There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding that perfect place to get really stuck into a piece of writing or reading. I’ve come across many ideal nooks and crannies throughout my travels and I want to share them with you.
I visited the first in my series of great writing spots today between my creative writing lectures.
It’s a little tea shop off the beaten track of central Portsmouth; just between Winston Churchill Avenue and Elm Grove sits All About Tea or Gadsden Tea as it comes up on google maps.
I initially dismissed it as just a tea shop, but after walking past it for over a year, I found out that it is actually a tea room too, or rather, the perfect blend of both.
The building is large and industrial with a high, cream ceiling and an airy feel. The furniture is plush and vintage. The red leather armchairs and sofas are perfect to sink into while you work out a plot point or title. Solid wood tables offer bigger workspaces or small individual tea tasting stations where you can try the latest brew.
The back of the cafe is lined with metal shelves displaying the myriad of tea flavours. Through the gaps in the shelves, you can see the equipment and white-coated staff that make the tea. The constant activity and the gentle jazz music played make for pleasant background noise which isn’t too distracting from your work.
The ancient Greeks often used herbal infusions to call upon the muses for creative stimulation. In modern terms, tea is probably the closest way to crack that writer’s block and All About Tea have definitely got that covered. They must have a hundred different flavours. My favourites are ‘Rosehip and Hibiscus’ and the ‘Winter Warmer’ which is perfect for these chillier months. Once you’ve managed to make your choice the friendly young staff will serve it to you in a quaint china teapot complete with knitted tea cosy and – of course – sweet biscuit. If you really like your selection, all the teas are available to purchase in-store in various forms and quantities.
Now for the best part: they have a dog! Bertie is a gorgeous grey and black spaniel who is super friendly and will happily settle by you while you ponder a character’s motivations.
Portsmouth has a thriving writer’s scene and All About Tea is the perfect place to make your contribution to it. Next time you are in the harbour city, be sure to check it out.