London’s Tearooms: An Afternoon At Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

After hearing about this place for the past year and seeing numerous Instagram posts, my friend and I finally visited Petersham Nurseries Tearoom.

With locations at both Richmond and Covent Garden (La Goccia Bar), we took on the Richmond-based tearoom for the day. Established on the outskirts of Richmond Park and the Thames, the area is unsurprisingly quite beautiful (as is most of Richmond). There isn’t really a better place to have a garden centre café. However, the area around there doesn’t provide much parking, so getting there is a bit more challenging. We ended up parking 15 minutes away and walking alongside the river. It is recommended that you walk, cycle or catch public transport if you can in order to get there, especially if you want to be a bit more eco-friendly. Parking then walking for us worked fine though (until it started drizzling and we had to pick up the pace a bit!).

Petersham Nurseries is a family run business split into two parts: the Petersham Nurseries Café (which is more of a restaurant and you need to book in advance) and The Tearoom (more of a relaxed, café style which is first come first serve). As mentioned before, Petersham Nurseries is also a garden centre with all sorts of gorgeous (pricey) plants, equipment and even antique furniture in the shop! As expected, the tearoom was full on arrival and we had to wait for about 20 minutes, in which a small queue formed. Whilst we were shuffling forward, we kept getting peeks of what the tearoom looked like: enclosed in glass, decorated with plants, dotted with fairy lights and an open, rustic doorway as you go towards the tables.

As COVID-19 still lingers, we had to do the normal Track and Trace details and eventually got escorted in. Most if not all tables have a little flower pot, accompanied with a little chalkboard with your table number on it. We were sat on the edge near the bar, so we had a view of the glasshouse in its entirety.

The staff are super friendly and cheerful, and one quickly came over with sheets of paper, explaining how the tearoom works (I’m sure not if they do this all the time or just because of COVID-19): the sheet of paper has a list of the entire menu followed by checkboxes next to each item, so we tick off what we want to order and someone will come and collect the paper. We came here for tea (although they do proper lunch options in the tearoom), so I got the carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese icing followed by some red berry and hibiscus tea. The carrot and walnut cake was absolutely stunning and was quite a hearty slice, leaving me satisfied and does justify the price a bit more. I’d never tried a red berry and hibiscus tea and I was pleasantly surprised: I personally find that a lot of the time when I drink herbal teas, I don’t get as much flavour as I would like, but this did not disappoint. It was packed with flavour, really fruity, and you could really taste every single element. It perfectly complimented the cake and I was so happy with what I had. My friend had the flourless orange almond cake (a gluten free option) with a hot chocolate, which she loved too.

This hidden treat is lovely if you want to find a nice tearoom for the day. I will definitely be coming back some time to try the Café out, but this really is a beautiful place to stop by and have some great tea and cake.

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