It’s not often that I find myself childfree in London these days unless it’s for work. Last weekend, a good friend of mine invited me to the Chelsea Flower Show, and on the way back from the show we stopped off on the Kings Road as I was keen to see some of the floral displays that the shops had created as part of the annual Chelsea Flower Show event.
Exploring Sloane Square
As we strolled around on the heat of the Saturday afternoon, we decided that we wanted to find somewhere to sit and have a cuppa. But we were suddenly tourists in a foreign land. I don’t know this area of London very well, and so we began to look around to assess our options. The Ivy looked amazing with its tumbling, flowery blooms outside, but one step inside and a quick look at the 4 (yes 4!) door staff checking reservations, we felt that this wasn’t really the right place for us. We considered finding a Starbucks or a Costa as they are usually every 50 yards in London, but there was also a feeling that we should try something a little different. We were in London. Child free. Care free. It was time to be a little creative.
We walked along the Kings Road it to Sloane Square and after dragging my friend over to look at (and photograph) more floral displays; it was clear that we were both beginning to wilt in the afternoon sun. It was then that I spotted Peter Jones (John Lewis) department store. Admittedly it’s not exactly a cool, hipster bit of London, but I figured that they would have air con, and they must have a cafe?!
Walking into from the main entrance, we found a rather lovely looking cafe which looked like a unique place to rest and refuel.
We visited the Wedgwood Tea Conservatory on a Saturday afternoon at around 3 pm and were able to get a seat at the bar.
Wedgwood Tea Conservatory
We’d actually stumbled across a unique combination of British heritage and tradition: afternoon tea, served on beautiful Wedgwood teacups and plates, all to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show.
Although we hadn’t made a reservation, we were able to take a seat at the ‘bar’ which made for a pretty unique experience as the knowledgeable staff were able to guide us through the menu and let us smell the different flavours of tea before we made our choice.
Time for Tea
Sitting at the bar and reading through the booklet of tea ‘Tasting Notes’ was a little like reading through a cocktail menu at the bar.
The teas had exotic sounding names like ‘Rococo Flowers’ and ‘Oriental Jewel’. Faced with such an array of unusual flavours it really helped being able to smell them before we ordered anything. I’m quite a fan of Earl Grey tea so I liked the light, floral flavours of the Blue Pagoda tea. There was a mix of caffeine free, lightly caffeinated and stronger teas to choose from. Perched on our stools we were able to see the tea being made in a clever infuser type gadget.
Here are the tasting notes for my tea:
‘A medium bodied dark oolong tea with a balanced fragrance of flowers and fruit. The brew features hints of mango, and jasmine follows subtly after. The brew is comforting hot but it’s fruity notes are more pronounced when it is served cold’
There was a full afternoon tea option priced from £35, but as this was only really meant to be a little mid-afternoon pitstop for us, we chose to share a platter of Earl Grey Bouquet scones and cream. There were three scones, and they came with strawberry petal jam which was a new thing for me, but tasted lovely! This cream tea was priced at £12 and came with a pot of Wedgwood Tea included.
A sensory treat
Having just visited the Chelsea Flower Show that morning we’d already seen so many bright colours and beautiful displays, but the visit to the Wedgewood Tea conservatory seemed to add to that. The tableware is beautiful, as is the packaging on the new Wanderlust tea that you can purchase too. Although only a pop-up cafe until the 16th June 2017, it feels like lots of care has gone into creating a beautiful, relaxing space, right in the middle of a bustling department store.
A quintessentially British match
Although I’ve heard of Wedgwood china before, I had no idea about the historical link with the Chelsea Flower Show. In 1759, craftsman and potter Josiah Wedgwood founded Wedgwood tablewares. His son, Josiah was a passionate horticulturist and he founded the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 1804. Love a little London fact! I shall try and remember this for a future pub quiz moment one day. You can read more about the Wedgwood and RHS Chelsea Flower Show partnership here.
You can find the Tea Conservatory on the ground floor at Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square, London. If you’re travelling from Maidenhead you’ll need to get the train to London Paddington and then the circle line down to Sloane Square. But you’ll need to be quick: the conservatory is only there until the 16th June. Let’s hope it returns next year too!
Who should you take?
If there are just two of you, then you can choose to sit up at the bar like we did, although the stools are pretty high so not ideal for the elderly. If you want to get a table, I would advise making a booking (and before the 16th June when it finishes). I can imagine a lovely afternoon with your mum, nan… or even with a pregnant friend that you can longer drag to a cocktail bar with you. You could stop for a pot of tea and a chat, share a cream tea like we did, or even go the whole hog and order an afternoon tea. If you have someone in your group that isn’t fond of tea you can ask for a coffee, a glass of prosecco or even a beer. It’s the perfect pitstop before or after the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I would definitely recommend. You can book your table at the Wedgwood Tea Conservatory here.
About this post
I visited the Wedgwood Tea Conservatory independently and did not make anyone aware that I was writing a blog post at the time so there was no preferential treatment of any kind.
I write this ‘Maidenhead Mum’ blog to share my experiences of life here in Berkshire and beyond. I fit blogging into my ‘spare time’ around a four day a week day job and family life but I love to share the beautiful things that I find to see and do. For more posts like this, you might like to follow my Maidenhead Mum page on Facebook or on Instagram as there are the most frequently updated. If you subscribe using the box below you’ll get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox along with some behind the scenes photography tips on each email