Tag Archives: London Eye

A very Christmassy stay at The Royal Horseguards Hotel, London

I was feeling rather Christmassy anyway after ambling through Covent Garden with a glass of mulled wine and admiring the Christmas lights, but even the most Bah Humbug of Scrooges would have felt full of festive cheer arriving at the five-star Royal Horseguards Hotel. The lobby was brimming with decorations, from a massive tree with presents and teddy bears underneath, to Christmas wreaths behind the reception, yet more teddies and presents in a central display and a roaring fire.

Royal Horseguards Hotel review
The entrance hall at The Royal Horseguards Hotel

royal horseguards hotel review

The 282-room hotel has an incredibly central location, being just across the Thames from the London Eye big wheel (great views for the New Year’s Eve fireworks), next door to Embankment tube station and just a few minute’s walk from Trafalgar Square, the Strand and Leicester Square.

The massive Victorian building, designed in typical Whitehall style with masses of pale stonework and an imposing tower on one corner, used to be home to the Secret Service. Continue reading A very Christmassy stay at The Royal Horseguards Hotel, London

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar: lunch with a view

Long-time London dwellers still remember County Hall, across the river Thames from the Houses of Parliament, as the Greater London Council building on which Ken Livingstone used to hang banners to annoy Margaret Thatcher.

However the impressive building has long since fallen into private hands. As well as some fairly diverse attractions including the London Aquarium and and London Dungeon, part of the building houses the five-star London Marriot County Hall in which the Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar, one of many good restaurants in Waterloo, can be found.

The County Hall building restaurants in waterloo
The County Hall building used to be the offices of the Greater London Council but now houses the London Aquarium and the London Dungeon as well as the Marriot hotel

I’ve long been a fan of the bar for not only having great views of the Thames but for having a fabulously well-stocked bar and staff who are both extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

I spent a lengthy evening before Christmas there working my way through a variety of cocktails both on and off-menu, and was served the best negroni I’ve ever had, made entirely from English spirits from the Hampstead-based Sacred Spirits company.

restaurants in waterloo
The bar at Gillray’s serves an impressive range of cocktails

However until now I’d never ventured into the actual restaurant and on arrival was evident that not many other people were doing either – just one other table was occupied in the sizeable dining room which made for a fairly subdued atmosphere. The location, right by Waterloo station, the London Eye, Westminster and so forth, should have made it perfectly sited for both tourists and business types but that wasn’t the case this Wednesday lunchtime. Continue reading Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar: lunch with a view