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The Roof at Piccadilly: Bees, Herbs & more

Positioned as we are in the heart of the capital, our rooftop offers extraordinary views across London.

 

But that's not all that can be found on top of 181 Piccadilly.

 

There is a real need to improve the quality of the air that we breathe in London. This is why in 2018, we installed 200m² of moss and wildflower panels on the roof, to improve air quality and carbon removal around our Piccadilly store.

 

Since 2008, we've also kept our own bees in rooftop hives, grown our own herbs and vegetables in our sky-high allotments - even smoked our own salmon, ready to be served in our restaurants below.

First, the bees.

 

Native Welsh Black bees, known for their gentle ways and unlikely to ever sting any unsuspecting shopper, they are allowed to fly free in pursuit of nearby flowers to pollinate, and their flight radius includes the gardens of a certain Royal residence not too far from Piccadilly, and the parks in and around St. James's too.

 

Once a year in September, our head beekeeper Steve Benbow harvests the delicious honey our busy buzzing bees have produced - which is then auctioned alongside the honeys made by our other rooftop London bees in Hoxton, St. Pancras, Somerset House and atop the White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey.

 

The flavour changes subtly each year - but is always extraordinary and mercilessly untainted by pollution; nectar sits deep within a plant and is hoovered up by the bee’s proboscis, then taken straight to the hive and sealed into the honeycomb, safe from outside influences.

 

Each jar we produce is highly-prized and always quick to be snapped up. In fact, there's even a waiting list.

 

The hives themselves are special too - coloured in our signature Eau de Nil and topped with gold finials, there are few finer places for a British bee to live and work.

 

In recognition of both the importance of biodiversity and the need to protect our beloved bee population in the UK, we’ve since extended our hive network to other locations across London, including Somerset House, St. Pancras Station, Hoxton Docks, Bermondsey – and soon The Royal Albert Hall.

Next is our rooftop smoker.

 

As the name implies, the smoker is where we make our own fresh smoked salmon for use on the menu at 45 Jermyn St. - our award-winning restaurant venture that stands in the place of our former Fountain restaurant.

 

The exact blend we use for smoking is kept under wraps, but the result is a rich, aromatic salmon as delicious at breakfast as it is at supper.

Last but not least is our allotment.

 

Installed in 2014, all manner of things are grown up there, from fresh herbs to in-season fruit and vegetables.

 

Carefully-tended through all the varied weather the capital enjoys - the hot summers, many-drizzled autumns and chilly winters - the green and pleasant things grown up high make their way down stairs into many of the dishes in each of our Piccadilly restaurants.

 

Access is limited to the rooftop allotment, but one member of staff is a permanent resident. Our scarecrow - resplendent in Fortnum's uniform - keeps a watch over the plants and wards off any peckish birds.