Victoria’s Perfect Cuppas with kids
A born and bred Londoner’s guide to the perfect cup of tea with the family
A perfect cup of tea and family-friendly: it’s actually quite a hard thing to find! So I thought I’d share with you my real Londoner’s tips about where to enjoy a very English drink, without worrying about being stared at when your little one(s) start squawking.
First of all, what is a perfect cuppa? For the English this means “The perfect cup of English tea”, which we drink in a certain way. These days that usually means a tea bag brewed in a mug, with milk in last, so you know it’s exactly the right, strong brown colour (known as “builder’s tea” in England), but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. I recommend Twinings or Yorkshire tea English breakfast blend when you’re at home. If you have time though, there's nothing quite like having the tea brew in a fine bone china teapot.
And if I’m out and about locally, where would I go? Hampstead is blessed with a large number of cafés, but miss the large chains this time. Instead head to one of these local cafés for something different, while knowing your kids will be welcome too.
So, here are my top recommendations:
Burgh House lies hidden away, just a moment from Hampstead High Street and is one of my favourites in the area. Learn more about the local area by wandering through their museum of Hampstead life, but save yourself for the highlight. Enjoy a delicious cuppa and a traditional, home-made English scone in the cosy Buttery café downstairs (lift accessible) or out on the idyllic terrace, overlooking the garden (can’t promise you the weather though, this is England after all!). They have baby changing facilities, high chairs and a toy box to keep your little ones entertained while you sip that perfect cuppa (well, 30 seconds peace and quiet anyway).
2. Ginger & White, Perrins Court, Hampstead and England’s Lane, Belsize Park
Perrins Court is a cute, little alley in Hampstead and is the place for a boosting cuppa and great to watch the world go by. Ginger & White has become a great blend of family friendly hang-out and temporary work space for those-in-the-know in Hampstead and Belsize Park, and has recently become 1 of Time Out’s top 16 classy cafes in London. More well-known for their coffee, they certainly also do a great cuppa tea and I cannot fail to mention here the unbelievable cake section. My personal recommendation: the lemon polenta cake is divine. For the children, they have a box of books and simple baby changing facilities. Round the corner from the Belsize Park branch is the fabulous playground at Antrim Gardens.
3. Gail’s, Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park and Hampstead High Street
Technically this is a bakery, but wow, what a delight for the senses! Gail’s is a true local business, starting with its 1st artisan bakery in Hampstead 10 years ago and has grown into a huge favourite for Londoners everywhere. These guys seriously love their bread and I challenge you to resist the temptation of buying a loaf to take home with you. The Belsize Park branch has a gorgeous green area out the back to gaze on, and is a great place to enjoy a cuppa with the family. Their Hampstead branch is great for shopping and a quick, refreshing cuppa but is quite small, with no toilet.
4. Roni’s, Rosslyn Hill
I have known Roni’s for years as a tiny shop in West Hampstead, but they have been busy expanding their empire with a buzzy café in Belsize Park, and more recently in Hampstead. These guys know their bagels, Eastern European inspired breads and Jewish baked delicacies. They’re relaxed, child-friendly and happy for you to hang out as long as you like with your cuppa. It just might be hard to leave without buying something extra to enjoy at home as well.
Victoria Rennoldson of Perfect Cuppa English was born and has always lived in London; she currently lives in West Hampstead with her family. She offers English language, culture and orientation programmes including walking tours to get to know the local area.
Victoria also took part in our Hampstead Business Mums interview series. You can read that here.