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
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.
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
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.