The Fan Museum
By Sara O’Brien
After three years of imitating British life through my awkward American lens, London has opened up my world just a little bit more. Coming from Massachusetts, I believe in some towns it might just about be considered treason if you deny Dunkin’ Donuts’ authority as the King of coffee. Well, without a Dunkies for well over 3,000 miles and nestle instant coffee being a weak second coming, I assimilated to the great British tea drinking tradition. And I am addicted. Take away the tea supply in the house and you’ll be sure to find me curled up in the corner of my room, a bit shaken and probably resorting to existentialism. This is what you’ve done England, turned me into a tea crazed looney, without it the world is absurd. There is a reason why tea is popularly enjoyed world wide and Dunkin’ Donuts, serving a measly cup of Lipton just isn’t cutting it anymore.
If like me, but hopefully in a slightly more manageable state, you can’t resist a cosy cuppa tea, I must insist that you venture over to The Fan Museum. Conveniently located in a Georgian townhouse in-between Cutty Sark and Greenwich stations, it is well worth the trip.The museum itself displays a beautiful collection of intricate, unique fans from around the world, dating back all the way to the 11th century. The museum is divided into three sections, including the permanent exhibition, the changing exhibition, and the charming Orangery, where it is possible for visitors to have an elegant, yet affordable, afternoon tea.
Voted the ‘Best Value Afternoon Tea’ by the Daily Telegraph in 2012, The Fan Museum does not disappoint. In order to have tea, you must also pay the admission charge which varies in price, between £4 and £1.50, depending on applicable reductions. On Sundays and Tuesdays the museum’s Orangery is open full afternoon tea table bookings at 1.45, 2.15, 3.15, and 3.45 and it is strongly recommended that you book a table in advanced.
The set price for a full afternoon tea is £7 per person on top of the admission charge and includes tea or coffee, one slice of Victoria sponge cake, a scone, cream, jam, and your choice of a brownie or a slice of lemon cake. If you decide to visit the museum on a Friday or Saturday, the Orangery is open for tea between 12.30 and 4.30, operating on a walk-in service, not taking table bookings. On these days, you can choose to order individual cakes, scones, or tea at à la carte prices or have the full afternoon tea option.
A trip to The Fan Museum is certainly the perfect way to treat yourself or a companion, while remaining on a budget. Offering a quaint and elegant atmosphere paired with quality, delicious cakes and scones at a more than reasonable price, the Orangery offers more than a standard cafè would. Whilst browsing, be sure to look in the boutique, where you can purchase afternoon tea gift vouchers which include admission costs, a lovely idea for a present to keep in mind, especially with the holidays coming up!
Reservations can be made via email:
or telephone at 020 8305 1441