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. (more…)
The rooms are laid out as they would have been in Dr Johnson’s time.
Great care has been taken to restore the wood-panelling to the original muted paint colours.
The house is peaceful and atmospheric, the library is my favorite room with its soft yellow paintwork and light flooding in from high windows. You can also leaf over a facsimile of the famous dictionary. (more…)
This delightful French cafe on Judd Street is easy to miss, so I was pleased to come across it on a stroll through Bloomsbury on a summer Sunday afternoon.
Patisserie deux Amis is pretty in a French cafe style, with bistro chairs, white paper table cloths, plaster cherubs, etched glass mirrors and sage green paintwork.
I ordered tea and sat by an open window in the back room, overlooking a small garden. It was lovely and peaceful, with a gentle breeze, a Chopin nocturne on R3 in the background – it felt good to have (more…)
Damson is perched on the corner of New Compton Street and St Giles High Street. The hand-painted sign and soft grey-green painted woodwork make a refreshing, almost defiant, contrast to the branding in the imposing Stickle Brick fortress of Central St Giles in whose shadow it sits.
I received a friendly welcome and chose a pot Silver Tips White Tea from a list that included Jasmine Pearls, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Chai and Rooibos. My pot of tea, which was brought to my table, was lovely, light and refreshing.
The pleasant interior is fresh and airy with high-shuttered windows. Recycled wood and stained-glass (more…)
**UPDATE MARCH 2014: Salt is sadly, now closed. It was a great little place; I wish the fellas that ran it all good luck and hope they will let Tea at Three know if they open up elsewhere.
Great Queen Street in Covent Garden, is dominated on one side by the massive Art Deco edifice of Freemasons Hall. In its shadow is a row where at no.31, William Blake, London’s great poet and mystic, learned his trade as an engraver. Today it is home to Stephen Jones, hat maker and some intriguing looking Freemason’s outlets.
Salt is nestled in between. This ‘Espresso, Lunch and Tea Bar’ prides itself on bakery, and, as I discover, the tea is pretty special too.
They have an excellent choice of brews with the optimum temperature and steeping time noted on the menu.
Sitting on the top deck of the 91 bus one day, my Dad proclaimed that everything on the Cally is called ‘Caledonian’. He has a point. Caledonian Dry cleaners, Caledonian Kebabs, Caledonian Internet solutions.
The caff opposite the prison has it’s own idea – the ‘Breakout’. I imagine a tunnel leading to egg, chips, and a cuppa – the first taste of freedom!.
One day, I spot a new shop; freshly painted in slate-grey with bare woodwork and white tiles. I wait for a name to appear. Nothing for a while, then a small, hand-written sign in the window – ‘Scambled Eggs with Pancetta’. Hey a cafe! They will have tea! (more…)
Camellias Tea House is on the top floor in a prime spot overlooking the central courtyard. Named after Camellia Sinensis – the tea bush – they have a huge range of teas artfully displayed in canisters, and lots of teapots and tea paraphernalia. The tea room is an inviting space, with a warm, intimate feel.
Finding myself in Holborn one evening, caught in a shower without an umbrella. A bit damp, sore feet and slightly peckish. In need of a cuppa and some sustenance. I cut across Sicilian Avenue heading to bus stop, but saw – Orchard – Vegetarian Kitchen and Grocer! The goddess of teatime is smiling on me!
A warm welcome, and minutes later, a pot of green tea! I had intended to stay just (more…)