Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Grays Emporium Photo from Georgina

Gray's Emporium Photo from Georgina

Art Nouveau building given much needed TLC

Hey there, HOT readers. Generally I don’t promote commercial enterprises in town, writes Zelly Restorick, but this one turned my head and I promised the new owners, Stephanie and Georgina, I would spread the word.

During the renovation process, I had stopped in front of the beautiful curved shop front on 21 Kings Road in St Leonards on Sea, with my nose pressed up against the window pane, peering inside and vowing to come back when the door opened to those of us in search of soothing aesthetics and refreshment.

Gray’s Emporium is the new name for this period tea room. I remember visiting the space when it was His Place, a religious cafe with steamed up windows, round tables with checked tablecloths and a tea urn. After that, it sat empty for a while, just waiting for the people with the vision and the finances to come along and love it back to life.

Grays Emporium on Kings Road in St Leos

Grays Emporium on Kings Road in St Leos

The new proprietors, Stephanie and Georgina with the help of various craftsmen, have now lovingly restored the Art Nouveau features and Georgian plasterwork with much needed T.L.C. and attention. The original marble shop front, with its grand bowed window crowned with stained glass, dates back to 1911 and is one of the few remaining untouched examples of its kind.

And now they’re open for business as a period tea-room. A wide selection of leaf tea, ethically sourced coffee, handmade fine bone china specifically designed for the tea room, homemade lunches and brunches and high teas, all served with a smile. On my visit, I found everyone to be charming and smilingly attentive, in harmony with the refined and elegant environment of the Emporium. 

Pay them a visit and check out the great job they’ve done on restoring one of the most beautiful shop-fronts in the town and enjoy a tea cake or two.

Gray’s Emporium, 21 Kings Road in St Leonards on Sea.                                 Tel: 07565973444                                                                                                                   E-mail: 

Posted 09:09 Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014 In: Home Ground


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  1. Peter Chowney

    The food’s good too – had an excellent cream tea there, one of the best in Sussex in my view, and a delicious pea and ham soup (but not at the same time). Opening hours are Tue – Sat: 10:00 – 17:00
    Sun: 11:00 – 16:00 (it says on their FB page).

    Comment by Peter Chowney — Friday, Nov 14, 2014 @ 20:09

  2. Jane Watson

    So happy to see this grand and elegant building brought back to life ~ I lived down here in the 60’s and many of the shops in Kings Road were similar, beautiful. Wishing the new owners luck.

    Comment by Jane Watson — Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 @ 11:02

  3. Zelly Restorick

    Hey there Susannah, I’m afraid I don’t know. Please contact Gray’s Emporium direct via phone or email. It wasn’t an advertorial, twas a genuine go- along-and-see article. I know Georgina and Stephanie will be happy to help you. Warm wishes and hope you’ll feel it’s worth the visit, Zelly

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014 @ 17:54

  4. Susannah Greaves

    Opening hours?

    Comment by Susannah Greaves — Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014 @ 17:42

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