Since I have lived in London, for 3 and half years now, I have had several visits of my family and friends. Often I have been asked to make recommendations where to eat, what to see, where to walk and shop, etc…So I thought I could compile a list of the places I like and share it with you in a post, so next time you come over you can have a different experience. Some of them I found randomly, some others were recommended to me by my cousin or friends.
As London is huge and there is so much to be done (I remember when I first arrived I was overwhelmed: I was meeting a friend for dinner around Leicester Square, I lost my bearings and had to call for help…to my defence 3 years ago there were massive improvement works on the square! Today I am much more at ease in the city…still discovering places though), I will start with my list of cake shops and afternoon teas venues where I have shared some nice moments – yes I confess: I do have a sweet tooth! Afternoon tea is a nice traditional thing to do here, which sometimes can be a bit pricey but once in a while, it is a nice treat and enjoyable to indulge into decadent finger food – you easily end up with a full belly and therefore skipping dinner! Usually you start with savoury sandwiches, then scones and then sweet patisseries served with tea and a glass of champagne if you take that option. It’s also best to have a very light lunch beforehand.
Funny enough I had known about this cupcake shop before relocating to London as I bought their cookbook when I lived in Sydney. So I was really keen to go and try their cupcakes when I arrived here. And with my cousin living fairly close to Primrose Hill (about 20 min walk), we had to go there. It is a nice treat after you have climbed up the hill and enjoyed the view over London. I usually take visiting friends when they have the time, we do a nice walk around Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, stop to refuel before heading to another part of town. Again when my brother visited last year, we made the detour to pick up cupcakes “on the way” and enjoyed a nice homy tea at our cousin’s, which left him quite sceptical…”why would you make such detour for cupcakes?”…but we had a good time. The place is very “girly” with its retro style. They also do cupcake decorating classes. If you do not want to go all the way to Primrose Hill, there is another shop in Covent Garden with fewer tables to sit though.
Another girly tea room in pastel pink! The place is tiny but has some outdoor seating during the warmer months. They also offer cake classes if you fancy learning how to do layer cakes. It is easily accessible as very close to Victoria station but just far enough form the hustle bustle to enjoy a quiet moment. The selection of teas and cupcakes is tasty.
This little tea room off Sloane square is often packed. They have a great selection of cakes and pastries. I love their lemon and poppy seed cake served in eclectic chinaware. During the summer they have a couple of tables outside on the quiet pedestrian street. It is a nice stop after a visit at the Saatchi Gallery.
Rose Bakery @Dover Street Market
I discovered this café well hidden in this concept store off Piccadilly thanks to my cousin. I had never tried the café in Paris, so was quite happy to discover this one here in London. There are not many seats but I liked the atmosphere and the factory/canteen style where you can share tables. Cakes are yummy and served in lovely ceramics. This spot is rather for a quick bite than a long sitting in.
Another cute little tea room with tasty cupcakes and scones which I often recommend as they have a few locations in town. I loved their funny cake stand (no proper photo to show but check their website).
I treated my Mum for an grand Afternoon tea for Mother’s Day and we both loved it. We went before they refurbished the The Gallery. This venue tends to get quite busy at weekends but we were lucky on that day and we enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon. It is very convenient located if you are shopping off Oxford Street and Regent Street. I love how the different rooms are decorated with various themes. By far, this was the most hearty afternoon tea I have ever had.
When my grandma visited two years ago I thought it would be nice to experience this luxury afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel (my cousin had recommended it to me in the first place). It was also my Mum’s birthday. The sandwiches and cakes were as delicious as they looked great. The scones were really yummy too. Last but not least the service was brilliant.
This Hotel was chosen by friends visiting from Paris as it is close to Kensington Gardens, which was on their program that day, plus with a menu dedicated for children. The afternoon tea was hearty and served in a cosy sitting room with a beautiful fireplace. We had a great time and I would probably go back during winter time to get a different feel for the place.
This restaurant is a nice stop in busy Soho, with a stylish decor and comfortable seating. You just dip into the armchairs and manage to relax whilst enjoying yummy warm scones despite the place being quite lively. You could only choose the scones, to satisfy your hunger, as you get 3 of them per person.
The Hotel is only a short stroll from St James’s Park with a beautiful entrance and splendid double staircase in the lobby. I had picked this venue for my friends visiting as it was quite convenient from where they were staying and also as they have a dedicated menu for children. Plus you can visit their beehives on the rooftop terrace, which I thought was a cool attraction for the girls to see that you can make honey in central London – the same honey served in the restaurant for breakfast. We all had a nice time whilst enjoying unlimited champagne! (Photo by Andy A.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed the sweet journey. I am also happy to read about your favourite places if you have some to share with me as I am still “discovering” London! My next post will have a flavour of Provence…stay tuned!
Note: all pics are mine (unless otherwise stated) and were taken with my smartphone in order to remain as discreet as possible so the quality and lighting are not always at best. All opinions stated in this post are entirely mine and independent.