I love buildings that have an unusual and interesting history, and I recently visited 4 different hotels in London, each of which had a very fascinating past. It got me thinking that they would be ideal for a fun way to spend 24 hours in London, especially if you are into architecture or history, or just fancy something different or unusual to do.
I thought it would be fun to spend the night at the former County Hall, then have lunch in a former grammar school, followed by indulging in afternoon tea at the former Port of London Authority and then have drinks or dinner (or both) at the former Midland Bank, and then return to the County Hall to sleep, having spotted lots of London’s Landmarks and tourist attractions along the way.
Your day would start by checking into the London Marriott County Hall, which is located right on the South Bank, with enviable views of the Big Ben and London Eye. This building served as the headquarters of local government for London for 64 years!
You would then wander around South Bank in the late morning,either visiting the nearby tourist attractions such as Sea life, The London Eye, The London Dungeons or simply strolling along and soaking in the views, watching the boats go by on the River Thames, or listening to the various buskers found along the way.
You would then make you way towards the London Bridge area, where you can have a wander through Borough Market, which is London’s oldest food market, and then walk down Tooley Street until you get to The Lalit London hotel, where you can have lunch at their in-house Indian restaurant Baluchi, which used to actually be the assembly hall of the St Olave’s Grammar school. They do have a beautiful terrace outside where you can enjoy a drink and admire views of The Shard, which is one of my favourite buildings in London.
If you want to spend more time in London Bridge, you can check out my post which highlights some lovely things to do, here.
After lunch, head towards the Tower of London and to Trinity Square, where at 10 Trinity Square you will find the swanky Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square hotel.
This hotel is housed in what used to be the Port of London Authority, and you can have Afternoon Tea in a fabulous room, called the Rotunda, where all the port dues used to historically be paid. The bar is stunning too!
If you wish, you could have dinner at their Asian Fine Dining restaurant Mei Ume, which has a fabulous range of Chinese and Japanese dishes all served in a beautifully designed room, with high ceilings and amazing service to match. The iced mochi is a highlight!
After dinner, or afternoon tea, whichever you happen to have chosen, head towards Bank, to The Ned, which used to be the former Midland Bank and has nine (yes nine) different restaurants and bars to choose from, for a drink or a bite to eat.
I tried the Mojito at The Nickel Bar, and I can confirm that it was a really good Mojito! We were sat in what used to be a (massive) banking hall and I just loved how so much of the original structure has been restored and how it adds such a wonderful character to the building.
A fascinating fact about Midland Bank it was taken over by HSBC of Hong Kong in 1992, and the Midland name disappeared in 1999.
At bedtime, head back towards the Marriott County Hall, where you will see some of the landmarks illuminated and twinkling in the night sky if you decide to walk along the Southbank. If you are staying in one of the executive rooms, you can have a nightcap in the lounge, or alternatively you can retreat to your room for a good night’s sleep in the heart of London.
At breakfast time, you can eat in the hotel’s restaurant, order room service, or wander around the area and find a café or restaurant, and make the most of seeing the London Landmarks along the way, or any of the attractions you may not have had a chance to visit the day before.
By the end of your 24 hours, you will have visited 4 London Hotels, each with varying and illustrious histories and each repurposed with both unique interiors and exteriors. They hold lots of memories and stories within their walls and will continue to do so with a new lease of life.
Read my review of the Marriott County Hall here.
If you want to spend 24 hours in London Bridge you can read my post here.
You can read my review of Mei Ume here.
You can read about Dinner at Baluchi here.
You can read about Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Ten Trinity here.