London Life Shops

fortnum & mason

October 29, 2012

Wasn’t it cold and wintery this weekend?

Can you think of anywhere better to have tea and shop for quintessential british delicacies than in the womb of the delectable fortnum & mason? No? Nor can i. When i look at what goes on in piccadilly, it’s refreshing to know that they’ve been there since 1707. Wow!

Ashamedly, i must admit i haven’t had tea at fortnum & mason for years and years. When in the area, you’ll more likely than not find me at the wolseley instead. However, when it comes to buying food delicacies as presents for clients, friends and family i have never gone wrong with a quick visit to fortnum & mason.

What surprised me on this visit was the amount of restaurants and eating spaces there are. I’m not quite sure how many are new but i certainly didn’t know of some of them. As the weather is changing and daylight is getting shorter, it is imperative to be prepared when seeking shelter and craving breakfast, lunch or some afternoon tea.

So here i’ve listed the various eating places within fortnum & mason for you: the diamond jubilee tea salon. This is the refurbished st james’s restaurant that was opened by HM the Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge in march 2012, and renamed the diamond jubilee tea salon

Then there is the fountain restaurant. From business breakfast to early dinner.

The gallery is a place for a quick lunch while you’re shopping in the food halls.

The parlour restaurant is a childrens heaven. Ice creams galore, with many flavours not found anywhere else in the world. What’s there not to like?

1707 wine bar. Named 1707 in honour of fornum & mason’s foundation year, the wine bar allows you to order a bottle of almost any wine from the adjacent wine department for only a £10 corkage fee, as well as offering an extensive selection of wines by the glass. This surely appeals to a lot of you!

Phew, one could spend an entire day shopping, eating and drinking at this lavish department store. Let’s have a look what else they offer in store.

As a designer, the sheer pleasure of seeing exquisite packaging design is enough for me to drool and want everything they offer. I find that buying food presents from fortnum & mason goes down a treat every single time. You get superb quality in the produce, great packaging, fantastic gift wrapping on the first floor, proper customer service and all of this at a fair price. What else does one need?

Today i thought of enticing you with some wonderful packaging and some of the products for sale you’ll find on the ground floor.

This biscuit tin is worth buying with or without biscuits. Look at that beautiful raised clock in sublime copper.

And what about this? Their attention to detail is exquisite. I love the brown tin cover against the turquoise rest of the tin. The typography is stunning and everything just works here.

Seriously, i would have the packaging on it’s own and it would still be worth the money. One could store spaghetti in these ones below.

The colours, the embossing. Marvellous stuff!

The magnificent merry-go-round musical tin is just delightful. When you turn it, it does what it says on the tin (yes, people, i do have a sense of humour) While i was there, tons of people were playing with them and it was like being at a concert of musical tins:) I know for sure that this beauty is on my wish list, with or without the biscuits inside. It would entertain small people coming to visit me for hours!

Simple, elegant and hopefully tasty! I think coco chanel would give it the thumbs up.

We must not forget the tea related ephemera that you’ll find here. Talking about tea and related ephemera. For those who haven’t yet stumbled across nicola’s lovely teeandgee site, go and treat yourselves!

Oh, that coffee aroma as you wonder through that department. I personally don’t have the need to drink coffee but do love the aroma. It’s often better than the real thing.

Proper chocolate. Yay!

I probably could have gone on a lavish holiday, for all the money i’ve spent buying these champagne truffles as presents. There is something unique about them and you will never go wrong with surprising someone with one of these beauties. Of course, if your budget stretches, go the full monty and add the champagne.

Am i the only sucker for beautiful packaging???

For the little ones.

I’m not a fan of blue stilton but i ask you, would you say no to that pot?


A honey house. It was difficult to photograph but i think you get the gist.

I want one of these cardboard replicas of the front of the store as an advent calendar. Can anyone organise it for me? Ta.

Of course, we must not forget the most wanted gift for christmas. A fortnum & mason hamper. This is the ultimate gift. 

An for those of you celebrating halloween, why not join them on their peerless pumpkin carving competitions this coming wednesday?

I know that some of my christmas shopping will be sorted. How about you? Any plans yet of where to shop? Have you got your wish list ready? Happy halloween. I hope this injection of colour will brighten up your week.

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  • Reply Shona October 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Beautiful photography! I am ashamed to admit that I have never been to Fortnum and Masons but I am now seriously tempted.

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Now, as we haven’t met yet, what about meeting there before Xmas?

      Thank you Shona.

  • Reply sue October 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    i am a complete sucker for packaging… i’ll take the coppery clock tin, cheers! i went past here on the longest bus ride of my life recently & made a mental note-to-self to come back one day… i must add, this was a mental note which i swiftly forgot all about until now… so merci to you for the reminder! fab photos, as always!

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      You’re so funny! I can imagine you on the long bus ride……

      Thanks lovely:)

  • Reply Theresa October 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Like you and Sue, I’m also a complete sucker for beautiful packaging, and you’ve captured some really excellent examples in this post! All the colors and type are so visually stimulating. Perhaps I can become one of your client so I can receive one of these lovely gifts from you. 😉

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      Yes, me too:)) Probably because I studied Graphic Design:)

      Ha. So many people want to be on my gift list… they know exactly why!
      Thanks T.

  • Reply Nicola October 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you so much for the link Tina, so kind and thoughtful of you and what a great review of Fortnums. I’m honoured to be part of it x

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      You’re welcome, you’re the Tea queen, as far as I’m concerned! x

  • Reply Ingrid October 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Tina- this is armchair travel at its finest! I want the Jubilee biscuit tin!
    x Ingrid

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Ha. Yes, the Jubilee tin. Gorgeous eh?
      Thanks Ingrid x

  • Reply Holly October 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Brighten up my week indeed! Gorgeous photos!

    As your fellow leo, I have to say I’m quite taken with the pistachio cookie tins 😉

    And the wine bar has been added to my London to do list!


    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Good. Like to brighten up people’s days!!

      The wine bar is cool right? If I would drink, i’d be there in a shot! xx

  • Reply Igor October 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Fortnum & Mason is such a great address in London. I love their lush product range. I still have some black sugar from F&M at my home…

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      It’s decadent in the nicest way. Lush is a good word. Abundant is another. Next time you visit:)

  • Reply parisbreakfast October 30, 2012 at 8:19 am

    So hard not to love this store!
    You really captured it’s oldy-worldy emporium feel.

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Merci Carol. Not sure you’ve been since the refurbs. They now have a food hall etc.

  • Reply leah of sang the bird October 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

    wow! since 1707! that was before australia was discovered by white men. incredible; the history and tradition that is steeped in your country. it blows my mind!
    this year christmas gifts are going to be low-key, thoughtful gifts (hopefully some handmade by me). i’m all about living as simply as possible at the moment (except of course for a few luxuries like red wine and champagne 🙂
    much love to you xx

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Ha. Yes, you’re right. I didn’t think of that.

      I know, the history here is amazing and I’m forever bowled over by stuff like this..

      Oh, will you share the homemade gifts before you give them away?? I’d love to see them!|
      Gosh, if I were to have only a few luxuries, it would have to be great food.

      Love to you xx

  • Reply Sam Lennie October 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I adore Fortnum and Mason but probably like much of the population only venture in there at Christmas during the annual bun fight for luxury goodies. Their window displays are always so beautiful too. Great photos as ever Tina!

    No xmas wishlist for me at the mo, I’m a bit of a last minute organiser and shopper. I love Christmas up until Christmas Eve thereafter it’s just a bore – yes, just call me grumpy!

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Ha. I think you’ll find a lot of people visit F&M all year round, especially tourists.
      It’s always heaving!

      Their window displays used to be even better, I think.

      Oh well, as long as you enjoy yourself up to Christmas:)

      Thanks, grumpy x

  • Reply geraldine October 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I haven’t been there for more than 10 years – great to be reminded. Love the light turqouise packaging and that enormous sweet jar. 🙂 x

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Really? Wow! I think you and the kids would like it… especially for ice cream etc… x

  • Reply Anna @ Creative Mischief October 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Lovely post, one of my favourite places in London but as Sam said, I only ever seem to go in at Christmas! Silly really. I have one of those truffle boxes on my desk collecting all my change.

    I’ve started Christmas list….only it’s for me not for everyone else ha! ha!


    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I LOVE that box. Why do people have Hermes and Chanel boxes? They are just branded but this box is round with great calligraphy and colours…. Did you eat all the truffles????

      And why not? Am sure there are a few presents for your loved ones??

  • Reply Deepa October 31, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I could spend HOURS looking at packaging. Love those biscuit and tea tins!

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks Deepa:)

  • Reply Anya Jensen October 31, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Hey Tina, I adore F&M – their almonds covered in chocolate rock ,and I am in awe of the little merry go round. Such a great post. Hope you have a happy halloween

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks lovely, that musical tin is a must!
      Bet your gorgeous girls love it in there?? xx

  • Reply Catherine Bedson October 31, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I love Fortnum & Mason. Last time I was there (2006) I bought some of their teas in the beautiful tins & a little teapot for one sitting on a cup which we still use. Beautiful photos. Did you have to ask for permission to take them? I’m sure London is gorgeous at Christmas time. We have friends who live in Wimbledon visiting us this year at Christmas for some heat. xx

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      Me too. Oh, I didn’t know you in 2006:((
      Glad you still use the teapot etc..

      I did go up to one of the managers and ask whether I can take photographs. He said that they allow photographs, but no videos. I was delighted as you can’t really look discreet with my camera. The store was heaving but I managed:) anything for my readers:))

      Oh, lucky friends to come and visit. Let me know if you want anything from London and I’ll happily drop it off to your friends xx

  • Reply James Balston November 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    It all looks so festive, I’m suddenly feeling the urge to go and do some early christmas shopping! And the store works so much better since their refit a few years ago.

    • Reply tina November 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Hello James. It was the first day I felt Christmas is round the corner. They had Christmas trees in the store which was a little freakish but there’s something so festive about that decor!

      A few years ago, before they did the refurb and opened the Food Hall I was invited to do a Focus Group upstairs in the office quarters (very beautiful). You had that sense of heritage and stunning woodwork that we no longer see today. (you would have loved to photograph it). They invited us to discuss their ideas for a food hall. I was in favour (of course:)

  • Reply Cate Trotter January 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Good work Tina! Was Googling things about F&M and this popped up 🙂 Fab pictures!

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