There’s nothing finer than a stroll, run or ride through one of London’s Royal Parks and Gardens. Covering 350 acres, Hyde Park is a huge green space, and home to the Diana Memorial Fountain, Speaker’s Corner, and the Serpentine Lake. The lake not only is the centrepiece of the park but also offers boating and swimming. Records show that informal swimming groups have plied the waters since the early 1800s, and the Serpentine Swimming Club formed in 1864, still exists to this day. Although you can’t see the swimmers from the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen (you have to visit the Lido Bar & Cafe for that), you can still sit lakeside or within the glass-walled cosy confines of the buzzy café and admire the view. Avoid the lunchtime queues and visit either side for a more relaxed experience, plus you are more likely to nab an outside table or deck chair in milder weather. There’s quite a morning/afternoon tea spread, including a towering stack of large fruit scones. This is my first ‘cream tea’ in the UK (on this trip), and I quickly learn that as the norm, scones are served at room temperature. These scones are slightly crisp with a surprisingly fluffy centre, and go down well after my overnight flight from Hong Kong. The miniature jar of Tip Tree strawberry jam could be bigger, but the chilled tub of Rodda’s Classic Cornish Cream doesn’t disappoint.
Tea: A good range of loose-leaf teas served in a no-nonsense pot.
Overall: A hugely busy café with the added serenity of being in the middle of Hyde Park.
Location: Serpentine Rd, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH Ph: +44 20 7706 8114
Reviewed in October, 2015