Hampton Court Riverside Tea

and much more . . .

The heatwave has made way for some warmer temperatures and sunshine in the forecast — a perfect reason to visit Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey.

Despite being one of Henry VIII’s favorite residencies and one of the filming locations for Bridgerton, the number of annual visitors to Hampton Court Palace (500,000) is relatively low compared to other tourist attractions such as Tower of London (2.9 million) and Westminster Abbey (2 million).

It is also home to the world’s largest annual flower show, the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, that runs until July 7th.

Close by, the small village of East Molesey boasts quite a few antique shops, boutiques, independent stores and restaurants, including two options for a riverside afternoon tea:

Miss Polly Riverside Cafe (23 min walk) — Located on the
grounds of the Historic East Molesey Cricket Club, Ms. Polly Riverside Cafe serves a generous portioned, affordable afternoon tea (selection of finger sandwiches, mini sausage rolls, variety of vegetarian & non vegetarian quiches, selection of cakes and a pot of tea / cup of coffee per person) with a choice of riverside or cricket pitch seating. It is a good option for a kid-dog friendly casual tea when the weather is nice and it is possible to sit outside. 
£21 / person (3 person minimum)

The Mitre (8 min walk) — This boutique hotel is located on the banks of the River Thames next to Hampton Court Palace. Their 1665 Brasserie offers a cream tea (plain & fruity scones, clotted cream, homemade jam, tea or coffee) or full afternoon tea (assortment of sandwiches and sweets, scones, clotted cream, homemade jam, tea or coffee)
Mitre Cream Tea £13 and Mitre Afternoon Tea £40
Take advantage of the good weather while you can!

Kids go free July - September

Tickets on sale June 11th 10 am

Kids Week performances run July 24th - September 6th and include 55+ musicals, plays, comedies and children's shows. Kids 17 and under go free with a full price paid adult ticket (plus half-price tickets for two additional children).

To make the most of your theatre experience, checkout the shows with workshops and curtain calls either before or after performances.  Given the popularity of this promotion, you'll want to check your diary and have a number of show dates and times picked out ahead of time.  

Post Show Q&A
  • Back to the Future August 8th, 5:15 pm - 6 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World August 8th 3:40 pm - 4:10 pm after 2 pm matinee
  • Hadestown August 21st 4:30 pm - 5 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • Hello Dolly August 15th 5 pm - 5:30 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • An Inspector Calls September 5th 4:30 pm - 5 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • Kiss Me, Kate August 15th 5:10 pm - 5:40 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • Mamma Mia! August 15th 5:20 pm - 6 pm after 3 pm matinee
  • Ministry of Science August 27th-31st 30-45 min after each show
  • Next to Normal August 8th 5:15 pm - 5:45 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts August 7th 3:30 pm - 3:45 pm after 2:30 pm matinee
  • Six The Musical August 22nd 5:30 pm - 6 pm after 4 pm matinee
  • Wicked August 15th 5:30 pm - 6 pm after 2;30 pm matinee
  • The Wizard of Oz August 29th 4:30 pm - 5 pm after 2 pm matinee

  • Workshops*
  • Brainiac Live! Acting Workshop August 6th 3 pm - 4 pm after 1:15 pm performance (40 spots)
  • Beauty & the Beast Mask Making Workshop August 6th, 13th & 20th 12 pm - 1 pm before 2 pm matinee (20 places 6-11 year olds with adult) 
  • Guys & Dolls Dance Workshop July 25th 12 pm - 1 pm before 2:30 pm matinee (20 places 13-17 year olds without adult)
  • Horrible Histories - Terrible Tudors Dancing, Singing & Acting Workshop August 20th 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm after 11 am matinee (30 places without adults)
  •  Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder! Storytelling Workshop August 15th 5 pm - 6 pm after 2:30 pm matinee (26 places 12+ with adult)
  •  Kiss Me, Kate Dance Workshop August 8th 5 pm - 6 pm after 2:30 pm matinee (30 places 8+ without adult)
  • Disney's The Lion King Music & Movement Workshop August 29th 3:15 pm - 4:45 pm before 7:30 pm performance (40 places with adult)
  • Mamma Mia Singing & Dancing Workshop August 27th 2:30 pm - 5 pm before 7:30 pm performance (30 places 8+ without adult)
  • Mrs. Doubtfire Dance Workshop August 15th 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm after 2:30 pm matinee (80 places 8-12 year olds without adult)
  • Peanut Butter & Blueberries Backstage Tour August 23rd 5 pm - 6 pm before 7 pm performance (20 places 12-17 year olds with adult)
  • The Play that Goes Wrong Comedy Workshop August 22nd 4 pm - 5 pm before 7:30 pm performance (20 places 9-15 year olds without adult)
  • Sister Act Dance Workshop August 13th 5 pm - 6 pm before 7 pm performance (20 places 8+ without adult)
  • Two Strangers (Who Carry a Cake Across New York) Acting/Storytelling Workshop August 9th 5 pm - 6 pm before 7:30 pm performance (20 places 12+ without adult)
  • Wicked Singing & Acting Workshop August 28th 12 pm - 1:30 pm before 2:30 pm matinee 

  • *Note : Limited spaces available

    Pre-pick your show dates/activities and go online Tuesday, June 11th at 10 am when the tickets are released.

    Stylish Shops & Tea

    London’s oldest shopping arcades

    London is home to some of the oldest shopping arcades in the world. Similar to mega malls and department stores, these arcades feature multiple shops under one roof protected from the elements.

    Here’s a path to see four of the most iconic ones followed by afternoon tea:

    Piccadilly Arcade (1909) — Designed by Architect George Thrale Jell, Piccadilly Arcade is a Grade II listed building that opened in 1909. After it sustained damage in World War II, it was restored in 1957. Today, it is home to 28 shops, including jewelry, shoe shops and tailors.

    The Princes Arcade — Originally designed by Edward Robert Robson for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1883, the site of the former Prince's Hotel is the youngest of the arcades. It suffered bomb damage in 1940 during World War II and reopened in 1948. The Grade-II-listed building was renovated in 1983 and today is home to boutiques, chocolatiers*, hat and shoe shops, and tailors.
    Note : Prestat - Chocolatier to Queen Elizabeth II and Roald Dahl’s favourite shop
    Burlington Arcade (1819) — The Regency-style building designed by architect Samuel Ware was opened in 1819 and is the longest and the second oldest of the arcades. Originally, it was erected by the Cavendish family to prevent members of the public from throwing oyster shells over the wall to their home. It also provided privacy and rental income.

    Following multiple fires and World War II damage, the arcade underwent restoration in 1952 in anticipation of Queen Elizabeth's coronation procession passing by the building the following year. It received significant refurbishment in 2019 and today houses a mix of high-end retailers, including Manolo Blahnik, Chanel and La Perla.

    The famous Beadles, a private police force that still wears traditional uniforms and top hats, patrols the Arcade enforcing rules (including no singing, humming, hurrying).

    The Royal Arcade
    (1879)— Originally known as The Arcade, it was designed by Thomas Archer and Arthur Green and is the only surviving Victorian arcade. It was renamed ‘The Royal Arcade’ in 1882 when shirt maker H.W. Bretell received royal patronage by Queen Victoria and other customers included Dukes, Duchesses, Princes, a Czar and Sir Winston Churchill. Today, The Royal Arcade is home to Royal Warrant holder chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker along with stores specializing in antiques, art, glasses, jewelry, perfume and shoes.
    www.royalarcade.london+44 2074 954882
    4 Royal Arcade, London W1S 4BT

    Savile Row (1733) — Although not an arcade, this famous street is known for bespoke (suit cut by hand) tailoring for men. It is said the term ‘bespoke’ originated here. Famous customers include Charles III, Winston Churchill, Judd Law, and Napoleon III. The rooftop of 3 Savile Row is famous for an impromptu performance by the Beatles in 1969, which ended up being the group’s final live performance together.

    Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London
    (1932) — For the ultimate window-shopping, take a look at the Rolls-Royce showroom on Berkeley Street in Mayfair, which has been open since 1932.  The entry-level Ghost starts at £255K and the top-of-the-line Phantom starts at £369K.
    www.royalarcade.london+44 2031 994660
    15 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6EG

    Afternoon Tea
    Fait Maison
     — Enjoy a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired afternoon tea by Executive Chef Yvonne Osman of sandwiches, homemade scones, clotted cream, jam, and mini desserts served with choice of tea in an Instagram-worthy space.
    Starts at £35 / person
    www.fait-maison.co.uk+44 2045 399224
    13 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU

    Even if it is just for window-shopping — a visit to these historic arcades is worth the trip!

    Southbank London Eye Views

    With the weather finally warming up and sunshine on the way, visit these spaces with views before they get too busy:

    National Theatre The Royal National Theatre Garden public terrace on level 3 boasts both London Eye and river views. Entry is free and everyone (with or without a ticket) is welcome Monday - Saturday. Bonus : There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the building, public toilets and baby changing stations.

    On your way back to the inside, head to the left. There is a bench located at the corner of the building that provides a view of London Eye and the Golden Jubilee Bridge, an award-winning foot bridge completed in 2002 to commemorate the 50th anniversary reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

    National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX

    Southbank Centre — Located on the top floor, The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden features 250+ species plants from Britain and around the world.  The garden is maintained by Grounded Ecotherapy staff and volunteers who have experienced homelessness.  The garden is open Wednesday - Sunday Noon - dusk.  Note: It may be closed due to inclement weather and for private events.

    The space also features a bar and cafe that is open Wednesday - Friday 4 pm -
    dusk, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays Noon - Dusk.  There are tables and chairs just to the right of the Bar & Kitchen that have a picture-perfect views of London Eye and Big Ben. 

    Better to check these out sooner rather than later!

    Nature’s Confetti

    Until April 28th

    Outernet and National Trust have teamed up to present Nature’s Confetti, an immersive free blossom experience in Central London.

    The interactive, wrap-around screen display at The NOW Building, located close to Tottenham Court Station, combines and alternates between shots of the city and closeup of flowers and is accompanied by recordings from National Trust Petworth House and Park in West Sussex.

    No booking is required and the experience runs twice an hour between the hours of 10 am - 11:30 pm and until midnight on weekends. Click here to check opening times.

    As London's most visited attraction, Outernet will be constantly changing its immersive entertainment offerings.
    www.outernet.com+44 2036 561170
    Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 8LH

    Bookmark the site to stay tuned!

    Kew Gardens bloom

    Since the spring equinox (March 20th), the weather has been unpredictable at best. Despite the gray skies and April Arctic blasts, the mild weather has flowers blooming four weeks earlier than usual. There is no better place to visit than Kew Gardens, a World Heritage Site and one of London's top attractions that is home to over 50,000 plants.

    Kew is offering a free Spring awakening walking tour that highlights the best blossoms and runs daily at 12:30 and 2 pm until April 30th. Register with the guide at Victoria Plaza 15 minutes before the tour starts (maximum capacity 15 people).

    Note : The Temperate House will be closed until May 1st to install artworks for an upcoming exhibition
    www.kew.org+44 2083 325655
    Kew, Richmond TW9 3AE

    Once you get your fill of flowers (allow between 3-4 hours), exit the Victoria Gate and walk 5 minutes to
    The Original Maids of Honour, a tea room and bakery. Afternoon tea starts at £24.50 and can be booked beginning at 10 am (prosecco and champagne add-on beginning at 11 am). Their High Tea comes with tea or coffee (unlimited refills), traditional tea sandwiches (5 quarters), two scones with clotted cream and choice of patisserie from their case or their famous Maids of Honour Tart.

    It is believed that Henry VIII came across Anne Boleyn and her Maids of Honour (young ladies who attend the Queen) eating cakes. The story goes that he liked them so much that he put the recipe under lock and key at Richmond Palace. Maids of Honours are similar to Portuguese custard tarts, but are lighter, crispier and melt in your mouth. To this day, this bakery is the only one that makes them.
    www.theoriginalmaidsofhonour.co.uk+44 2089 402752
    288 Kew Road, Kew Gardens TW9 3DU

    It is hard to imagine a better day out to usher spring in!

    Tube Strike Signtseeing

    Tube strikes have been announced for April 8th and May 4th. While a typical strike usually lasts for 24 hours, there may be additional disruptions the day after the strike. Two ways to sightsee during the strikes:

    Routemaster Bus 
    — Number 11 route from Victoria Station and ending at Waterloo Station goes by several landmarks, including:
    • Victoria Station — Buckingham Palace, T
      he Gherkin, Spitalfields Market
    • Westminster Cathedral / Victoria Station — Westheimer Cathedral
    • Parliament Square / Westminster Abbey — Churchill War Rooms, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben
    • Westminster Bridge / County Hall — London Eye
    • www.tfl.gov.uk

    Uber Boat
    — Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is the fastest and most frequent boat service on the River Thames with 17-stops starting at Putney Pier to Royal Arsenal Woolwich Pier.  Major attractions along the route include:
      • Plantation Wharf — Battersea Power Station
      • London Eye (Waterloo)
      • Westminster Millenium Pier — Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey
      • Embankment — Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, West End, South Bank, Golden Jubilee Bridge
      • Black Frairs / Bankside — St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe, Tate Modern, Millenium Bridge
      • London Bridge City — Borough Market, Sky Garden, The Shard
      • Tower Pier — Tower Bridge, Tower of London
      • Canary Wharf — Financial District
      • Greenwich Pier — Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory
      • North Greenwich — O2, Emirates Cable Car
      • www.thamesclippers.com

        NOTE : The DLR, Elizabeth line, and Overground lines are expected to operate as usual.  Use CityMapper to make alternate travel plans. 
      With a bit of planning (and a lot of patience), it is still possible to get around!