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The History of Fortnum's The History of Fortnum's

The World's Most Famous Cornershop




First founded in London’s Piccadilly in 1707, we are proud to have remained an essential destination for anyone in search of extraordinary food, exceptional service and joy-giving things ever since. Everyone remembers their first encounter with us, and no wonder – over our centuries of history, we have been committed to delivering a sense of pleasure to anyone who walks through our doors.


'Look where I will... I see Fortnum & Mason. All the hampers fly wide open and the green downs burst into a blossom of lobster salad!'




The First 314 Years

Like all great exercises in creation, Fortnum & Mason began with light. The insistence of Queen Anne's household on fresh candles every night spelled a legitimate perk for an enterprising footman: spare palace wax to sell on. By 1707, William Fortnum's enlightened sideline had melted down into enough to leave royal service and start a business with his landlord Hugh Mason. The rest, as they say, is grocery.


Discover the Wonderful World of Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum's Tea

Tea is pivotal to our storied past, present and future. In 1902, our brews came to boast a royal pedigree thanks to a bespoke blend specially created for King Edward VII. From contemporary infusions to home-grown blends, our tea is still reigning and pouring today.

The Story of the Hamper

The Fortnum’s hamper is the world’s best-travelled tuck box. Over the course of 314 years it’s been dispatched to every possible location, from the slopes of Everest and the battlefields of Iraq to the more welcoming lawns of Twickenham, Henley and Epsom. It’s a by-word for portable pleasure.

181 Piccadilly

Millions from around the world visit our flagship store in Piccadilly to take Afternoon Tea, explore our famous Food Halls and wend their way up and down the velvet-carpeted stairs. Resplendent in our signature Eau De Nil, our beautiful building is a corner shop that has seen it all.

Afternoon Tea

We've been serving an extraordinary version of this oh-so-British tradition for centuries. In that time, we've learned a thing or two about making every afternoon's sipping into a memorable one – from the cakes and sandwiches, to the scones and the eponymous drink at the heart of it all.

Long Love #Fortnums

We got our start selling half-burned candles from Queen Anne’s palace and in the same spirit, you have been reusing and reimagining the things we make ever since. Find out more about the care and attention to detail that goes into making our packaging so wonderful.

Our Rooftop Bees

With honeybee colonies on the decline, we installed several hives on top of our Piccadilly store in 2008 to help boost their numbers. Today, you can find our hives buzzing on 14 roofs and counting across London, including in Bermondsey, Hoxton, St Pancras, and Somerset House too.

Food and Drink Awards

Now in their 8th year, the annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards celebrate the very best writers, publishers, broadcasters, photographers & personalities.

Fortnum's Cook Books

Written by Tom Parker Bowles, our Cook Book reveal over 300 years of Fortnum’s secrets, from Scotch Eggs and Welsh Rarebit to Knickerbocker Glories. We followed it up with a Christmas tome too, and have another on the way. 

Our Stories

From archive memories to recipes and tips for every seasonal event, discover the stories behind the exquisite things we make, the unforgettable experiences we create, and the inspiring people who help bring the magic of Fortnum's to life.