Fortnum & Mason ‘Fortnum’s’ has been a longtime favourite afternoon tea spot of mine. To celebrate the disappearance of my autumn cold, I decided to celebrate with a day or two break visiting some of my favourite places in London! which of course, meant a trip to Fortnum’s for tea and some early Christmas present purchases. Fortnum’s is a department store situated on Piccadilly, established in the Victorian era, Fortnum’s built it’s reputation supplying fine foods, tea an hampers.
The History: Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented the Scotch egg in 1738 (!!) During the Napoleonic Wars, the emporium supplied dried fruit, spices and other preserves to the British officers and during the Victorian era Fortnum’s was frequently called upon to provide food for prestigious Royal Court functions.
Today: Fortnum’s boasts several restaurants, delightful tea rooms, several floors specialising in women’s wear, menswear, luggage, perfume and jewelry, not to mention the incredible Christmas department!
Fortnum & Mason is famed for its loose-leaf tea and its world-renowned luxury picnic hampers, which the store first distributed to Victorian High Society for events such as the Henley Regatta and Ascot Races. Hampers contain luxury items such as Stilton cheese, champagne, quails’ eggs and smoked salmon, tea, cake and preserves and are still a popular treat, especially at Christmas time.
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon: For over 300 years, Fortnum & Mason has been sourcing and selling superb quality tea. In 1926 this famous grocery store was transformed into a unique department store with a restaurant that offered afternoon tea to customers. The tradition of taking tea between lunch and dinner had long been a feature of smart households, and in the Roaring Twenties at Fortnum’s it was defined by a menu featuring the finest teas, delicate sandwiches and exquisite cakes.
The fourth floor, much-loved St James’s Restaurant become an essential part of any visit to 181 Piccadilly, St James’s Restaurant was given a new look to mark the Jubilee celebrations. On the 1st March 2012, a historic day at Fortnum & Mason, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the store to open the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.
‘Mad for Tea’ Exhibition: Fortnum’s is holding a new exhibition, Mad for Tea, curated by ceramic designer Peter Ting and craft consultant Brian Kennedy. As well as a myriad of teas, there is a display of fine ceramics made by the very best of British craftsmen and women exclusively for Fortnum’s. You can also see some fabulous examples of hand-knitted tea cosy’s, old-fashioned kettles and tea sets from around the globe.I was in my element oogeling the hand-knitted tea cosy’s!
Taking tea at Fortnum’s is always a fabulous experience, the music, relaxed ambience, friendly staff, fine tea, quality cake and preserves all contribute to making Fortnum’s the perfect place for afternoon tea. If you have time, there are some wonderful gifts to be had too.
Where is your favourite place to take afternoon tea?