If there is one thing that’s a must when in London, it is having some sort of afternoon tea experience. Tea time and London are so inextricably linked, I do not believe you can truly experience London without participating in this cultural tradition. Tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace is one of these amazing experiencs you need to have.
As I researched options for our family I found two things:
- Afternoon Tea is an expensive experience for a family, especially taking into consideration the exchange rate!
- Prices vary WIDELY according to the location and type of experience you are looking for. Prices I found varied from 27-52 pounds per person. ($46-86 per person)
One thing I knew for sure is that we were going to be on the move. With only 7 full days to see and do everything we could, while I wanted the afternoon tea experience, I also knew I did not want it to burn up half a day. I also knew that we needed to find some place where it was fine to dress casually and bring kids. We were sure to be canvasing the city in our jeans and tennis shoes and would need a spot where this attire was perfectly acceptable. Fortunately, our friend Shannon recommended a family friendly spot that was beautiful and historical, The Orangery at Kensington Palace. It was a beautiful day when we were there and I felt much less concerned about our attire when I arrived and saw the people on the park benches feeling free to enjoy the sun. 😉
I had heard the word “Orangery” several times in preparing for our trip, but wasn’t really sure what it was, so, if you are wondering like I was, here’s a little history courtesy of wikipedia:
“An orangery or orangerie was a room or a dedicated building on the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries where orange and other fruit trees were protected during the winter, similar to a greenhouse or conservatory.The orangery provided a luxurious extension of the normal range and season of woody plants.”
The Orangery at Kensington Palace is the only royal palace in London where you can enjoy afternoon tea. It is a relaxed setting, perfect for us tourists in our jeans and t-shirts, but feels opulent and beautiful. As a bonus, you can wander around the gorgeous manicured English gardens surrounding the Orangery before or after your tea.
While locals opted to sit outside, it was still a little chilly for us Southern Californians, so we sat inside the gorgeous building and practically had the place to ourselves.
Our server recommended the English Orangery Afternoon Tea which included the following:
Egg mayonnaise and cress bridge roll
Smoked salmon and cream cheese mini bagel
Coronation chicken wrap (yum!)
Cucumber and fresh mint sandwich
Orange-scented and currant scones served with Cornish clotted cream ( I know, clotted cream sounds funny, but trust me…eat it! It is DELICIOUS!)
English strawberry jam
An assortment of tea pastries
Served with a range of loose teas, tisanes or coffee
Tea at the Orangery was a perfect experience. Eating on the Queen’s china and tasting authentic English scones with clotted cream on the grounds of a royal palace is something we will never forget. If you are looking to book your own Orangery Tea, you can find everything you need to know here.
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