Monday, February 21, 2011

The Original Maids of Honour, Kew Gardens, England

The Original Maids of Honour is a tearoom I have wanted to visit for years. It is a historic, old tearoom located outside of London city in the quaint town of Kew, with the royal Kew Gardens, just north of Richmond. I went with the express intention of having tea on a hot summer day in 2009, but to my dismay the shop was closed. This time, while I was in London, I was not going to pass up afternoon tea at a classic place. I booked a reservation for Monday afternoon and was joined by my friend from the states, Jill, who was studying in London. We spent the afternoon having lovely conversation and so thoroughly enjoying the surrounding of Maids of Honour.

Maids of Honour is the epitome of classic British teashop complete with wooden tables, a fireplace, portraits of British royalty on the wall, a display of sweets up at the front, and a well-dressed staff. However, unlike an afternoon tea at a hotel, Maids of Honour is much more relaxed. You don’t have to dress up, you can put your elbows on the table if you please, and no one will scold you for taking a bite of your scone before your sandwich.

Jill and I came for the afternoon tea and so that’s what we ordered. Soon enough, we were brought out a silver pot of black tea with lovely bone china cups, a saucer of milk and a sugar bowl with massive sugar cubes of brown and white sugar. We sipped on our tea and waited anxiously for the three-tiered server to arrive.

And arrive it did! We started with the assortment of tea sandwiches, all the most classic ranging from cucumber, cheese, smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise, all on brown and white bread with the crusts properly cut off. The sandwiches were quite satisfactory and a welcome addition to the tea party!

As we moved down to the scones, we were pleased to find that we each received two scones, one plain and one fruited. They were served with fresh clotted cream and mini jars of Wilkin and Sons Raspberry jam. They went down a treat, and you could taste how homemade and fresh they were. Perfect.

On our sweets server, we both opted for the famous sweet that the shop is named after: The Maids of Honour. These are sort of a flaky puff pastry sweet filled with an egg custard. They were quite tasty, although I wouldn’t say they were my favorite item of the tea.

Jill and I so thoroughly enjoyed our tea and conversation, so much so that we were the last people to leave the shop! All in all it lived up to my expectations and was a wonderful experience. Not to mention, it is a much more economic tea than say, The Ritz. The next time I am in London, I would love to go back and sit at Maids of Honour with a good book and a nice pot of tea and a scone!


  1. Dessert first at Maids of Honour! And boy are those desserts colossal! Happy to hear you had a wonderful sojourn in England!

  2. Hehehe! They aren't as big as they look! I promise you, you will be able to finish one of those! Thanks for the response! I just need to start hitting up some of the places on my list here in Johannesburg. But, I certainly have been drinking lots of tea here!

  3. I'm sure I'll be able to finish one of them too, in a snap! I am so excited to read about all your tea adventures in Joburg!!

  4. Although I live in Canada we have visited England often over the years and whenever we went to Kew Gardens or were in that area we would see that shop and I would long to go in, but we always seemed to be in a hurry to go somewhere else. Sadly, our relatives have moved to Sussex so I will now never have the chance to visit the Maid of Honour Tea Room. This makes me sad, but I am glad it is still there for others to enjoy. - Jean Naylor, Nova Scotia