The Willow Tea Rooms
217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EX
- Recommended for:
- Culture vultures, Families with younger children, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Art, Design and architecture, Shopping
Expert review of The Willow Tea Rooms
The Willow is the perfect place to take your Gran and is my favourite place for a cuppa in the city. Designed in 1904 by Glasgow’s favourite son, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, The Willow recounts the splendour of a bygone era, when women in feather boas washed away their afternoon cares with teas from Ceylon and shortbreads from Clydebank. Its name comes from Sauchiehall (the street where it is situated), which in Scottish Gaelic means alley of the willows.
Taking tea – I’d opt for a pot of summer pudding or orange blossom tea – in the same rooms and interiors as your Victorian predecessors did 100 years ago is one of the city’s most evocative experiences. Scottish smoked salmon bagels, farmhouse cheddar toasties and toasted muffins are de rigeur at the Willow and its list of fruit, herbal and miscellaneous teas need at least more than one afternoon to be savoured. There’s definitely a joke about ‘not for all the tea in China’ in its kitchen somewhere.
A soft afternoon focus on Scottish sandwiches and cakes is counterbalanced with a fine selection of tea from around the globe, including Russian Caravan tea, Chinese Lapsang Souchong and the finest brews from Kenya and Darjeeling.
Mackintosh had complete control over every aspect of the design – he even sketched the tea spoons and waitresses' dresses – so it is very much in keeping with the Rennie Mackintosh aesthetic. Angular chairs and Art Nouveau flourishes compliment the silver furniture and leaded glass work on the windows.
Used to the passing tourist trade, the staff are chatty and friendly.
In the heart of the city centre on Sauchiehall Street.
Cheap and cheerful
The Willow Tea Rooms has a sister branch on nearby Buchanan Street.
97 Buchanan Street
Glasgow G1 3HF
0141 204 5242
More information on The Willow Tea Rooms:
- Price guide:
- Café, Coffee shop, Tearoom
- Scottish, Snacks, Traditional
- 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EX
- 0141 332 0521
- Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Tea
- Opening times:
- Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm (last order 4.30pm. Sun, 11am-4.15pm (last order 3.45pm).
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Not necessary