Affordable Teas with a Twist

Five teas with a twist for less than £20 per person

BRGR. CO. (Multiple)

An unconventional tea that even the guys will enjoy. The menu consisted of a Bellini, ice tea, mini sliders (beef, chicken and salmon), fries and included a mini milk shake, brownie and lemon tart for dessert. You will need to book on Saturdays and Sundays when it is not uncommon for 80 teas to be served.
www.brgr.co

Dim Sum Tea (London)

Voted by the Telegraph as one of London’s best afternoon teas, the Dim Sum Afternoon Tea brings an Asian twist to the traditional afternoon tea. The tea stand comes with dim sum dishes such as dumplings, wantons, Asian salads on lettuce leaves and prawn crackers. Though I typically don’t go for egg custard tarts, I must say theirs was good. The tea is well-priced for two and comes with a choice of loose-leaf Asian teas. If you’re not a fan of teas, go for two glasses of champagne. You can have tea (or call it a lunch) from Noon to 5 pm.
www.grandimperiallondon.com +44 2078 218898
101 Buckingham Palace Road, London
 SW1W 0SJ


Ham Yard Hotel Tea (London)

Located in the heart of Soho, Ham Yard Hotel is light, airy, stylish hotel complete with a rooftop terrace, theatre and 50s style bowling alley. We sat by the outdoor dining area and enjoyed seeing all the creative interior design touches. Tea can be taken all day in either the bar, restaurant or drawing room. With a weekly changing menu of savories and sweets, there is no reason not to return again. You know you are in good company, if this chic venue was chosen for Kevin Spacey’s afteparty when he stepped down as artistic director from the Old Vic Theatre.
www.firmdalehotels.com/hotels/london/ham-yard-hotel +44 2036 422000
One Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT


High Chai (London)

For a savory, Indian take on afternoon tea give High Chai at Cinnamon Club's Soho location a try. This affordable tea includes bite-size portions of lamb slider and tandoori chicken with chutney sandwich accompanied along with delicious Masala spiced chai tea.
www.cinnamonsoho.com +44 2074 3716640
5 Kingly Street. London W1B 5PF



Tea & Tattle (London)

Established as a bookshop in 1903, Arthur Probsthain Bookseller is one of the leading Oriental and African booksellers in the world. I walked in to find a selection of Chinese farmers’ paintings, I had seen on my visit to China. The downstairs tearoom offers a no-frills traditional English afternoon tea featuring loose leaf teas, homemade cakes, jams and sandwiches and just baked scones. Located across from the British Museum, this is a charming and convenient place to stop in for tea.
www.tea-and-tattle.com +44 7722 192703
41 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3PE


For more recommendations: Download the London via Surrey Book App

Shakespeare 400

A year-long celebration commemorating Shakespeare ends soon.

Here's a few ways to be part of the 400th anniversary bash:

  • Shakespeare Globe — Shakespeare's Globe will present a pop-up cinema and the final performances of Hamlet over the April 23-24 weekend. The Complete Walk will feature 37 plays in 37 films on 37 screens. The 10-minute long films will be played continuously on a 2.5 mile route along South Bank between Westminster and Tower Bridge. The Globe will also present the last four performances of Hamlet. The world tour has included performances in 196 countries to a record 100,000 people.
  • www.shakespeareglobe.com+44 2074 019919
    21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT
  • The Rose Playhouse — If you want to get a true feeling of what it was like to visit the theatre during Shakespeare's time, this is the place to go. Built in 1587, it was abandoned by 1606 when more popular theatre venues, such as the Globe (reconstructed today) were built. Two thirds of the original foundations were excavated by archeologists in 1989, but remain under water to preserve it. The likes of Lawrence Olivier and Judi Dench were key to saving Bankside's first Tudor Theatre from being built over. The small, intimate space seats 50 with actors performing along the perimeter. Dress warmly thought since there is no heating. There is no interval during performances since there are no toilets on-site. Your £12 ticket will go to preserving a piece of London theatre history. Much Ado About Nothing plays until April 29th.
  • www.rosetheatre.org.uk+44 2072 619565
    56 Park Street, London, SE1 9AR
For more: Download the London via Surrey Book App

Exactly what it is . . .

There is something to be said about restaurants with straightforward names.

Beigal Bake (London)

On Brick Lane there are two bagel shops near to each other. They both serve made-to-order salt beef sandwiches on fresh baked 30 pence bagels. We tried Beigal Bake, London’s oldest bagel shop. Like many of the locals, we’ve been going ever since.
+44 2077 290616
159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB


Bodean’s BBQ Smokehouse (Multiple)

If you’re in the mood for Kansas City barbeque ribs in London, here’s your place. Other smoke pit specialties include chicken and pulled pork. Their Soho location also has American sports playing on giant screen TVs. Kids eat free everyday from Noon to 5 pm and eat for just £5 after that.
www.bodeansbbq.com

Burger & Lobster (Multiple)

We have tried several times to get in but the long queues dissuaded us. This restaurant has a two-page drinks menu, but a much simpler food menu. There are only three items: burger, lobster and lobster roll. All three were perfectly cooked, though the best value is the lobster, which can be steamed or grilled. If you prefer not to get your hands dirty, you can get the lobster roll with lump crabmeat.
www.burgerandlobster.com

Hummus Bros. (Multiple)

No reservations needed for this establishment just walk-in and be seated family style at their Soho location. Hummus is served with a range of toppings and fresh pita bread. Nothing fancy just excellent, healthy and filling. Enjoy!
www.hbros.co.uk

La Gelateria (London)

This small, artisan gelateria conveniently located in Covent Garden has the most interesting array of gelato and sorbet flavors. Many are Good Taste award winners. With so many to choose from, it is nice they offer 2-3 generous scoops in a cup. Being a chocolate fan, I couldn't resist Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Dark Chocolate with chili peppers and Dark Chocolate with cherries.
www.lagelatiera.co.uk+44 2078 369559
27 New Row, London WC2N 4LA


For more recommendations: Download the London via Surrey Book App

A sporting good time

Five English sports worth playing and watching

Bisley Shooting Ground (Multiple)

Set within 3,000 acres in Surrey, Bisley Shooting Ground is Europe’s largest sporting clay ground and one of the top shooting schools. Though I am not a fan of guns and the closest I have come to holding one was at amusement park shooting galleries, I decided while in England to give the sport a shot, literal. Being a complete novice, it was a bit intimidating to walk up to the Clubhouse and see women dressed in shooting vests and carrying their own shotgun holsters. We were put in a group with three lovely English women and accompanied by an instructor who competes professionally. Once I got over the initial intimation, my paranoia turned to the question of whether I was going to hit anything. Thanks to expert instruction, this too was unfounded and I managed to hit two clays released in succession. We finished the day with a delicious homemade lunch. Even though it was Ladies Day, full portions of food were on offer*. I can vouch that it’s worth skipping morning breakfast and mid-morning tea break to make it to the Victorian Sponge Cake.
www.bisleyshooting.co.uk

Lawn Bowling (Multiple)

Believed to have originated in ancient Egypt, this sport took on a variety of forms, including Bolle (Denmark), Bocce (Italy) and Boules (France). The oldest Bowls green is in Southampton, England where it has been played since the 13th century. Henry VIII and even President George Washington played the game when it spread to North America. The object of the game is to roll balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball, called a ‘jack’ or ‘kitty’. After an introductory coaching session, we were able to play a game. Even if you’re not particularly athletic, but still competitive at heart, this may be the sport for you.

Play Polo (Epsom)

Where better to learn the sport of polo than in England where it has been played since the 1870s. Take a 1-1/2 hour polo lesson at Epsom Polo Club, home of the Great Meadow Polo Field and the largest indoor polo arena in South East of England. The lesson covers the rules and tactics, the polo swing and polo riding. You’ll then have a chance to put new skills to practice by playing a friendly ‘mini game’. They even give out rosettes and a trophy for the best player.
www.epsompoloclub.co.uk +44 1372 748200
Horton Country Park, Epsom KT19 8PL


Royal Ascot (Ascot)

You can attend the social event on the British social calendar of the year for less than £25! It is worth spending more on Grandstand Admission to catch a close view of the Queen and members of the Royal Family as they go by on a horse-drawn carriage. While I can’t remember details of which horses won which race, I can recall the fabulous fascinators* and fashions.
www.ascot.co.uk +44 8443 463000
High St, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7JX


Wimbledon (Wimbledon)

A perfect example of when queuing* works! It still floors me that you can walk up the day of the tournament without a ticket, end up on Centre Court, and see the best players in the world. Ground passes are £20/person after 5 pm (less after 5 pm). Kids under five are free but not allowed on show courts. Re-sale Centre Court tickets are £10 each and Court 1 and Court 2 tickets are £5 each with all proceeds benefiting charity. If you go with kids, bring lots of snacks and something to do while waiting. The good news is that you can watch the games below at Centre Court while queuing. I love the fact with patience and a bit of luck you can turn up without a ticket and end up on Centre Court. Customer service that is hard to come by!
www.wimbledon.com +44 2089 441066
Church Road, Wimbledon SW19 5AE


For more: Download the London via Surrey Book App