The absolute best days out in London are the curve ball days.
Those are the days when you’ve planned to come into London for something specific, but while you’re there you end up stumbling across a different event or experience, which turns out to be absolutely amazing.
That’s exactly what happened when Cat, Mum & I went for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason. We all love an afternoon tea and had been looking for somewhere nice to go in London just for a bit of a girly get-together.
If I’m honest, before going I wasn’t entirely convinced that Fortnum & Mason was going to be worth the £44 price tag, and had my suspicions that we might just be paying for the name.
But when we arrived and saw the gorgeous Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, with a pianist tinkling away in the background, we realised this was something pretty special.
It really reminded me of Betty’s Tea Rooms in York, all crisp table cloths, airy, open rooms and beautiful china. There’s something about that kind of décor and atmosphere which just feels classic, like this is probably how afternoon used to be served in the 1940s or 1950s.
The tea itself was delicious. We were invited to pick our pot from a menu of teas and I chose the Queen Anne blend, which was golden, smooth and strong.
Our cake towers then arrived, with sandwiches, fruit and plain scones and individual patisserie on two towers, and a separate tower with our clotted cream and jams. Basically, anywhere which brings you an entire jam tower gets a thumbs up from me.
This isn’t a food review so I won’t go into all the specifics, but the whole experience was lovely, from the thin slices of honey roast ham with a touch of grain mustard, to the zingy lemon meringue with a rose petal on top. The scones were warm and hearty, served with strawberry jam, and a wild blueberry jam, which was a little different and worked surprisingly well.
Our waiters were really attentive too and were all too willing to top up our tea, and bring us any extra sandwiches or cakes if we wanted them. And as if all the sandwiches and patisserie wasn’t enough, we were also invite to choose a slice of cake from the cake trolley, which had three or four full sized cakes on offer. (I definitely need to acquire my own cake trolley). Luckily we’d seen another table take their cake home with them, so we did the same, and I tucked into my banana loaf on the sofa that evening. We were given our cakes in a lovely mint green box, tied with a ribbon, and our waiter popped in a few extra patisserie cakes too.
So you’d think an amazing afternoon tea like that would have been plenty of fun for one day, but that’s where London comes into its own.
Stepping out of Fortum and Mason we walked slap bang into the middle of the Pride parade. We’d known it was going on that weekend but had no idea how big and beautiful it would all be.
We literally all stopped in our tracks, watching the love and energy that was pouring out, both from those walking in the parade, and the thousands of people gathered on the sidelines.
Red, yellow, orange, pink, blue, green and purple colours fluttered in the sunshine, and everyone was so happy and supportive of one another. After all the doom and gloom of recent politics and world events, to see a community coming together, celebrating happiness and love, was just a really, really lovely thing to be part of.
And then after watching the parade for a while, and following it along in the crowd, we crossed Westminster Bridge and heard a rumble in the sky. Looking up we saw trails of red, white and blue smoke as the Red Arrows soared past Big Ben. A truly spectacular end to a perfect curve ball day.