom
www.willowtearooms.co.uk - 0141 332 0521
The Willow Tea Rooms Glasgow Reviews
Willow Tea Rooms Sep 24, 2012
Debated, with myself :D, whither it should be listed as sights and attractions or cafe/restaurant, as really it is both.
Situated in the pedestrianised area of Sauchiehall Street, in Glasgow City centre, it is quite easy to miss. At ground level, it just looks like a jeweller's shop, but the tea room is through the shop and up the staircase to the right.
In the late 19th century the Temperance Movement was a popular crusade, but in Glasgow there were few alternatives to public houses. Miss(Kate) Cranston opened a string of tea shops as an alternative, the first being on Argyle Street. When she opened the one in Buchanan Street, she put some of the work the way of Glasgow designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Like all true great artists, Mackintosh's work was never really appreciated in his life time, and he died fairly poor in London in 1928. The fact that Miss Cranston is remembered, at all,is for the fact that she did appreciate his work, and got him to do quite a lot of work for her, and the Willow Tea Rooms were the first where Mackintosh had total control of the design.
Originally opened in 1903, it created a stir at the time with it's geometric patterns and and us of mirrors in the Room De Luxe. The days of the tearooms passed into history,but in 1983 it was recreated,in it's original location.
It really is like stepping back in time, when you get to the top of the stairs. The elegance of the place is quite stunning, the designs so unusual and the staff all wear period style uniform. It's not that expensive either.
A benchmark of how well it was done is that it was invited by the British Tea Council, to join the Association of British Tearooms, of which there are only 50 in the UK, and just 3 in Scotland.
Knowing it was a public holiday, I had planned, sucessfully, on arriving just after 11am, when it opened. We were the first in, but there wre quite a few arrived soon after.
They have a whole range of teas, but I just had a bog standard Scottish Breakfast tea :D. Brian went for the apple tea, while the other shared a pot for 2 of Darjeeling. All made with the finest loose tea, and we all had little strainers for pouring . They also do a range of snacks and meals, which again are reasonably priced, but it was to early in the day for that.
On our way out had a look around the shop. While it is part of a chain of jeweller's shops, the focus is very much on Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A lot of his designs translated well into ornaments and jewellery, and are very popular. Didn't buy anything, but took plenty of pictures of it :D.
As we were wandering later, and remarking to Brian, we have our own fir share of the generic Starbucks and McDonalds, made me think that the Willow Tea Rooms are pretty unique, and worth a visit in their own right, but you can also refuel at the same time.
Part of the Glasgow - My Home Town travel blog
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Great place to relax with a cup of tea and enjoy something special Dec 02, 2012
The tea rooms in Sauchiehall Street is a great place for having tea and snack in the centre of Glasgow. When I was there for the first time, I almost couldn't find it, as it is a bit hidden in a busy shopping street. You open the door and see a shop with different things on the ground floor - watches, gold, silver, many things in Macintosh's Art Nouveau style. You continue upstairs to a gallery - tea room and a welcome host offers you seats at the tables with stylish chairs. The tea rooms were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Unfortunately many of tearooms didn't survive till these days - this is an example of success, as it still serve its own purpose.
You can choose from various teas and snacks. I would recommend afternoon tea with a tray with selection of sandwiches (really fresh and great), scone with butter, preserve & cream, shortbread (Scottish special), choice of cake from the cake trolley.
Always when going to Glasgow, and if I have a spare time, I like to go inside the stylish tearooms. If you like something genuine and feel a bit like in the past times, don't hesitate to have your tea and snack in the tearooms...
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy