The Queens Arms Pub | London Hotel

Top 5 Pubs Just Steps Away from The Melita Hotel

We’ve boasted it before: our amazing location makes us the perfect home base for adventures. The guests who visit us very often have one main thing in common; they want to experience the very best of London while staying in a hotel that’s more personal and in tune with what they really need.

The Melita Hotel’s involvement with our local neighbourhood makes us especially suited to this type of traveller. When you want to wander the local art museum, we can help you secure tickets. If you’re curious about the architecture of Pimlico, we can indicate the most exciting places to visit and learn all about it.

And when it’s close to the end of the day, your feet are tired from wandering, and you’d just adore a really good pint of beer, we know the top five pubs just five tube stops away from The Melita. We’re so confident that you’ll love these locations that we’ve laid them out for you to see, right here.


Pride of Pimlico

Pride Of Pimlico Pub | London Hotel

One of our best-known local pubs, the Pride of Pimlico is all about simplicity and getting back to the roots of what it means to be a great pub. This Irish pub has an old-timey feel even before you ever step in the door. The exterior is nondescript, but don’t let that fool you; the magic happens once you step inside.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in the door is all the cosy little spots to curl up in for a bit of conversation, or maybe even just a few minutes with a good book. This pub is, surprisingly, not English but Irish, so you’ll find timeless standards like Guinness, Murphy’s and O’Hara’s on tap or available by the bottle. Of course, no true Irish pub experience is complete without downing at least one icy-cold Guinness, so be sure to grab one when you go.

Why visit: Lovely staff, lovely people. Feels like home. Just the right size when you want company without feeling overwhelmed by crowds.

Amenities: Pool table, TV (Usually tuned to football)

Reservations: Not needed, but you can ring the pub with questions at +44 20 7834 3031


The Queen’s Arms

The Queens Arms Pub | London Hotel

This upmarket gastropub serves up some of London’s best pub food. If you’re starving by dinner, and in need of a comfy seat, this is the place you want to be when the dinner bell rings. It’s also a local favourite, so if you’re looking to integrate yourself with the neighbourhood and experience its culture, this is the place to experience that.

All of the food is excellent at The Queen’s Arms, but guests tend to brag the most about the burgers and pies. They’re simple, but perfectly prepared and largely portioned to fill you up, either before you head out to a club or after you’ve discovered the rest of Pimlico.

Why visit: For the food, and for the local-soaked atmosphere. The keg and beer selection is a close third for good reasons to visit.

Amenities: Cosy seating. Separate dining area if you’re looking for something a bit more intimate.

Reservations: Not required, but recommended. Make them here or ask a Melita staff member for help.


Cask Pub and Kitchen

Cask Pub London

The Cask Pub and Kitchen is a bit special. Though it hasn’t been around for as long as some of the others, it’s owned and run by Pimlico’s friend Martin Hayes, a local who was both born and raised in the area himself. This lovely little pub serves up some of the area’s best gourmet burgers, and has a boast-worthy selection of 10 cask ales, 15 keg lines, and a whopping 300 different bottles of beer.

The Cask’s best feature is, without a doubt, it’s incredible selection of beer. If you’re coming in from across the pond, or anywhere else in the world, really, you’ll want to make this one of your first stops for beer and wine tasting. The kitchen’s gourmet selection is like icing on the cake, but it just can’t top the incredible selection of refreshments. A word to the wise: The Cask’s beer selection changes daily. Be sure to call ahead to find out what’s on tap today.

Why visit: Definitely for the beer, but also for the gourmet burgers. Also, did we mention the beer?
Amenities: Live music on certain nights of the week. Incredibly comfortable bench seating all around the main room.

Reservations: Not needed, but you can make them by ringing  +44 20 7630 7225 if you want choice seating.


The Warwick Pub

The Warwick Pub | London Hotel

Both a pub and gastropub in one, the Warwick is famous in London for hosting some top-notch parties. This exciting location has just about everything you can think of to offer: an amazing selection of beer, great food, music, and even a fine selection of beautifully put-together cocktails. It’s a bit more party-oriented and upscale than some of Pimlico’s other options, making it a swell place for a less-formal-but-not-quite-casual date night while you’re with us. It’s also an excellent place to get out and mingle with the locals if you plan to stay for a while.

With nearly 2,500 likes on Facebook and a grand plethora of positive reviews across the internet, we can say with confidence that The Warwick is well-liked and well-visited. The time of day you visit does seem to matter; for a more laid-back experience, visit before 7:00 p.m. For a livelier experience with more drinking and dancing, hit the pub later on. They’re also very well-known for hosting holiday specials and events, so be sure to check what’s on when you visit.

Why visit: Visit if you’re looking for a mixture of club and pub in one. Also for the incredible cocktails and ale selection.

Amenities: Standard pub seating. Live music on special events and certain nights of the week.

Reservations: Highly recommended, and on special occasions and weekends, a must. Make them here.


The Constitution

The Constitution Pub | London Hotel

The Constitution is technically classed as a 19th-Century hostelry, but it, too is one of London’s most charming and unique pubs. Much like the others, it has an incredible selection of beers and great food. What makes it really special and sets it apart is the rich, dark wood decor and atmosphere. There’s something about The Constitution that just feels incredibly historic England circa the late 1800s, even if you’re surrounded by far more modern locals and smartphones. It’s very much not anything like a chain pub–so much that sometimes it’s easy to take a glance inside and assume it’s for an older crowd. Sure, some of the edges are a bit worn, and time has taken its toll on the interior, but it’s so charming that just a few minutes spent inside will make you forget all of your misgivings.

Food-wise, you’ll find much of Britain’s traditional fare here. It’s well-portioned, well-made, and just generally carries a very homemade feel. With both a grill and several traditional restaurant stations, it’s much easier for them to carry a wide menu; we recommend trying the steak and chips, following up with ice cream for dessert. Beer-wise, you’ll find mostly English ales on tap here, so the selection isn’t quite as wide as the others.

Why visit: The atmosphere is distinctly English, steeped in history, and just altogether welcoming. Great locals and welcoming staff are also a plus.

Amenities: Few, but the atmosphere makes up for it. Very traditional English pub.

Reservations: Not required. Ring +44 20 7834 3651 for questions about events or the menu.


Understanding Pimlico’s History

As one of Pimlico’s most popular family-run hotels, we get to experience the history and culture of Westminster each and every day. Both Pimlico and the rest of England are incredibly rich in culture and heritage, and we’re extremely lucky to live and work here each and every day at The Melita Hotel. Our location places us smack-dab in the middle of some of London’s most historic neighbourhoods, an area rife for exploration whether you’re from near or far.

Ask us what’s so terrific about Pimlico and the list of responses would be undoubtedly long. Culture, art, and the locals are high on the list, but Pimlico’s incredibly interesting history is probably one of its biggest selling points.

Our little neighbourhood is not only beautiful, but incredibly significant to the development of England as a whole over time. Sure, it’s small, but good things come in small packages, and sometimes the most amazing discoveries occur in places you’d never think to look.

It would be impossible to sum up absolutely everything interesting about Pimlico’s history–there’s just too much to cover in one blog post. Instead, we’ve rounded up what we think are a few of the most fascinating facts.

So come, history buffs and architectural adventurers–step into Pimlico’s history with The Melita Hotel. Let’s wander down the garden path together, reminiscing about a time gone by–a time full of romance intrigue, royalty, and excitement.

The Melita London Hotel

Prelude: How Did Pimlico Come to Be?

Pimlico didn’t start out as the little village it is; instead, it started out as a swampy osier bed dotted with delightful little English cottages. Though it may be surprising, given the popularity of the area today, both Pimlico and Warwick Square were originally considered less desirable an area to settle than other areas of London in the 19th Century.

Originally owned, and later sold, by James I in the 17th Century, it was transferred via inheritance to one Mary Davies in 1666, after which time she was married to Sir Thomas Grosvenor. It was a fortuitous marriage for the Grosvenors, bringing them up in not only status but wealth. The area included not only what is now known as Pimlico, but also Belgravia, Mayfair and Kensington–no small section of land.

It was the Grosvenors that developed the land, sculpting and crafting it into something much more beautiful than it originally was over the years, particularly with the help of famous architect Thomas Cubitt in around 1825. Both it and Warwick Square were developed with English garden concepts in mind, turning what was essentially swampland into something more palatable and visit-worthy.

The Grosvenors retained ownership of the area until as recently as 1953, when Pimlico specifically was transferred in ownership via sale in order to pay a massive £17-million tax bill owed by the family.


Famous and Foreboding Buildings

One of Pimlico’s most defining features is the fact that the neighbourhood is veritably filled with historical buildings. Even the Melita Hotel itself is situated in two historical buildings, each built as Victorian townhouses around 1825, making it over 200 years old. While our location isn’t particularly foreboding–it’s smaller, and thus, more suitable for hosting guests–the neighbourhood is home to some of England’s most imposing buildings.

Dolphin Square London Hotel

Dolphin Square

Perhaps the most commandeering is nearby Dolphin Square. These luxury apartments, originally designed and guided to creation by Gordon Jeeves FRIBA in 1937, have an imposing facade and an almost foreboding appearance. A distinctly art deco style and surrounding gardens make this building a contrasting experience, especially for those who live there each day.

Although connected, Dolphin Square consists of four groups of houses, each named after a historically relevant figure. Each group is broken down via the direction it faces.

The south houses include:

  • Grenville, named after Sir Richard Grenville
  • Drake, named after Sir Francis Drake
  • Raleigh, named after Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Hawkins, named after Sir John Hawkins

The north-facing building consists of only one house, known as House Rodney and named after George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney (1718-1792).

The west-facing houses are extensive, including:

  • Nelson, named after Lord Horatio Nelson
  • Howard, named after William Howard
  • Duncan, named after Adam Duncan, the 1st Viscount Duncan of Camperdown
  • Beatty, named after David Beatty, a decorated Admiral

Last, but most certainly not least, are the east-facing houses. These include:

  • Keyes, named after Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes
  • Hood, named after Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood
  • Collingwood, named after Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood
  • Frobisher, named after Sir Martin Frobisher

Each of the namesakes is an important figure in England’s near or far history, and the building itself was named to pay homage to them. Today, Dolphin Square is considered to be one of the brightest, most bustling areas to enjoy true British Village life, for both young and old alike.


Westminster Abbey

London Hotel Westminster Abbey

As Westminster is, for all intents and purposes, also part of Pimlico, we would be amiss to talk about the local history without mentioning Westminster Abbey. Still in operation as the Coronation Church of England, this incredible gothic building has managed to withstand the tests of time since 1066, making it also the oldest church to be found anywhere in Great Britain at all.

Seventeen of Britain’s past monarchs are buried here, and it is still heavily used by the Royal Family today.

Westminster Abbey’s incredible architecture is certainly historical, but not all of the current facade dates back to 1066. The building has necessarily gone through a number of renovations, either due to the passage of time, war, or damage from fire.

The building you see today first came to fruition in 1245, when Henry III first contracted workers to overhaul it from the previous iteration. Unfortunately, it wasn’t completed as a true Gothic nave until the rule of Richard II around 1388. Still later, in the early 16th Century, it again underwent an overhaul under the rule of Henry VII. An incredible 16 years of construction slowly formed it into the commandeering gothic-style chapel it is today.

What was preserved through all of the chaos was the chapter house, considered a living space for Benedictine monks originally. This octagonal building contains an additional secret within its walls; near the entrance is a door considered by many to be the oldest entrance in England (and to a lesser degree, the oldest door). Hidden behind it is the largely preserved Pyx Chamber, thought to date back to 1070 with few renovations other than what was functionally required.

Because Westminster Abbey is so extensive, we highly recommend taking a guided tour when you visit. You’ll catch a glimpse of not only these features, but many more breath-taking and centuries-old elements you don’t necessarily get to see from the outside. Additionally, the walls and interior are adorned with exceptionally stunning art, carvings, and highly stylized gothic arches.

Big Ben London Hotel

Big Ben

This famous clock tower is known the world over, and is incredibly special to Londoners as a whole. Though it isn’t as old as buildings like Westminster Abbey, it does date back to April 10th, 1858. Considered a part of the nearby Buckingham Palace, the idea for it first came to be after a devastating fire took out much of the palace itself. The previous palace did have a clock tower–then known as Great Tom–but it wasn’t anywhere nearly as grand as today’s iteration.

Created with the guidance of Charles Barry and a number of local clockmakers, today’s Big Ben is exceptionally beautiful. Even the interior workings are something of a marvel–it is the first clock in England to be accurate to the second once started. The exterior tower is sculpted and crafted in a variety of materials, including brickwork, stone cladding, and even extremely heavy cast iron. Much like the palace itself, it features a gothic revival facade. At an incredible 96.3 meters high, it is also one of England’s tallest and presence-worthy buildings, too.

The original clock creation was made of five individual bells, four grand clock faces, and a single imposing tower. Unfortunately, its creation was not without mishaps; the main bell was shattered during testing in October 1857, starting a very public and somewhat political finger-pointing argument between all of those involved. Eventually, a new bell was cast, this time larger than the first, and it was installed via a pulley system.

In July of 1859, Big Ben finally chimed for the first time, but cracked yet again just a few short months later. This damage was repaired, but from certain angles, you can still see the crack in the bell itself today.

Over the centuries, Big Ben has been damaged, sometimes severely. German bombers nearly decimated it in WWII, and several mechanical failures took clockmakers months to track down and fix.

This is in and of itself one of the reasons that Big Ben is so heavily associated with London; it’s representative of Britain’s spirit and refusal to give in when faced with peril.