What does the term ‘historic hotels London city’ bring to mind for you? Maybe it’s the Ritz over near Buckingham Palace, with its famous afternoon tea. There’s the Savoy and Claridge’s, certainly. I used to walk past stunning St Pancras each day on the way to work, it qualifies.
But did you know about Batty Langley’s?
Listed as one of London’s six best hotels in Conde Nast‘s Gold List, it’s time you definitely did hear about it ⭐
Hotels London city: WHY you need to experience Batty Langley’s
Batty Langley’s in London city near Liverpool street doesn’t even look like a hotel from the outside! It’s completely unassuming. To step inside feels precisely like you’ve stepped back in time. Georgian times, to be exact.
I read a piece about this historic hotel in London city that captured it beautifully for me. The review mentioned that while this place is a hotel, it doesn’t feel like one.
It feels more like you’re visiting your [very] rich aunt’s house.
It’s so true, in the most affectionate of ways 💕
We’ve written about staycations in London and accommodation you can try in east London – Shoreditch and Liverpool Street – but we’ve never seen anything like this!
The attention to detail and perfect mix of old meets new is truly something special.
Adventures in the past
The hotel is housed in a restored Georgian building, and is named after Batty Langley (1696–1751) who published guides for the upper class on how to tastefully plan a lavish home.
Inspired by Batty’s work, proprietors Douglas Blain and Peter McKay went to extraordinary lengths to recreate the style of the era. Their labour of love took 20 years to complete, but the finished product is exquisite.
With the exception of a few modern luxuries like smart televisions; furnishings, art, antiques and ornaments from Georgian times have been sourced and decorate the property.
Full of Georgian characters
Our room was on the 5th floor, which we accessed by a little elevator. Cooper and I definitely had a ‘pinch me’ moment upon entering the Kitty Fisher suite. It was like living a past life where we were RICH – we had a balcony with city views, huge four poster bed, a little library and sitting room, and a grand bathroom complete with a genuine Victorian canopy bathing machine.
Kitty Fisher is another Georgian character whose name graces the hotel’s walls. She was a courtesan, known as the subject of a nursery rhyme: “Lucy Locket lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it…”.
Ms Fisher came from humble beginnings when she was a milliner (maker of fashionable hats). But the story goes that her beauty, smarts and charm led to her mixing in the right circles and hence she climbed the social ladder of her time.
If we were to ever tire of our own luxurious Georgian suite named after Kitty, we had the rest of the place to enjoy too.
Despite having 29 rooms (all named after interesting Georgian characters) tucked away within the hotel, it’s rare to see another soul. So, off we went, to laze about in the old library, Downton Abbey style; and enjoy a whiskey by the fireplace in the olde-world stylish sitting room.
Facts about Georgian times that add flavour to a stay
While we were at Batty Langley’s, the staff shared some interesting facts with us. Did you know that hotels only really came into being during the first half of the 1800s? Before the Industrial Revolution which began in the 1700s, most people lived and worked on the land, and wouldn’t have ventured very far. In the 1800s things started to change with the Industrial Revolution and the steam locomotive. The middle class – who ran and owned businesses – began to travel, and hotels became their beautiful escape. You can imagine this scenario within the palatial walls of Batty Langley’s boutique establishment.
We also looked at how well made the furniture is from Georgian times. If you examine a wardrobe, for example, you will see the effort that has gone into ensuring the grain is all in the same direction. Evidence of this craftsmanship adorns the hotel.
Finally, did you know that despite the period being entirely romanticised now, the Georgians didn’t have bathrooms? Apparently everyone stank! Very few houses had running water, the streets were filled with rubbish and animal excrement, and chamber pots were often emptied out of windows onto the street. It’s a far cry from the cleanliness and opulence you’ll experience within the hotel and surrounding streets today, but interesting to know about all the same. What do you think?
London city stay: what to expect in the area
We don’t need to be sold on east London (we’re fans!), although staying at Batty Langley’s gave us renewed appreciation for our surroundings.
Convenience wise, the hotel’s perfectly located for any kind of stay in London. You’re within walking distance of Liverpool Street and Shoreditch stations, so can get anywhere, easily.
Just up the road is Spitalfields, which houses markets, foodie delights, pubs and shopping. You can walk to famous Brick Lane for a curry in about 15 minutes.
Back to the history: it’s all around you, inside the hotel and outside. From cobbled streets to elegant old churches and imaginative architecture: go exploring in this exciting corner of old London.
Spitalfields itself was originally the site of the Priory of St Mary Spital, or Hospital, established in 1197! Part of the hospital’s kitchen lies under the hotel building and more substantial remains can be seen in a floodlit underground chamber just around the corner in Spital Square.
Residential development of the area began when King Henry VIII renounced the Pope’s authority and seized all English monasteries in 1540, selling off to loyal subjects. The area became attractive to immigrant settlers who were not allowed to live or work in London city itself. At that time, this area was just outside the city walls.
We spotted evidence of different period buildings as we wandered the streets here. Of course Georgian architecture is obvious too, known by its red brick and symmetrical shape.
Exclusive accommodation in east London
What can we say other than this hotel is absolutely beautiful? It’s cosy enough that you feel at home, yet luxurious with quality touches and service expected in a fine hotel. The staff were perfect as well. (thank you!).
Batty Langley‘s website says:
Our quiet, characterful bedrooms are furnished with genuine antiques, and every one is different. Our bathrooms are so extraordinary, guests often ask if they can take them home. Your surroundings here are civilised: old fashioned hospitality, friendly, efficient staff, and a location second to none.
We have to say, it’s all true. This bit of web copy is absolutely not fake news. If you’re looking for a wonderfully London experience and prepared to splash a little extra cash for a once in a lifetime stay, Batty Langley’s is for you. It’s truly like living in an opulent period film – and who doesn’t want to try that for a night? Book your stay
Cooper and I were sponsored by Hazlitt Hotels for this stay.
Images: battylangleys.com. Video: Cooper Dawson
A few weeks back we received an invite from Point A Hotel Liverpool Street, asking if we’d like to take a look around the newly refurbished premises. After having the chance to stay at Point A Hotel Shoreditch we jumped at the opportunity. There’s nothing like a London staycation, after all!
The thing we genuinely like about the two Point A Hotels in London that we’ve seen, is that the brand has reinvented what compact is. It’s easier than you might think to get totally ripped off by hotels in London – you’ll pay a fortune thinking you have somewhere nice reserved, only to find it’s run-down, uncomfortable and dowdy.
Our experience with Point A Hotels in London is that they make great use of space, opt for stylish tech and comfy beds.
Best things about Point A Hotel Liverpool Street
Point A Hotel Liverpool Street was one of the original hotels in the network. We experienced the totally refurbished version, and we’re thoroughly impressed! Point a Hotel Liverpool Street is about 5 to 7 minutes walk from the station. It’s just two minutes’ from Spitalfields which has everything you could need for a stay in central London.
Outside of its very convenient location, there’s a spacious outdoor area that you can enjoy if the sun is out. Inside you’ll find a comfortable lounge / chill out space that is also where breakfast is served.
Like its sister property in Shoreditch, the rooms are compact but cleverly designed so that you feel like you’re in a cosy nook. There’s plenty of clever hiding space for luggage too. Topped off by fun mood lighting, black-out curtains and 43-inch Samsung Smart TV, you’ve got everything you need for a total getaway.
Find out more about Point A Liverpool Street Hotel’s refurb here.
Top 4 things to do near Liverpool Street
Old Spitalfields market
This east London hot-spot has seen market activity for over 350 years! Now, Spitalfields is a covered market, brimming with lovely eateries, lively places to have a beer and shops to browse. It’s definitely one of the best things to do near Liverpool Street, and it’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from this London Point A Hotel. There’s over 50 shops and stalls at Spitalfields.
What we like about the place is that the restaurants and bars are big. Plenty of space means a place to sit down. I even managed to get some work done so would add it to our list of fave London digital nomad working spots.
Salesforce Tower and Sushi Samba
Locals know this secret well. For one of the very best things to do near Liverpool Street, and a FREE view of London, head to Salesforce Tower (formerly Heron Tower). The glass lift is swift. That is, in less than 30 seconds you’ll be 39 floors high! The view is spectacular though.
It’s easy to pop into Sushi Samba for a drink on their outdoor deck. You’ll need a reservation to eat there though, or at the dining alternative at the top, The Duck and Waffle. The Drift is on the ground level, also another lovely venue.
Be mindful here, you’ll possibly need dress shoes to enter the building, but outside that, you can enjoy a fun free experience, just a short walk across the road from Liverpool Street.
Described as ‘a 32-acre central London neighbourhood’, Broadgate is the brand new precinct opened next to Liverpool Street station. We wandered through earlier this year just as it was opened. It’s built in a circle type shape, with beautiful restaurants and Instagrammable boutiques throughout.
This spot has everything from pubs to high-end sushi, beautiful meeting spots and table tennis. Read more here.
Finally, if you’re after a bite to eat or a quick drink, there’s plenty of options along Bishopsgate road. This is the main road in front of Liverpool Street train station. Most of our high street eateries are here, including Wasabi, All Bar One, Dirty Martini… You won’t go hungry or thirsty in this part of London.
And when you’re done, head back to Point A for a dreamy sleep.
Point A Hotels are situated across the nation, so ideal for a value for money UK staycation escape. We were sponsored for this stay but the review is our own.
The past few weeks in London had been cold – colder than I care for, but I had Christmas in Mallorca to look forward to! Work days at a top of 3 degrees, and when you top that off with a daily ride to work full of sniffly, coughing commuters, well, you can appreciate that we all need a little break come Christmastime.
I’d been very good [hello Santa] coming up to the festive period. One who enjoys the sparkly allure of a Christmas party, this year the late nights were kept in check, that is, until 22 December when a slew of happy events led me to being in a state not at all fit for a 4.30am rise.
We got through Stansted airport, fending off the rest of the Saturday morning school holiday rush. I thought I was doing well, despite the brain fog and living on the edge of severe grumpiness, only to get to security and realise my computer and liquids were inside my carry-on suitcase. I slid the laptop out through the side and attempted a very cunning manoeuvre to remove my plastic bag full of liquids, only for the entire suitcase to flip over on itself and for all the contents to scatter along the floor.
Oh yes, I was that person.
It would have been hilarious if only it wasn’t me. I’m sure for the hoards of holiday-goers trying to cope pre-caffeine it was hysterical. I didn’t look. I still can’t think too much about it.
Fortunately, just over two hours later, I was in Spain where I would happily take the sun and breezy 17 degrees by the marina – a pleasurable escape from the grey that has been my adopted home of the UK (I’m its biggest fan but even I need a little sunshine every now and then).
Thank the Universe for Christmas in Mallorca (sometimes spelled Majorca).
Then there was Spain
There really is something about Spain, for us at least.
We love the language and the accents and the culture. The sun and beaches are pretty nice too.
Last Christmas we defied tradition and visited Ibiza, a long-time dream destination of ours. It certainly did not disappoint and remains one of our favourite places. I’m looking forward to returning to that blissful, melodic island – probably in summer when everything is open!
We couldn’t get as far as home (Queensland), so wanted an Ibiza-esque Christmas experience in 2017. That is, sunshine, beautiful scenery and travel experiences, but with a little more actually happening over the festive break. After a long discussion where the list of possibilities became impossible (we just want to go everywhere!), one weekend in September we literally closed our eyes and put a virtual pin on Google Maps.
Mallorca (or Majorca) was the winner.
Is anything open at Christmas in Mallorca?
At Christmastime for most around the world, we all encounter the same thing which is a lack of activities, shopping and travel options on offer late December. Fair enough, this is a time for families and if you’re lucky enough to not be working, then so be it (you deserve it!).
As a visitor to a region though, we want to be able to take in a couple of new experiences, and my research indicated that while much of the island of Mallorca may not be open (some beach clubs operate seasonally across the summer months), the capital of Palma promised to be abuzz with plenty to do.
As it turns out, this is very true. Even London totally (totally!) shuts down on Christmas day, but in Mallorca the local buses were operating, as was City Sightseeing (hop on hop off bus tour) and many bars and restaurants opened their doors.
Winter in Mallorca – travel tips, transport and best-of
The weather in December averages a top of about 15 or 16 degrees. It’s warm in the sun but can be a little chilly if there’s a breeze, and the temperature does drop at night. It’s quite pleasant though.
The capital, Palma, is buzzing with plenty going on, so in the first instance wander the back streets, visit art galleries, take a look inside the old churches and try some tapas.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (or La Seu) is unmissable, its Gothic structure standing tall over the city. Work on this cathedral began in the 13 Century, and famous architect Antoni Gaudí (who has left his stamp all over Barcelona) even spent time working on this structure between 1904 and 1914.
Another Gothic structure that’s well worth the trip to the top of a hill overlooking the city, is Bellver Castle. The only circular castle in all of Spain, this 14th Century structure is really interesting to explore, and with a huge bonus in that it boasts the best views across Mallorca.
Hire a bike and ride along the extensive promenade, explore the marinas and along the coast.
You could ride to, or take bus number 25 to nearby beach s’Arenal. Many beaches and beach clubs around the island are closed over winter but this is a nice area and some eateries and shops are open.
The bus system is quite easy to use, but you’ll need cash. A single fare is currently €1.50, and the driver can change up to a €10 note.
If you have spare time and in need of retail therapy, there’s plenty of stores and a mall in the city, and a large shopping destination called Porto Pi which you can take a bus or a cab to.
Another experience that was mentioned to us a few times was a steamtrain that runs between Palma and Soller on the other side of Mallorca.
The whole trip is about an hour and a half one way, and you can’t pre-book tickets. The line was closed for maintenance when we were there, but this seems like it would be a lovely thing to do. Do keep an eye on the timetable though, because return trip would need to be planned.
Christmas in Palma – dining ideas
To be honest, we didn’t have a bad meal here! I remember being concerned about what may not be open at Christmas in Mallorca but there’s no need to worry, you’ll have plenty to choose from even on 25 December.
Notable venues we found:
– Lennox the Pub, for €2.50 glasses of wine and gorgeous bar ambience.
– Cafeteria Tropic (opposite the marina and next to the Auditorium), for delicious tapas.
Attending my fifth TBEX Future of Travel Media conference, I had the chance to also travel in Killarney and Kenmare in Ireland.
I produced a vlog on the experience to share so you can see highlights like seals, donkeys, history, nightlife, traditional dancing and much more.
Ireland is amazing! If you want to know more about TBEX and why you should go, press play, or search TBEX on this blog for learnings and adventures from over the past few years in Costa Brava, Athens, Stockholm and Dublin.
If you’ve been to TBEX or have questions drop us a line and say hi in the comments.
We recently had the opportunity to visit the lovely seaside city of Bournemouth for the weekend.
Actually, we’d intended to visit here for a long time. We have super lovely and creative friends from the Gold Coast who lived and worked here for a few years and loved it (shout out to Lou and Iain from P’s in a Pod); and as Aussies, we are always on the lookout for a ‘real’ beach.
As far as seaside cities here go, I’d describe Bournemouth as being a contemporary destination, conveniently located just two hours’ train ride from London; the beach is actually beautiful, there’s a pier, and plenty of bars, restaurants, serene hotels and accommodation to keep you happy for a sunny weekend escape.
We appreciated how the city has been designed – there’s a central mall with shopping – at the top of that is a spot called ‘the triangle’ that boasts some nice bars and eateries like Smokin’ Aces and Koh Thai. A wonderful park and landscaped garden area (including mini golf) leads explorers through the town towards the beach and Bournemouth Wheel. Either way along the beach you can wander the promenade and discover ice-cream, coffee, cocktails and markets. Truly charming.
Get lost in paradise on a Santorini Greece vacation!
Keep an eye on here for more Santorini Greece vacation stories, on the way soon (plus plenty of other summer Euro inspiration).
Santorini Greece vacation
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what we saw…
Summer love in Santorini
A Santorini Greece vacation is something most people want to tick off their travel bucket-list in a lifetime. We stayed in an amazing place called Manos Small World, overlooking the spectacular bay, volcanic structures and plenty of cruise ships coming in and out of the port.
This lovely spot was set on Caldera cliff and just a ten minute walk from plenty of shops and restaurants. The walk into town is along the cliff with extraordinary views at any time of day. There’s also a few cool bars along the way that serve delicious cocktails, perfect for sunset.
The area was very central and easy to get on a day tour coach (as we did) that explores the island. I’d recommend it for your Santorini Greece vacation, as it’s an easy way to see the whole island, its pockets, beach bars and views. Just Google ‘Santorini coach day trips’ for options.
An obligatory trip to Oia, Santorini, for the sunset was in order too. Oia is a town brimming with whitewashed houses that are carved into rugged clifftops. It overlooks a vast caldera filled with water, and is a famous sunset spot. Oia gets very very busy coming into the sunset hours, so if you are there for the spectacle, you’ll want to find a spot earlier in the afternoon and wait there.
Santorini is almost too beautiful, and is full of Grecian charm, like Athens is. I think we definitely have a thing for islands, because this trip is up there with some of our favourites like Ibiza or Mallorca. Santorini Greece is absolutely worth a visit and adding to your Greece vacation list.
A note on animal rights
I rarely preach on this blog, but PLEASE do respect animal rights on your trip. Consider how you can support the many stray dogs that are here, as well as promote a better attitude towards looking after dogs.
To be honest, I saw some things here that did not impress me in this respect.
Additionally, rethink donkey rides – this is unnecessary and goes against animal rights as far as many are concerned. They are not there for amusement, or at least, shouldn’t be. Enjoy your Santorini Greece vacation responsibly.
Travel responsibly. We do not support riding animals for fun, here, Thailand or anywhere else for that matter.
Let us know your thoughts or questions on any of this – drop us a line in the comments.
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper, and here we share our advice and stories about expat living in the UK; pet and house sitting around the world; wellness travel and creative living, no matter where on the planet you are. We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for 20 years, and have spent over 10 years living and working abroad. We hope you find value in our content. Please do connect by leaving a comment or find us on social media.