Okay, so last week I showed you a little around London. If you missed part 1, you’ll find it here.
Grab your trainers and your oyster card – we’re heading out for part 2.
Camden and Camden Lock Markets
I love this part of town – it’s edgy, a tad gritty, and very colourful.
I found the markets a tad “meh” but the setting is great and although we were there early, the food scene is supposed to be worth the visit.
Seven Dials and Ching Court
I’d never heard of this place before, but it’s essentially a junction in Covent Garden where, wait for it, seven streets converge.
The area was originally laid out (by an MP) in the late 1600s in a series of triangles to maximise the number of houses as rentals were charged per foot of frontage and not per square foot of interiors. Clever.
While the area was originally named and intended to attract affluent residents at one point there was a pub sitting at each one of the seven apexes facing the monument, with, apparently, the cellars and vaults connected by a series of tunnels to enable quick getaways should the need arise.
Just opposite Pierre Hermes is a secluded (private) courtyard named Ching Court. It was open so we snuck in.
It’s named after the British Ironmongers company Comyn Ching that designed most of the lamp posts, gates and railings in the royal part of town.
I’m not much of a shopper and don’t do crowds well, but we did make an exception for a few hours of pushing through people in Oxford Street…as you do. Then, of course, there is Fortnum & Mason, a quick wander through the food hall at Harrods, a detour through Liberty and a rummage through the stalls and shops selling Christmas sweaters.
The best discovery for me was Jo Loves, a perfume store in Elizabeth Street, Belgravia.
Created by Jo Malone a number of years after she sold the brand that uses her name, this one in Pimlico is the only outlet. Santa got the message and on Christmas morning there was a bottle wrapped under the tree for me.
Georgian House Hotel
We stayed at the Georgian House Hotel in St Georges Drive, Pimlico. We stayed here for our 2015 visit as well.
The Royal School of Ballet is on the corner, next door is the Albanian Embassy, and many of the other houses in the street have also been converted to private hotels. In the next row of white houses, almost identical to the one we were staying in, 34 Eccleston Square, was one that Winston Churchill had lived in. How do we know? They have these round blue plaques on houses that important people have resided in. How cool would it be to warrant a plaque? Not that you’d know, because you’d be dead…but you get the idea.
This time we rented an apartment – which was absolutely nothing like in the pictures on the website – and was a couple of blocks behind the main hotel. Rather than being an apartment, it was one long, soulless narrow room with a kitchenette at the end, a fake fireplace and sofa bed for Sarah in the middle, and a bed for us at the other end. There was also a long (narrower) hall with a washing machine and a small bathroom at the end.
Breakfast was included in our room rate – which we took in the main hotel building (see below).
London is expensive, and although the room rates here were a tad ouchy, it is still relatively good value in this city – and especially in this postcode and close to so much.
If you are looking to stay here, be aware that the “classic” rooms are teeny tiny and the bathrooms are “compact”. We booked a “Belgravia Boutique” room last time that was squishy for 3 but perfect for 2 and much more tastefully decorated than this “apartment” was.
Location-wise, this hotel is perfect. It’s just 10 minutes walk to Victoria Station, 1.5 kms or a leisurely 20 minute walk from Buckingham Palace and less than 3 kms, or 30 minutes walk from Knightsbridge.
In the next block is Cambridge Street – one of those London restaurants that looks like it’s come straight off Notting Hill (the movie, that is); a good Thai restaurant – Sri Suwoon; and a couple of pubs.
And, just ten minutes or so away, is Elizabeth Street Belgravia.
Here you’ll find pubs, cafes, restaurants (including our favourite Italian, Eat Sicily) and shops – some of which are really quite posh and some which are not.
So, that was London. Four full days, 90,000 steps, well over 100 floors climbed (mostly to and from toilets), more than a dozen pubs and too many priceless memories to count. Next time…we’re off to The Cotswolds.
Want more London? Check out these posts:
- Christmas in London
- The Twelve Pubs of Christmas Part 1
- The Twelve Pubs of Christmas Part 2
- A postcard From London
Want more Britain? You’ll find it here.