LONDON – It was my birthday on Saturday. Lets just say, I’m now a woman of a certain age. I wanted to do something different and special and so I invited two friends to join me for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, the luxury department store. It earned it’s reputation as a grocery store supplying high quality food to the well to do. It’s steeped in history and since it’s opening in 1707, has supplied goods to many royals including Queen Victoria who apparently purchased tea for Florence Nightingale’s hospitals in the Crimean War. It is also famed for its luxury picnic hampers which were distributed to Victorian high society for events such as the Henley Regatta or Ascot Races. I’d love to dip into one of those. But that will have to wait. This post is all about my afternoon tea.
Turns out my birthday fell on one of the hottest days in London. It was 30C and that number goes up when you’re travelling on the tube as I was. I put on a very pretty navy blue dress and my flip flops. I decided that if I was going to travel on the tube, then I wasn’t going to do it in high heels. I packed those into my handbag instead.
From home, I took the DLR and central line, made a few more changes and then arrived at Fornum and Mason with plenty of sweat running down my face. I felt like I needed to take a shower. But instead I changed my shoes to high heels and then made my way up to the 4th floor in a very tiny lift. Upon entering, I immediately felt this sense of peace and calm and it stayed with me throughout the entire afternoon.
The decor is soft and fresh. “Very Tiffany,” said Heather as she commented on the decor. And the staff friendly, happy and attentive. We opted for the afternoon tea which is: tea, scones, cake, pastries and finger sandwiches.
These scones were served with clotted cream, strawberry and apricot jam.
I ordered the Manuka tea. It’s served loose and they strain it for you.
I loved these finger sandwiches. They even served ones with cucumber. How very English!
And as an extra treat, the pianist played ‘happy birthday’ for me. And I got a candle to blow out. I even made a wish.
Top Tip: we were pleasantly surprised to find out that you can order unlimited amounts of cake, pastries, sandwiches and tea at Fortnum’s. But there was so much food to eat already, that we couldn’t. So when you go, don’t feel shy about asking for more.
We were also given a little take home treat.
Here’s a list of other places to go for high tea that the Daily Telegraph put together. Have you done a high tea yet? Where did you go? Can you recommend somewhere special?