A Scottish tea cosy: this'll keep the wind off


As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

O, My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose by Robbie Burns

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be up in Scotland, enjoying (amongst other things): heather, haggis, tartan, sporens, cold feet, rosy cheeks and of course TEA! Something about Scotland always makes us think of Christmas so hopefully these next few tearooms will get you in the mood for the festive season…

The Tea Cosy,

3 George Street,





Wednesday-Friday: 12-5pm, Saturday: 12-6pm, Sunday: 12-5pm



Afternoon tea at the UK's campest tearoom: the tea cosy, brighton

The Tea Cosy, Brighton: it would make Elton John in a pink mankini look butch

There is a sense of intense purpose about the Tea Cosy which hits you immediately upon entering. We liked the imposingly kitch window display, made steamy against the cold January backdrop from which we sought shelter. We liked manner in which we were asked to wipe our feet and shut the door behind us without so much as a by your leave. And we loved the bric-a-brac higgledy-piggledy decor.

With the excitement of naughty school children, and not a little apprehension, we were lead to our seats amongst half a dozen or so other diners whose expressions ranged from uncomfortable to bemused by the eccentricity of their surroundings.  They have hoarded an elephantine collection of Royal Family memorabilia bordering on obsession, from an imposing portrait of Queen Victoria to (suspended from the ceiling) a toilet seat once graced by the Bottom of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall.  The overall effect is, shall we say, not a little camp.

Then there are the menus, which specify the house rules on a range of afternoon etiquette, from the sensible (please turn off your mobile phone) to the daft (please avoid the unnecessary clatter of spoon-on-cup) to the downright ridiculous (much to Amos’ chagrin it is expressly requested that milk be added first, and Lily – who’s vitriolic mezzo soprano can be heard from one end of the lacrosse field to the other – had to suppress her exultations of glee to “2 beats lighter than chink of a teacup”).

Our minds turned to the teas they serve, which are called things like “The Charles & Camilla Elevenses” or “Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, Queen of Hearts, 10 year Anniversary, Your Death Has Torn Our Lives Apart, Fairwell Dear Princess Queen Of Hearts, Forever In Our Thoughts, Memorial Afternoon Tea”. Our order was taken with a carefully metered dose of effete distain and our tea and crumpets were deposited at the table so curtly it made us squirm with pleasure.

It’s fair to say that the atmosphere they create is a little overbearing to say the least. It probably won’t be the most relaxed experience but it may be one of the more amusing or bizarre depending on your outlook. The scones and what we were charged for them placated both our pockets and our palates and we look forward to returning.

There’s a lot to like and we wavered between three and a half to four pots, but they couldn’t quite scoop up the high scores because we felt they lacked vigour in their pursuit of a dream.  If anything we expected it to be even more queer, even more camp, even more OTT. Next time we go, and when Amos sends the sugar bowl flying and Lily guffaws so loudly it upsets the plastic fountain on table three, we expected to be smacked firmly on the knuckles and asked politely to leave.


See more tearooms in the South East