Royal Warrants: Shop Like Royalty in LondonBritish Royal Warrants are granted to individuals or companies who have recurrently provided goods or services for a minimum of five successive years to The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) or The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles); this of course was true by previous reigning royalty as well. These Royal Warrants lend prestige to the individual or company and infer quality. The establishments that hold these designations in London are exciting to browse, shop and explore.
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Floris PerfumeryStart on Jermyn Street for an enticing fragrance jaunt at Floris; a renowned perfumery created by Juan Floris in 1730. Originally, Floris began as a barber and combs maker at this prestigious location. Today, Floris is run by eighth and ninth generation family members, bears the distinction of 16 Royal Warrants and is frequented by celebrities and royals alike (Queen Elizabeth II wears Floris fragrances).
As you enter this perfumery, you realize a sense of timeless elegance with lustrous, dark wood cabinets accented with Floris' eclectic fragrances for both men and women, as well as for the home. Each accessible display island beckons you to pick up a chic glass bottle and inhale the heady essences, such as Night Scented Jasmine, the citrusy cool breeze scent of Cefiro and the warm but rugged and sexy notes of No 89 that James Bond author Ian Fleming sported. If you prefer the realm of royal inspiration, try the Bouquet De La Reine (violet and black currant top notes) created by Juan Floris as a wedding gift for Queen Victoria. Or, Wedding Bouquet (gorgeous, modern white flower theme) created for the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William.
Bespoke perfumes have always been in vogue and Floris is exceptional at creating unique, personal fragrances. The perfumery offers a Bespoke Perfume Design and a Fragrance Customization. The Customization is a great option if you're visiting and don't wish to wait six months for your perfume design. The exciting session starts with an hour-and-a-half consultation with a Floris perfumer, a choice from the Floris range, with new ingredients added to create a customized eau de parfum (very affordable). In addition, you're seated in the stunning back room that houses fascinating, historical artifacts on display from the start of the company; and the old registry books that contain royal and illustrious orders, such as Sir Winston and Mrs. Churchill.
Men's Clothing at Turnbull & AsserTurnbull & Asser are located on the corner of Jermyn and Bury Street. Originally established in 1885, this splendid men's clothier is world-renowned for exquisite men's shirts. In its present location for the past 40-years, the company also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Prince of Wales's Royal Warrant. The company boasts a clientele from actors, royalty and musicians, such as Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Robert Redford to Prince Charles and Eric Clapton. When you visit this iconic establishment, you'll notice the smart decor is complemented by the roster of famous photos on the wall. Take a close look at the superb shirts and ties; the finest quality cloth is tailored with exacting detail, fit and design. Further, the shirts feature a three-button cuff that is a trademark look of Turnbull & Asser as well. In addition to bespoke shirts, ties and suits, ready-made men's attire is also available in the adjacent building.
Fortnum & MasonFortnum and Mason, located on Piccadilly in London, is a definitively British company with a global popularity. Established in 1707, Fortnum's has resided at the same location on Piccadilly offering sublime tea, candles and grocery items. As the international reputation of the company grew, they expanded their range of fine products that today, include a marvelous range of products from unique jewelry, beauty products, perfume and home accessories, to cookware and wines. Moreover, Fortnum's holds a number of Royal Warrants that date back 150-years.
For those who visit Fortnum's, it is a treat just to gaze at their breath-taking window displays and admire the gorgeous architecture of the signature eau de nil-hued building. Inside, prepare to be dazzled by five floors of the most beautiful, tasteful and luscious products imaginable. From Fortnum's coveted teapots, cups, tea selections and famous hampers filled with delectable items, to an afternoon tea in the lovely Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, visitors can spend a full day just browsing and shopping in this gorgeous store.
If you enjoy preserves and honey, head to the ground floor for an enviable collection of scrumptious preserves and one of the largest selections of honey in London; roughly 30 to 40 different varieties. In fact, Fortnum's, with Bee Master Steve Benbow, produces their own exclusive honey in limited quantities (available in early October). The hives are located on the very top of their Piccadilly building! Indeed, four hives occupy the rooftop and are a palatial residence for the bees with the hives architected to reflect the clock on the front of Fortnum's building, in their signature eau de nil color. London's immense green space is filled with diverse and exotic flowers, so the bees are able to forage and produce honey that ranges from a floral to a richer flavor depending on the year. The rooftop bees and their honey have become very popular and with that in mind, Fortnum's has created the Life Of Bees that takes place during the summer. The event consists of a tour of the hives and a wonderful honey tasting topped with champagne.
Paxton & Whitfield: Cheeses beyond compareWhile on your stroll along Jermyn Street, stop by Paxton & Whitfield for incomparable cheeses. A Royal Warrant holder, this enticing company has been in business for over 200-years with a reputation for sourcing and maturing exceptional cheeses. You'll also find an array of fine foods and excellent wine in this small but well-stocked shop. As you browse over Paxton & Whitfield's aromatic selections of cheeses, consider trying the Lancashire Kirkham, with a buttery flavor, great texture and hint of sharpness. If you're not sure what to try, ask the professional cheese mongers who will be delighted to help you.
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Patrice Rapleeis an experienced travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site OffbeatTravel.com and is a regular contributor on travel radio shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her articles and photographs have appeared in numerous international publications, as well as NW newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure. Photos courtesy of Patrice Raplee.