It is a monumental point of the year when the twinkling lights of Bond Street go up in London and suddenly every store front becomes a haven for majestic festivity. There is a metaphoric bucket list that everyone simply has to abide by when visiting or living in London, yet it is hard to know where to start. The abundance of experiences readily available in London can be intimidating; ranging from knowing what’s shows are the best? What walks are the most beautiful? What Christmas markets offer the most enchanting experience? Therefore, I wanted to make your life a little easier by giving you a shortcut with my personal bucket lists of the very best places to go this winter.
A quintessentially British festive afternoon tea experience is always a necessity in my eyes however, the months of November and December offer the perfect excuse to allow yourself this treat. So, diets on hold whilst we prepare our stomachs for the temporary expansion of over-indulgence and we may as well do it in full flamboyance as per usual.
The luxurious eclecticism of 11 Cadogan Gardens had me enthralled at first glance. It is an absolutely sublime 5 star boutique hotel, situated near Sloane Square in the heart of Chelsea and Knightsbridge. I have always favoured the style of opulent red brick townhouses dating back to the 19th century. I continually search for grandeur; baroque furnishings, fine art covering every wall, chandeliers and ornate detailing triggering the sense of being in a time capsule or a Jane Austen Novel. The alluring charm of 11 Cadogan Gardens fulfills all l the dreamy visuals your heart yearns for.
The Classic English eccentricity had been so excellently retained. Each room is stylised slightly differently but the overall flow of the rooms is the perfect mix of classicism in a minimal way. The interior designer has contrasted rich tones, dark wooden panelling offset with vibrant colour accents and it is a true mastery.
One of my favourite rooms was the Afternoon Tea room, which had a very inviting fireplace, beautiful botanical print wallpapers, accessories and fabric and a glorious display of phenomenal artwork. It was such splendour to experience even from an artistic standpoint and it really does represent what classic British interior is all about.
With classical music setting the ambiance, an attentive, charismatic and well—spoken waiter guided us to the table of our choice. The service was truly impeccable with thorough descriptions of the menu and vast tea library. A glass of fine champagne was given to us both, accompanied by a pot of tea of our choice. I opted to go for a green tea and Oliver opted for Darjeeling tea. Then swiftly, the afternoon stand was brought out in all its mouth-watering glory. The bottom tier was homemade savouries which included a lobster, truffle & tarragon roll, cucumber, cream cheese & chives sandwich, a chicken & almond sandwich, a curried egg & spring onion sandwich and a lamb, caper & garden mint sausage roll served with sun blushed tomato relish. All of which were utterly delightful but my personal favourite will always be the cream cheese and cucumber sandwich – it’s a true incomparable classic.
On the second tier was the freshly baked homemade scones; plain & Chelsea bun flavoured scones served with Cornish clotted cream & strawberry jam. We were a little too generous worth our cream and strawberry jam serving so perhaps had to ask for more. It raises the significant question; does the jam go on first or the cream? I would be intrigued to find out your answer! Next we have my favourite tier; a selection of utterly phenomenal and delicious homemade pastries. It was nice to see a variety of unique flavour combinations which include a dark chocolate & rosemary cheesecake, a mini battenberg with lavender, lemon meringue pie and apple & elderflower macarons. They were utterly sublime; to my surprise the mini battenberg with lavender happened to be my favourite.
The entire experience was utterly exceptional, allowing you to almost forget that you are right in the centre of such a fast-paced vibrant city. I thoroughly recommend and would even suggest exploring staying the night at the hotel for the full experience.
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