During my visit to London in 2001 I dashed into Fortnum and Mason's Food Hall to purchase some fudge for my dad, but I didn't do any other shopping. When I returned in 2007, I didn't visit the store at all, so this trip it was at the top of the list.
I enjoyed researching the store's history. It was founded in 1705 by Hugh Mason. William Fortnum, a footman in the household of Queen Anne, was a tenant of Hugh Mason's. In 1707 they joined forces to establish a grocery supply store, and more than three centuries later the store is still going strong. I love success stories!
It's located at 181 Piccadilly and Duke Street, just up the road from the Ritz Hotel.
~ Duke Street Window Display - Love those beautiful hats! ~
~ Doorman at Duke Street Entrance ~
~ Entrance to the store from Duke Street lobby ~
~ Food Hall on Lower Ground Floor ~
~ Love this chocolate sucker ~
The sign below was next to the lower ground floor elevator. Fortnum and Mason holds a Royal Warrant of Appointment, demonstrating they offer the very best in service, quality, and excellence in the goods and services they provide to the Households of Queen Elizabeth, II, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles. Only a select few receive this recognition.
We took the elevator up to the 4th floor to the Edwardian style Diamond Jubilee Tea Room. On March 1, 2012 Queen Elizabeth, II, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duchess of Cambridge came to Fortnum and Mason's for the opening of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in honor of the celebration her Her Majesty's 60 year reign. It was formerly called the St. James Restaurant. I blogged about the Queen's visit here.
~ Cheerful greeters waiting to seat us ~
~ It wasn't crowded when we arrived, but it was full when we left. ~
The table was set with their signature Eau de Nil blue china, and servers are ready and waiting to place the crisp, linen napkins on laps.
~ Menus ~
~ I ordered the Royal Blend - a Ceylon and Assam Blend, and their Classic Afternoon Tea ~
~ Three tier server laden with delicious tea foods. ~
Savories: Prawn and Gem Lettuce in a Roll; Smoked Salmon with Caper and Lemon Dressing on Wheat Bread; Cucumber with Mint and Cream Cheese on White Bread; Coronation Chicken on a Wheat/Tomato Bread; and Rare Breed Hen Egg [Salad] with Mustard Cress on Poppy Seed Bread. They were all delicious, but my favorite was the Coronation Chicken, and when our server asked if we wanted more of any particular sandwich, that was the one we asked for. It was mildly seasoned with curry.
~ Plain and fruit scones ~
~ Served with Somerset Clotted Cream and Jam ~
~ Desserts ~
~ And we dined to the accompaniment of soft, background piano music ~
A website about Fortnum and Mason stated: "A visit to London can not be considered complete until one has experienced one of the finest stores in the world." I couldn't agree more. I enjoyed the Afternoon Tea at the Ritz in 2007, but the Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason ranked right up there with it. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting London.
[Lori and Me]
~ Yummy Pastry Cart ~
Before going down to the 1st floor Homewares Department I decided to visit the ladies restroom [tea will do that to you! ;-)]. Since I was the only one in the room, I couldn't resist snapping a picture of the elegant ladies' room with Audrey Hepburn's picture.
~ I drooled over the beautiful silver and china ~
How I would have loved purchasing one of their teacups in the beautiful Eau de Nil blue, but my duffel bag was almost full, and my wallet was quickly emptying, so I resisted with every ounce of restraint I could muster! ;-)
Instead I purchased a keepsake tea towel that was affordable, and didn't take up a lot of space.
Their tea department is on the lower ground floor at the far end of the Food Hall. Their teas are displayed in clear glass teapots for viewing and smelling before purchasing.
~ A Samovar ~
Just before we were ready to leave, Lori spotted a tote bag called "Teapot Bag for Life." It was reasonably priced, and wouldn't take much space in my duffel bag, so it came home with me too!
All good things must come to an end, and it was time to move on to our next destination - Covent Garden.
~ Entrance/Exit on Piccadilly Road ~
~ The Fortnum and Mason clock on the Piccadilly Facade ~