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Piccadilly, Floor by Glorious Floor

 

We may be a little biased – this, after all, is where we live - but we think 181 Piccadilly is a rather special place. At our short address in the heart of London, we have been filling floor-upon-floor with the very finest things imaginable for centuries. In that time, countless millions of visitors have wended their way merrily up and down our staircases in search of something special.

 

Not many have left empty-handed…

 

If you have ever paid us a visit and meandered your way from Lower Ground to Fourth Floor, you will know all about the particular magic of our famous store. But for those who have never been before, for our millions of online shoppers, and anyone who is struggling to recall the last time one of our doormen last ushered them inside 181, we are here to provide a small virtual trip around Fortnum’s, floor by glorious floor.

 

What’s more, we’ve made a few changes at our London lodgings to ensure your safety is our utmost priority.

Lower Ground Floor

We start with the finest food in all the land, our famous Food Halls on Lower Ground.

 

Down a single flight of our spiral staircase, you will find our butcher, our bakery, but sadly no candlestick-makers. Not presently, at least. And candles are available on second, as it happens.

 

To our right, as we enter, you’ll find our food-to-go, there’s pasta from Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano - made fresh daily, with a rotation of sauces, and our fresh baked goods and a collection of delicious salads, sandwiches and of course, Scotch Eggs and pies. Turn a little and you’ll be facing our Spirits Room, filled with one of London’s most unique and diverse collections of Gin, as well as an amber cove of all things Whisk(e)y. There’s also every other tipple to raise your spirits here too.

 

Strolling across the floor you’ll pass all manner of condiments and pantry essentials, a bare cupboard really doesn’t bare thinking about! Then we reach our fresh fish, cheeses from all points of the globe, and charcuterie. To the left, wines from South America to Southern France to the South Downs, rows of fizz, port displays and much more. We try a sample of delicious sausage at the butcher’s counter, we watch brie being sliced and weighed, we drag ourselves away from the Champagne and up to the ground floor before we buy everything in sight…

 

We are working, after all.

Ground Floor

We take the stairs, spiralling upwards through the middle of the store, offering incredible views of the floors above and flooding light into the building. The Christmas decorations are up, and people stop to take photos. Of the stairs, obviously. Not of us, however happy we might be to strike a pose or two.

 

On our ground floor, we stop a Fortnum’s assistant clad in customary Eau de Nil tie, white shirt, dark jacket and approachable, welcoming demeanour. We ask her where we should head first.

 

'To Chocolate Wonderland of course! Or you could head to teas, coffees, jams and preserves, the biscuits...'

 

She laughs, because she has more-or-less listed the entire contents of the ground floor. But then it is very hard to know where to start on a floor so abundantly populated with wonderful things.

 

We plump for teas. Rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves, in loose leaf and in bags, from all corners of the globe and to suit all tastes, and all beautifully-presented. No wonder it’s been so popular for over 300 years. We overhear a couple talking: he drinks tea, she does not, but she admits that even she is tempted. Everything looks so pretty, she says. And it does.

 

We march on to the jams and honeys and preserves, oh my! We flit around the biscuits, coo at the confectionary and the hidden treasures inside, and feel a pleasing sort of sugar rush just looking at the 500 different types of chocolates on display.

 

We could stop for longer, and we recommend you do, on your visit. But for now, we must press onwards, or else this article – this brief and colourful whizz around the inside of 181 Piccadilly - might end up at novella length.

 

And so, to the first floor.

First Floor

And WOW, Christmas food is here! Mountains of mince pies, puddings and all things sugar and spice. Our thoughts turn to what would comprise our Christmas feast, and whether we could feasibly keep it below, say, 50 items.

 

Probably not, is the verdict, but lets compile a list, all the same, starting with a Magnificent Plum Christmas Pudding, marmalades, Champagne and strawberry preserve, the incredible Merrilossus, a bottle – no, three! – of Fortnum’s fizz, tins of Christmas Spiced loose leaf tea, a Mince Pie Medley, Fortnum’s London Gin, and much, much more. Our mouth waters at the prospect.

 

In line with social distancing measures, this year our Christmas Food area in Piccadilly is also 63% or two thirds, bigger than it was last year, making for a more luxurious and safer shopping experience.

 

There’s also homeware here too, a spectacular wall of teapots and all the china for creating Afternoon Tea at home. And our new bespoke tea blending service - more on than here.

 

Taste buds tickled and in need of a little energy after taking the stairs between floors (instead of the beautiful wood panelled and mirrored lifts), we head to The Parlour for ice-cream.

 

And the most remarkable thing we realise, as we spoon home great heapfuls of delicious dessert? That we are only halfway through our journey through the floors at Fortnum's...

Second Floor & Third Floor

Riding the wave of a pleasing sugar rush, courtesy of our delicious ice cream from The Parlour on First, we continue our floor-by-floor tour of Fortnum’s by marching up the staircase to Second.

 

Each floor is unique in its own way but no floor smells as fantastic as Second. People gawk at the fragrance counter as a man clad in a signature Eau de Nil tie carefully pours perfume into a tiny container. He does not spill a drop.

 

To our right is Ladies’ Beauty, with everything one could want for a weekend of pampering, and in front of us are tables filled with Gentlemen’s accessories, Grooming and Candles – all, no doubt, smelling as wonderful as our rare fragrances.

 

Before we head up to the Third floor, we cast our eye towards the staircase at the back of Second, which opens upwards into a beautiful glass dome roof, pouring great torrents of light onto the staircase below.

 

And so, to Third, filled with everything one could wish for a very merry Christmas. That’s right – here you’ll find the baubles already hung, the wrapping paper ready and every wonderful thing about Fortnum’s recreated as a miniature decoration for your tree. Behold – our Christmas Shop.

 

As the ultimate Masters of Merry, and with 313 Christmases under our belt, we know a thing or two about celebrating our favourite time of year. And, with this Christmas looking a little different from the last, our Third Floor is the ultimate destination to bring the joy of the festive season into your home.

 

With a large shindig off the cards for 2020, why not send your friends and loved ones, your season’s greetings in the form of a well-stocked wicker? Our Third Floor is also home to our famous Hampers – perfect for gifting friends and family near and far.

Fourth Floor

Before we get lost among a haze of lifesize polar bears and twinkling baubles, we make our way up to the Fourth Floor. The collective gaze of those sat within the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon is fixed upon the signature Fortnum's delights so wonderfully-assembled on their tables.

 

This special place has a calm atmosphere that allows you to escape into a world of the finest rare, single-origin and famous Fortnum’s tea and moreish cake for a few wonderous hours.

 

And so, with our senses satisfied and our desire for cake fulfilled, we finish the whistle-stop tour of our Piccadilly home. We look forward to welcoming you in person soon.