A royal palace and a fairy tale hotel


If you hop on a train for a mere 20 minutes you can see a royal palace turned art deco glory and back in London, a wonderful railway hotel has been returned to its former glory and it’s magical (well it was in Harry Potter!)

The royal palace is Eltham Palace which was home to many King Henrys including Henry V111 and his daughter Elizabeth 1st. This magnificent medieval building then fell into disuse and the great hall was used as a barn for animals at one stage! Luckily people saw sense and a renovation project was funded by the government in the early 1900s. Then the Courtauld family bought the site and built a wonderful art deco mansion onto the great hall. No photos are allowed inside the building but trust me the art deco touches are amazing and the whole place takes you back to another era and one that was full of luxury and style. The Courtaulds held grand parties the great medieval hall and when they moved out after the Second World War, the armed forces used the place for a training venue – what a place to be posted! Luckily now it’s back to its art deco best and well worth a visit. There are fabulous grounds too and you can even see the London skyline to prove how near you are!

The photos are: the entrance to the art deco home; the beautiful gardens, the medieval hall; and, the view back to the London skyline.


May saw the opening of the wonderfully refurbished St Pancras hotel, formerly the Midland Hotel which was built in 1870s. It fell into decay and was another fine building almost lost and was nearly demolished but a feisty band of campaigners including Sir John Betjemen fought to keep it safe. It’s been under development for as long as I can remember and we’ve waited in anticipation as first the station opened and now finally the hotel and restaurant. It is a mad gothic masterpiece with all the luxury you’d want from a top hotel. As a Londoner it’s wonderful to see it as a working building again sitting proudly among London’s fine sites. The restaurant does it justice with top chef Marcus Wareing cooking up great British food and there is a bar as well as a foyer lounge where you feel close to the action of the station with the design themes of St Pancras carried through. After lunch (well I had to try it out didn’t it?) I went for a wander around but you can also book guided tours.

Photos are: the magnificent exterior of the hotel (x2); the restaurant entrance; view from the hotel across the station with the Olympic rings and the champagne bar; the amazing interior staircase; and, the Gilbert Scott restaurant.

I also sneaked a few days in France last week but now it’s officially summer in London so I’m looking forward to the coming week.

Bye for now,

Sue


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