Famous Faces, London & The Melita Hotel

Cities are where everything significant seems to happen and are the home of the places to be seen.  This is why cities attract celebrities.  Nowadays cities like London attract the latest pop stars for their concerts and of course film stars flock here for their premieres.

This isn’t a new phenomenon for London.  As an ancient city it has always attracted the wealthy, the well known and the infamous, the movers and shapers of the world at that time.  When you are spending time in London and you fancy trying your luck in spotting a Kardashian, then an evening in the West End would be a good place to start.  If you’re more interested in finding out about where historically influential people lived, worked and died, then that’s easy enough too.

London makes historic celebrity spotting very easy.  If a building has a significant link to a well known person then it is likely to have had a blue plaque fitted on the front by English Heritage to tell you all about it.

Fortunately, the Melita Hotel is ideally located to go ‘Blue Plaque Spotting’, being as it is at the centre of the action.  Situated within walking distance of Victoria train, underground and coach station, you can get anywhere in London you need to go to (if you’re interested in that Kardashian spotting, the West End is extraordinarily easy).

The Melita Hotel is located in an area of London known as the City of Westminster, here are a few examples of blue plaques you can find nearby and even walk to from the Melita Hotel.

 

Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Ok, when you’re thinking about famous historic people you’d like to track in London, the Hindu philosopher Swami Vivekananda was probably not at the top of your list.  However, this is the closest blue plaque to the Melita Hotel, just a few seconds walk away at 63 St George’s Drive.

This should give you a good idea as to what to look out for in terms on the blue plaques.  If you’re interested, Mr Vivekananda lived in this building in 1896.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

But Mozart was Austrian, I hear you say!  You’re right, he was.  But from April 1764 he and his family embarked on a tour of Europe, including spending a year in London.

Unfortunately, during their grand vacation, Mozart’s father took ill and spent a few months convalescing at 180 Ebury Street, just a few minutes walk from the Melita Hotel.  This wouldn’t be particularly significant if it wasn’t the location where Mozart, the eight year old child prodigy, wrote his very first symphony!

Just to make it confusing the blue plaque erected here isn’t actually blue, it’s gold!  This is because this one was erected in 1939, before a colour for the plaques was fully decided upon (it was re-erected in 1951 after bomb damage).

 

John Logie Baird (1888-1959)

At 22 Frith Street in Soho, you can find the well known Bar Italia, one of London’s best known cafes.  This is a very popular venue, especially when Italian football is on the television.  It is also the building where John Logie Baird demonstrated television for the very first time, in January 1926.

 

Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

The most famous guitarist of all time lived in the top floor flat of 23 Brook Street in Mayfair from 1968-69, after moving in with his then girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham.  He lived in and helped to decorate the flat until he left to tour the US in March 1969.  He returned to London in 1970 where he died in Notting Hill.

 

John Lennon (1940-1980)

Not a famous Londoner of course, but a famous Liverpudlian.  However, during the height of Beatlemania, Lennon lived in and around London for extended periods of time.   For a while in 1968, he resided at 34 Montagu Street in Marylebone with Yoko Ono, the first home they shared together.

Lennon penned music and lyrics for the White Album whilst living here.

The basement and ground floor flat that Lennon shared with Yoko Ono was originally bought by Ringo Starr and then lived in by Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix before Lennon and Ono moved in.  A rich history indeed!

 

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Having been kicked out of his homeland after writing his famous ‘Communist Manifesto’, Karl Marx came to live and settle permanently in London.

From 1851 to 1856 he lived at 28 Dean Street in Soho.  Not the lively area of bars and restaurants that it is today, it is here where he wrote the first volume of ‘Das Kapital’.

 

Napoleon III (1808-1873)

Okay, so it’s not THE Napoleon, it’s his nephew.  But this blue plaque is the oldest surviving one in the whole of London, and is within walking distance of the Melita Hotel.

 

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

One of the fathers of modern science, Isaac Newton lived in London, specifically Jermyn Street, from 1696 until 1709.  He lived at number 88 before moving next door to number 87, where the blue plaque now stands.

The original plaque was placed on the original 17th century house in 1908.  Unfortunately this was demolished and rebuilt in 1915 and the plaque now stands on the new building.

 

General Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970)

General Charles De Gaulle led the French ‘government in exile’ during the Second World War which was known as the French National Committee.  Their headquarters was at 4 Carlton Street in St James’s, a building that was erected in 1828.

These are just a small selection of historical figures whose plaques are within walking distance of the Melita Hotel.  Others include those associated with Ian Fleming, Ava Gardner, Thomas Gainsborough, Rudyard Kipling, Guglielmo Marconi, Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale, Samuel Pepys, Mary Shelley and Madame Marie Tussaud.  Even this list is only a handful of the over 300 which can be found nearby.

You don’t have to restrict yourself to the City of Westminster either.  There are thirty-one London boroughs and The City (financial district) to explore as well.  Every one of them can be accessed by starting your journey from Victoria station, a short walk from the Melita Hotel.

 

 


London, Hotel, best Walks

Awesome Walks Near The Melita Hotel

 

When visiting London, the chances are you’ll do a lot of walking so bring some very comfy shoes.  Whilst the underground system is the fastest way to get around, actually perambulating across the city is the very best way to ensure you see as much as possible.

Luckily The Melita Hotel, as well as being a fantastic base for London public transport, being so close to Victoria Station as it is, is also a great hub for some of London’s best walks.  Here’s a selection of some you can try.

 

Albert Bridge to Hampton Court – The North Bank

Now just to be clear, this walk is twenty-three miles long and we are in no way suggesting that you do all of it in one go!  You’ll enjoy every step if you do though.

The Albert Bridge itself is just over a ten minute walk from The Melita Hotel and is worth a look in itself.  It uniquely incorporates three different bridge designs.  It was originally designed as a cable-stayed bridge in 1873, this was structurally unsound so elements of a suspension bridge were incorporated in 1884.  In 1973 two concrete piers were added in the middle, transforming it into a simple beam bridge.  Trust me, if you have a bridge enthusiast with you, they’ll love it!

The bridge also has the only surviving bridge tollbooths in London and goes all wobbly when lots of people are on it, seriously!  There’s even a sign at each end warning soldiers not to keep in step when they cross it together…

Once you’ve finished with the bridge and set off on your walk you’ll find it takes in some North Bank attractions that are well worth a peek.  The botanical gardens at Kew, the Petersham Meadow view, Syon Park, before reaching the beautifully landscaped gardens at Hampton Court Palace.

If you don’t fancy the full twenty-three miles, this one may well be worth breaking up into pieces.

 

St James’s Park

If you’re looking for a quiet walk then keep scrolling, because this isn’t it.  St James’s Park is one of the busiest of London’s parks, but it is within strolling distance of the Melita.

The park is teeming with wildlife which, thanks to the constant throng of pedestrians, is completely comfortable with a human presence.  If you’re patient, you can feed a squirrel right from your hand.  There’s also the famous Pelicans to see here too, which have been a feature since a colony was gifted to Charles II in 1664.

You can extend your walks to other London parks if you fancy being out for longer.  Kensington Gardens, Green Park and Hyde Park are virtually all in a rather handy line.

This is a great walk to get some amazing photos of some of London’s most prominent landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, London Eye and The Shard are all set in picture perfect frames.

 

The South Bank Walk

We’ve had a walk along the North Bank, it would of course be rude to ignore the South Bank of the Thames.  The South Bank walk is a very popular one as it crams so much into such a small space.  You may be walking along the South Bank but your focus will definitely be on the North as this is the best place to see some of London’s best features.

The walk goes from Tate Modern to Jubilee Gardens and affords very special views of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster as well as Tower Bridge.

Victorian lamp-posts light your way, this is a walk that offers very different but equally memorable experiences depending whether you choose to take it day or night.

 

The Jubilee Greenway

Walking from Little Venice to Camden along the Regent’s Canal is certainly one of the most picturesque walks in London.

It’s a definite ‘get away from the hustle and bustle’ walk and if it’s a sunny day the only traffic you’ll see are the boats and barges moving slowly across the water beside you.  You’ll feel like you’re in the British countryside as opposed to a major capital city.

Feeling peckish?  Camden is your perfect destination.  There’s nothing like a dazzling array of street food to tempt you after a two mile walk.

London Wall Walk

London has been a big deal since Roman times.  Whereas London is now a sprawling 611 square miles of 21st century city, back in 200AD it was a little bit smaller and a little bit easier to define.  That was because it was surrounded by a massive wall.

The wall stretched around the original and ancient City of London and today there are still some surviving fragments.  Starting at a piece located adjacent to the Tower of London, this walk will take you through the modern City of London, taking in plenty of surviving wall pieces as well as monuments and signs to commemorate where other significant pieces one stood.

 

Samuel Pepys’s London

Samuel Pepys was a British politician and naval administrator, but made his name as one of the most famous London diarists of his time.  Indeed, if it wasn’t for Pepys our knowledge on major events such as the Great Fire of London, the Great Plague of London and the Second Dutch War would be very limited.

This is more of a ‘figure it out for yourself’ walk so be prepared to program your phones or step into your maps as you go along.

Seething Lane is where Pepys lived and was buried, so this would be a good place to start the walk.  Victoria station is just a few minutes walk from the Melita Hotel and Seething Lane is very close to Tower Hill Tube, which is a few minutes away on the District Line.

From Seething Lane, take a walk over to the Tower of London.  This is the spot from where Pepys watched and wrote about the Great Fire of London.  From there, head to Pudding Lane and The Monument, which is where the fire started as well as being home to the Sir Christopher Wren built memorial to it.

Walk past St Paul’s Cathedral to Fleet Street.  This street used to be eponymous with British newspaper publishing but Samuel Pepys was also born here.  A plaque in Salisbury Court remembers this fact.

 

These are just a few examples of some of the walks that can be had around the city.  There are walks by design but the Samuel Pepys Walk is a great example of a walk that can just be made up as you go along, taking in sights along the way that might not appear in any guidebook.

The best thing about walking around London?  Knowing you have a comfy bed in a quiet street waiting for you at the end of the day, at the Melita Hotel.


London Secrets, Destinations, Hotel, Best

Hidden Gems Nearby The Melita Hotel London

London is a big, bustling, busy city. There are people, hotels, bright lights, loud noises, it’s a city that brashly displays everything it hasto offer whilst seeming to shout “Look at me, look what I’ve got for you!”

It has things to see and things to do and it seems to want to tell you all about them, keeping nothing in reserve.  It’s hard to imagine that a heaving, pulsing metropolis such as London could harbour any secrets, but it does.

As well as being a thriving modern city London is also a historic one.  Historic cities tend to have lots of nooks and crannies, hiding places and unknown treasures.  Places where not everyone gets to venture.

One of those hidden treasures is of course the Melita Hotel.  On a quiet street in Pimlico that could never be described as heaving or pulsing, but is literally minutes away from where it is.  The Melita is a well maintained, family run townhouse hotel which offers you a home away from home.  Your own hidden gem from which you can uncover the other secrets of this capital city.

 

Kensington Roof Gardens

London Secrets, Destinations, Hotel, Best

As a city, London has an extraordinary number of parks and green spaces where you can relax and unwind in relative peace and quiet.  They’re generally huge, beautiful green open spaces and they are certainly no secret.  The Roof Gardens in Kensington however, is a little gem that isn’t so easy to find.  Especially from the ground.

Situated 100ft above the city, this really is an area where you can get away from it all.  Originally opening above a department store in the 1930’s, this is 1.5 acres of astonishing landscape. The outdoor space consists of three themed gardens: Spanish Garden, Tudor Garden and English Woodland, each with its own unique style and feel.

Within the English Woodland setting there is a pond where you can find several species of exotic ducks, as well as being a hangout for a group of Flamingos, naturally.

This oasis is just minutes away from the Melita Hotel and is completely free to enter.  There’s even a restaurant there so you can make a day of it.

 

Highgate Cemetery

Hotel London, Secrets

Imagine getting back from your trip to London and telling your friends all about it.  You’ll get the usual questions.

“Did you go to the Tower of London?”

“Did you go on the London Eye?”

“Did you get me a ‘My friend went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’ t-shirt?”

You will probably be able to say an emphatic “Yes” to all those things, but you could also tell them what an amazing cemetery you visited.  Bear with me…

Yes, there are some famous people’s memorials here at the East Cemetery, George Eliot, Karl Marx and Douglas Adams to name three.  But it’s the mysterious West Cemetery that’s the real secret place to see.

It’s around 25 minutes tube travel from the Melita Hotel and you have to book a tour in advance, but it will be a tour you won’t forget.  First opened in 1839, the cemetery is hidden by thick foliage, keeping it well hidden from London’s prying eyes.

The cemetery is a secret garden, made up of eery catacombs and vast gothic tombs.  The architecture in the Victorian Pharaonic tombs and mausoleums is a must see and the entire place is a Grade I listed national treasure.

Keep on your toes here however, there is a rumoured occult past to the place, and it is the site of the notorious Highgate Vampire.  Best get back to the Melita Hotel before midnight.

 

Little Venice

Little Italy, London, Hotel, London Hotel

A little touch of Italy in London, kind of.  The reference to the famous Italian city is a nod to the beautiful waterways and boats, as opposed to any other kind of Latin similarity.

Situated just to the north of Paddington, the Regent’s Canal and the Grand Union Canal meet and create a positively picturesque corner of the capital.

Unique waterside restaurants, pubs and cafes are in abundance.  Boat trips on the canal are also available, some of which can take you from Little Venice to Camden Lock Market in less than an hour.  Not the quickest way to get there, but so much more relaxing than another journey on the tube, especially in summer, phew!

If summer is the time of your visit then you’ll find plenty more going on in and around Little Venice.  There’s a puppet theatre on a barge as well as an amphitheatre which puts on events throughout the year.

If you are a fan of sport then the spiritual home of cricket, Lords, is just a little further up the canal.  If you are visiting from abroad please note, do not try to understand the rules of cricket before your visit, just roll up to a game and enjoy the atmosphere!

 

Crystal Palace Park

London, Hotel, Secret Destinations, Hotel Best

You’ll not find many London guidebooks encouraging you to venture south of the river.  When viewed from the London Eye the South looks like a flat desolate place whereas the North looks like a place of tall buildings, flashy lights and historic wonderment.  But secret gems are often where you’d least expect them.

Victoria station is a few minutes walk from the Melita Hotel, but this time we are not going on the tube.  South London is obviously too inhospitable and deserted to have a tube line running to it (you may hear some Londoners grumble in a sarcastic tone).

Instead we’re going to jump on a good old fashioned British Overground train and stay on it until we reach the handily named Crystal Palace station.

As the name suggests, Crystal Palace Park was the resting place of the famous Crystal Palace, after it was moved from Hyde Park after the Great Exhibition. Unfortunately, the great building burnt down in 1936 but the name and the park remained.

As well as the remains of the Crystal Palace itself, the park also boasts a cafe, children’s play area, a maze, a fishing lake, a concert bowl.

However, what sets Crystal Palace Park apart from other parks in the capital, is it houses the remains of a Victorian theme park.  A dinosaur theme park, the Victorian equivalent of Jurassic Park.

The dinosaur models are local icons and were put there by the founder of the Natural History Museum.  They’ve been enjoyed for over a hundred years and what gives them added modern interest is that they are so spectacularly wrong!

The scientists of the day unfortunately put a fair amount of dinosaur bones in completely the wrong order which means these models look nothing like the dinosaurs they are based on, something that makes them very unique!

Fortunately, modern day plaques have been erected to show you how the dinosaurs should have looked.

 

These are just a few examples of the many secrets London hides within its sprawling borders.  There are many more to find and we don’t want to reveal them all at once!

Whatever the reason for your visit to London, setting up base at the Melita Hotel puts you in the perfect position to thoroughly explore everything it has to offer.


The Best Shopping Experiences Within A Tubes Ride Away From The Melita

 

Whether it’s part of a family holiday or a weekend away with the girls, you’ll struggle to find a better place than London for an unforgettable shopping experience.

London is synonymous with big brands as well as niche shops you won’t find anywhere else in the world.  Some of the shops in London are part of the very fabric of the city and some of the shopping arcades are the oldest in the world.

The Melita Hotel is a family run hotel situated in a quiet, leafy area of the city with a suburban feel.  But don’t let this fool you!  The hotel is just a nine-minute walk from Victoria station.  You can go from the comfort of your bed to the shops in less than twenty minutes (but make sure you leave a bit of time for our fantastic english breakfast, you’ll certainly need the energy!).

 

Oxford Street

Oxford_Street_December_2006

What better place to start than the most popular shopping area in Europe?  There are over 300 shops in this area plus hundreds of places to eat and drink.

After your walk from the Melita to Victoria station, it is a ten-minute journey to the centre of your Oxford Street shopping experience, Oxford Circus.  If you’re already out and about in London, then it is accessible from many more stations including: Bond St; Marble Arch; Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Road.

This is the place to shop if you are looking for big brands, Top Shop, Marks and Spencer, Next and John Lewis all have flagship stores here and you will find that most major retailers are represented in some way.

One word of warning, approximately half a million people trudge along Oxford Street daily, so it’s not for the claustrophobic!

It is on this famous street you can also find one of the world’s most famous shops, as discussed below.

 

Selfridges

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This Oxford Street shop is the second largest store in the UK and is the flagship store for a brand which, in recent years, is now represented in other major cities around the country.

It opened in 1909 and was the brainchild of an American, Harry Gordon Selfridge.  His ideas on shopping were so original and innovative that they justified a British drama series documenting his life.

If you’re a lady and you enjoy shopping, then you probably should thank Mr Selfridge for that.  Through his London Selfridges he introduced the idea that shopping should be fun, that it should be considered a leisure activity rather than a chore that has to be completed.  In Selfridges, he wanted to create a comfortable and safe place that was specifically for the leisure time of women.

Selfridges was one of the first shops to have their products in front of the customers and let them pick them up, feel them and try them on.  They were the first to put the perfume counter on the ground floor at the front of the shop.  Mr Selfridge is also thought to have coined the phrase “The customer is always right”.

When you’re in Oxford Street, don’t forget to visit this historical shopping treat, after all it might be the reason you enjoy shopping so much in the first place?!

 

Harrods

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We mentioned that Selfridges was the second largest shop in the UK, the largest shop also happens to be the most famous retailer on the planet.

Harrods opened its first shop in its current location in 1849.  It was a small shop in a single room, employing just three people.  It expanded at a phenomenal rate, taking over adjacent shops until it finally became the size it is today.  Harrods now occupies a five-acre plot, has over 330 departments and offers over one million square feet of retail space.

There is not a lot that you can’t buy in this shop, clothes for everybody for every occasion, electronics, some of the most elaborate and expensive jewellery in the world, food and drink, furniture, children’s toys and even pets…!  As of 2009 the store started selling gold bars for purchase off the shelf!

The shop now employs 5,000 staff from over fifty countries, employed to deal with over 300,000 customers daily.

One word of warning, the shop does employ a dress code but is not quite clear on what it is!  It has turned away tracksuit wearers and people with mohicans before now.  Probably best just make sure that you haven’t been playing football in the park beforehand and you’ll be OK!

South Kensington station is just two stops away from the Melita Hotel on the Circle and District Lines from Victoria station.  For a more authentic experience, change at Green Park to arrive at Knightsbridge station, right next to the famous shop.

 

Burlington Arcade

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It is rare nowadays to see another Oxford Street, a continuously expanding, natural urban sprawl.  Instead retail spaces are purpose built, it seems every major town and city has a shopping centre, a mall or an arcade.

But this type of shopping experience isn’t new.  Perhaps the most famous shopping arcade in London, the Burlington Arcade first opened in 1819 and it is only one stop away on the tube from the Melita Hotel.

Bizarrely it wasn’t originally conceived as a ‘new way to shop’.   It was commissioned by a neighbour whose garden wall backed on to a parade of shops.  He was fed up with shoppers throwing litter over his back wall so commissioned an architect to come up with a solution.  The covered Burlington Arcade was born.

A step into the Burlington Arcade is like a step back in time.  You won’t find many household names here, it’s a traditional shopping experience with the outlets themselves being protected monuments.

You’ll find seventy-two outlets, each specialising in either fashion, fragrance or jewellery.  Antique watches are a specialty for some shops, with one offering Rolexes manufactured in every year from the 1920s onwards.

The arcade lurches from the traditional to the quirky in some instances.  Its rules and regulations are enforced by its own tiny police force, The Burlington beadles.  The beadles ensure that all of the old rules are upheld, like, ‘no running in the arcade allowed’ and ‘no unfurled umbrellas’!

Use the Melita Hotel as a base for your London shopping trip for an experience you won’t forget.  After you’ve finished, you could be back in your room, glass of wine in hand celebrating your new purchases within minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Melita London Hotel

Why Staying At A Family-Run Hotel Like The Melita Is Better

 

You’re looking forward to a lovely adventure in London. You’ve packed all your favourite clothes, can’t wait to hit SoHo, and its time to book your hotel. There’s so many options, it can be a bit confusing at first.

Should you choose one of London’s chain hotels, or go with something a bit more personal?

At the Melita, we think staying at a family-run hotel like ours is far better. Our family-run hotel offers a true London experience unlike any other. Friendly staff, an uncomplicated check-in process, and even a full English breakfast each morning makes this an enchanting place to call home while you’re on a fun excursion.

These fantastic reasons are pretty compelling, but there is a long list of other good reasons to stay at a family-run hotel instead. We’ve set out to convince you in this fun list.

 

Focused on What’s Important

As an independent hotel, The Melita has made a conscious choice to focus on what’s most important, rather than creating a situation where you’re barraged with options, bells, and whistles. Sure, you won’t find an Olympic-sized swimming pool or hair salon here; but in many cases, our guests tell us that’s not what they’re after, anyway.

What you will find here is a friendly, family-like atmosphere. That means clean, comfortable beds with crisp sheets and soft blankets, a sparkling-clean bathroom, and a variety of room sizes to suit nearly every need. Whether you’re a family of four, or you’re getting married and wish to book out all of our rooms at once, we can make it work.

But don’t take that to mean an independent hotel like us qualifies as basic; nothing could be further from the truth. The Melita is special, and unlike any other hotel in London in many ways.

Because we’re independent, we have the freedom to stay committed to local artists all throughout England; that’s why you’ll find prints and paintings on commission all throughout the hotel.  Our independent status also gives us the freedom to forge connections as we see fit, rather than to someone else’s prescribed requirements.

The Melita Hotel London

Customised Service Options

One of the biggest downsides of chain hotels is that there often isn’t very much wiggle room for customisation. Options are presented like a menu, and you simply choose from that menu. In some special situations, this may make it very difficult to customise an experience that truly fits. Sometimes, guests can get a bit lost in that shuffle, and end up feeling more like a number than like the individuals they really are.

The problem is that making changes to the services provided by a large chain hotel takes time. The request has to go through several approval tiers, where it may or may not get vetoed by upper management, or where it may potentially get shelved for years.

Not really suitable for the average traveller who prefers things to be a bit more personable, for sure.

At the Melita, we work hard to make sure you’re always seen as a person, not as just another number or tick in the books. Our staff work hard to make sure your needs are met during your stay.

If you need something special during your stay, we encourage you to let us know in advance. We’ll do our best to make it happen as long as it’s feasible to do so. Consider us your family-away-from-home while you’re with us.

Need something special? Just ask us!

The Melita Hotel London

Location, Location, Location

Many of London’s chain hotels are located in easily accessible areas, but sometimes, these locations leave much to be desired for valiant explorers who want to adventure out on foot. Being close to the airport or across town may allow you to check in faster, but what about when it’s time to venture out on your own? How easy will it be to find all of London’s most special hidden gems?

Our little family-run hotel is located in the downtown core, too, but it’s tucked into an area of Pimlico that’s steeped in history. We’re also just steps away from the Thames, picnic parks, museums, and some of London’s finest pubs. This makes The Melita especially suitable for anyone who wants to experience the rich history of Westminster, or England in general, first-hand.

The Melita Hotel London

Access to Knowledge and Guidance

At a chain hotel, it can be very difficult to find someone to help you find your way through London. Many offer pre-paid, pre-set tours, but these can be expensive and they often don’t allow for much in the way of self-driven adventure or wandering off to inspect something interesting along the way.

This kind of service really just doesn’t cater to the individual, it caters to the masses instead.

That’s fine if you’re the type of person who wants your itinerary laid out for you in advance, but if you prefer to explore London at your own pace, an independent hotel like ours is the way to go.

Our staff live, breath, and experience London, Pimlico, and greater Westminster every single day. Many of us have experience with everything from the local architecture to the history of buildings like Westminster Cathedral. All you need to do is ask, and we’ll help you find the local’s favourite pub, the best art museums, where to see a show, or even where to find the best spa services, should that be your preference.

We’ve spent years building close relationships with a wide variety of local businesses, with the understanding that they, too, want to make your experience in London pleasant. These relationships are built on our own personal experiences with each business.

The result?

When we recommend a restaurant, club, or location, we really believe it will make you happy.

The Melita Hotel London

Affordability

Unlike massive 5-star chain hotels, independent hotels like us strive to find ways to make your experience not only enjoyable, but affordable. Instead of packing services you may never use during your stay into a high overnight fee, we provide you with everything you do need and adjust the price to match. This is especially helpful if you plan to stay for an extended period of time, or more than about three days.

Because prices are often set at the highest level for chain hotels, guests sometimes run into a situation where they are paying for so many services, they couldn’t possibly ever have time to use them all during their stay. That means you’re paying money for something you may or may not use, which just isn’t an efficient way to budget your money.

Where most independent hotels excel here relates back to the fact that we have the flexibility focus on what’s most important to our guests. We provide everything most mid-range chain hotels provide at a basic level without any of the extraneous fluff you don’t really want.

It’s affordable, inviting, friendly, and most importantly, doesn’t sacrifice what’s most important to most of our guests–clean, comfortable rooms in an excellent location.

Should you decide you want extra services, we’ll liaison with you to make connections right in the community and do our best to find you the most indulgent spa services, the best fine dining, theatre, or even just a reliable massage therapist to help unwind the kinks left over from your last business meeting.


A Family Friendly Hotel, For A Family Friendly London

London is a beautiful and fun city to visit no matter your age. While our pubs and historical sites are unparalleled, London is far from a city made just for adults; there’s plenty of entertainment and fun for every member of the family, too.

At The Melita, we welcome guests of all ages, from the smallest children to those enjoying their golden years in retirement. Hosting families with children is something we take pride in, and something that brings a great deal of joy into our daily operations. It has also made our staff acutely aware of the importance our guests place on finding fun, family-friendly activities when they visit, whether it’s just for a single night or a full holiday schedule.

We also recognize that, as a parent or guardian, you’re incredibly busy and may not have the time to sit down and browse through tour guides to find the right locations.

To help you find your way, we’ve done the searching for you and listed out just a few of London’s most family-friendly activities and destinations. Each of the entries on this list is sure to be an instant hit with little ones, toddlers, and teens.

 

Rainforest Cafe

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Stepping into London’s Rainforest Cafe is like stepping into another world. Almost instantly, you’ll be surrounded by a plethora of waterfalls, aquariums and animatronic creatures, as well as true-to-life sounds sourced from the real rainforest itself. While this is a full-service restaurant, serving both American and International cuisine, it is much more; at its heart, a visit to the Rainforest Cafe is an experience. Sounds of monkeys, parrots, strange birds, and trickling water make this both educational and relaxing, all at the same time.

Within the restaurant itself, both parents and children have access to their own individual menus. Children can dine on kid-friendly menu options like Ham and Cheesy Pasta, Snappy Salmon fish cakes, fresh pizzas made in-house, and delightful Mudpit Sundaes, while adults can enjoy the fully licensed bar or order full-sized entrees like Coastal Calamari, Lamb La Bamba, Ocean Prawn Pasta, and Lost River Salmon. The food is excellent, cooked to perfection, and served by wait staff who are more than happy to impart knowledge about the rainforest when they deliver each plate.

For best results, book a guided tour. This highly recommended service provides you with both an educational tour of each room, with periodic stops to educate kids on the exhibits within, as well as lunch afterward.

Learn more about the Rainforest Cafe’s educational tours, including when and how to book, here.

 

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This activity isn’t going tobe around for long; it closes on August 31, 2016. But it’s well-worth a mention if you plan to stay with us this summer. It’s also a fabulous way to get to see London without the little ones growing bored throughout your on-foot adventure.

The BFG Dream Jar Trail is a whimsical adventure throughout London that’s timed to coincide with the release of the Big Friendly Giant movie and iconic children’s writer Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. You’ll follow a route around London that takes you to several locations with giant, towering six-foot “dream jars”, each of which was created by master artists like Steven Spielberg, Mark Rylance, and Quentin Blake. The trail eventually leads to The Roald Dahl Museum, a marvel all on its own for young kids.

Better still is that the BFG Dream Jar trail directly benefits charity. After the event’s closure, each of the jars will be auctioned off, with the funds directly benefitting the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity for sick kids.

Curious about the Dream Jar Trail? Learn more here, or give us a call to schedule accommodations. Our friendly staff are always ready to help make your adventure come true.

 

LegoLand

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LegoLand certainly isn’t specific to London; this iconic theme park has locations sprinkled all throughout the known world. It’s a youthful and classic favourite that will enchant little ones (and maybe mum or dad, too–it’s okay to indulge. Who doesn’t love Lego?) and keep the entire family occupied for at least a day, if not longer.

LegoLand is located on a sprawling resort that’s entirely dedicated to Lego, building with Lego, seeing marvels of creation made from only Lego, and getting truly lost in an entire world hand-crafted from these iconic little blocks. It’s suitable for toddlers, young children, and pre-teens alike, and has even been known to draw in the interest of teenagers from time to time.

LegoLand truly caters to kids, so it’s a safe, fun experience for members of the entire family–even the youngest little ones. Mums and dads can visit the Baby Care Centre to nurse, change nappies, or just get some quality quiet time.

Rides and attractions open at LegoLand just after 10:00 in the morning. When planning your visit, it’s helpful to bring a bag with shorts and tee-shirts or swimwear for each child, as some rides do incorporate water and regular clothing may become wet. Other than that, mostly all you need to worry about is getting day passes and arriving early enough to enjoy all the fun!

Getting into LegoLand is a breeze; just book day passes online in advance, and you’re set for the entire day.

 

KidZania

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Yet another of London’s most successful attempts at catering almost exclusively to kids, KidZania is a city-within-the-city and theme park that offers access to almost 75,000 square feet of roleplaying fun. This Westfield location contains a series of locations where kids can dress up, roleplay, learn, and enjoy an adult-like world that lets them learn by doing.

KidZania is all about encouraging children to “try on” adult roles; whether your little one has always wanted to be a firefighter, a doctor, a chef, a scientist, or something else entirely, guides will present them with hands-on activities that teach basic academic skills.

One of the best features KidZania boasts is the fact that it’s an entirely closed-off experience from the outside world. In fact, children are given electronic bracelets when they enter that will notify staff (and parents) if they happen to leave the facility. These can also be used to instantly track down a child who has wandered off or become lost.

Activity stations and rooms are uniquely designed for a blend of safety and fun, and the options are relatively endless. Kids can join the Advertising Agency and learn how to draft ads, become a worker at the Animation Studio, or even work at the Beauty Salon (perfect for little princesses who love doing hair). It’s not difficult to understand why this is one of London’s most treasured extra-curricular activities.

Best of all, safety is always paramount. Kids can wander freely, but they are always under a watchful eye. There’s even a cosy parent’s lounge where you can relax on a comfortable couch, enjoying free Wi-Fi and food options while older children enjoy the fun.

 

Warner Bros. Studio: Hogwarts Tour

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There’s very few kids in London that haven’t seen the delightful Harry Potter movie series. Little ones from toddlerhood to teens are absolutely obsessed with Hogwarts, and for good reason: it’s an incredibly imaginative world that lets children of all ages (including mum and dad) to get lost in a fantasy world, if just for a little while. Warner Bros. Studio’s remarkable “Making of Harry Potter” theme park and museum is a stunning way to while away an afternoon, or even an entire day.

Created using actual artefacts left over from each of the films, this is an experience that’s deeply rich in Hogwarts canon; even the most die-hard fans will be amazed by the sheer quality of the exhibit. Each of the props and sets shown were used in the original film. At the door, you’ll

To make the most of your experience, start with a stop at the Gift Shop to pick up a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff shirt for each member of the family. This exquisite little shop also holds a bevy of treasures, including everything from chocolate frogs to replica wands. Once you’ve assimilated yourselves in true Hogwarts form, it’s time for adventure.

Inside the exhibit, you’ll go behind the scenes of one of the most successful film series of all times. Wander through the Great Hall, visit the classrooms and learn to cast spells, ride the Night Bus, or browse through the meal rooms. Even the Hogwarts Express makes a brilliant stop and an excellent picture opportunity.

Once you’ve thoroughly soaked yourself in Hogwarts culture, it’s time for even more fun. Visit the flying broomstick ride to play pretend. Children can “fly” a broomstick just like Harry and Hermione did when playing Quidditch; thankfully, this version is much safer. Backed by a green screen, they’ll sit on the broom and then have a short video created that transposes them into the film. Or, parents and kids can have themselves transposed into the Flying Ford Anglia instead.

Photo, video, and HD USB packages of green screen videos are available for families who want to bring this home as a souvenir.

After a few hours of imaginative adventuring, take the family to order a pint of Butterbeer, or delve into some ice cream in the backlot cafe. Drinks and other snacks are readily available, and there’s plenty of seating available. This is an excellent place to relax and unwind, settle in for a nursing session, or even just get off your feet after a long day in your child’s favourite fantasy world.

Booking your visit ahead of time is strongly recommended, as this is understandably one of London’s busiest child-friendly locations. Tickets can be booked online, but if you haven’t booked when you arrive, check with The Melita Hotel staff for more information on accessing tickets.


Free Things To Do Nearby The Melita Hotel

 

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London, it’s one of the most visited cities in the world.  It is quite rightly acclaimed for everything from its rich culture and history to its fantastic food and unforgettable nights out.  The old and the new blend as seamlessly as the multitude of cultures that can be found in this international city. Like The Melita, London is all about family and culture, so it’s no secret that London is a big destination for family vacation.

 

A day in London could start with a sumptuous English breakfast at The Melita, followed by a trip to the Tower of London.  Lunch at an authentic British pub followed by a trip to the London eye, rounded off with an evening meal at a top local restaurant nearby.  You’ve had a fantastic day but the chances are you’ve also had a pretty expensive one.  If there’s one thing that London is criticised for it’s the cost of things.  A round of drinks in a London bar could cost you the same as a three course dinner for a family of four in other parts of the country.  A day out at a London attraction could cost over £100 in entrance tickets alone.

 

Activities in London needn’t cost the Earth, however.  Of course, if you want to see the major attractions and eat at the best restaurants then you’ll have to accept that these are going to come at a cost, but there are also plenty of freebies to be had!  Intersperse these with the more expensive items on your to do list and our affordable rates, you could save yourself a hefty amount.

 

Fortunately the Melita hotel’s great location makes it the perfect hub from which to start your exploration of London, no matter what you plan to spend!

 

Museums

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This is the obvious place to start.  Visiting one of London’s many museums not only lets you see a world famous institution, it lets you do it whilst leaving your wallet tucked away in your pocket.

 

Whatever your interest and whatever your age, London is guaranteed to have a museum that you want to see.  If you have kids then the National History Museum and the Science Museum are both must sees. These are near South Ken tube just 2 stops away. The former is famed for its dinosaur and animal exhibitions, creepy crawlies and creatures of the deep.  The latter is button heaven, a museum where children are encouraged to touch, as well as push, pull, prod, poke and twist.

 

The British Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world and has one of the vastest collections.  It has collected pieces from all over the planet, from countries such as China, Iran and Greece.  Some of its most popular exhibits are the Egyptian ones which include mummies and the museums most visited object, the Rosetta Stone.

 

If art is your thing then London is home to some of the best galleries in the world.  The National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain (just 5mins from away from us!) provide more traditional exhibitions, where as if your taste is more contemporary then the Saatchi Gallery and Tate Modern will be more to your liking.

 

Views

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London has few tall buildings compared to most major cities which means that the tall buildings it does have will offer fantastic views for miles around.  However, these buildings are either inaccessible as they are only for the use of the people that work in them, as is the case with the Gherkin; they only offer you a view if you are prepared to eat in an expensive restaurant, as in Tower 42; or they want to charge you a fortune just to see the view, as in The Shard.  The UK’s tallest building will charge you over £30 on the day to see the view.

The one exception to the rule is the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, the building commonly known as the Walkie-Talkie.  The Sky Garden offers perhaps the best views of anywhere in London, day or night you can enjoy the spectacular sights from one of London’s highest points and all completely for free.  If you do want to spend some money then there is a bar and two restaurants that give you the opportunity to extend your experience.

 

Other places that offer views of the capital for free include Primrose Hill on the edge of Camden, Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath and the Greenwich Park, Royal Observatory.

 

Markets

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London has some very unique markets scattered about the city.  To visit the markets is of course completely free but to come away without spending any money is very difficult indeed.  If you want to make it a completely free activity you have to be strong!

 

Borough Market is London’s oldest food market having been in existence for over 1,000 years.  It is  a foodies dream with hundreds of stalls selling food to eat right away or the ingredients to make something special when you get home.  The noise, the smells, the sights and the knowledgeable people make this perhaps the hardest market to walk away from empty handed.

 

A covered market with stalls selling everything from arts and crafts to traditional market food stalls, Spitalfields Market has been around for 350 years.  Now with a more modern feel to it you can find top independent fashion designers displaying their wares here as well as well known cafes, bars and restaurants.

 

Brick Lane Market is a celebration of London’s multiculturalism.  This market defines the term ‘bric-a-brac’ selling everything you didn’t know you needed from clothes to furniture, all at vastly varied cost and quality.  Brick Lane is also synonymous with Asian cuisine and the market also offers all manner of exotic spices.

 

Farms

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Didn’t know London had farms?  It does and some of them are completely free to visit.  The Hackney City Farm has been established for more than twenty years and was originally set up to give children in the inner city a chance to get up close to animals they might not otherwise get a chance to see.

 

The Spitalfields City Farm is the nearest farm to London’s square mile.  It is set over 1.3 acres of land and is a great place to meet and learn about animals.

 

If you prefer your wildlife a little wilder then of course London is covered in parks, but you might be limited to the odd squirrel or swan, if you’re into pigeons and seagulls then you’re definitely in for a treat.  However Richmond Park has that little bit extra.  It is the largest of the Royal Parks, a National Nature Reserve and an area of conservation.  The herds of Red and Fallow deer that call the park their home will certainly make your day if you catch sight of them.

 

Concerts

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The UK has exported some of the most popular musical acts in history and London is at the epicentre of that scene.  There are numerous pubs and clubs all over the capital where you can see all kinds of up and coming acts and a lot of the time entrance is free.  But standing in a pub or club without a drink is tough, if you want to see something that you don’t need a pint for then there is certainly a lot more going on.

 

See a free classical concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields near Trafalgar Square. You can get there by hopping on the 24 bus from right outside our front door. Visit at lunchtime and you’ll see a wide range of pieces performed on all manner of instruments.

Trafalgar Square itself is the most famous place to see in the New Year in the capital but it is also host to a number of events throughout the year.  You may get to see a musical concert, a bit of theatre or a political rally.  If it’s something dull like the latter the good thing is you haven’t paid and you can just walk on by!

 

The Scoop is a relatively new free venue in London and most Londoners would know it by sight but not by its name.  It’s located at the foot of City Hall and hosts concerts and all sorts of events all year round.

 

Eccentricity

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If this is what you’re looking for then London has it by the bucketload.  Just wander round with your eyes and ears open and you will come across it.  If you like your eccentricity to have a little bit of formality around it then there are some things to look out for.

 

Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park is a beacon for free speech.  We recommend you walk there from the hotel (approx. 20mins) and go via Peggy Porschen on the way for a little treat. You will hear everything from the interesting to the dull, from the revolutionary to the downright outrageous.  The good thing about Speaker’s Corner is that if you want your say, you can have it.  Think of it as Twitter for a bygone age.

 

If there’s anything that sums up British eccentricity it is the reverence in which we treat our royals, there is no better example of this than the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, our neightbour.  This 45 minutes of free pomp and ceremony is not to be missed.

 

After your frugal but exciting day, come back to the Melita hotel for a well earned rest, before starting all over again tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


London Hotel, London Travel

6 Incredible Places Just 20 Minutes from The Melita

London Hotels, Central London Hotel, London Hotel Discounts

London remains England’s most treasured city. Home to the Royal Family and some of Britain’s most historically relevant buildings and architectural marvels, the capital is also culturally rich and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Guests who make the sound choice to stay at The Melita have an especially wonderful arrangement of amenities and attractions available to them, most of which are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. From Westminster Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, these six incredible places are located within 20 minutes from our historic hotel, perfect for adventurous wandering, exploration, and self-guided tours!

Victoria Station

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First, and perhaps most importantly on this list, is Victoria Station just minutes from our hotel entrance, in the heart of London. Not only can you catch a train from the station to just about anywhere else in London; the building itself is intricately designed and quite beautiful. An Edwardian facade and dual mermaid statues with Pre-Raphaelite faces make this building, a stunning marvel of historical art in its own right.

If you’re visiting Victoria Station for transportation, it’s helpful to know that station link buses run twice per hour. Both the London Underground and the Airbus are accessible from this location. If you’re driving, you may park your automobile in the car park next door while traveling around the city.

For more information about Victoria Station, or to verify scheduled times, click here.

 

Westminster Cathedral

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One of the London’s most famous locations, the Westminster Cathedral has remained steadfastly in place since the first foundation bricks were laid in 1875. Owned by the Catholic Church, it remains one of the world’s most opulent and artistic faith-based buildings in the world. Although most royal weddings take place at Westminster Abbey, rather than the cathedral itself, it has played host to a number of famous events.

Lovebirds who are visiting London to marry should know that the cathedral does offer wedding services, but you must belong to the congregation and book at least six months in advance.

For guests who are interested in attending services, both mass and confession are open to the public throughout the week. Because times can change, it’s best to confirm the cathedral’s weekly schedule before your visit; click here for more info.

Guests who simply want to marvel in the beauty of the building itself have plenty of discoveries to make, too. Westminster Cathedral is filled with ecclesiastical treasures. To maximise your experience, stop at the gift shop and purchase a copy of the Cathedral Guide Book for just £5.00. This informative and interesting pocket guide points out the building’s most beautiful areas and opulent treasures, giving visitors a unique glimpse into their historical and religious significance.

For more information on Westminster Cathedral, click here.

Apollo Victoria Theatre

Apollo Theatre, London Hotel, London Travel

Yet another of London’s most historic and beautiful buildings, the Apollo Victoria Theatre was originally built by expert architects Ernest Wamsley Lewis and William Edward Trent in 1929. Dual entrances on both Vauxhall Bridge and Wilton Road lead the interior, where you can access the box office and purchase tickets for a variety of shows.

The Apollo Victoria features a year-round selection of masterfully enacted plays, concerts, musicals and performances. Scheduling is subject to change, and depending on the time of year you visit, the content performed may be seasonal, too. Visitors and potential guests can verify the current schedule on the Apollo’s website.

With over 2,000 seats in the auditorium, this rich cultural location has plenty of space for theatre lovers from all over the world. Despite its size, it’s wise to book or purchase tickets well in advance, as some performances, such as 2016’s incredibly popular rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”, “Wicked,” are immensely popular and fill up quickly. Booking with us, has it’s perks and the Apollo Victoria Theatre is just one of the many.

Shows can also be booked ahead of time by making reservations at 0844 826 8000, or by purchasing tickets online.

Tate Britain

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Visiting the Tate Britain museum is like stepping back into art history. With pieces from as far back as the 1500’s, many of which are untouched, preserved originals, it remains important to British culture and history to this day. Famous pieces like “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, “Proserpine” by Dante Gabriel Ross, and “Newton” by William Blake make this location a must-see for any history or art buff. We love the arts, and being centrally located to so many art filled destinations makes The Melita Hotel, a travelers haven.

Tate Britain is open from Monday to Sunday 10.00 to 18.00, but scheduling for special events and exhibits may range beyond these hours. Admission to the regular museum is entirely free, though you may shop at the gift shop or make a donation if you wish to support their work.

Once you’re finished browsing the beautiful collection, stop by the Djanogly café. Or, come to experience London’s historical afternoon tea any time after 1.00.

For more information about Tate Britain, or to find out about the museum’s current tour schedule, dial +44 (0)20 7887 8888.

St. James’s Park

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At a sprawling 23 hectares in size, St. James’s Park is the place to be if you want to experience the English countryside without ever leaving London. This beautiful green space is home to exquisite gardens, a beautiful pond, fountains, a small and cosy cafe, and a large number of waterfowl, including ducks, swans, geese, and even pelicans.

Despite being centrally located, close to Buckingham Palace, the park’s gardens are more influenced by French botany than by English gardening techniques. Today, their design draws influence from historical gardens in Versailles, France, and a smattering of modern, contemporary practices. Expect to enjoy an endless array of flora and fauna if you visit during the growing season.

St. James’s Park is also home to a small bridge that offers one of the most beautiful views of Buckingham Palace in all of London. This picturesque location is frequented by tourists seeking commemorative photos and snapshots, and it makes an excellent stop-over after weddings, too.

Depending on when you visit, you may also arrive on time to witness incredible events like the Horse Guard Parade or the yearly Trooping the Colour ceremony. Afternoon tea is served at Inn the Park, as is lunch, dinner, and supper. A variety of other refreshments, like cold drinks and ice cream, can be had by visiting any of the many refreshment points scattered throughout.

St. James’ Park is open to visitors from 05:00 – 00:00.

Buckingham Palace

London Hotel, London Travel

No visit to London would ever be complete without laying eyes on the incredible Buckingham Palace. Home to British royalty and high society members since George III first purchased it for his wife Charlotte in 1761, it officially became the British Monarch’s residence in 1837, during Queen Victoria’s reign. Visitors from afar will immediately recognise the balcony that sits on the front facade; this is the most common place at the palace for British royals to make public appearances on special occasions, including Queen Elizabeth II herself.

Buckingham Palace is truly palatial in every sense of the word. The interior holds an incredible 775 different rooms, including 52 individual bedrooms for both the Royal Family and other guests. Receptions and special events take place in one of the palace’s 19 state rooms. In true blue-blooded fashion, Buckingham Palace is also home to 78 individual bathrooms.

Although most of Buckingham Palace’s interior is locked away from visitors for privacy and security reasons, tours are available. Most tours focus on the state rooms and apartments, but this can still provide an intimate glimpse into daily life for the Royal Family within their treasured home.

City Wonders provides an excellent guided walk-through tour that arrives just in time to see the Changing of the Guard; more information is available here. Tickets can be difficult to secure and spots fill up quickly, so if you wish to go, book a spot well in advance.


London Hotel, London Blog, London Best

Off The Beaten Path: Hidden London Gem’s Just A Tube’s Ride Away

Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Gem’s Just A Tube’s Ride Away

 

At The Melita London, we understand first-hand the value in blending tradition with something truly special and entirely your own.  Being personable, approachable, and comfortable all at the same is important to us; it’s what brings our guests back time and time again over the years.

Creating an experience is important; it’s why we strive to go further than just the basics, blending historic tradition with modern appeal to create a warm, friendly hotel where you can truly relax and feel at home. Subtle touches, like the artwork found throughout our hotel, or our steadfast dedication to local artists, set The Melita apart from larger, more sprawling hotels, making it feel special, welcoming, and supportive of your adventurous heart.

It also happens to be what makes The Melita such an excellent “home base” for those who love to explore, foray, and identify what makes the London so special.

With a history of service spanning over half a century into London’s past, we’ve come to appreciate some of the other locations and services that make our city, truly special. If you’ve been craving a bit of time off the beaten path, getting away from busy tourist areas and locations is not only possible, but recommended. We’ve put together some information on three of the city’s most delightful hidden gems, so you can enjoy these treasured little experiences and places, too.
Ye Olde Mitre

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Ye Olde Mitre is a quirky little historical pub tucked away at 1 Ely Place. It’s the type of place that’s easy to miss from the outside, but well worth visiting at least once during your stay if you want the true English pub experience.

What makes Ye Olde Mitre truly incredible is its age; the building itself was originally built over 500 years ago, in 1546. Even the ivy-covered wooden façade and entrance is something truly special; it feels whimsical, charming, and entirely welcoming, like us!

Inside is an endless array of historical furnishings, a delightful collection of beer mugs hangs with care from an old and well-kept ceiling, and a series of signs reveal the many delectable options available to whet your appetite or quell your thirst.

More than a few visitors immediately notice that the interior is somehow familiar to them, and with good reason: it’s just one of the many English locations used in the film Snatch.

A few things to note before you visit. Ye Olde Mitre is a historic location as well as a cosy pub, so be particularly respectful of your surroundings. Many of the furnishings are well-aged, and while not necessarily delicate, deserve to be handled with a bit more care than your average seating arrangement. The pub is open from 11:00 to 11:00, Monday to Friday, serving especially scrumptious snacks—perfect for whetting the appetite midway through your day.

Having trouble locating the pub? You’re not alone. View their 360-degree tour on their website to catch a quick glimpse of the tiny alleyway they call home. Or, ask our staff to help you find your way.

 

Temple Church

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Ask most Londoners where the best faith-based locations are, and they’ll probably tell you Westminster Abbey or the Westminster Cathedral. To be sure, both of these locations are stunningly beautiful in their own right. Temple Church may be a bit less complex, but it’s certainly no less historical or special. Anyone who’s watched “The Da Vinci Code” will recognise it as the temple used in the film.

One of the world’s oldest churches, this medieval location was originally built and consecrated by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1185. The church itself changed hands many times throughout history, first shifting to the Saracens, then to King Edward II, and then to the Order of St. John. Finally, in 1540, the church was again given back to the crown, where it has remained until this day.

Located at King’s Bench Walk, you’ll need to do a bit of trekking to reach Temple Church. There’s no vehicle access to this old and timeless place, so be prepared to wind your way through a series of alleys and paths until you arrive. Fortunately, the walk itself is lovely—many call it one of England’s best outdoor walks–and idyllic on a warm, balmy summer’s day.

Once you arrive, there’s plenty to see. The outer façade retains much of its historic charm, and for architecture buffs, is worth perusing all on its own. Step inside to wander through an endless array of historical information and displays highlighting the many feats undertaken by the Knights Templar throughout history. Several effigies of the Medieval Knights, some detailing their link to King John and Magna Carter, reveal the secrets behind England’s complex and interesting past.

The inner church itself hosts beautiful services throughout the week for those who wish to attend; be sure to check the website before you visit, as times can change without notice. Even the stained glass windows are a sight to be seen. Some tourists have reported that mid-morning seems to be the best time to hear the organist play, alongside the church’s regular services.

Guests can contact John Shearer at the church by dialling 020 7353 3470 for more information about access, tours, and events.

 

Kyoto at Holland Park

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Located at Holland Park, Kyoto is often referred to as one of England’s most serene spaces, and for good reason. Much as with the rest of London, this location is steeped in its own brand of history, too; it’s been around since the early 19th Century and managed to mostly survive World War II.

But set aside Kyoto for a moment; let’s delve into the rich history of Holland Park itself.

Holland Park is expansive, with plenty of open space for sunbathing, relaxing, playing, and picnicking. With a total of 22 hectares of space, it’s easy to get away from it all without ever leaving the city. If you’re coming from the country, and are finding the hub-bub of London a bit much, we greatly recommend a stroll through some of the many beautiful gardens on-side.

Holland Park its name from the Earl of Holland himself, a man also widely considered to be the first successful grower of Dahlias in England. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that visitors are likely to find beautifully grown Dahlias sprinkled throughout the park during the growing season.

The elegantly manicured grounds sit against a somewhat stark backdrop: a partially destroyed Holland House mansion, brought to ruin during the bombings that took place in WWII. While this may seem like a strange pairing, the architecture is quite remarkable, and the building is a constant yet important reminder of Britain’s incredible tenacity in the face of challenge.

Kyoto, unlike the rest of the park and its gardens, features a unique Japanese aesthetic that you just won’t find anywhere else in London. This portion of the park was a gift from Kyoto in 1991, given to commemorate the long friendship enjoyed by both Britain and Japan.

Though it’s fairly small, encompassing just a small corner of the grounds, there’s just something incredibly tranquil and peaceful about this area of Holland Park. It’s the perfect place for a lazy afternoon spent idling in the sunshine with a lover, and the sweetest spot for catching up on your reading time.

Idyllic little ponds, tiered waterfalls, beautiful stonework, the occasional peacock, and a veritable plethora of beautiful koi fish speak to the soul, encouraging you to slow down, if for just a little while.

Science lovers will appreciate the ecology centre for its educational glimpse into the flora and fauna, while music lovers will appreciate the opera performances occasionally held in nearby Holland Park during the summer.

Holland Park opens each day at approximately 7:30, and remains open until dusk. Considering an excursion? We can help with tips for putting together a delightful picnic lunch for a long, relaxing day in the park; just speak with a member of the staff.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on the tube today and #DiscoverLondon.

 


London Hotel Near Westminster Abbey

The History of London Westminster’s Four Most Famous Gardens

The History of London Westminster’s Four Most Famous Gardens

Planning to spend some time with us in Victoria? We’re excited for your arrival! Our little historical neighbourhood is home to some of England’s most treasured historical locations, making it the perfect home base for first-time visitors and history buffs.

The Melita is close to both the Thames and the famous Tate Britain art gallery, is surrounded by delightful restaurants and pubs, and is just steps away from a long list of unique historical locations that will inspire your adventurous heart. While we very much recommend seeing these, sometimes what our guests desire most is a bit of time spent in the great outdoors.

Fortunately, The Melita’s amazing location places us just steps away from four of Westminster’s best gardens, three of which reside in Westminster Abbey itself, and most of which have been in place for decades, if not centuries.

Not sure where to stop first? We’ve highlighted a few of the best options and dug up a bit of their history to tempt your imagination and draw you in. The perks of a staying at a hotel near Westminster Abbey.

 

Eccleston Square Gardens

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Though you’d never guess today, Eccleston Square Gardens was originally the location of little more than a large swamp. This small but beautiful gardens was originally owned by the Dukes of Westminster, and was drained and then developed into a garden by Thomas Cubitt over the course of 1838.

Eccleston Square Gardens sits in a particularly advantageous location in much the same way as all of Westminster; it’s technically situated on floodplains from the Thames, making it especially fertile. This is just one of the reasons it was originally used as a market garden in the 1800s. Before it was developed, this beautiful garden provided both food and willow shoots for basket making to all of the local Westminster area.

When Thomas Cubitt began developing the area into a more habitable social gathering point, his original goal was to bring the charm of the English countryside into the city. Not everyone was in agreement to this, however; the farmers who were originally using the land objected to its removal and reconfiguration and protested for a time. A compromise was eventually reached: the farmers were moved to Lincolnshire, and barricades were erected around all of Eccleston Square to keep out undesirables while the work was completed.

Today, Eccleston Square Gardens belongs, for all intents and purposes, to the community that surrounds it. This wasn’t always the case; over the years, it came under threat several times, first after damage in the Great Storm of 1987, and then again when it was purchased out by a local real estate company with the intention of creating a car park. The current ownership, an organisation titled Eccleston Square Garden Ltd, was created solely to purchase and protect the land for years to come.

Because Eccleston Square is a private communal garden, you cannot enter without being accompanied by a member. However, the gardens do hold a number of public events throughout the year. For more information about access and tours, write to ecclestonsquare@harrisonholt.co.uk.

 

Westminster Abbey Gardens

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Considered to be some of England’s oldest gardens, Westminster Abbey Gardens isn’t just one garden, but three individual gardens in total. These include the College Garden, the Garth, and Little Cloisters, each intimately connected in history, development, and cultivation.

A quick note: The Abbey gardens are best seen on a tour, as not all areas are accessible to the general public, but booking a tour is fairly easy and highly recommended anyway. The history of Westminster Abbey itself is fascinating and detailed, making it an excellent adjunct to any English garden lover’s itinerary.

 

The College Gardens

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The College Garden is thought to be the oldest of all three, and is believed to date back approximately 900 years. Most historians agree that it is the oldest garden still in cultivation throughout England, and to a less specific degree, most of the British Isles. It was originally used by the Benedictine monks to grow healing herbs and plants, many of which were used not only to minister to the monks, but also to Britain’s citizenship.

The College Garden is unique in many ways, the least of which is the fact that the majority of infirmary gardens have long since been removed. It was also home to the monk’s cemetery and paid homage to the cycle of life and death itself. An orchard planted directly beside the original cemetery drew attention to new life from death, while plants like Lady’s Bedstraw were said to honour the Virgin Mary herself.

The College Gardens still retain many historic elements, some of which date back hundreds of years. The somewhat crumbling stone precinct wall itself is the oldest of these, dating back to the late 1300s. Each of the four saint statues in the centre of the gardens was carved in 1686 by sculptor Arnold Quellin, and while they aren’t in the best of shape today, they still inspire and call out to the soul. Most of the other features, including the fountain and bronze statue that sits at one end of the garden, are newer, having been installed within the last 20 years.

 

The Garth

London Hotel Near Westminster Abbey

Just a few steps away from the College Garden lies The Garth. This garden, too, was originally owned by the Benedictine monastery, and was important in the daily lives of the monks who sometimes lived out their entire lives there. It was considered the primary place for monks to go to rest their eyes and escape the intrusion of everyday life.

Situated in the centre of the Abbey itself, and entirely closed off from the outside world by its four gothic walls, the Garth’s beauty isn’t in its plants, but in its surroundings. By itself, it’s little more than a well-kept square of green grass, albeit a very well-kept square indeed.

Though it is closed off to the public, members of the Abbey and those on tour can catch a glimpse of it in person. Unfortunately, no pictures are permitted inside Westminster Abbey, so the only thing you can take away is sweet memories.

 

Little Cloisters

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The third and final garden in Westminster Abbey, Little Cloisters, originally served as a restful garden for sick and infirm monks. Services were often held here for monks who weren’t well enough to attend the Abbey’s services, or for those who were aged and in their last years. It was considered a place of restorative rest, but was accessible to any monk at the Abbey who desired peace.

This small but beautiful garden shaded monks from the sun, protected them from the wind, and was easily accessed by any one of the surrounding cloisters. Strolling the pathways here slowly, it’s easy to see how this type of lifestyle could become more attractive than living on the outside.

Along its Eastern side remains the Chapel of Saint Catherine, one of England’s most famous religious meeting spaces prior to the 15th Century. It is also the site of several historically relevant events and decisions, including Henry III’s sworn pledge of allegiance to uphold the Magna Carta in 1176. The chapel itself, built in the 12th Century, consisted of little more than a congregation section surrounded by two aisles.

Out of the three main gardens in the Abbey, this is in many ways the most charming and the most popular, perhaps because it is the only one of the three to be open to the public all year round. Ancient walls imprinted by the erosion of time stand dramatically aside the gardens, draped with beautiful green ivy during the summer months. The centre fountain, while not an original installation, deserves respect for its age, too: it dates back as far as 1871.

The gardens are carefully cultivated and planned out to burst forth with colour during the growing season, but don’t count out Little Cloisters in the winter; there’s something truly charming about watching the snow fall down over the fountain at Christmas, too.

If you want to book a hotel near Westminster Abbey choose Melita and spend unforgettable time in London.