RECENTLY visited by Royalty, Fortnum & Mason is one of those long standing London establishments full of British tradition that cannot be missed. Found not far from The Ritz on Piccadilly, Fortnum & Mason is a department store that can only be explained in one word – posh. While it is neither as big as Harrods nor as trendy as Selfridges, this store offers a wide range of products from fresh fruit and veggies to clothing and housewares.
When you walk into the ground floor of the store you are greeted by my favourite section – not shoes, not wine, but chocolates. They offer some gorgeous homemade chocolates, sweets and pastries as well as tins upon tins of delicious sounding biscuits — all encased in duck-egg blue packaging with the famous ‘F&M’ brand. It is also a great place to visit if you are tea connoisseur (or want to be) as half of this level is made up of different types of tea and assorted paraphernalia.
The first floor is what they call the ‘Cookshop’ and has a variety of cooking implements and also features their famous hampers. After looking around and seeing what amazing ingredients are included I can understand why they are so popular. And I’m not going to lie – I was pretty envious of the Queen receiving one earlier this month.
The next floor is where I found my second favourite section – accessories! It was so much fun looking at the silk scarves and leather gloves, not that much of it was in my price range, but a girl can dream. This floor is also host to lots of beauty products and perfume which are great to look at and I imagine even greater to test out in their exclusive spa.
Shopping and spa’s isn’t the only thing that Fortnum & Mason offer – they also have several on site restaurants. On the fourth floor you can take tea like the Queen while listening to a pianist in the newly renamed Diamond Jubilee Tea Room or you can visit The Fountain for lunch or dinner and be serenaded by a Jazz Guitarist. Both of these options would be fun for a treat but if you’re on a beer budget and your tastes are Champagne, then the best place to go is the downstairs bar – 1707 (appropriately named, as this is how long Fortnum & Mason have been running for).
1707 is a champagne and wine bar where you can order yourself a glass off the menu, or for a £10 corkage fee, you are also welcome to make a selection from the extensive wine and champagne selection offered in the shop and drink it at the bar. Wanting a true Fortnum & Mason experience but not wanting to shell out too much we bought a reasonable bottle of pink champagne between the four of us and spent a good hour chatting over the glasses while taking in the atmosphere. 1707 also offers bar snacks and food with a cheese plate to die for.
My visit to Fortnum & Mason was one of the unexpected surprises of my London Top 100 list and I absolutely loved it. From its glistening interior to the variety of things on offer to look at there is more to this place then just being any old high street store.