[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he funny thing about London is that you can often walk past a building or place and not give them a second thought or glance- they just become part of the landscape on the way to your everyday routine. Outside Charing Cross station, is the entrance to the Amba Hotel; a site I was familiar with, the red and green Victorian facade a colourful dot along The Strand. I’ve walked past it coming and going through Charing Cross station for years. I was invited to afternoon tea here and like many places in the city, the outside of the building doesn’t reflect the vastness inside! (a hotel tardis if you like) As well as being treated to afternoon tea, we also popped across the road to the National Portrait Gallery for the Audrey Hepburn exhibition.
After a brief introduction inside the Nelson Suite, we headed to the gallery and into the exhibit.
I love Audrey Hepburn, to me she’s the very epitome of an icon.
It’s a small collection of photographs- some from her days as a dancer in London before she became famous, some iconic photos and stills from behind the scenes and my favourite, the personal ones like the one of her grocery shopping with her pet deer!
No photos are allowed, but there is a gallery wall of her magazine covers which I just adored and couldn’t resist snapping so I could keep it as a memento.
The gift shop has an array of all things Hepburn, so a quick browse was made and then it was straight back to the hotel for a good feeding.
The sight of a tier of treats; dainty sandwiches, little tarts and scones is always such a delight.
The smoked salmon with cream cheese on brioche was especially delicious. The Amba Hotel had also made a separate spread of vegan and gluten free food too, which I thought was great as not every venue is able to be as flexible or generous with it’s menu.
And, as we’re talking about afternoon tea, it’s the top tiers that everyone rubs their hands together for…
Waiting to be spread with a fat dollop of cream and strawberry jam.
There were also little coffee and glossy fruit tarts- the pastry was thin and crisp filled with lovely creme patisserie.
Some champagne and Earl Grey tea later, we had a wander around the hotel, sneaking glimpses of the Fawlty Towers Dining Experience in the suite next door, and watched as the Ballroom was prepped for a fashion show.
The window from the Ballroom overlooked the Strand, and luckily, the sun had popped out…
I had no idea that the hotel was the entire building over Charing Cross station and has another three levels underground- those clever Victorian architects!
But nevermind sweeping staircases and ornate ballrooms…there was a red telephone booth in the foyer…
And yes, I wore a Run DMC sweatshirt to an Audrey Hepburn themed afternoon tea. Whatever, rules.
You can read the Amba Hotel’s blog post about our afternoon here
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon- Thank you Joes Bloggers and the Amba Hotel Charing Cross for your wonderful hospitality!