In Which I go to the Orangery at Kensington Palace to Take Tea With the Locals  

Posted by Heidi

My daughter has a yen for travel.  This year she really wanted to go to Scotland, but, as usual, didn't want to go alone.  So, that means I got to go along (on her dime--it's a great gig, I tell ya!).  "As long as we are in the U.K., don't you think we should at least see London?" I asked.  An extra day in London turned into a whole week, the very first day of which found us in Kensington Gardens with long-time friends of mine who were, coincidentally, in the U.K. at the same time.  (I refer to them as locals in the title of this post but only because they have spent more time in the U.K. than have I, along with a good chunk of the world.) 

The journey to the Orangery (pictured at the top) where we had tea (in my case, a wild berry infusion) started with a meeting in my hotel of said good friends whom I haven't seen in person for too long to contemplate.  It was a joyful reunion.  We then struck out for the park (which was just across the street) and on the way, we passed this humble little abode, once occupied by Sir James Barrie, author of Peter Pan.  (He doubtless hadn't such a smart little car when he lived here.)

We actually strolled right by the bench where that pivotal scene in the park was filmed for Finding Neverland.  It was all just so humble, and the grass so brown (we arrived at the tail end of a lengthy heat wave) that I didn't even take a photo of it.  I should have though, and I ought to have labeled it, "Johnny Depp sat here".  (Come to think of it, *I* should have sat here.  There.  Wherever.)

I am a fan of Queen Victoria so, naturally, I had to take a photo of this impressive statue of her.  Most of the others I saw on this trip were of her husband, Albert, all built at Victoria's request.  She really did love that man.

Should one turn left from where we were, one should arrive at the Orangery (the one where Nikki Hilton got married just the day prior).  However, as we had some time to kill before we were expected, we turned right and came across this little jewel, otherwise known as Kensington Palace.  I was really surprised.  I mean, really, it's just sitting in the middle of this patch of brown grass.  The official entrance is on a different side and is heavily guarded whilst this entrance is for the public part of the house (tourists like moi) but still . .

So, yes, this is where Kate and William and little Georgie-porgie and dear little Charlotte live.  Right here.  I could have touched it if I had bothered to walk up the path.  Crazy.

 As you continue past the palace one passes by this sweet little garden folly. 

I just adore cherubs and London was chock-a-block full of them.  I gave up trying to get photos of them all and rather quickly.

Love this lamppost.

See the gold crown atop this lantern?  That is to alert one and all that one is approaching royal territory.  So, if you were to turn right after the palace (we talked about that already) and then past the garden folly (the one with the cherubs) and past the cute lamppost and then approach this lantern with the gold crown, you arrive at the street--THE STREET--where all of the mucky-mucks live.  No photos are allowed on this street.  One may cross it.  (We did.)  We saw the houses where all of the foreign ambassadors live and peered down the road to where the guardhouse is (complete with armed guards) in front of the palace (the private front, anyway) and it was all so darn pedestrian.  By that I mean that it was really quite ordinary and just RIGHT THERE and unassuming and smack dab in the middle of every day city life.  Crazy.

So, then we did an about face and headed for the Orangery.  Queen Anne had it built in 1704 as a greenhouse for her delicate orange trees.  Since Anne gave birth to 17 children, all of whom died before they were nine and most in infancy, we can forgive her the extravagance.  And then there is the fact that she was the queen and she did as she pleased.  Of course.  On the way to said Orangery, we passed by some lovely gardens. 

Naturally, these delightfully pared bushes are orange trees, apparently of the variety that do just fine in the English climate sans a greenhouse of their own.  (One can only assume.)

I absolutely loved the interior of this building.  My friends had been here several times in the past and said that it looked much whiter and brighter than in the past.  I am guessing this is due to the fact that Nikki Hilton got married there just the day prior.  (Did I mention that already?)  We sat at the table, last on the left before going through the archway where we were presided over by the sweet statue in the niche to the left.

I couldn't take my eyes off of the incredible delights of this room.

And the shutters!  I am still scheming as to a way to incorporate these into my California bungalow (i.e. a decidedly non-country English shutter-ready residence). 

It really kind of makes my heart hurt to look at this column cap.  Where can I order one of my own?

Eventually it was time to sit and order from these sweetest ever menus and contemplate dining off of these delicious dishes. 

My three tiered-tray is the one to the far right.  (Yes, we each had our own!)  (I know!) I think my favorite was the gluten free cookie in the middle.  I can't even tell you what it tasted like except "divine."  It wasn't gingerbread or vanilla or golden cake flavored but was somehow all three.  It all went very well with the wild berry infusion.  Yum!  Should you be in Kensington or even Bayswater, I highly recommend the Orangery for tea!

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 1, 2015 at Saturday, August 01, 2015 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 wise, witty and wonderful comments

What an amazing adventure, Heidi! I've been enjoying your photos here and on Twitter and loved seeing the sights with you. That high tea is making me hungry!

August 1, 2015 at 9:20 PM

Oh, my! KP has had quite the facelift as well. I *need* to go to London and see all the spit and polish that's been done since my last visit! I noticed that the little rectangular walled garden with the "pool" in the middle looks as if it is now closed to the public. If that's the case it's very sad. I've had some lovely sit-downs there.

So sad how everything has changed since 9/11. You would have been stunned at the "slight" security at the private entrance to KP while Diana was living there. I guess people just weren't as bold and the threats not as real then.

August 11, 2015 at 6:02 PM

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