Posts filed under to a tea

To a Tea | The Houses of Parliament

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Did you know that you could have afternoon tea in the Houses of Parliament? Well, I certainly did not until recent years. And let me tell you, after you’ve learned the history and workings of the UK government in the glorious Palace of Westminster along the Thames, you’ll feel very special getting to have tea there. 

You can book the afternoon tea alongside your tour visit (sorry, you can’t just come for tea!) which is served on Saturdays and some weekdays. It costs £29 and has all the essentials: cucumber sammies, scones with clotted cream & jam, little cakes & an assortment of Twinings tea to drink. 

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Occasional seatings in the MP’s dining rooms happen at random, and we were lucky enough to be sat in there at my most recent visit. It was so pretty and the view out the window was so sublime.

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Find more information on having one of, in my opinion, London’s most unique afternoon teas on the Parliament website

Or opt for slo-mo action shots of clotted cream getting smeared all over scones in my most recent vlog…


Looking for where to have afternoon tea in London? 

Find more of my favourites in my To A Tea Series.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | Number Sixteen

If you’ve read this blog for anytime, you’ll have heard about my friend, Amber. We’ve been friends for a long time during our London adventure- through good times and bad. She held my baby shower for me. My sisters came and crashed at her flat when the girls were born. We flew to Hawaii to be in her wedding with her Tyler. (Makes it easier when your friends have the same husband name as yours, doesn’t it?) We have been through a lot over the past years… and one of the ways we have stay close is, well, constantly rotating being pregnant between us! 

Each time we have a baby to celebrate, we do it in style. Whether its a traditional baby shower, a girls day trip to Paris, a posh picnic in the park…. We do what we can stop and celebrate the moment together. 

For this sweet baby, Amber booked us a girls day out in London. First up: massages in Mayfair at Illuminata. We had lush massages there and then cruised on to our afternoon tea at a place I had been dying to try- Number Sixteen Hotel in South Kensington. I had mentioned it ages ago, and as good friends do, she made a mental note and made it happen for a special day out. 


NUMBER SIXTEEN HOTEL

To start, I should say that this hotel is owned by the same group (Firmdale Hotels) that owns Ham Yard Hotel, which I blogged about previously, I feel like the branding of the group definitely overlaps between properties, but are both independently worth trying for their own merit. The price point and setting at both feels relaxed and cool… with a great sense of design. 

As you may quickly note, the two wow factors of afternoon tea at Number Sixteen Hotel are the garden and the price. The gorgeous garden is intimate and a plush oasis in Central London. There are very few tables, so be prepared to wait if the person seated at the table in the booking decides to perch. (We waited for 45 minutes to be seated from our booking time, as the person at our table decided to put in her headphones and pull out her laptop. Yuck.)

The garden has a small water feature that runs through the back half of it, a coveted gazebo at the far end, sparsely dotted with small tables throughout it, and a seemingly endless green background of pretty plants and flowers.

If the weather turns soggy, there is a small airy dining room (The Orangery) just off the garden where the tea service continues. While it doesn’t have the draw that the garden has, it’s definitely still a lovely backup.

When your tea arrives, expect the classic three-tiered offerings: sandwiches on bottom, scones (plain & fruited) with cream and jam in the middle, and a variety of homemade cakes and sweets crowing the top. There is a small, basic selection of teas to choose from- afternoon blend, earl grey, etc- to choose from included in the price, or you can upgrade to a more extensive list for a few pounds more. Find the full afternoon menu for the Number Sixteen Hotel here.

While the food and setting is ideal, the price really makes it the perfect moment- £29 for the summer Grayson Perry themed afternoon tea, and £22 for the standard afternoon tea tea resumes after September 10. It’s a price that is hard to beat in Central London.

To book your own table, book through the booking form on their website or contact the hotel directly at +44 (0) 20 7589 5232


NUMBER SIXTEEN | 16 Sumner Place, London SW7 3EG | sixteen@firmdale.com 




*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | The Wind in the Willows at Haymarket Hotel

My mother-in-law has come to visit us in London each time we’ve had a baby… and this time was no exception. And each time she has come to visit after a baby has been born, we have celebrated with afternoon tea. In fact, we went to Fortnum & Mason when Viola was just a few days old. It was one of her very first times out of the house and I remember feeling like the whole experience was a bit of an out of body experience. When Harrison was born, we ventured to Sanderson’s Hotel in Marylebone for the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. It was adorable, but I think I spent the majority of our time there swatting VIola’s hand away from the music box stacked with sugar cubes. Ha!

And for Edie’s birth? Well, I had my site’s set on trying the special Wind in the Willow’s afternoon tea at the Haymarket Hotel just off Trafalgar Square. Now, if I’m honest, I knew slightly what to expect. After all, the Haymarket Hotel is another Firmdale Hotel- like Ham Yard and Number Sixteen. I was expecting a similar experience and taste to the other two previous teas… and I was right. But luckily, I really enjoy those places because this was just as good.

And if you remember my posts about those two, you may remember- I really love the price. At £24 per person, this was a special day out in Central London without spending a small fortune. At the moment, Haymarket is offering a special twist to their regular afternoon tea that I couldn’t wait to try- The Wind in the Willows afternoon tea.  This special offering runs through the 9th of September in honour of the new musical adaptation of the book by Julian Fellows to arrive in the West End. After that, the darling decorated biscuits and darjeeling cupcakes that are inspired by Ratty’s picnic will go away and the afternoon tea will return to it’s standard items.

The afternoon tea is held in the hotel's restaurant, Brumus. While we were seated by the window (per my request), the awning outside was pulled and made our table have some seriously blue tinged lighting… it didn’t bother us at the moment, but my pictures are pretty dismal from the off lighting. Luckily, I was grabbing a few moments on video here and there, so I’ve got a short little video of our day below to share.

It was a sweet day, and I’m so thankful for these moments and memories we have made to mark the birth of our London babies with such a simple- yet sweet- little tradition.

P.S. If you’re wildly observant, you may notice that the kids are dressed a bit like the book? Well, you’d be right. Boden has just launched a Wind in the Willows series, which was serendipitous timing, as they sent some pieces over for the kids that same week. Can you believe it? Lucky them! (No adult clothes from the series, sadly!) But I think they look pretty cute. Find the collection here if you’re in the UK. Or if you’re in the US, find the best selection of Boden I know of here.



HAYMARKET HOTEL | 1 Suffolk Pl, London SW1Y 4HX | +44 20 7470 4000




*images and video original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | Afternoon Tea at Ham Yard Hotel

 

 had the chance to spoil a new mom to a pretty afternoon tea this week, and every bit of the experience was so lovely that I couldn't wait to share it. If anyone is looking for a fantastic afternoon tea in Central London (and why shouldn't you be?), look no further. I've found a place that will be just your cup of tea.

It may be bold to say,  but I think this ranks the best afternoon tea in London. Everything about it is fantastic: the food, the setting, the service & the amazingly modest price. I'm planning to make this a new favourite meeting place, and it's only right to share it here with you.

So come on and join us for our gorgeously bright afternoon sitting in the conservatory at Ham Yard. (Make sure you grab a bite of the Battenburg before it's all gone!)


HAM YARD HOTEL AFTERNOON TEA

When I was flipping through my mental Rolodex of great places for tea, I was trying to find something in between the grand tea rooms and small kitschy bakeries. Somewhere in the back of my mind, an old conversation about Ham Yard popped up and I decided to look into it.

The menu looked fantastic and the pictures online of the space looked gorgeous. But the price? It didn't seem right... £22?! All the reviews looked great though, so I called in and snagged a table.

When I arrived, the setting was evening cooler than I thought. If you go, expect a well-groomed clientele of young yuppies with great style to be surrounding you. 

The food was fantastic, featuring classic items with slight twists to make them interesting, yet not offensively changing what works. The scones were the perfect size, and served warm in a little cave of a crisp napkin.

 

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And the cakes? Ooooh goodness. Gorgeously presented and even tastier. 

So yes, I have a new favourite place for afternoon tea in London... and I have no doubt you will, too.


Ham Yard Hotel | 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT | +44 20 3642 2000

Looking for more options on the best places for afternoon tea in London? Check out my To A Tea series for more of my favourites.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | The Dorsett Hotel, Shepherds Bush

 

If you're following along on Instagram, you may have noticed we have a new hood- Shepherds Bush! We are still in Central London, but just on the edge of it. It's a great fit for us- near friends and with a ton more space for our money. We are loving life here!

Obviously, one of the first matters necessary to us settling here was finding a great afternoon tea nearby. (I have my priorities, people.) Luckily, The Dorsett Hotel is just around the corner from our new house and, as I've come to discover, a place I'm sure I'll be finding myself on many afternoons in the near future.

 

 

The hotel graciously invited me to come for their special afternoon tea in celebration of the Queen's 90th Birthday. The tea has a menu that really highlights classic summer treats of Britain. When my original date had a last-minute change of plans, I was forced to scrounge up someone to join me. Just as I was about to whip out my phone and start hitting up some replacements, Tyler & I decided that there was a particular three year-old who would love a special afternoon out with her mom. So we tossed on dresses and the two of us trotted down to The Dorsett.

 

THE QUEENS AFTERNOON TEA | £24.95

 

The tea is served to you on fluffly velvet sofas in the hotel's sleek golden atrium bar, Jin. The setting is different than your classic tea room found in London with its merging of luxe finishes and modern lines.

 

 

The Queen's Afternoon Tea begins with your choice of several loose leaf teas. (Though if you're feeling torn, just know you can change up your brew throughout the tea to fit your mood.) Soon after, you'll be greated with an enormous spread of tea time fare.

 

 

Think all the English classics for this tea: coronation chicken and smoked salmon sandwiches, warm scones and crumpets with giant pots of cream and jam, Eton Mess parfaits, strawberries and cream, brightly colored slices of Battenburg cakes and all the works. It really was a great taste of British summer time... actually, more than just a taste- it was one of the largest teas I've ever been served. (Luckily, they wrapped up the pieces we couldn't finish and we got to take them home with us.)

 

 

In London, there are so many places to get expensive afternoon teas. I love those places, but I think we often assume that afternoon teas at a lower price may be missing an element from them. Well, I'm here to tell you- this one is not. (After all, the Dorsett is one of Prince Harry's favorite hangouts.) And at almost half the price of what you can pay at some of the well-known tea rooms, the Dorsett's Queen's Afternoon Tea really is a great treat for an afternoon out.

 

 

 

THE DORSETT HOTEL, 58 Shepherds Bush Green. London, W12 8QE

 



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

To A Tea | Baglioni Italian Afternoon Tea + Spa

You know those places that you pass everyday in your normal errands that you always notice, but go years without taking a foot inside of them? Well, I have passed the Baglioni Hotel a squillion times as it is so close to our flat, but had never actually been inside until today.

And I'll just go ahead and spoil the ending: I'm planning on going back all the time now. The End.

But in case you want to read the chapters in between my entrance to the hotel and the conclusion, here you are. (I could probably write a small love story about our day here.)

The Baglioni is part of the Baglioni Hotels- an Italian chain of luxury hotels. Their London property sits on an amazing location just at the end of Kensington Church Street across from Kensington Palace. While everything around the hotel is very, well, British, the Baglioni has just the right amount of Italian flair to make it a distinct destination. 

It's not different in an obnoxious way... instead, it's more like English with an Italian accent. :) Case in point: the Baglioni Italian Afternoon Tea.

 

 

While the concept, setting and flavors are predominantly standard for an afternoon tea, the Baglioni has added in some special Italian touches to it: Bellavista instead of Champagne, traditional scones served with jam, cream AND nutella, mini paninis stuffed alongside traditional finger sandwiches and Italian treats like cannoli and tiramisu for dessert.

We had a few guests make a cameo during our visit.  

Of course, they were both hungry, too.

 

But that giant dish of Nutella wasn't even the best part.

The Baglioni has an offer for a Spa Day that combines the Italian Afternoon Tea with a 50 Minute Massage in their luxe spa for £105. Relaxation? Deep Tissue? Hot Stone? You name it- they are all included in the offer. And you can trust me, you are not going to find that combination for that price anywhere in London! All the details can be found here... and giddy Instagram selfie taken in the spa below. 

 


The hotel spa is definitely not an afterthought. The facilities are gorgeous, the treatment rooms are stunning and the showers and steam room are worth a trip to the spa themselves.

What an amazing day- thank you, Baglioni, for making my dreams come true. And thank you to my friend, Nancy H Gibbs, photographer extraordinaire, for taking such gorgeous photos.



Find more of London's best afternoon teas here.



 

*images by Nancy H Gibbs

*This visit was hosted by Baglioni Hotels. Opinions are my own.

 

 

To A Tea | Madhatter's Tea at the Sanderson

While I may not be blogging much over the past few weeks, I have been eating well. With our parents in town, we have been hitting up some special places in London that have been on our "list" for a while.

I'm still doing the #AKsweetescape (50 days of no dessert from June 1 - July 20!), so at many of these places I'm having to suffer through people eating gorgeous desserts, but I have allowed myself to enjoy having afternoon tea with both of our moms while they were here. After all, it'd be rude not to, right? Ha!

After taking Viola to see Cinderella (again) at the theatre this week, we decided to compound the day of indulgence with an afternoon tea at the Sanderson. I called in and made us a reservation for later that afternoon, which was a bit tricky as the tea is so popular.

 

What makes the tea so popular? It's a Madhatter's Tea Party! The tea is themed around Alice and Wonderland with sweet treats, eats & china that play off the classic tale. As a devoted Alice fan, I was so excited to go. Here's a look at our day with all the details that you'll need to know for your own Madhatters Afternoon tea at the Sanderson.

Theres a basic menu with one option on food (though all the dietary needs can be accommodated, if requested), but you can choose to add on a glass of champagne or one of the themed signature cocktails to your tea.

The tea comes with traditional tea sandwiches (cucumber, salmon, ham & egg), sweet and savory scones, but the real treat comes with the desserts. I mean.... look at how gorgeous and clever they are.

 

 

 

If you go...

Order as many teas or coffees as you like, as there is no charge for swapping teas or getting coffees. They have all the classics and then a sweet lineup of teas that resemble sweet treats like apple pie, mint chocolate chip and bake well tart. Sounds odd, but they taste really nice.

Also, if you run out of sandwiches, scones or a particular item- feel free to ask for more. They were really kind about bringing us extra sandwiches and scones.

If you bring a child under 4, they can share with you. If they are over, the tea costs £30 per child. The price for the standard adult tea (meaning no champagne or cocktail) is £38.

The seating is outside in the covered courtyard, though inside tables are available if requested or needed.

 

This tea is very popular during the high tourist season, so you'll need to book in advance. Call 020 7300 5588 to book or email restaurant.resuk@mhgc.com to make your reservation.

Service is kind, but pretty slow... consider yourself warned. 

If you go, I know you'll have a great time. It's a special treat!


 

Find out more of my favorite places to have tea in London in my To A Tea series:

Fortnum & Mason | The Ampersand Hotel | The Orangery at Kensington Palace 

Cocomaya | The V&A | Bea's of Bloomsbury | BB Bakery Double Deck Bus Tour

 



 

 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

To A Tea | BB Bakery Double Decker Tea Tour

The day my students first arrive in London, we typically take them on a private coach tour around the city with a guide. It's a tradition that is expensive and (slightly) boring, but we do it so that they can see all the famous places they've been thinking about for so long and to get them familiar with the city. 

Earlier this summer my friend, Stephanie, sent me a tweet about BB Bakery's Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. (She always finds the best stuff and sends it to me.) Afternoon tea served on a vintage route-master while cruising around London? Brilliant.

So instead of doing our normal tour, I swapped the plans and we all did this as a group. It ended up costing almost the same and was considerably more awesome. Totally touristy, but if you can get over feeling a little dorky, it is really fun! 

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The food was really good, too. Going into it, I wasn't sure if the "tea" would just be an afterthought, but everything was really delicious. While I wouldn't say this is a place to meet up with a friend to catch up (because the price tag is a bit hefty at £45pp), it is a great way to celebrate. Save it for visitors to London, birthdays and hen parties- it's worth the splurge for special occasions of that caliber. 

They can also accommodate (in a yummy way!) vegetarians and those in need of GF alternatives.

 

Sound like fun? Visit the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour page here for more information.


Not your cup of tea? Check out the other tearooms I've tried in London in my To A Tea series.

 

 

 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | BRGR.Co (Say What?)

Tea?

At a burger joint?

Indeed.

Sometimes, my friends,

you gotta shake things up.

And speaking of shakes,

this tea included a mini shake...

so I had no choice but to try it immediately.

BRGR.Co

is a cute place in Soho

that has often intrigued me,

but I'd typically always been heading to another room

when I saw it,

so never had a good excuse to try it out.

Fortunately, my friend

Grace

forwarded me an email about their

version of "Afternoon Tea."

After reading of sliders (chicken, lobster & cheeseburgers!),

mini pots of fries, 

cheesecake, donuts, the aforementioned miniature vanilla shake,

iced tea (because what "tea" would be complete without it)

and a glass of prosecco

all for £17,

I realized this was my moment to check it out.

So off we went.

The staff was so friendly

and sat us 30 minutes before our reservation.

Food came out quickly

and was super good.

I was a big fan of the sliders, the fries, the donut, the tea...

well, I guess we could say

I pretty much liked everything.

Viola even had her first high chair experience...

giving her convenient access to swiping at food.

Obviously, I watched her grab at the cheesecake and fries

with true motherly pride.

So yeah, add

this place

to your list.

Whether it's for the "afternoon tea"

or just for a good bite

while your strolling Soho or shopping on Oxford Street.

It's a good one.

And the regular menu looks pretty awesome, too. 

Check it out!

***

Not your cup of tea?

Check out some of my other favorite places for tea

here

.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | The Liberty Cafe

If you

follow me on Instagram,

you may have noticed I have a *slight* obsession

for London's department store, Liberty.

And of course, when I say "slight obsession"

I actually mean, 

"I want to lick the floors of it and caress every single item inside its walls."

After a long time of forgetting to try out

their cafe,

I decided it was time to for two of my life's great loves

(tea & Liberty)

to merge.

I have to say...

I was slightly underwhelmed.

Let's walk through my time there.

Location:

Hard to find in the store

(on the second floor in a room to the side).

The room itself is fairly plain

with a good dose of subtle quirks

that are oh-so-Liberty.

Food:

It was... meh,

and it wasn't cheap.

I ordered lunch

followed by a cream tea.

After all, this was research

and I had to get a good sampling.

Let's start with the Cream Tea

since this is a series on tea rooms in London.

The scones were dense.

After I polished off the first,

I actually kinda dreaded having to work through the second.

Which is not a normal feeling.

{Plus, they weren't fresh or warm.}

And it was £10.50...

which makes is one of the more expensive cream teas

I can ever recall seeing listed on a menu in the UK.

The goats cheese, caramelised onion & asparagus tart was pretty tasty.

On the upside,

it made hitting the end of the summer sale really easy.

In fact, 

I walked away with some amazing steals

and it played perfectly into my errands at Oxford Circus.

So, would I go back?

Sure,

but maybe just for a drink

or a light nibble.

I wouldn't save up a tasty meal for it...

or splurge on my souvenir tea time there.

Have you been?

Did you have a better experience?

(I really do hope so! I would love to think I experienced an off day.)

***

Not your cup of tea?

Check out some of my other tea times 

at some of London's finest places on Aspiring Kennedy.

Fortnum & Mason | The Ampersand Hotel | Cocomaya | The Orangery | V&A

Primrose Bakery | Bea's of Bloomsbury

*all photography original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | The V&A

I love the

V&A.

Pretty much everything about it...

The architecture.

The pieces inside.

The fact that Victoria & Albert created it

to be a museum for the working class

and made it accessible to them by keeping it open late

(and, controversially, by candlelight)

so people could come after working hours.

I love the sitting area outside in the courtyard.

{And, of course, I love the fact that it is free to visit.}

BUT I REALLY LOVE THEIR CAFE.

I mean, honestly...

how gorgeous is this place?

It's one of my favorite places to meet up.

Not only is the food great

and the setting amazing,

but I like to do a quick run through the museum

to learn one new thing every time I'm there.

I kinda feel like it's a waste if I'm in a place

that is so amazing

and don't even see the exhibits.

{Then again, I'm a bit of a dork.}

When Megan was in town

on her bon voyage tour,

we went for a girls day.

It was wonderful.

I ate a lot.

I'm going to call it "emotional eating" because Megan was leaving...

but it might also have been because those scones were awesome.

However you want to call it.

Either way,

the V&A rocks.

A few things to know:

The V&A doesn't do giant tea trays of small sandwiches & treats.

Instead, they have serving lines of hot food, cold food, baked goods & drinks.

It's, basically, the most gorgeous cafeteria you've ever eaten it...

and with some of the best/freshest food, too.

Get more information on opening times & location

here on the

Victoria & Albert

website.

****

Not your cup of tea?

Check out some of my other favorite spots for tea in London here.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | The Drawing Rooms at The Ampersand Hotel

My friend Kelsey

invited me to tea

with some of her friends today

at the Ampersand Hotel.

Since I never say no to a chance

to sit around with baked goods

under tha guise of testing new tea rooms

and getting out of the house, 

I happily obliged.

To be honest, I'd never heard of this hotel before,

but I'm so glad that she had...

because, y'all, 

this place is cute...

The hotel is in a great location in South Kensington-

just feet away from the tube stop,

making it the perfect way to round off

a day visiting the V&A

or toodling around the halls of Harrods.

We had tea in the hotel's

Drawing Rooms.

And I have to say,

it might be one of my new favorite spots.

Here's why:

The scones were warm and delicious.

Not many tea rooms bake fresh scones

for each tea order...

most of the time, 

they are pre-cooked

and waiting to be served.

To have a hot one

makes it oh-so-much better.

{Editor's Note: This also applies to donuts & rolls.}

The place was cute,

but it wasn't pretentious.

It also wasn't a scene....

which I enjoyed for an easy afternoon out.

When I arrived at 2pm,

the place was fairly empty...

by the time I left,

there was a fun social buzz of chatter in the room.

Comfy, cozy chairs abound

for lounging and chatting.

Baby Mama Friendly?

Indeed!

The staff was so sweet

and the room had plenty of space

for our "push chair" brigade...

but the steps into the hotel are steep

and tough to do by yourself!

It's not crazy expensive.

The afternoon tea

-you know, with the pretty tied tray-

is £23 per person.

It has all the classics

like scones & sweets,

but offers yummy open sandwiches

that make the standard tiny triangles

that most other places offer feel a bit dated.

I, being cheap, opted for the "Cream Tea" for £7-

but was perfectly pleased with it.

A Cream Tea gets you two warm scones

-complete with clotted cream & jam on the side-

plus a pot of tea of your choice.

Perfect, I dare say.

And look how cute the tea pots are?

{They remind me of

this Bodum teapot

which I have been wanting for ages.}

All in all?

Tea in The Drawing Rooms was a definite win!

Check out

The Ampersand

for your next trip to London

or it's

Drawing Rooms

for your next afternoon with the ladies.

_____________

If this place doesn't look like your cup of tea,

check out some of my other favorite places to do tea in London

here.

To A Tea | Bea's of Bloomsbury

One of the last places

I'm going to highlight

is a new twist

on a London favorite.

Bea's of Bloomsbury

has, up until recently,

been a treasure of the neighborhood of,

well, Bloomsbury. 

Their new location in the swanky retail spaces

around St. Paul's Cathedral

offers more people a chance

to meet for a sweet afternoon out

in Central London.

I got to meet my friend,

Andrea

,

and her darling baby, Mae, there

one afternoon early this spring.

I think this is another great recommendation

for anyone wanting to stay in Central London

and have tea in a less-stuffy (and less-expensive) setting

than most of the famous tea rooms in town offer.

While you can do their

cute and quirky afternoon-tea

for a quite reasonable £19.00 per person,

the a la carte options are also really lovely...

and very affordable.

It's new location right by St. Paul's

makes a stop at

Bea's

easy

for anyone visiting the cathedral,

Shakespeare's Globe or the Tate Modern.

{It might have been a little untraditional for tea time,

but they make some mean banana bread...

and you should definitely have it toasted!}

The original

Bea's

location in Bloomsbury is at

44 Theobald's Road, WC1X 8NW.

Their new location at St Pauls can be found at

83 Watling Street, EC4M 9BX.

___________

Not your cup of tea?

Click through

here

for more of my favorite places for tea in London.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | Primrose Bakery

Continuing on with

in my new little journey

to find great places for tea in London

comes something a little different

that the fancy Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea

I posted about previously.

After reading about how delicious their kitschy retro bakery was,

I was set & determined to head out to Primrose Hill

to try out Primrose Bakery.

I

begged

asked my friend,

Meg, to join me

for a little afternoon out,

and, like nice friends often do, she obliged.

Primrose Bakery

Located in the posh residential neighborhood of Primrose Hill,

this bakery is a bright cheerful spot

to find yourself chatting away an afternoon.

The staff is sweet,

the baked goods offer plenty of variety,

and somehow, you end up getting cozy 

with those around while you're there.

***

I won't lie when I say 

it's constantly luring in a crowd of yummy mummies

and their Bugaboo-saddled offspring,

{Fortunately, most of them are so fatigued from French Nursery School,

the atmosphere remains quite serene.}

I recommend the lemon cake.

It's moist and really tart...

if that's your thing.

{It is definitely mine!}

Their

cupcakes

are also notable...

as they are what landed Primrose Bakery on the map

and are the most commonly requested item

on the {cute, hand-drawn chalkboard} menu.

As the bakery is fairly cozy, 

you'll find there is limited seating, 

so going with a large group could be difficult.

Save this spot for a quiet afternoon with a friend or two.

{Their cute offspring coming is an optional, but recommended, addition.}

Prices are more than reasonable,

as you will find yourself well-off the tourist track.

My pot of tea

and {cough} two sweets

were under £10.

To be honest,

this original location of this bakery

 is tucked away from the typical tourist loop.

It's not necessarily difficult to get to...

but I'd have a map handy (or google maps)

when heading there,

as it's about a 10 minute walk from the tube station and bus stop.

The purist in me enjoyed the short trek to

the starting place

 of the Primrose Bakery dynasty,

but for those seeking an option

slightly more conducive

to a tourist-schedule, 

you might consider

their newly opened location

in Covent Garden.

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So overall, who would I recommend the Primrose Bakery for?

Probably for those of us who are local to London

looking for a fun place to meet up with a friend...

or for anyone who has more than a couple of days in the city.

Otherwise, you might feel too rushed to enjoy

 the experience of getting there

and settling in with tea and a good conversation

 for the afternoon.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Obviously, I want to be friends with Kate Middleton.

Excuse me, the Duchess of Cambridge.

We live so close by each other,

we're both tall, &

we both have brown hair.

It just makes sense.

And obviously, she wants to be my friend, too.

Her wedding dress had lace sleeves like mine

{I don't mind that she copied me},

and she jumped on the baby train right after I did,

It's nice to know the feeling is mutual.

So until our paths collide

and we become the best of friends

pushing our prams around Kensington High Street,

browsing the sale racks of Reiss together,

and sipping tea from their royal apartment in Kensington Palace...

I'm happily settling for afternoon tea at

The Orangery

at Kensington Palace.

Pretty much the same thing...

minus the whole

"hanging out with the Princess" bit.

Either way,

if you come to London

and find yourself having tea at the Orangery,

you won't feel like you've settled in the least.

In fact, you may feel a bit like royalty yourself.

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THE ORANGERY

at Kensington Palace

While Kate might be everyone's first choice

for companionship over tea at The Orangery,

I was lucky to share my afternoon

with long-time blogging friend,

Ashley,

and her adorable daughter, Claire,

who were in town visiting from Senegal.

It was a lovely afternoon, 

and the chilly weather

even behaved enough

to give the place some

gorgeous sunlight for our little date.

The Orangery is a gorgeous tea room

and the setting is perfectly palatial

with clean walls

and bright floral arrangements.

The afternoon tea is £19

and includes all the trimmings

expected at afternoon tea.

{Sandwiches, scones & cakes served with a pot of tea.}

Or you can opt for the cream tea for £9...

which will get you a pot of tea + two scones

served with jam and cream.

Though it's only served on a small plate and is a bit less glorious in presentation,

if that matters to you.

You can also order food off of

their seasonal menus

if you'd rather opt for something a bit more substantial.

The setting really is perfect though.

Not too girly that you can't bring a man...

in fact, there were more men present here

than any other "tea room" I've visited.

But it's also perfect for an afternoon of catching up

and lingering over sweets

with friends.

And if you can snag a table outside in the summer,

well... I think you'd really be feeling like a princess.

And yes...

as this picture proves,

I am taller in real life than most people think.

5'10" and 9 months pregnant, folks.

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If this place isn't your cup of tea,

you can check some of my other blogs

about places to have tea in London

here.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | COCOMAYA

Right as I started on this quest

to find great tea rooms in London,

it seems the requests have been pouring in.

That, my friends, is what we call "perfect timing."

I'm really excited about the tea room

you're getting to see today.

Not only is it fantastic,

but it's also really central

so it's perfect for anyone visiting the city...

It's also a short bus ride directly to/from my flat,

so I now know that I can easily access

this cute place whenever I so desire.

And that my friends, is what we call "trouble."

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COCOMAYA

This little tea shop + chocolaterie

is the brain child of some very hip people:

the former head of concept (

Joel Bernstein)

and former accessories & fashion consultant (Walid al Damirji)

of the hippest store in London

(and my personal favorite), 

LIBERTY.

It's only natural that the aesthetic would be hip

and that the vibe would be cool.

Coming from two people like this

-with experience like theirs-

how could you expect anything else?

Well, you shouldn't...

because COCOMAYA delivers.

It's located in central London,

right near Marble Arch

and a few blocks from Oxford Street.

It's basically in the perfect spot

for you to melt in

after several hours of working your way

through the shops of Oxford Street.

The shop's location is tucked back a bit, 

so you'll avoid most tourist traffic.

Tea is served in vintage tea pots

and mismatched tea cups....

...cakes are served up on randomly cute china plates...

and the overall feeling is,

well, just really lovely.

The prices aren't crazy

and the selection of delicious cakes & pastries

will allow everyone to find their heart's desire.

{Mine happened to be a raspberry & vanilla cake. Oh my.}

Don't expect too much privacy, 

as the main seating area is one large shared table...

but it adds to the ambiance of the place.

If you want to opt for the fancy high tea

or cream team,

they do these also.

{In fact, there is even a second room to the shop

that hosts private parties and fancy tea time.}

There are also small cafe tables outside

that can be huddled over

if the weather allows for it.

All in all,

this place is great.

I loved getting to spend a few hours

in Cocomaya with a new friend...

....and I'm looking forward to many more

afternoons there in the future.

___________________

COCOMAYA

12 Connaught Street

London W2 2AF

+44 7706 2883

Tube Stop: Marble Arch

*check the website for additional locations*

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | Fortnum & Mason

In efforts to help out your future adventures in London, round out the final days of my pregnancy with shocking caloric intake, & spend time with my girlfriends in cute places...

I took on the task of trying out different places for tea in London for you to enjoy during my transition into motherhood. See, the thing is- visitors always seem to have this on their bucket list when planning a trip to London.While there are many institutions that do tea service well, my goal is to give you a handful of opportunities at several different price points & styles within different neighborhoods in London.

While most of the places I'm trying are smaller and lesser known,it only seemed right to start with a real London classic for afternoon tea. So here you have it... Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea.

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Within the famous department store, Fortnum & Mason, is one of London's favo(u)rite tea rooms. It used to be known as the "St. James Tea Room," but was recently renamed "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon." In honor of, well, you guessed it- the Queen's Diamond Jubilee last summer. My mom treated her daughters {and their daughters} to ladies tea on Christmas Eve, and while it was a pretty big splurge, I think we would all agree- it was an awesome memory.

My mom & me, fresh in from the winter rain.

Here are a few things to know about having tea in this special place:

It's fancy.

Yes, you need to make reservations... which I recommend doing online to avoid the long-distance call and to have a physical, printed copy of your reservations. Never hurts.

You need to dress appropriately.

People go here for a splurge... so don't yucky up their special day with eyesore fashion like tennis shoes & ski jackets. You'll have more fun dressing up and sitting like a well-heeled Londoner, too... take my word for it. {Plus, certain dress requirements are required by guests.}

Tea Time here is a feast.

When you order  the "Afternoon Tea," you can expect the standard silver-tiered tray of yummy sandwiches, scones with clotted cream & jam & tiny cakes and sweets served with your choice of one of F&M's famous green pots of tea. {£40 per person}

***

With "High Tea" you start with a main plate {think eggs benedict, lobster omelette, cheddar & haddock soufflé} and THEN you have the tiered tray of scones & cakes served with your choice of tea. Definitely don't plan on eating anything before this, or you won't have any room to enjoy it. Go on and consider it your lunch... and then some. {£44 per person}

***

You are going to be unbuttoning your fancy dress pants under the table to make room for all of this goodness.

Editor's Note: If you flip back a couple of pages on the menu, you can find a la carte items, which has more variety and can be a slightly less expensive way to craft your visit at F&M. If you'd like a main + scones or cakes, the staff is happy to piece together whatever you like.

***

If you have kids, don't hesitate to ask for the Children's Tea which comes with their own tea pot of tea, hot chocolate or juice and a special selection of treats... which, if your kid is anything like my niece, will absolutely tickle their fancy. {Children's Tea: £20}

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I'll be posting more great places to enjoy tea in the great city of London over the weeks to come... but in the meantime, have you had tea anywhere special while you were visiting the UK? {I may need some more places to add to my list!}

 

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

** If you'd like additional information, you can read about my previous visit to Fortnum & Mason for tea here

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