I will be going to London and the town of Fleet in Hampshire in a month with my daughter for a nice nine day trip. Since I have never properly experienced high English tea time, I am greatly looking forward to being a part of this daily English tradition. As a result of our upcoming journey, I decided to compile a small list of some cool places in the areas of where we will be:
1. Sketch, The Gallery, 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, West London.
The Gallery ~This Deco pink interior scene looks like a cake and voices itself loud as a scene from Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter at the Mad Tea Party. One of the top Instagramed tea salons in London, Sketch leaves not one detail unaccounted for. The walls are adorned with artwork from Glaswegian artist, David Shrigley who also designed and created a 22 piece tableware set to tie the whole scene together where one feels as if they are on a movie set as they indulge in the delicious and lavish afternoon tea hour that Sketch has to offer. In addition to The Gallery, there are two floors with different themed restaurants and bars: The Lecture Room, The Parlour, The Glade and The East Bar ~ something for everyone.
2. Le Chandelier, 161 Lordship Ln, East Dulwich, London.
Properly called Le Chandelier, because of the many chandeliers hanging from the ceiling in the main room of the tea house, this beauty of a place is an aesthetic gem to go to relax and enjoy the delicious menu prepared for its patrons. There is a private Moroccan style lounge room awaiting at the top of the stairs which is a cool contrast to the French style interior below.
3. Fortnum and Mason, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon was opened by HM The Queen in 2012 celebrating her 60 year anniversary reign. The salon is on the fourth floor of this high-end established food department store founded in 1707 by Hugh Mason. Another cool thing, Fortnum and Mason are the true creators of the Scotch Egg which was invented for travelers that needed an already prepared food for those long tiring journeys (1738). Nothing could beat a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage and fried breadcrumbs for the most portable 18th century travel food! For one that really wants that true British tea experience, Fortnum and Mason is a must!
4. Wild Food Cafe, 1st Floor, 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, Greater London.
Neal’s Yard, a colorful alley in Covent Garden named after 17th century developer Thomas Neal, houses the Wild Food Cafe. Although not a traditional tea-house being a organic raw and whole food veggie cafe, I still wanted to include it on my list of can’t be missed tea salons. Notice how delicious the raw chocolate cheesecake and the raw blackberry cupcakes look.
5. The Petersham Hotel in Richmond, Nightingale Ln, Richmond, Surrey.
Eight miles southwest from Central London, The Petersham Hotel is a majestic and stunning four star hotel overlooking the Thames River. Housed on beautiful forested grounds with panoramic views of the vast surrounding meadows the Petersham is located just outside the quaint town of Richmond. Not only is this afternoon tea hour steeped in the timeless noble English high tea time tradition but there is a beautiful view that goes with it. Clientele get to indulge in an array of traditional finger sandwiches, pastries and scones with clotted cream and jam, and of course the tea.
6. BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, 8 Northumberland Avenue off Trafalgar Square, London.
This is adorable!! Perfect for the kids! And us adults that are kids too. A must do for families! There’s even an afternoon tea boat tour available down the Thames through Central London as well. The little vintage double decker red bus does the normal tourist circuit through London seeing the London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street etc.
7. Tylney Hall Hotel, Hampshire, Ridge Ln, Rotherwick, Hook, Hampshire.
Since we will be staying in Hampshire County in the village of Fleet, I wanted to include on this list an afternoon tea house to visit in the area. There are so many but I really loved this one, which is about 18 minutes west of Fleet and 1 hour 10 minutes southwest of London. Built in 1700, Tylney Hall was the home to Sir Frederick Tylney and family. From 1948-1984 it was a school and reopened as a hotel in 1986 and will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year as an established luxury boutique hotel. Claimed as ‘the best afternoon tea in Basingstoke and Hampshire’ (Basingstoke being 6.6 miles away), Tylney Hall seems to be quite the elegant tea experience. The cool thing is that one can meander around the hotel and partake in any one of the numerous seating areas to enjoy the tea hour (pictured below is one of the lounge seating areas to choose from).