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» Listings for January 2013

  1. Afternoon Tea at the Ampersand Hotel

    The Drawing Rooms

    Earlier this week a friend and I visited the V & A to see their wonderful Hollywood Costume exhibition and ended the day with a delicious afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel. It’s a small boutique hotel set in a beautiful Victorian building and its location was perfect being only a couple of minutes walk from the V & A. Afternoon tea is served in the cosy Drawing Rooms with its botanical and ornithological themed decor, where we opted to sit in the less crowded rear section.

  2. Lancaster House

      “My dear, I have come from my house to your palace”

    Queen Victoria apparently made this remark when she visited her close friend Harriet, the Duchess of Sunderland, at Stafford House (the house's previous name).

    It is one of the few surviving great London townhouses, built in a warm honey coloured Bath stone, its next door neighbour is Buckingham Palace. The house is very opulently furnished with its principal rooms lavishly decorated in a Louis XIV style.

    Today Lancaster House is managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is used as a venue for conferences and government hospitality. It is seldom open to the general public but I was fortunate to attend a private guided tour arranged for Westminster Guides. The tour was lead by James Yorke, the author of “Lancaster House: London's Greatest Town House”, whose encyclopaedia knowledge and genuine love for the house made this a very special visit.

  3. St Pancras Old Church

    Last week I took a little detour to visit the delightful St Pancras Old Church which is quietly tucked away behind St Pancras International Station. Although adjacent to the busy main railway line it's a peaceful, little oasis.

    It’s believed to be one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in England, dating back to 314 AD, although the church one sees today was restored in the Victorian period.  It became known as Old when the new church was built in nearby Euston Road. The church and neighbouring railway station are both named after a child martyr beheaded in Rome for his Christian faith.