Tea, Apsley House, and the Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington's Teapot

Silver teapot used on campaign by the 1st Duke of Wellington

One of the reasons I write this blog is to share my tea experiences in England with an audience of readers who, like you (and me!) love tea and love England. Another reason is to reveal the sometime obscure tea connections that I seem to find woven throughout the places I visit here. Here’s one of them.


Apsley House


Apsley House, with its prestigious address of Number One London, was the London townhouse of Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852) – better known as the 1st Duke of Wellington. Besides defeating Napoleon at Waterloo and being a two-time Prime Minister, Wellington did all that other stuff that gets your name on hundreds of pub signs in the country puts men like him into the history books. You can read more about his adventurous life here.

Because it contains one of the finest art collections in London, a stunning collection of silver and porcelain (including tea sets – gifts to the Duke to celebrate his military and political prowess), and a massive nude statue of Napoleon (and we always thought that Napoleon’s “complex” was due to his small …….. stature), a visit to Apsley House was on the Tea in England Bucket List. And so it transpired.

I can report that Apsley House is a fantastic property to tour. English Heritage have done well in keeping the interior of the house much the same as it was during the occupancy of the Iron Duke. (P.S. The Wellington family still live there!)


"Tea. Now."

“Tea. Now.”
The Duke of Wellington


The Tea Connection



Many 19th century military officers traveled with their own dinnerware, and Wellington was no exception. His traveling canteen, displayed in the basement at Apsley House,  includes plates and serving dishes, beakers and tumblers, knives and spoons – and a silver tea set.

Wellington was a dedicated tea drinker who appreciated its qualities, and whether at home or away on campaign, a pot of tea was never far from hand. He wrote that whilst planning the [Spanish] Battle of Salamanca, “Tea cleared my head and left me with no misapprehensions.”

So it is true: Real Men Drink Tea


And now

There could be nothing more perfect after a visit to Apsley House than to treat yourself to a Wellington-themed Afternoon Tea in London. Impossible? Not at all! The Wellington Lounge at Intercontinental Hotel London, a stone’s throw from Apsley House and in the shadows of Wellington Arch,  honours the original Duke of Wellington with its magnificent Wellington Afternoon Tea that uses British ingredients infused with influences from his travels.

Wellington Afternoon Tea, Wellington Lounge at Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane London

The Wellington Afternoon Tea


I was recently invited to experience the Wellington Afternoon Tea and I can’t wait to tell you about it. It was flawless! Look for my review on Wednesday.

In the meantime, don’t take my word for it that the Duke of Wellington was a tea drinker. See for yourself:




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