Saturday, August 8, 2015

Afternoon Tea At The Kensington Palace Gardens

After two consecutive days of meeting potential suppliers for Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique in London, my family and I were looking forward to a relaxed day.  I thought it was the best time for us to have our afternoon tea on this day so I made an advanced reservation at The Orangery located at the Kensington Palace Gardens.  Kensington Palace Gardens has a lot to offer. In our case, we had our whimsical afternoon tea at Orangery, browsed an alluring fashion exhibit inside Kensington Palace and, spent a simple and relaxed afternoon at the Round Pond and at Princess Diana’s Memorial Gardens.  All in the same place.

Kensington Palace Gardens | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
The view of the Kensington Palace from the gardens.

Queen Victoria Statue | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
Queen Victoria Statue at the Kensington Palace Gardens

We started our day at the Orangery.  After a lengthy research on where to have afternoon teas in London, I chose The Orangery because it's listed as one of the top places.  I felt great that I made the right choice because I didn’t find the place very restrictive especially if you have kids.  They were very family-friendly, and it was just the right, relaxing, and impressive experience I was expecting.

Orangery | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique Blog
Mary and I on a beautiful maze on the way to The Orangery

Orangery | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique Blog

I love the entrance of The Orangery.  I admired the big manicured trees along the path to the entrance of the restaurant.  It was like a grand entrance for all the guests of the restaurant.  For me, it was just whimsical, which is the exact kind of atmosphere I was looking forward to for afternoon tea.  

Imoga Lace Dress | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
Mary wearing an Imoga Lace Dress -- a perfect dress for afternoon tea.  Shoes by Oca-Loca.

During the afternoon tea itself, I chose to have the Royal Afternoon Tea that came with a champagne drink.  For a person like me who mostly enjoys savory dishes, I enjoyed the smoked salmon mini bagel & the egg mayonnaise and crest on a bridge roll.  The Orangery boasts of their orange-scented and currant scones and we definitely enjoyed their scones.  While I was enjoying my mini sandwiches, my daughter was also enjoying her assortment of tea pastries.  Of course, my husband would not be satisfied with just mini-sandwiches so he chose to have a complete lunch.  The restaurant also provides a lunch menu option in case you would like to have a regular lunch.  I'm happy to say that the restaurant got his approval as well, and that his meal was among the best he had during our entire vacation.  

English Tea Cups at The Orangery| Chichi Mary Blog
Being an avid tea-drinker, I was looking forward to seeing how beautiful the tea sets were.  How I would love to take these home with me.

Orangery at the Kensington Gardens | Chichi Mary Blog
Our view from the inside.  It's so much fun dining in a palace atmosphere while having a fantastic view of the gardens.
Royal Afternoon Tea at Orangery | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique

After our afternoon tea, we spent some time wandering around the gardens.  My daughter just loved the Round Pond and she was really entertained feeding the geese, swans and ducks -- not to mention her new favorite bird, the coot.  She was initially annoyed at the coots, who were aggressively trying to get the bread pieces in her hand. But she fell in love with them after we pointed out that they were bringing the food back to the baby coots, who were waiting a dozen feet away.

The Round Pond at Kensington Gardens | Chichi Mary Blog
The Round Pond
The Round Pond at Kensington Gardens | Chichi Mary Blog

While Mary was having a great time at the pond, I chose to take a tour inside Kensington Palace.  I was thrilled to find out that the current exhibit was a fashion-themed one named "Fashion Rules."  It was a collection of wardrobes of three royal women: Queen Elizabeth in the 1950s, Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 70s, and Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s. I was in awe browsing all the gowns & dresses! But of all the collections, my favorites were the dresses of Princess Margaret, who was considered a style icon.  According to the exhibit, Princess Margaret was not limited to wearing creations of British designers.  She had more options compared to Queen Elizabeth and being married to a fashion photographer, she had made her mark in the fashion industry.

Ironically, I wasn't able to capture any photos of Princess Margaret's gowns.  I had been so enthralled looking at the beautiful gowns that I forgot to take any pictures.

Fashion Rules Exhibit at Kensington Palace | Chichi Mary Blog

Fashion Rules Exhibit at Kensington Palace | Chichi Mary Blog
I love all these classic gowns.  Definitely, timeless!  The intricacy and balance of all the design elements i.e. color, silhouette, line, and texture are just phenomenal.

Fashion Rules Exhibit at Kensington Palace | Chichi Mary Blog
Worn by Queen Elizabeth for the opening of the New Zealand parliament, during a Commonwealth visit in 1963.  Designed by Norman Hartnell.  This is one of my favorites!

Fashion Rules Exhibit at Kensington Palace | Chichi Mary Blog
A collection of Princess Diana's gowns in the 80s.

After touring the historic state apartments in Kensington Palace, I met up with my husband and Mary at the Princess Diana Memorial Gardens.  Mary had fun at the playground especially on a ride inside a pink Barbie car. 

Princess Diana Memorial Garden Playground | Chichi Mary

Princess Diana Memorial Garden Playground | Chichi Mary
Of course, riding the carousel is a must.

Princess Diana Memorial Garden Playground | Chichi Mary
Mary enjoying a simple ride inside a pink Barbie car.  We had thought that she was already too big to enjoy this ride, but she teaches us a lesson that kids find wonder and enjoyment in a whole lot of things, and we grown-ups would be well served to do the same.

It was one memorable and relaxing day at the Kensington Palace Gardens!  Whenever we travel abroad, we are always anticipating those magical moments where it really hits you that you're lucky enough to be where you are at that moment. This day definitely had lots of those magical moments, and it is definitely worth visiting when in London, and is a must-visit for families.


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