The Orangery was originally built for Queen Anne in 1704 at the Kensington Palace grounds to house orange and lemon trees which would otherwise not grow in the cold London weather. The elegant architecture and beautiful garden setting more private than the palace itself evolved into her fashionable court entertainment venue. Since its early years as a literal orangery, it has evolved into The Orangery, a publicly available lovely venue for Afternoon Tea.
At the conclusion of my cooking courses in France’s Bordeaux region, I came back to London for another 48 hours before heading back home. The Philippine Airlines 50% off Anniversary discount applied only to Manila-London-Manila so I really had to come back to London— a sweet blessing. It was a perfect chance for more palate education (to help my business skills) at The Orangery which had been bumped off by more pressing stops on previous trips.
The Afternoon Tea:
Impeccable service accompanied the traditional savories, scones, and desserts. (Plus, the server cheerfully and generously gave me additional clotted cream.) This, along with elegant high ceiling interiors and convivial, piped-in music added to the special ambience of being on royal surroundings.
There is so much to appreciate around the Orangery but the massively sprawling 242-acre area is too intimidating. I’m even intimidated by just one acre. Oh, Lord, if only they had a little tour bus to take me around, it would have been perfect.
Anyway, best effort… I walked through the gardens and came to the gift store.
Just outside the gift store was a man seated on a golf cart. I asked him if his cart was available for a ride and to my surprise, it was! I was willing to pay the price but he said that I could just give a donation. Answered prayer, praise God!!! My tour guide, Michael, gave a wonderful commentary on every area we came to.
He took me around Kensington Gardens and the adjoining Hyde Park…restful oases in the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities. I was able to preview more of the 242 acre park…the gate on which Princess Diana’s sea of flower tributes were laid, the oval Diana Memorial, the (building) apartments where the current royal family lives, The Henry Moore Arch from whose “peephole” you can see the Queen Victoria Statue and Kensington Palace through about a mile away; the pool and cafe which you can become a member of so you can swim any day of the year in the pond in the otherwise restricted waters; the Serpentine Lake and Galleries, the Albert Memorial; Italian Gardens; Peter Pan Statue, the bridge to Hyde Park across the street; Queen Mother’s Gates; Speaker’s Corner where public speeches and debate are allowed. The gardens, flora, and fauna are lovely even though some of the plants have already been pruned to prepare for next year’s bloom.
Michael even harvested for me a chestnut from the tree along the way after I told him I’ve never seen a chestnut tree before.
There is no way I would have walked all the way to see all these. If not for the timely ride, I would have rushed off in an Uber after my tea. I was reminded of the many many timely graces from God during this trip.
Secret Travel Trip: look for the Liberty Drives golf cart. They provide free mobility for anyone who finds it difficult to see all (jointly) 760 acres of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. There are 7 pick up locations around the parks.
I had inadvertently deleted a lot of my photos but I was able to save on Instagram the sights that were included. To see those, please click HERE.
To Make a reservation for afternoon tea at Orangery, click HERE.