Every year, my mum and I arrange one day together to have a completely festive day out and this year we decided to have a wander around London with afternoon tea included!
We began our morning by having a little look around the Southbank Christmas markets as this is probably the quietest time to see them. As usual, there were plenty of Gingerbread houses, Bratwurst, snowglobes and handmade crafts which really get you in the Christmas spirit! We then headed over to Sketch, just around the corner from Oxford Circus tube station and just off Regent Street.
Sketch is a quirky restaurant with different themed rooms split across a number of levels. As we went on a Monday, our afternoon tea was held in the Glade, a smaller, forest-themed room downstairs. (This is just across from The Martin Creed Gallery Restaurant which is a much bigger room where main meals and weekend afternoon teas are held). The Glade was lovely, serene and relaxing, though in my opinion it did seem a little too quiet as there was no background music. Weirdly, the most sound was in the toilets which was a room of modern looking white pods that were filled with strange whale/crashing sounds or a man talking about kilometres… very odd!
The afternoon tea itself was tasty and unique – I appreciate restaurants that offer something slightly different to the standard afternoon teas, which is why I am still such a fan of The Sanderson Hotel’s Mad Hatters Tea Party afternoon tea! We went for the ordinary afternoon tea which still had many different elements that were all explained to us at the time – you can read their detailed menu here. The sandwiches were quite nice but it was really all about the desserts! The greek yoghurt mousse with blackcurrant marmalade & creme de cassis jelly was so zingy and tasty, as was the chestnut & cranberry tartlet. The gianduja chocolate eclair was sweet and sticky and the coconut and praline lollipop was also gorgeous. The scones were a good mix of fluffy/dense and not only came with strawberry jam but also a deliciously sweet fig jam. I washed this all down with peppermint tea which was constantly topped up by the sweet, efficient staff.
Overall, the afternoon tea was lovely and the staff were great but unfortunately there was so much cleaning/repair work/maintence going on all around the building that this kind of took away some of the magic. Perhaps this is because it was a Monday and the quietest day in terms of customers but it was a little disappointing.
After being so indulgent, mum and I had a little walk around Covent Garden and a quick browse around the shops before settling down to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory show at the Drury Lane theatre. It is the perfect show to see this time of year as it is so bright, colourful and makes you feel like a kid again! I just wish the chocolate factory had been introduced earlier as it was so amazing and didn’t appear until 10 minutes into the second half of the show!
Have you been to Sketch before? What are your favourite things to do in London at Christmas?