Standing at busy Ludgate Circus, with St Paul’s Cathedral behind you, it would be hard to imagine that you are just steps away from a pot of Monkey-picked Oolong plus a choice of some thirty-odd types of tea.
However behind a somewhat faceless office block facade, a few steps to your right is To A Tea.
Pushing open the doors, one expects to step into the lobby of some faceless company.
It is a pleasant surprise therefore to find this rather nice tea room, with an excellent choice of brews.
Wandering through the City after seeing the Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London, I thought I saw an emerald on the pavement. It was just a bit of broken glass, but such is the effect of the treasures on show.
I recommend the exhibition to anyone interested in London – layers of history are peeled away to a magical place just beneath our feet. Magnifying glasses are provided, and I particularly enjoyed studying the amazing detail in the accompanying paintings.
I later came to St Paul’s Cathedral and decided to stop for tea.
The crypt has a self-service cafe, where (more…)
With the weekend upon us, a quick mention for Gail’s Bakery, Soho in appreciation of them opening till 10pm in the evening and 7pm on Sunday.
Most cafés close at 6pm, so this is a great if you are in the West End in the evening and, instead of a crowded pub, what you really fancy is a nice cup of tea.
Gail’s has a smart, clean urban interior. White-washed brick work, herringbone parquet floor, white lacquer counter-top contrast with pillar-box red stools and teapots. Set on a corner, there is seating around a large table at the rear and adjacent to the high windows.
“Hot town summer in the city back if my neck feeling dirty and gritty…” Lovin’ Spoonful
Summertime in central London. It’s full of folk, it’s noisy, it’s sweaty, it’s chaotic and you can’t breath…but it is a great time of year for walking.
The sunshine, clear light and blue sky enhances the simple pleasure of looking up at buildings – now in vivid colour instead of the more usual monochrome.
Summer is also the perfect time for tea. For us Brits it is also when we traditionally ponder the eternal conundrum ‘does tea cool you down as much as a cold drink?’. (more…)
I hadn’t intended to write about the tea at Little Georgia, but a comment on my last post, Tinderbox cafe, gave new insight into the significance of the site.
As a tea lover and cricket fan, it is fantastic to discover I am living yards away from the site of an 18th century tea-garden, and the original site of Lord’s cricket ground; so I thought it worth a mention.
‘Convent’ Garden was the 13th century kitchen garden of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster.
In 1630 the Duke of Bedford commissioned Inigo Jones to build houses ‘fit for the habitations of gentleman’. Inspired by trips to Italy, he created Covent Garden Piazza – the first open square in England.
Market stalls have been trading in the area since the mid-17th century. When the fire of London destroyed smaller markets, it became the most important fruit, veg and flower market in the country.
In 1973 the market was relocated to Nine Elms and Covent Garden faced demolition. It was saved by campaigners, and is now a lively area of shops and (more…)
The extraordinary redevelopment of the area around Kings Cross Station continues apace. Since the Eurostar terminal arrived at St Pancras in 2007, the area has seen the opening of King’s Place – a canal side arts centre and home of the Guardian newspaper; the restoration and reopening of Sir Gilbert Scott’s much-loved Midland Hotel and an impressive new roof at Kings Cross Station.
Recently Granary Square, an expansive cobbled space north of Regents Canal, has opened, making apparent the scale of the final project (it even has a new postcode, NC1).
Formerly a canal basin where barges unloaded their goods, (more…)
The Fleet River is one of London’s lost rivers. Running underground from Hampstead via Kentish Town, Kings Cross and Clekenwell into the Thames at Blackfriars; it was once a major waterway with healing wells along it’s course.
With the industrial revolution, the once clear waters became polluted and the Fleet was gradually bricked over. There are some extraordinary photos and a brief history of the river here.
The Fleet River Bakery is in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, behind Holborn Station. A welcome independent cafe in this area of chains, they bake everything on site from scratch. Emphasis is on the (more…)
One my recent visit to Samuel Johnson’s House, I bought a booklet of essays entitled ‘Tea and coffee in the age of Dr Johnson’; a fascinating insight into the coffee houses of 18th century London.
I learned that one of the early coffee shops was called Tom’s. Established by Thomas Twining in 1706 nearby the shop on Strand that sells tea to this day. Tom’s had a library and was ‘…a place renowned for its polite and scholarly interests’*. Further up Fleet Street was Nando’s coffee shop (perhaps shortened from Fernando’s).
I am reminded of this 300 odd years later, and (more…)
Heddon Street loops off Regent Street towards the Piccadilly end. In 1973 Ziggy Stardust landed with his Spiders from Mars at no. 23 and changed the world. An old red telephone box, featured the back of the album cover, sits in the far corner, past a bar where everything, including the glasses is made of ice (useless for tea cup!).
Forty years on, Heddon Street has been branded, a bit clumsily, as ‘Food Quarter.’ There is a good choice of restaurants, many with tables outside. It is car-free so has a pleasant, courtyard feel.
Momo restaurant, with its impressive Moroccan inspired interior, has been (more…)