Fortnum & Mason Updated: 15 days ago

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The Fortnum & Mason department store, which specialises in delicious food and drinks, was established in 1707. It was initially opened as a grocery store and later expanded into other fields of trade. The flagship store is located at 181 Piccadilly.

History

William Fortnum was a footman in Queen Anne’s household and had the idea of selling the Queen’s candle ends to earn extra money. He went into business with Hugh Mason, who had a small store in St James Market. This resulted in the store being founded in 1707. The current store was completed in 1927.

The store is considered a British institution and holds several Royal Warrants, a mark of companies that have supplied goods to the Royal family for at least five years.

Store

Lower Ground Floor

The lower ground floor features a food hall with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, pies and drinks. There is a good selection of meats, cheeses, and ready-made products such as pies and Scotch eggs. Also, the wine and spirits section is downstairs.

Ground Floor

The ground floor is dedicated to exceptional products such as cookies, tea, coffee, jam, chocolates and confectionery. Fortnum & Mason is famous for its wide range of teas and a good selection of coffee. Another essential product group is the hampers. There is a wide range of them, filled with a selection of fine foods and drinks, or specific types, for example, a tea hamper for a delightful afternoon tea at home. The hampers are especially popular for Christmas and are a popular Christmas gift.

First Floor

The first floor features homeware, such as china, silverware, mugs and tea accessories. There is a good selection of glasses and decanters. Many tableware products are colourful and presented in a table setting to show how they look when the table is made. There is also a cook shop with saucepans and other kitchen products.

Top Floor

The top floor has a tea salon called The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which the Queen inaugurated for the 2012 Jubilee, meaning her 60th anniversary as the Queen. The salon lets you enjoy a traditional British afternoon tea with sandwiches and pastries.

Fortnum has also opened a new destination, The Royal Exchange London City, where you can enjoy afternoon tea and other meals in a picturesque setting.

Architecture

One specific detail to pay attention to on the Piccadilly side is the clocks, where you might catch William Fortnum and Hugh Mason bowing to each other hourly. The clocks chime every 15 minutes, and you can hear the gentle chiming of 18th-century airs from the bells. Many people don’t know that these bells were cast by the renowned Whitechapel Bell Foundry, who also cast the bells for Big Ben. Before Christmas, the building is beautifully decorated as a colossal advent calendar.

Inside, the store features grand wooden staircases and elegant displays. The central staircase is shaped as a spiral and is open from the bottom to the top.

Getting there

Fortnum & Mason is on Piccadilly about 5 minutes away from the Piccadilly Circus underground station (Piccadilly). Green Park's station (Jubilee) is about the same distance away in the opposite direction.

Nearby

Fortnum & Mason are located at a very central location and is near many other destinations. The nearest ones are Piccadilly Circus , Regent Street and Green Park . Buckingham Palace is also less than 10 minutes away by foot.

Nearest Stations

Green Park - 4 min

Piccadilly Victoria Jubilee London Underground Zone: 1

Piccadilly Circus - 6 min

Bakerloo Piccadilly London Underground Zone: 1

Oxford Circus - 10 min

Central Bakerloo Victoria London Underground Zone: 1

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