Guided tea tour around Victoria & Albert Museum

Discover the enchanting history of English tea drinking | £45

Discover the enchanting world of tea through the ages with Caroline’s guided tea tour of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This tour is perfect for those who want to explore the history of British tea drinking from its origins in China to the height of its popularity in Georgian Britain, where it touched the English interior and forever shaped British culture.

Tea bowl and saucer of soft-paste porcelain. Painted in underglaze blue with a Chinoiserie design of horse and willow tree; inside the cup, a small spray. Vauxhall, porcelain factory London circa 1754- 1760. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The tour starts in the Chinese Gallery on the ground floor where we explore the origins of tea drinking in ancient China, the beginnings of the tea preparation ceremony and tea etiquette, and the wonderful history of tea paraphernalia. We then move on to the Porcelain Galleries to look at examples of early Chinese and Japanese porcelain and examine the differences and similarities between the Chinese porcelain, European hard paste and soft paste porcelain and English bone China. You will have the chance to hear the stories behind today’s customs and traditions, and marvel at the beautiful selection of tea paraphernalia on display.

1. Teapot, Ginger jar and Slave Candlestick, by Pieter Gerritsz van Roestraeeten, circa 1695. Oil on canvas. The Dutch golden age painter, Roestraeten made a successful living in England. His talent was noted for painting still lifes that depicted the delicate objects of fashionable aristocratic life. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
2. Design for a chimney-piece displaying numerous Chinese porcelain vases on the overmantle. Print from a suite of 6 designs for chimney-pieces, including title plate, entitled ‘Nouvelles Cheminée faitte en plusier en droits de la Hollande et autres Provinces’. Daniel Marot, Holland, before 1703. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The British Galleries provide the next rich seam of information. We see how Chinoiserie has influenced British interior design and learn about tea drinking in a social context. There is an opportunity to actually compare both Chinese porcelain and products of the European ceramics industry and also to appreciate the magnificent Chinese wallpapers and the beautiful Silver Collections. As we move out of Georgian Britain, we see how tea culture begins to change in the late Victorian and early Edwardian period. The tour finishes in the Gamble Room with an informal Q&A session over a cup of tea, and to ask one of the most fascinating questions of all: Why has tea become such a significant part of British life as opposed to other European countries that were also importing tea at the same time?

Click on the image to enjoy this 
short Victoria & Albert Museum
 video about 18th century tea drinking.

What’s included

  • Guided history of tea tour at the Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Tour notes
  • Further reading list
  • A cup of tea in the Gamble Room at the end of the tour

This guided tour is available the dates below. Private tours are available on request.  Please  contact Caroline to discuss your particular requirements. Gift vouchers are also available to present a very special gift.

Please note that due to ongoing work at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the tour journey may be amended slightly to include any new galleries or work around any closed galleries.

guided history of tea tour at the victoria and albert museum


£45 Guided tea tour on Thursday 3rd January at 10.30am  




£45 Guided History of  Tea Tour at Victoria & Albert museum for ONE person 


£190  Private Guided  History of Tea Tour at Victoria & Albert museum for up to 6 people