cool places to stay in Nostalgic London

1) Clink78

Fancy spending a night snoozing inside a former prison cell? Formerly Clerkenwell Magistrates Court, this Victorian building is now a backpackers’ hostel. Beds are available in the old cells, complete with original bunks, high windows and a heavy metal door (relax – you can open it from the inside). You can also hang out in the former courtroom or party in the basement bar, named ClashBar after the punk band that once went on trial here.

a dorm at Clink78 hostel London

2) Princelet Street

Bed down for the night on one of Spitalfields’ most well-preserved historic streets. Like nearby Fournier Street, Princelet Street sprung up in the early 1700s and was populated with Huguenot silk weavers. This tall, elegant and carefully restored home is now owned by the Landmark Trust. Rent its four floors and peaceful walled garden for a taste of what life would have been like here centuries ago.

vintage interior of Princelet Street accomodation

3) The Brunswick Centre

This concrete construction near Russell Square, made up of flats, shops and a Curzon cinema, is Grade II-listed and one of the best examples of brutalist architecture in the capital. Designed in the late 1960s, the low-rise, stepped flats all feature partly glazed roofs, filling them with natural light. Stay in this two-bedroom apartment to admire the pioneering urban environment that opens out beneath the balcony.

a bedroom at the Brunswick Centre London

4) The Georgian House

Stay inside Hampton Court Palace’s grounds at The Georgian House and you’ll have free rein to wander through the gardens and courtyards after the rest of the visitors have gone home. The elegant house was actually built as a great kitchen while George I was on the throne in 1719. It later became two houses, for the Clerk of Works and the Gardener, and you can now rent one of them to live out any daydreams you have about royal court life.

dining room at the Georgian House at Hampton Court Palace

5) 43 and 45a Cloth Fair

While you can’t access 41 Cloth Fair, the oldest house in the City of London and the only to survive the Great Fire of London, you can have a nosey around inside the neighbouring properties. Both 43 and 45a are owned by the Landmark Trust, and are available for overnight stays. They don’t look quite as old as 41 – both have 18th-century, Georgian façades – but their timber frames date from around 1600. The first and second floor of 43 also used to be the home of Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman. The building is almost exactly as it was when he lived here, including his choice of William Morris wallpaper in the living room.

interior of 43 Cloth Fair in London

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