Wimbledon Village is a great place to visit and while away an afternoon browsing shops and stopping for afternoon tea. There are the more typically English venues as well as the wonderful French cafes with their patisserie.  A short walk  along West Side Common from the Village will work up an appetite and take you to the Cannizaro House Hotel where you can indulge in a formal tea on the terrace overlooking the park. In complete contrast go east past Rushmere Pond and you will find the Windmill Tea Rooms and the Windmill Museum for a more rustic teatime.

The Windmill Museum and Tearooms
It became fashionable to have afternoon tea in England in the early nineteenth century. It is said to have originated with the 7th Duchess of Bedford creating a light snack to fill the gap between breakfast and dinner, with the custom spreading down to the middle classes of London as the height of social sophistication. The paraphernalia  of the occasion became important with a demand for fine porcelain cups and tea pots for the lady of the house to show her good taste to her friends. The choice of tea, selection of cakes and scones as well as the setting were important.

Cath Kidston Rose Teacup

Cath Kidston has a shop at 3 High Street, Wimbledon Village, SW19 5 DX

The Paul's patisserie French chain has a lovely cafe in Wimbledon Village with tasty baguettes, salads and of course a selection of cakes. There is some seating outside on the pavement but mostly downstairs, however it is worth visiting or taking away for a picnic on the Common.

Paul's Patisserie Counter

Take a walk out of the Village across the Common to Cannizaro House Hotel for a more formal teatime in a lovely setting.  A classic and truly English experience, tea is served daily between 3pm and 6pm (3.30pm on Sundays) with delicate sandwiches, cakes and pastries - you can also add strawberries and champagne for a special treat!

For a hearty tea more like grandma might make, visit the Windmill Tearooms.  After a walk across the Common you will be ready for a big slice of their famous bread pudding or scones and cream, all washed down with a mug of tea. The cakes are all home made as are the soups and other savoury dishes.

The tradition of tea sets is kept alive by contemporary designers such as Cath Kidtson, Mini Moderns and Emma Bridgewater.  We love the latters teapots especially, designed to fill four cups, the shape of all her china is unique to the brand and makes an occasion special. Bridgewater's pottery is hand made and decorated in Stoke on Trent, an area with a strong tradition for British pottery.  She has also made a glorious and witty range of mugs and plates to celebrate this summer's Diamond Jubilee.

Emma Bridgewater's Sweet Pea Teapot

Mini Moderns specialise in objects inspired by 1950s British design and original contemporary patterns. Their Festival range of porcelain celebrates one of the biggest influences on their work, the 1951 Festival of Britain which was an exciting post-war exhibition of the new wave of British design.  Created to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the exhibition the range includes a tea set with a wonderful cake stand for a vintage teatime!