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After a busy morning exploring London, a pit stop at St Ermin’s for afternoon tea was needed with two kids in tow. Nestled in central London, very close to St James’s Park tube, popular attractions such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are a short distance away.
The hotel building itself is steeped in history, with wartime spies using the hotel. During the 1940s the current hotel became home to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) which was called the ‘Statistical Research Department’ in order to maintain its cover. Ian Fleming, James Bond creator even worked from an office there and Winston Churchill held meetings and enjoyed visiting the Caxton Bar.
Currently there is a small display of SOE memorabilia with seemingly normal items adapted for clandestine missions. Included are a mirror dagger, a shirt button compass, a game of chess which is a map, a clothes brush as a saw and several other secret items which enthralled my 7 and 10 year old girls.
Up past the classical Edwardian lobby, you’ll be greeted with the impressive sweeping stairway to The Tea Lounge, with options to sit in there, in the Library or weather permitting the outdoor terrace for Afternoon Tea.
Stylish yet comfy chairs and tables set for tea with original Rococo plasterwork surrounding the rooms, may not at first seem like a welcoming place for children, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
Staff greeted us and notably other guests warmly. With the final days of summer approaching, we opted to sit on the leafy Outdoor Terrace, where we were seated promptly and menus issued.
Kids have their own special menu and Apple ‘tea’ aka juice which can be put into the vintage styled teacups to make them feel grown up. Options for cranberry and orange juice are also offered as alternatives.
Grown-ups not only have a wide tea selection, but can upgrade to a crisp, chilled glass of champagne. A little timer is given to make sure your brew is perfect for you!
Dietary requirements are easily taken into account with several options available whether vegan, gluten free, vegetarian or pescatarian like me.
As the laden tea plate stands arrived, I had to fight my kids hands off so I could at least take some photos!
This London kids afternoon tea makes the most of some of the hotels busiest workers: the resident bees on the 3rd floor roof top. Donning the top of the cake stand are Chocolate Bee Hives with a Chocolate Bee and Biscuit. Other sweet treats include a White Chocolate and Orange Mousse and Vanilla Cupcake with buttercream icing. Sandwiches highlight kids favourites; Honey Roast Ham, Cheddar Cheese, and Tuna, Sweetcorn and Mayo.
Fruit and plain buttermilk scones are brought out later to keep them perfectly warm and are served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam.
Growns-ups sandwiches include classics such as Coronation Chicken, Smoked Salmon & Dill, Honey Roast Ham and more modern additions such as Crayfish, Grilled Courgette with mint and creme fraiche.
Sweet treats, included a delicious Pimms Jelly with Cucumber Creme, a Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Delice, Strawberries and Cream Macaroon which melts in your mouth. (Full Menu below).
I was rather grateful for the half bird cage decorative surround, so I at least had a sporting chance to fend off my children’s attempts at snaffling some of our afternoon tea!
After we finished and with tummies full, we opted to visit the 3rd floor wildflower terrace to see the bees at work and their very own ‘bee hotel’ – where they collect pollen and nectar from the nearby London parks and green spaces. It is easy to see why the hotels mantra has always been; “A home to you, but a hotel to us” They really do mean this -whether adult, child or insect!
Further Information About St Ermin’s
Throughout the year, it is worth noting the hotel offers themed afternoon teas, including a Christmas themed afternoon tea.
If you are staying in London for longer, consider booking a room. There are 27 family rooms and suites with two Queen size beds, two bathrooms and a sofa bed.
Kids receive a unique St Ermin’s Secret Agent Package with a Top Secret briefing!
Afternoon Tea at St. Ermin’s Hotel Menu:
Adult Afternoon Tea
Selection of Tea Makers of London loose leaf teas
- Coronation chicken
- Smoked salmon, lemon & dill cream cheese
- Honey roast ham & tomato chutney
- Crayfish, chilli, spring onion & coriander
- Grilled courgette, mint & creme fraiche
- Mango & passionfruit cheesecake
- Coconut mousse with pineapple
- Strawberries & cream macaroon
- Pimms jelly with cucumber creme
- Red velvet and cream cheese delice
Children’s Afternoon Tea
Apple, Cranberry or Orange juice
- Honey Roast Ham
- Cheddar Cheese
- Tuna, Sweetcorn & Mayonnaise
- White chocolate and orange mousse
- Chocolate beehive with chocolate bee & biscuit
- Vanilla cupcake with buttercream icing
Freshly baked scones:
Plain & fruit scones with clotted cream and jam
Love London? How about exploring some unusual attractions with kids?
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