Peggy Porschen Cakes

Peggy Porschen Cakes, possibly the most instragramed cake shop in London, has created a clever little brand. Tourists potter down a quiet street in Belgravia just to take photos of the pretty pink parlour with its cute little bicycle and floral arch framing the door. In fact, the PR all over Instagram @prettylittlelondon is how I first discovered it.

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Cupcakes and mini bottles of Moet is Peggy’s USP, with hefty slices of cake, tea and coffee served in pink cups and a range of iced fruit drinks available as an alternative. Peggy is pretty damn posh and a cupcake will set you back £5-£6. Delicious? Definitely – the cakes themselves rival Hummingbird and Primrose Bakery. Would everyone fork out that much for one? No. Luckily I had been given a generous gift voucher so enjoyed my scrumptious ‘strawberry champagne’ cupcake guilt free, but a friend of mine had previously arrived and left cake free after seeing the price tag.

The cake is light and delicious, the service pleasant and the shop itself pretty special. In terms of ambience, it is a MUST to either go on a day you can sit outside (presuming you don’t mind the eager tourists admiring the exterior) or get take out. The inside of the store is super cute but super busy and I wouldn’t find it relaxing at all to sit in there.

Recommended for those in need of a tres chic treat or a passion for all things pink!

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The Orangery: Fan Museum Greenwich

I had always heard of the Orangery at the fan museum so was delighted when an afternoon out in Greenwich turned into a whiz around the museum and even more time spent having afternoon tea.

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A  bargain £8.00 will get you a serious sugar rush with tea/coffee, victoria sponge, cream tea and a choice of lemon drizzle or salted caramel brownie – slices are generous so go with a buddy and try it all. You do need to visit the museum (£4) to get access to the tea room, I’m museum keen so this was a perk for me, but for those baffled as to how a fan museum even exists can be assured it is short and sweet.

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The Orangery itself is gorgeous. Walls painted to resemble an Italian vineyard, tiled floors and chandeliers make this little room unique and pleasant. I could sit there all day alone sipping tea and reading a book. You can also get afternoon tea with sandwiches (£15) in sittings on certain days and arrange private hire (without entry to the museum). I think an event here would be AMAZING so definitely parking that idea for a future excuse!

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The Chesterfield Hotel

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Since experiencing my favourite traditional tea to date at the Milestone Hotel, Kensington, I have been waiting to visit the Sister Hotel The Chesterfield in Mayfair.

On the day of my visit The Chesterfield had a themed tea: “Charlie and The Chesterfield”. The tea involved fun lifting fizz drinks (cranberry juice, soda and popping candy), milkshakes and wonka bars. They even had giant gobstoppers and golden tickets (offering decent discounts for your next trip as long as you don’t open beforehand) handed out by Willy Wonka himself. Great marketing, but also great fun.

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Top marks to the Chesterfield for being child-friendly with a light-hearted theme – I found the Madhatter’s Tea at the Sanderson took itself very seriously and was very much intended for adults, which suited me just fine, but the Chesterfield managed the balance better. Much like other hotels in the Red Carnation Group, the Chesterfield offered a smaller, cheaper “Oompa Loompa” tea especially designed for children.

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Did The Chesterfield top The Milestone afternoon tea? In a word, no. Whilst grand, the interior was very dark so sitting in the conservatory (as we did) seems a must. The chocolate scones were also slightly dry.

Head to the Chesterfield if you want a fun, child-friendly afternoon with a decent tea, but head to the Milestone if you want a top notch traditional experience.

BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus

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BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour allows you to climb on board a retro London bus and enjoy afternoon tea whilst an amusing guide gives you a tour of famous London Landmarks.  Throw in three friends and a much needed catch up and you are sure to get a whole lot of happiness out of this two hour ride. It is so much fun and a very unique experience.

This is the other end of the spectrum to a traditional tea, so perhaps not one for your Grandparents or fans of The Ritz. Nevertheless, the tea princess deep inside me accepted the lack of tea cups, channeled my “inner cool” and embraced the cute little branded flask (which you get to keep).

The food was good, but not plentiful, and we all craved a few more savoury bites. The scones come out later, so cream tea lovers should make sure they save some room.

I’d absolutely recommend the Afternoon Tea Bus for all its creative little quirks and for my love of London, but sadly not for my love of tea.

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Madhatter’s Tea at The Sanderson Hotel

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Finally, this Alice in Wonderland fanatic got to spend an afternoon down the rabbit hole at the Sanderson Hotel London.

I’ve seen so many pictures of this afternoon tea I thought I wouldn’t find it that exciting – been there, done that, seen the Instagram – but I was wrong. I loved it and it definitely lived up to the hype.

The theme is top notch with special Alice in Wonderland flavoured teas (the green tea with mango Mad Hatter was my favourite), red velvet ladybird cakes and chocolate caterpillars.Drink-me_n

The savoury bites were unusual, and delicious, with a white crab éclair, salmon scotch egg with caviar and crowd pleaser goat cheese croque-monsieur. Round it off with a surprise passionfruit ice-cream served in a flower pot and you have some very happy guests who are glad they weren’t ‘late for tea’.

I loved sitting outside by the water fountain in the conservatory too. We were bold enough to delve further into Wonderland, exploring glass walled bars, a space themed lift and various wacky chairs around the hotel. Seemed a shame to grow back into the real world…

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108 Pantry (Marylebone, London)

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When having dinner at Brasserie 108 in Marylebone, I was thrilled to pass through the curtains and discover what felt like a ‘secret room’ – the gorgeous 108 Pantry at The Marylebone Hotel. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to come back for a little treat.

Unfortunately, with a hectic start to the year I did not have time for their full afternoon tea (which looks amazing and even manages to include a curious ‘healthy option’), but was able to pop in for their £5.50 tea and cake combo during my lunch break. Boy am I glad I did. If you’re ever looking for somewhere special to unwind with a warm pot and nice slice of cake, I cannot recommend the Pantry at 108 Marylebone enough. Make sure you do order cake though, as the tea alone is £4.00 so it’s not to be missed for the extra £1.50.

The room is modern yet homely, with large brightly coloured chairs making the open space comfortable and welcoming. We didn’t have to ask for a ‘nice table’ as you do in some places, and weren’t sat by other customers for convenience, but placed in the beautiful bay window looking out on the red brick of Marylebone.

They have a large selection of cakes, including gluten free, displayed in beautiful glass cases so there’s no shame in eyeing them all up to make your selection while staff recommend their favourites. I opted for the Strawberry Cheesecake Sponge which was perfect. The tea is also delicious, served loose leaf of course, and accompanied by a lovely striped tea set I would want to buy for myself. I can’t wait to return.

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Primrose Hill Bakery

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I’m very lucky that a close friend of mine tends to celebrate her birthday with a picnic on top of Primrose Hill, including chocolate and vanilla cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery and champagne. Top it off with a great view, games and party hats and it makes for one fantastic day.

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Sadly, as her birthday is only once a year and English weather doesn’t allow for picnics on the hill all year round, this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. The good news is you can eat in at the small bakery (just by Chalk farm). The bakery hosts fifties diner style chairs and tables, with room to seat around 10 people. The Chalk Farm shop seemed particularly child friendly due to the residential area, so if you’re in the mood for reading a newspaper, peace and quiet and some ‘me time’ with your cake you may be better off in the Covent Garden bakery during the winter months.

There’s a daily specials board detailing the various flavours on offer; this weekend it was carrot cake, caramel, apple crumble , cookie dough and malteaser. Check their website for the daily flavours.

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All the cupcakes are delicious, but the chocolate is definitely the best I’ve tried. I like Primrose Bakery as, though undeniably a serious sugar high, their cupcakes aren’t as sickly as some of the other big brands. Can’t wait for my next visit in February.

See you on the hill in the summer!