High Tea at the NGV

I am definitely no rich girl. I’m a working-class western suburbs chic through and through. Though a lot of the time I like to pretend otherwise (a girl can dream). One of the things about me that does not quite line up with the kind of lifestyle I was born into (other than my taste in fashion) is my idea of fun; High tea and a visit to the gallery!


As a treat, me and my carer Iva (who at this point is basically my best friend because we have almost everything in common) decided to plan a day of high tea. I’d never been to high tea, but I knew exactly what it entailed (Gilmore Girls, anyone?), and the idea of getting dressed up, eating fancy food and day drinking sounded extremely appealing to me. Apparently, the National Gallery of Victoria has their own tearoom so it’s perfect to plan a whole day around.

Iva and I put on our Sunday bests and took the train into town. Luckily, we planned the right day because the weather was perfect. On our way from Flinders street station to the gallery, we made note of market that was taking place along the same street; we’d stop by on our way back. The gallery is also right next to the Melbourne Arts Centre and that’s where we would later go to pick up flyers about upcoming ballet shows (this should not come as a surprise to anyone who is a regular around here. We all know I LOVE the ballet. I draw the line at the Opera but the ballet. Yes!).

I’ve been to the NGV many times in my life but of course things are always changing, and I hadn’t visited in a while so it’s always worth going. If anyone was curious; high tea is pricey (this was a special holiday treat as I have justified to myself) but there are two floors of art and exhibits which are totally free to the public, so it’s still something I would recommend doing this summer.

High tea was everything I had hoped. The room itself was a bit more modern than I had expected (not exactly like in Gilmore Girls or in those fancy hotels) however it was still a lovely atmosphere. We ordered the sparkling high tea which included a glass of bubbly each to start off with (at midday!), a pot of tea each of our own choice, to order at any time and the usual high tea plate-stand which included sandwiches, pastries, desserts and another plate of warm scones on the side. Don’t be fooled by the small proportion sizes. Everything was absolutely delicious, but also very filling. We had to take some leftovers home.


It all looked so good and tasted better. We took our time savouring every bite. Even got a little tipsy on the bubbly. But once we were done, we headed back down to walk around and check out the free art exhibits. Lucky for us, they were showing a fashion exhibit (Iva is a fashion designer and I just love clothes) so we got to marvel at the wonderful and wacky designs. Then we had a look at the paintings and other art. We found the section of Historical European paintings where I was able to identify some of the historical figures for my Czech friend (ah who am i kidding, my history knowledge was a little rusty).

On paper it doesn’t seem like much, but this was pretty much the whole day. By the end, we had to rush to catch the last of the street market (which turned out to be way better than I had first noticed. We’re going back on another Sunday) and also grabbed some flyers from the Arts centre before catching the train home. Just before we headed into Flinders street station though, we saw a Christmas market across the road. I was so wanting to go but we had to get home. Just another idea for something else to do this holiday.

Claudia Forsberg is a Melbourne based writer and journalist. She is currently working as a Regional Trainee with ABC Ballarat.



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