National Portrait Gallery London

The vista from this restaurant, where a very good traditional afternoon tea is served every day, is not so much a portrait as a landscape, and a spectacular one at that. No matter where you sit in this stylish modern room, you get a panoramic view of Nelson’s Column, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, which makes it one of London’s wonderful hidden treasures. The Portrait Tea is a picture in itself and you gett the full works – large fluffy scones, golden clotted cream and preserves, a selection of tasty house sandwiches as well as a slice of homemade cake. On the other hand, you could opt for the more glamorous Champagne Tea, with its open smoked salmon sandwich, cake, scones with all the trimmings, plus a glass of bubbly. If you are feeling very righteous, go for tea a la carte, and restrict yourself to a piece of lavender shortbread and a pot of tea. The staff are young, the service artistically indifferent and if you sit near the bar and service area, it can be a bit noisy. Still, the atmosphere is very relaxed, the tea is good and it’s a super place to rest after a visit to the stunning Portrait Gallery rooms downstairs. Even on a dull wet day a visit here is an energizing experience.

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Address: St Martin’s Place, London WC2 0HE Tel +44 (0)20 7312 2490 E-mail: portrait.restaurant@searcys.co.uk Web: www.npg.org.uk/visit/food/restaurant.php Afternoon tea served: Monday to Sunday 3-5pm Set teas: Portrait Tea, Champagne Tea

Nearest underground stations: Leicester Square, Charing Cross

Places of interest nearby: Covent Garden, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, St Martin’s in the Fields

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