Somerset House, originally a Tudor Palace, has been home to Elizabeth I, the Navy and the Royal Academy of Art. It has seen routs and masquerades, and has fallen into ruin – ‘…the haunt of spectres…magicians and murderers.’
The free tour gives an excellent overview of it’s extraordinary history.
It was fascinating to visit the lightwells – underground alleyways visible from the courtyard – and the ‘Dead Room’, with it’s Catholic gravestones.
Easy to see why Somerset House is used by film crews as an atmospheric London location.
The Courtyard is a fantastic space, unique in London. The East wing is home to an eatery, and very fine place for a cup of tea.
The interior of Fernadez and Wells Somerset House is impressive. Rooms are gorgeous; high-ceilings and flooded with light-from the arched windows. The decor is minimal but warm with carefully chosen materials. York stone counters, birch-ply chairs and zinc grating.
The stunning wall paintings by David Tremlett are worth popping in for alone.
F & W offer a choice of teas, from Postcards Teas in Mayfair; including a couple of black teas, green teas and tisanes including mulberry.
The guy who served me was impressively tea-savvy. He told me green tea is cooler temperature, and to ask for top up of water for second, better tasting infusion.
I sat by the window overlooking the courtyard with my Kyoto Green Tea (lovely, light and mellow) in the soft light at the beginning of a London autumn, and everything was just so.
|Price of a Cuppa :||£3.25 pot of Kyoto Green Tea|
|Leaf or Bag :||Leaf|
|Crockery :||White china|
|Music :||A bit frantic, Spanish but not too loud|
|Service :||Self service, knowledgeable and attentive|
|Food :||I didn’t try the food, but get a feeling it will be excellent. Offerings include: “…sandwiches, cakes..organic farm eggs fried in olive oil with a sprinkle of Za’tar and sourdough toast…platters of Tuscan cured meats and cheese.”|
|Kitty says:||Pretty perfect|
|Address:||Somerset House, East Wing WC2R 1LA|
|Website:||Fernandez & Wells|
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