My whirlwind visit to London couldn’t have been more English if it tried.
Friday lunch was in Hampstead village in the glorious spring sunshine and was closely followed by home cooked roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with plenty of gravy and my all time favourite roast parsnips. Perfect start.
The family wedding the following day was held at Addington Palace in Surry. With a colourful past that pre-dates the Domesday Book, the Palace is set in 163-acres of landscaped grounds – it was bloody cold so I didn’t venture past the back steps where the photographs were being taken.
King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn and had a hunting lodge here before the Palace became the country retreat for six Archbishops of Canterbury; I’m not sure that you can get much English than that for a venue.
Sunday afternoon the day after the wedding finished up London with tea at The Landmark Hotel; pink champagne, crustless cucumber sandwiches, an array of delicious cakes, pastries, chocolate creme brûlée, macaroons, baby tiramisu and tartlets and finished off with a cup of the house blend tea, warm scones with clotted cram and jam.
All hail the 7th Duchess of Bedford whom in the early nineteenth century noted that she had a sinking feeling during the late afternoon (they generally only ate two meals a day then). The Duchess solved her sinking by taking tea a cakes in bedroom. The practice caught on as the Duchess invited friends to join her and moved into the drawing room. It became more and more extravagant as time went on and was taken up by the best hotels as ‘High Tea’, named after the fact it’s traditionally served at high dining tables.
Paris here we come.