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Pembroke Lodge, Richmond - On the Tea Shop Trail

PUBLISHED: 20:59 08 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:10 09 April 2016

The Butler's Pantry was completely refurbished, reflecting the style of the period, in 2015

The Butler's Pantry was completely refurbished, reflecting the style of the period, in 2015

Pembroke Lodge

In the last in the series of The Tea Shop Trail, Louise Johncox visits the historic tea rooms at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park

The tea rooms offer a varied and tasty menuThe tea rooms offer a varied and tasty menu

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2016

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The low-down…

If you enjoy the combination of a walk and afternoon tea then Pembroke Lodge, in the heart of Richmond Park, is the place to go.

The listed Georgian mansion began life as a one-room cottage and over the years it has expanded and been home to some influential characters. In 1847, Queen Victoria granted the lodge to the Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, and later the philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, spent his early years there between 1876 and 1894.

After the war, the ground floor of one wing became a caféteria, which is now a thriving tea room. I’ve visited several times over the years, as one of my favourite views is from the nearby King Henry’s Mound, where on a clear day there is a tree-framed sightline to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Décor…

The most recent refurbishment was in January 2015 when everything was replaced with furniture in keeping with a classic Georgian mansion. In the main large room, there are canvases with pictures of the wildlife in the park and in the other two rooms there are framed historical pictures of the lodge and park.

“The servery area has been redesigned with large dressers concealing the working parts of the fridges; the colours used are from the Georgian colour palette; and many of the decorations are in keeping with a Georgian pantry such as the butler’s call bells,” says director Louise Hearsum. “We also renamed the tea rooms The Butler’s Pantry.”

The three rooms (The Pembroke Room, The Park Room and The Soane Room) seat 156 people while the terrace overlooking the Thames Valley can seat up to 120 people.

On the menu…

At Pembroke Lodge, you’ll find a varied menu where you can choose from either lunch or afternoon tea.

If you’ve been for a long walk and feel like something substantial then have a look at the savoury menu, which offers everything from soup and bread (£5) to main course meals such as chicken with butternut squash (£9) or spinach and feta filo parcels (£8.50).

The three most popular cakes are apparently Carrot Cake, Victoria Sponge and Gluten-free Chocolate Torte (from £3.25).

On my recent visit, I enjoyed a slice of Gluten-free Lemon Cake (£3.30) while my friend had a scone, a much-loved favourite (priced from £1.90, or £3.90 for the Afternoon Tea comprising a scone, tea/coffee, clotted cream and preserve).

Most of the cakes are baked in-house or by a local supplier and tea/coffee costs from £1.50.

Verdict…

Pembroke Lodge is a classic Georgian mansion offering traditional afternoon tea and hearty lunches. The location is perfect for exploring the park and taking in views of the Thames Valley and towards St Paul’s Cathedral. From the lodge, you can walk to the Isabella Plantation (a 40-acre woodland garden), best-known for its evergreen azaleas and rare trees – a very special place.

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Need to know:

Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, Richmond TW10 5HX. Tel: 0208 940 8207. E-mail: info@pl.org.uk. Web: pl.org.uk


TOP TIP:

There are Nordic Walking classes in Richmond Park, a fun way to keep fit and healthy. See more details at gobuzz.co.uk

 

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