Having recently visited the world-renowned department store, Fortnum and Mason, in London’s Piccadilly, let me take you back in time…
The shop’s story began way back in 1707, when royal footman, William Fortnum, opened a shop in St James Market with his landlord, Hugh Mason. Benefiting from a timely explosion in trade which created an expanding, wealthy middle class, together with the rise of the East India Tea Company, Fortnum and Mason soon established itself as an emporium for unique, goods of quality, found nowhere else.
It was some 200 years later in, 1926 that this famous grocery store was transformed into a unique department store with a restaurant that offered afternoon tea to their customers.
Today it has 6 restaurants to choose between and, as always, the finest collection of teas and coffees, wines and spirits as well as a luxurious food hall and confectionery department. Other departments include homeware, beauty and accessories for him, her and the little ones. Whether you are there to make a purchase or simply to window shop it is well worth making a visit to this lovely store.
Everything stops for tea
The English’s love of tea is well-known throughout the world and it is traditional to serve afternoon tea at 4pm, as stated in the light-hearted lyrics of the 1930s song ‘Everything stops for tea’.
If you would like to relive this tradition in the ultimate style, for the rather hefty sum of £90, you can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Having been refurbished and renamed in 2012, it was opened by HM the Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.
You’ll be served a luxurious selection of freshly cut finger sandwiches, home-baked Fortnum’s Scones with Somerset Clotted Cream and your choice of luxury Fortnum & Mason Preserve as well as a scrumptious selection of cakes, patisseries, and of course, your choice from an extensive range of teas.
Alternatively, from just £2.95, you can enjoy a freshly squeezed juice or smoothie from their Juice Club on the lower ground floor.
You’ll find Fortnum and Mason at 181 Piccadilly, just as they have been for over 300 years, between Green Park and Piccadilly Circus tube stations.
Piccadilly at Christmas
As well as Fortnum and Mason, there are many more exclusive shops, restaurants and hotels in the area, including The Ritz, the Caviar House and Prunier seafood bar and Patisserie Valerie, as well as a couple of lovely arcades the Burlington Arcade and the Piccadilly Arcade.
With one of my favourite images taken on my afternoon in Piccadilly this Christmas, I’d like to wish you all a very, merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.