An artistic lunch at the V & A – in London

September 28, 2008 by  

If you’re visiting London and want a haven to pause from sightseeing or shopping for coffee or a light lunch, there’s a cafe I’d like to recommend to you.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington is a stone’s throw from Knightsbridge where every tourist visits Harrods to buy a tin of Earl Grey tea to take home for their mother and self respecting fashionistas check out the designers at Harvey Nichols. I was there to meet a friend for coffee before a spot of sightseeing in Greenwich (more of that later).

As you enter through the front entrance, don’t forget to look up at the two enormous chandeliers that hang above the front lobby. The first is a sculpture by architect Zaha Hadid, made of black crystals individually suspended on wires to make a shape which looks like a swarm of bees, hence it’s name of Swarm.

Swarm chandelier at the V & A in London

The second, above the information desk is of blue and yellow Venetian glass baubles by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly – it’s Murano with a modern twist.

Glass chandelier in the lobby of the V & A Museum

If you can resist temptation, move on through the gift shop and you find the internal courtyard where you can take a coffee when the weather is fine. The shallow oval pool throws up jets of water and you can sit on the steps in the sunshine, or even paddle of you’re feeling hot.

Courtyard at the V & A museum

On the other side of the courtyard you find the cafe which has recently been moved back to it’s original location when it opened in the 1860s as the first museum restaurant in the world. We sat in the Gamble room which is covered on all surfaces with decorative tiles and mottos below the ceiling such as Hunger is the best sauce.

The cafe at the V & A in the Gamble Room

On either side are two smaller rooms, decorated in similar arts and crafts style, one in Greens and Gold by William Morris, the other with blue and white Dutch tiles by Edward Poynter.

The decoration was dark and rich as a fruit cake, but if you find it too overpowering you can take your refreshment in the stark white modern corridors on either side of the cafe, with a classical marble sculpture for company.

Cafe at the V & A

Oh, by the way, in case you thought I was only feasting my eyes on all the decoration, the food was first class too. You can have anything from a slice of cake, to a salad lunch or a hot meal and I thought it was reasonably priced for central London.

Cakes at the V & A

After coffee and cake with my friend for around £4, I returned the next day for a substantial salad lunch which set me back £6.95. I’d much rather relax here in beautiful surroundings than some of the overpriced pavement cafes that I saw in Knightsbridge. And if you have time, the museum is wonderful too, especially if you love fashion, textiles and beautiful objects generally. And it’s free entry – what could be better?

If you’d like to combine your artistic lunch and cultural activities with an evening show, take a look at London Theatre Breaks to round off your perfect day out in London.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
Nearest Tube: South Kensington

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Comments

17 Comments on "An artistic lunch at the V & A – in London"

  1. Friday photo - Pavement dreams in London : Heather on her travels on Sun, 11th Jan 2009 12:01 pm 

    [...] Related Posts An artistic lunch at the V & A in London [...]

  2. Heather on her travels around the web in December and January : Heather on her travels on Mon, 26th Jan 2009 5:23 pm 

    [...] maybe a spot of pampering at the Sanctuary spa. Related Posts A free day out in Greenwich in London An artistic lunch at the V & A They’re changing the guard at Buckingham [...]

  3. Darshana on Wed, 25th Mar 2009 4:53 am 

    What really caught my eye in this post on Victoria and Albert Museum were the image of those two chandeliers. Especially the Swarm. It has a incredible artistic quality to it. But it is no wonder considering it was designed buy Zaha Hadid who had won many awards for architecture.

  4. body detox diet on Sat, 1st Aug 2009 10:27 am 

    i love eating fruit cakes, specially with extra walnuts, almonds and raisins. another favorite of mine is the Dresdner Stollen or German Fruitcake

  5. Heather on her travels around the Blogsphere | Heather on her travels on Tue, 16th Feb 2010 1:26 pm 

    [...] to Karen at Europe a la Carte for featuring my post on An Artistic Lunch at the V & A in her November Blog Carnival. I also enjoyed reading the other posts featured on sightseeing in [...]

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    [...] garden party at Buckingham Palace An artistic lunch at the V & A – in London Things to enjoy at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park (without breaking the [...]

  11. Lily Evans on Wed, 1st Sep 2010 9:23 am 

    i love those german fruit cakes because they have more nuts in it ..

  12. Three great ways to spend a day in London | Heather on her travels on Tue, 8th Feb 2011 8:46 am 

    [...] you are interested in art, fashion and design you’ll love the Victoria and Albert Museum featuring crafts, textiles and sculptures from around the world. There’s a central courtyard [...]

  13. Heather on her Travels: Three capital ways to spend a day in London | Bristol Classifieds on Sun, 13th Feb 2011 12:01 am 

    [...] you are interested in art, fashion and design you’ll love the Victoria and Albert Museum featuring crafts, textiles and sculptures from around the world. There’s a central courtyard with [...]

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    [...] in Stratford-upon-Avon I fell in love with the old fashioned rose patterned tea service from the V & A that they had on display on the oak dresser – in fact I’m in love with the whole idea [...]

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  17. Interlocking Tiles in Delhi on Thu, 13th Feb 2014 7:51 am 

    Me and my husband are planning to vacation in London but we have no knowledge about this place it’s a favorites place to visit. I think your blog gives us a gift by publishing such informative post. Through your blog I get to know about this museum an in my view point museum is the right place to know about the history of any country. Thanks for it.

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