Growing up, I remember serving tea to my favorite Barbie's and stuffed animals. Doesn't every little girl do that? I guess I must have seen other kids on TV shows doing this, because as a child of any Southern family knows we didn't drink hot tea. Ever. So why I had a teapot filled with anything but sweet tea, I can't explain.
Maybe I learned about it watching Anne of Green Gables. Or during my early indoctrination into Jane Austen's world. Either way, I knew I needed to see first hand what all these fancy teas were all about.
I researched all the options in London, but decided on The Orangery. I knew we would be out touring all day and the last thing I wanted to have to do was waste time detouring back to the hotel in order to change clothes for a super fancy formal tea. Plus I didn't want to waste precious room in my suitcase. All my researching was worth it. They had all the classic teas & treats, in a beautiful location - but without the stuffiness.
It's actually the old greenhouse building at Kensington Palace (aka the official home of William & Kate). All in all, it was cute & relaxing.
We weren't really interested in the sandwiches, but the desserts were tasty. You get to pick your tea and we stuck with the Lady Grey tea with lots of sugar cubes & milk of course. When in London, drink like London.
Don't be fooled. What looks like a biscuit with raisins is acutally a British scone. But it tastes like a biscuit with raisins. Don't let Starbucks fool you with their triangular scones - impostors!
As much as I tried to will myself to be brave enough to try clotted cream, I just couldn't do it. My adventurous other half said it was like a really thick butter. I'll stick with the raspberry jam thank you very much.
After tea we wandered through the gardens around the palace and they were in full bloom. It's definitely worth a stroll. It's a great example of a formal English garden.
No matter where you decide to go for tea, make sure you have a reservation. It wasn't very busy when we went (we were there at 4:00), but they supposedly stay full in the busy seasons.
Even though I never use china - oh wait I don't own any - I wish I had bought a set of this (which of course they had for sale). The more I look at the pictures, the more I fall in love with it. Of all our adventures in London, this by far was the most regal. Happy sipping (with your pinky out of course)!