SECRET

LONDON

The Painted Hall
Location - Old Royal Naval College, London SE10 9NN

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is one of London's baroque masterpieces, often referred to as the 'Sistine Chapel of the UK'. This magnificent dining hall, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, is adorned with breathtaking ceiling and wall murals by James Thornhill, completed over 19 years. The paintings celebrate England's naval power and cultural ascendancy in the early 18th century. A visit to the Painted Hall is a journey through art, history, and architecture, offering an awe-inspiring experience of one of London's grandest interiors.

The V&A Library
Location - Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Library in London is a treasure trove of art and design literature, reflecting the museum's commitment to the study and preservation of decorative arts and design. As one of the UK's leading research libraries in these fields, it houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, drawings, and prints related to a wide array of disciplines including fashion, photography, sculpture, and more. This vast resource supports academic research and provides inspiration for designers, scholars, and enthusiasts alike. The library's elegant reading rooms offer a serene environment for study, surrounded by the rich history and culture embodied in its collections.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Location - Euston Rd., London NW1 2AR

The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London stands as a Victorian masterpiece, blending historical grandeur with modern luxury. Originally opened in 1873 as the Midland Grand Hotel, this iconic building showcases the exuberant Gothic Revival architecture of Sir George Gilbert Scott. Situated adjacent to St Pancras International Station, it offers unrivaled access to London and beyond, including high-speed rail links to continental Europe via the Eurostar.  Following extensive restoration, the hotel reopened its doors in 2011, reviving its original splendor while incorporating contemporary amenities for its guests. The hotel features lavish rooms and suites, many with original period details, offering guests a unique blend of old-world elegance and modern comfort. The grand staircase, historically significant artworks, and ornate ceilings are among the architectural treasures that guests can admire.

Mare St Market
Location - Euston Rd., London NW1 2AR

The Market Dining Room at Mare Street Market offers a cozy dining experience with an Open Kitchen menu, nestled under the distinctive glow of Pure White Lines’ chandeliers. Transforming an old council office block into a vibrant East London spot, Mare Street Market now boasts a unique mix of a record shop, florist, bakery, deli, cocktail bar, barber, tattooist, and several restaurants within its 10,000 sq ft.

For a casual meal, the Open Kitchen serves BBQ'd tamarind seabass, burnt aubergine with tahini yoghurt, rib-eye steak, and a variety of sourdough pizzas. Weekends offer hearty brunches and Sunday roasts.


Mercato Mayfair
Location - Euston Rd., London NW1 2AR

In the heart of Mayfair, the Mercato Mayfair Foodhall breathes new life into the historic St. Mark’s Church on North Audley Street, offering a stunning backdrop for a sustainable food haven. As a beacon of culinary excellence since its 2019 inauguration by Italian visionary Andrea Rasca, Mercato Mayfair has become a fixture in London's gastronomic scene. Following the blueprint of his Milanese success, Mercato Metropolitano, Rasca's London venture marries artisanal fare with sustainability, housed within a Grade I-listed edifice that has seen a Β£5 million revival to its 1820s splendour. Beyond its food market, Mercato Mayfair nurtures community spirit, hosting music and cultural events in its atmospheric basement, embodying a model of urban renewal that harmonizes history, sustainability, and culinary craft.

Word on the Water
Location - Regent's Canal Towpath, London N1C 4LW

Word on the Water, London's floating literary haven, offers a novel retreat on the serene waters of the Regent's Canal. This 1920s Dutch barge has been transformed into a unique treasure trove of literature, where shelves brim with books from riveting bestsellers to timeless classics. As you step aboard, the intimate charm of this floating mobile bookstore envelops you. With regular live music and poetry readings, this bibliophilic barge is more than just a place to purchase books; it's an unforgettable cultural venue that celebrates the joy of reading in one of the city's more unusual and picturesque settings.

The Design Museum
Location - 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG
The Design Museum in Kensington is a compelling centre for creativity, offering a deep dive into design's ever-changing influence on society. Relocated in 2016, this architectural beauty, a revamped Commonwealth Institute, champions contemporary design through its diverse exhibitions. Covering fashion, furniture, graphics, and more, it aims to demystify design for professionals and enthusiasts alike. With a multitude of programs, workshops, and the Design of the Year Award, it invites visitors to consider design's role in everyday life, promoting innovation and thoughtful analysis of our surroundings.

The British Library
Location - 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB

Beside London's St. Pancras Station, the British Library stands as a magnificent repository of the United Kingdom's literary and historical wealth. Created in 1973 and housed in a modern complex since 1997, this national treasure secures over 170 million items, ranging from ancient manuscripts to contemporary digital works. It boasts diverse collections like the Oriental and India Office Collections and the National Sound Archive, attracting scholars and visitors worldwide. Previously dispersed, including within the renowned British Museum Reading Roomβ€”a sanctuary for notables such as Karl Marx and Virginia Woolfβ€”the library now offers unified access to its extensive holdings. With a narrative marked by resilience, expansion, and adaptation, the British Library continues to enchant and educate, bridging the past with the future in London's literary landscape.

Forno Bakery
Location - 322 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RP

Forno, an understated gem in East London, is perfect for breakfast on the go, a quick lunch, or a relaxed coffee with friends. Tucked under a train line with exposed brick and a discreet entrance, it exudes an effortlessly cool charm. Created by the team behind Ombra, Forno offers high-quality, hand-crafted, freshly baked goods. The funky, industrial decor and open kitchen let diners see chefs in action. The menu features classic Italian pastries, fresh sourdough, seasonal treats, and savoury delights like nduja sausage rolls and pizza slices. With its select wines and exceptional coffee, Forno is a must-visit.

Maison Assouline
Location - 196A Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EY

Maison Assouline in London is more than a bookstore, it is an inviting and sophisticated retreat in the heart of Piccadilly. This enclave of intellect and style stands as a tribute to the art of living well, offering an excellent selection of books that span the realms of art, fashion, design, and gastronomy. Beyond its literary treasures, Maison Assouline is a sanctuary for those who seek the refined and the rare, with its curated artefacts and sumptuous furnishings. The space itself, designed with an eye for elegance and comfort, invites visitors to linger, whether to enjoy a crafted cocktail at its distinguished bar or to engage in quiet contemplation amidst its wealth of knowledge.

Libreria Bookshop
Location - 65 Hanbury St, London E1 5JL

Second Home's mission is to foster creativity and innovation, reflected in their Libreria bookshop designed by Spanish architects SelgasCano. Libreria is crafted to spark discovery and interdisciplinary thinking, curating books to maximise serendipity. Shelves are arranged by themes like 'Wanderlust', 'Enchantment for the Disenchanted', and 'The City', encouraging encounters with unexpected titles. Spanning 830 square metres with over 6,000 titles, Libreria opposes algorithmic recommendations, offering freedom to explore. Technology is forbidden; no smartphones or Wi-Fi, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in stories without digital distractions. It's a celebration of analogue, inviting you to lose yourself in a world of books.


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