It’s been a while since my mum and I enjoyed a ladies’ day out. So when she came down to London for the night last week, I was keen to surprise her with a lovely afternoon tea. Now I won’t pretend I was an avid Grayson Perry fan before I booked us in for the Grayson Perry afternoon tea at Number Sixteen. I’d of course, read about his Brexit vases, which were unveiled on the Channel 4 show Divided Britain. And I’d seen various photos of him in his weird and quirky wardrobe choices, but I didn’t really know that much about the man himself.
Keen to know more, we decided to head over to the Grayson Perry exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery to check out his latest exhibit The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! We could then head back to Number Sixteen for our afternoon tea having learnt a little bit more about this intriguing Turner Prize-winning man.
The exhibition, by the way, is free. So it’s worth popping in to see if you’re ever in this part of Hyde Park. The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion has also been unveiled for this year. I don’t have any photos, but we enjoyed having a cup of tea underneath this pretty inspiring structure.
As for Grayson Perry’s exhibition, you’ll mostly find examples of tapestries, sketch books and the much-talked-about political vases encased in glass cabinets.
There’s no explanation behind each piece. But I found his witty and whimsical takes on serious political affairs quite thought-provoking, if a little weird.
And I loved these bikes. (I’m sorry, I can’t offer very much insight into what they mean exactly!)
We also stopped by the V&A to have a walk around the lovely grounds and check out some of the free exhibitions of fashion through the ages….
But onto the afternoon tea……
The Grayson Perry Afternoon Tea at Number Sixteen
The Number Sixteen Hotel by the way, is absolutely gorgeous. It’s part of the Firmdale Hotel group so I had high expectations. Housed in classic Victorian townhouses on the quiet Sumner Place, it’s even more hidden, and feels even more exclusive than some of its siblings.
Inside you’ll find all the mismatched fabrics and achingly cool style of Firmdale founder Kit Kemp.
I love this butterfly display….
And as you’re led to the back of the building, you come to a lovely dining area and courtyard where tea and cake is served….
It’s filled with beautiful flowers such as blue Aga Panthers (which remind me of South Africa), big ivory hydrangeas and fragrant climbing jasmine. And there’s a water feature in the centre. In short, it’s just beautiful!
Mum and I were seated by the dining room doors and had pots of English breakfast and Assam teas.
It was also time for a tipple (because, why not?) and The Grayson Perry Afternoon tea actually comes with a special Grayson Perry cocktail of Portobello Road Gin and Prosecco with a citrus twist.
The sandwiches you’ll get are all the classics: cucumber, egg and cress and salmon.
And the scones are lovely and warm, served with the obligatory jam and clotted cream.
I particularly loved the crab in the chicory leaves – so tasty.
We really struggled to even dent the top tier of cakes and pastries, but we did our best! The brownies weren’t very chocolatey but I loved the quintessentially English Battenberg cake. The miniature cheesecakes were exceptionally sweet but delish and the best bit, the cupcakes, were topped with artistic motifs as a nod to the artist.
We could have sat in this pretty little oasis for hours and I highly recommend you visit this hotel. It’s incredibly stylish and all of the bedrooms are individually styled in classic Kit Kemp style. But word of warning, it will install serious interiors envy in your…. Apparently there’s an Africa-themed room – the dream right?