Our Family UK Staycation Bucket List

Now, as you know, the Hobbis family sojourns into the wilderness have basically got as far as Devon since it has taken me the last four years to muster up the energy to get my passport updated.

Selfridges in Birmingham UK - Staycations UK - motherdistracted.co.uk
Selfridges, Birmingham

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But it strikes me that, although the parenting rite of passage that is the Disneyland visit is on the agenda, if ever there were a year for supporting our home nations, it’s going to be 2016.

Leaving aside the, to me, incontrovertible proof that climate change IS beginning to affect us and the likelihood that the levels of rainfall we are seeing are here to stay, the UK has so many glorious beauty spots, places of interest and cultural quirks that exploring as many as we can should be on all our travel bucket lists.

The other side of this rather waterlogged observation is that this year, the UK tourist industry needs our financial support more than ever.

I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s at a time when the Costa del Sol package holiday was in its infancy. Those who braved air travel to fly to Spain were considered very ‘posh’ indeed.

My Dad took a different approach.  He took his family to all of the areas of outstanding beauty in the UK. We travelled up to Inveraray and back down to Edinburgh.

We visited Keswick and Ambleside in the Lake District and marvelled at the beauty of the Lakes.  We stayed just outside York and visited its cathedral and explored the Shambles.

The Cotswolds were (and are) a favourite haunt with many visits to Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-On-The-Wold.

We saw Donald Sinden as Othello in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and travelled by boat to Hampton Court out of a dusty and overheated London.

We explored North and Mid Wales and stayed in a cottage in the shadow of the mountain, Cader Idris just outside Dolgellau.   My sister and I splashed about in the river close to the Swallow Falls at Betws-y-Coed.

My parents are from Plymouth and most summers were spent visiting our grandparents.  There were many trips on the “Dockyard & Warships” boat trip, drives to Modbury Beach and Burgh Island and drives over Dartmoor to see Widdecombe and climb up Sheepstor, hopefully (but not always) avoiding the rain.

On Lands End, the winds were so strong, we had to hold on to my mother, lest all 4 foot 11 inches of her blew away to sea.

These are all places I hope to visit with the family over the next year or two.

What my Dad gave us, I now realise, was an education about the wonders of geography and history that was far more interesting than the O level geography syllabus topics of glaciation and orange growing in California.

There are, though, many gaps in my UK travel education and places still to explore.  My grandmother, Jessie, had relatives in the West Midlands and, aside from a trip in the ’80s to see Chris de Burgh in concert (even pre-“Lady In Red”!), Birmingham is a city I have yet to explore.

Victoria Square Birmingham - Staycations UK
Victoria Square, Birmingham

It’s so much easier today now that hotels have comfortable, spacious family rooms.  I remember on our trip to London in the 70’s that my Dad rushed out to buy a camp bed to put up next to our hotel room’s sole, rather rickety double bed.

Things to see around Birmingham

These days, too, there is a far greater range of family-friendly activities.  Around Birmingham, we could visit the National Sea Life Centre or Cadbury World. Then there’s the award-winning Black Country Living Museum near Dudley.  I might persuade the Husband to take the kids to the National Motorcycle Museum whilst I explore the shops in The Bullring which has over 160 shops.

Things to explore around Newcastle Upon Tyne

Another city I have never visited is Newcastle Upon Tyne which has Europe’s largest shopping centre, The Metrocentre.  It has 300 shops, an 11 screen cinema and a fun fair!

Tyne Bridge - Newcastle Upon Tyne - Staycations UK - motherdistracted.co.uk
Tyne Bridge

There’s the science and local history museum, The Discovery Museum, The Great North Museum which has a planetarium or the contemporary art gallery, The Biscuit Factory for starters.

Yes, this is going to be a great year for exploring and I sometimes think that if you waited for perfect weather in the UK, you’d never go anywhere.

No wonder my Dad made sure we always had our waterproofs with us!

Which things to see around Birmingham would you add to this list?

Fantastic Weekend Break Ideas For You & The Kids

We all need a weekend getaway once in a while. So, let’s take Monday and Friday off work, and set out on a long weekend! All parents know that holidays get a little trickier when you’ve got little ones along for the ride.

Photo by Alberto Casetta on Unsplash

It used to be simple. Choose a city and a nice hotel. Easy! Now, you’ve got to think about keeping the kids entertained, and finding something you can all enjoy. I’ve had plenty of experience (7 years in fact!) of taking the kids away.

Today, I’ll share some of my best weekend getaways with you.

Centre Parcs

We’ve never visited Centre Parcs before but it is apparently a woodland dream for the kids.  The accommodation consists of wooden cabins in the woods built around a central hub of entertainment (similar to Bluestone in Wales). You can rent bikes and ride around the lake every day.

There are kids clubs in the main centre, as well as swimming pools and leisure centres.

You can have barbecues in the evening, and play in the Great Outdoors all day so it’s an ideal break for an outdoorsy family.

River Cruises

The UK is full of fascinating rivers and canals. They meander through some of the country’s most beautiful countryside.

You can choose anywhere from the Norfolk Broads to the North York Moors. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could venture into Europe.

Take a look at some of the river cruises on the continent, and find somewhere you can all enjoy. You’ll get to relax on the winding rivers, and the children will love every second of the boat life.

Theme Parks

It’s no secret that the kids go wild at the theme park! And, well, the adults love it too. Many of the biggest theme parks now have accommodation on site. So you can stay over the weekend, and make sure you go on every ride! One of our favourite attractions for the kids is Legoland.

You’ll find it in Windsor, and it’s a playful paradise for the children. There are one or two treats for the grown ups too.

You could also try Chessington World of Adventure, which also has a zoo.

Camping

Camping with children is always a hit and miss activity. But, if you think your kids will enjoy it, it’s a wonderful idea. Our little ones love getting out and about and playing in nature. It gives them a sense of freedom, and you can teach them more about the world around them. Just make sure you take plenty of warm blankets!

The beach

You can’t go wrong with a traditional beach holiday. If you don’t want to stray too far from home, the UK has some fantastic beaches.

Here in Wales, we have the beautiful Llyn Peninsula and the Snowdonia Coast to visit. Cornwall is also a brilliant beach destination for families.

If you’re looking for somewhere warmer, the European beaches are just a short flight away.

We all need to get away for a weekend. Start planning your trip, and get the kids involved too!

What are your favourite weekend getaways?

50 Free Things To Do In London – A Handy Guide

Today I’m sharing a really helpful guide produced by Central London Apartments entitled  “50 Free Things To Do In London“.

Central London Apartments who offer over 1000 serviced apartments in London specialise in providing quality, great value accommodation in central London and the surrounding areas. They offer short stay apartments which can save an average of 30% on your hotel bill, whilst offering more space, comfort and flexibility.

We have been planning a trip to London with Caitlin and Ieuan but, being complete novices with family rooms, an apartment is a very tempting alternative, given our varying sleeping habits and the general cacophony of snores, whistles, shouts and completely lucid conversations with superheroes (you can guess who) emitted by the family en masse.

I don’t know about you, but sightseeing when we’re all grumpy due to sleep deprivation never works well.

Then there’s the issue of what to do – and the cost.  Caitlin’s knowledge of London has been entirely gleaned from Paddington and for her, the City consists of Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds and Hampton Court Palace.  Ieuan just wants to go on the underground.

We’ve got as far as considering a river cruise but the idea of being stuck on the London Eye for over an hour if one of the kids decides they want to get off is less appealing.  I’d love to go on it though – and would also love to sip champagne at the top of the Shard – unlikely with the kids in tow!

I’d like to go to the London Dungeon – but will it be too scary for the kids?  And then of course there’s Legoland in Windsor and the Warner Bros Studio Tour of The Making of Harry Potter in Leavesden.

All of this could cost an arm and a leg so it was refreshing to read Central London Apartments’ guide to 50 free things to do in London, many of which can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Free things to do in London – my top 5 choices

Here are my top five choices from their list, where you will find full information, location and websites etc.

1.  National History Museum

Here you can discover the secrets of the deep sea, explore coral reefs and meet the dinosaurs.  The museum is split into zones.

The Blue Zone introduces you to dinosaurs and giant mammals, with a gallery of fascinating nature photography.

The Red Zone takes you through a giant earth sculpture, where you can learn about the power of volcanoes and earthquakes.

The Green Zone explores the wonders of evolution, and in the Orange Zone, you can see scientists hard at work, and visit the wildlife garden.

There are 35 rooms of incredible exhibits, with the most intact Stegosaurus fossil skeleton in the world (in the Red Zone). There are regular free talks, tours and events for families.

4.  The Science Museum

The Science Museum has over 15,000 objects on display and an exciting range of interactive exhibits.

It’s the perfect place for kids (and big kids) who love robots and making things with their hands.

You’ll meet robots who can write, and Adam, a robot who can carry out scientific experiments.

Younger children will love the interactive storytelling events, and for older kids, there are plenty of fun, free workshops.

You can make a colourful magic lantern, a pop up Science Museum, an artistic doodling machine and your very own hand-made rocket mouse!

10.  Free Walking Tour – Changing of The Guard

This is a two hour Golden Tours free Royal Walking Tour which follows the footsteps of Britain’s monarchy and you will see either the changing of the guard or the Horse Guards, depending on availability.

Two hours may be a bit long for my kids but I’m sure we’d be able to slope off once the kids threshold of interest is reached!

19.  Harrods


Now I must confess this may be of more interest to Caitlin and I than to the boys but apart from all that luxurious designer wear and a fantastic beauty department, there is also the Toy Kingdom, a 26,000 foot realm crammed with LEGO, Barbie, Transformers, traditional teddies, books, delicious sweets, dress up clothes and souvenirs.

I may struggle to remember this is supposed to be a free visit though and am quite likely to come over “all peculiar” and require afternoon tea.

29. St James’ Park

St James’s Park is the oldest of the Royal parks and includes the iconic landmarks The Mall, Horse Guards Parade and the blue bridge.

You can follow in the footsteps of the historic Royal processions marching down The Mall to Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace. And you may also meet one of the resident pelican colony.

It’s a great place to take a break and eat a packed lunch (even if you are wearing your kagool)!

There are so many other fabulous free places to visit and you can check out the rest of Central London Apartment’s list here

Which would you visit first?

*PR collaboration.

Help! I’m Going Glamping – That’ll Be An Experience

This year, we’re off glamping.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that this is an act of bravery not surpassed since I had hysterics whilst abseiling off Merthyr Viaduct.

I am a B&B type of girl. Better still, a 5 star hotel type of girl.

Comfy beds, soft sheets, a deep bath and an exciting range of mini toiletries and I’m happy.

experience days camping

But the thing is, when you have kids, it’s not about you any more is it?

I’m working up to the full ‘under canvas’ experience but at least this year we’re giving the kids the chance to (sort of) experience a life slightly wilder than living in a suburban semi.

I did go camping with my parents and my sister a couple of times when I was a teenager.

We stayed on a campsite just outside Stow-on-The-Wold in the Cotswolds and then on a site in Stratford-Upon-Avon a year or so later.

I imagine that camping facilities are much more sophisticated these days but then it was still the wafer thin ground sheet and an ‘off with a toilet roll into the bushes’ experience.

After a week of sunburn, sleep deprivation and flop bot I was glad to go home.

I admire those mums who chuck their off-spring into a sling, don a pair of Hunters and trot happily off to a festival, irrespective of the threat of hearing damage to their little ones and numerous hideous diseases from the porta-poos.

I wish I could sit on a camping stool knitting my own bunting and teaching my kids about the starry constellations lighting up the night sky.

There is such a romance about it.

This time, there will be an extra challenge for us.

One that never existing even 20 years ago.

There will be no electricity.

So no phone charging or iPad charging.

In the confines of our wooden cabin we will have to, gasp, talk to each other, interact as a family, play games, chat and share confidences.

Isn’t that what really makes a holiday though, no matter where you are?

It’s the shared experience.

That’s a really unique gift to give your children (and will help strengthen your relationship with your partner too).

When I look back on my camping trips now, although I hated the accommodation, I remember the beauty of the Cotswolds – particularly the quaintness of Bourton-on-the-Water and The Slaughters.

I remember sitting somewhere on the edge of a traditional English green watching the locals play cricket in the sunshine.

At Stratford, Mum and Dad took us to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Othello (Donald Sinden was the lead) and I can remember it to this day – seeing Shakespeare performed in a truly authentic way, surrounded by an audience so awed by the play you could have heard a pin drop.

(No mobiles going off or the constant irritation of mobile phone cameras flashing in those days!).

So I’m going to grit my teeth and pitch in.

My parents did it for my sister and I so it’s my turn to bequeath the same chance of life-long memories to my kids.

And if it all gets too much for me, I’ll be investing in some experience days of my own when I come back – starting with a massage and ending with an afternoon tea!

This is a collaborative post.

Holidays in the UK – I Like A Kagool, As a Rule

When I was a child, our holidays were usually either in the homes of our grandparents, in Plymouth, Devon or we’d rent a cottage in one of the beautiful landscapes of the British Isles – the Lakes, Yorkshire or, closer to home, Dolgellau or Aberporth.  

Man in Orange Kagool - UK Staycations - motherdistracted.co.uk
Source:  www.outdoor-revolution.com

In those days, a theme park was an unheard of proposition. Going out to play meant zooming up and down the cul-de-sac on a Mini Moulton or a Chopper bicycle. The most hedonistic experience you could have at the fair ground was going down the log flume whilst consuming a boiling hot doughnut or, possibly, trying to eat candyfloss in a force 10 gale whilst sporting very long hair. The end result was not dissimilar to one of those troll dolls you could buy – or was it a gonk? I never did manage to work out the difference.  

But one thing was a reassuring constant. It always rained. Always. Apart from the ‘long, hot summer of 1976’ which most of us, ahem, mature individuals can recall. So, the entire family would sport the lovely, crinkly and sweat inducing garment that is the kagool. Helpfully high visibility, even on the bleakest afternoon up Cader Idris or in the depths of the slate mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog, you could probably spot the Brooks family from space. 

We moved like a day-glo orange unit, armed with dad’s rucksack, some cracked plastic camping mugs (which, mother is STILL using) and emergency Kendal Mint Cake (a minty, sugar based confection which tasted fabulous, resembled a brick and could probably knock you out if it were thrown at you). Sandwiches were cheese and tomato (irrespective of the fact that nobody really liked tomato). Crisps were those Salt ‘n’ Shake ones which were murder if you suffered from mouth ulcers and, since the tortured minds at Robinsons had not yet conceived the “Fruit Shoot”, we had squashy, plastic cartons of Kia Ora which was as orange as our kagools.

I tend to spend most school holidays in a complete lather about “how to entertain the kids”. I morph into an irritable, over-anxious Butlins Red Coat of a mother, bemoaning the fact that every venue seems to require a lengthy drive, satnav, and, of course, at least 50 photographs uploaded to Facebook within 30 minutes of returning home. (Here we are on the beach.  Here we are eating an ice cream on the beach. Here we are digging a hole – on the beach). Guilty as charged, m’lud but I wish it wasn’t such a compulsion.

If their holiday Facebook statuses are to be believed, other mums seem to spend their time ferrying their offspring the length and breadth of this country’s entertainment venues within the first two weeks of the holidays. They must surely be inhaling Berroca (although it is more likely to be Pinot Grigio). They go abseiling, rock climbing, horse riding, baking, crafting, bbq-ing and face painting. 

Well, in the first week of last year’s summer holidays we went to Tesco’s and let me tell you it was a disaster. Despite Ieuan managing to hold on to Kevin (his evil minion), Caitlin managed to lose one of her soft toy puppy collection which resulted in two trips to Cogan on one of the hottest day of the year and much wailing and tears (and that was just me).  Then we went to Penarth Headland to some swings with a sea view. Caitlin fell off the swing so the rest of the afternoon was spent in the Heath Hospital A&E. (Cue the usual muttering from the Husband about us consuming far more than our fair share of NHS resources).

I’m beginning to wonder if I would have been better off busing them to Alton Towers and strapping them onto The Smiler for the afternoon. We didn’t have play centres like Parc or the Zone when I was young. If you got your face painted it was because you’d swiped your mother’s Avon lippie while her back was turned. Everything was much simpler, cheaper and probably safer.

So I think I’m going to buy us all kagools in case of inclement weather and take the kids to visit some of the finest pay and display car parks this country has to offer. It’ll be a thermos, cheese and tomato sarnies and ready salted crisps.

And you know what? I think they’d be just as happy. All kids really want is loving attention from their parents.  And all I want is an extremely large glass of rioja!  You can post that on Facebook.

The Reluctant Hotel Inspector: Doubletree By Hilton Tower of London Hotel

Back in London for business again, the Inspector booked a room for one night at the 4 star Doubletree By Hilton Tower of London Hotel, largely because it is just walking distance from the City. The hotel is a 5 minute walk from London Bridge Tube Station and is situated in the heart of the Financial District, and close to the River Thames.

Doubletree By Hilton Tower of London Hotel

 

Doubletree By Hilton Tower of London Hotel by night

For tourists, the hotel is also ideally situated for St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern, HMS Belfast, The Tower of London and The Shard, as well, of course, as Tower Bridge itself.

Rooms are stylish and modern with “deluxe rooms” featuring complimentary WIFI, an IMac / PC Entertainment System with Skype. Walk in power showers and wall to ceiling mirrors are also included, as are a work desk and high level sound proofing.

Complimentary WiFi access is available in all public areas and the executive lounge and there is a fully equipped “Fitness Room”.

The Inspector had a double room on the 8th floor at a cost of £289 for one night (excluding breakfast). The room was very comfortable and the desk space allocated perfectly adequate. It was also quiet with no noise from outside traffic.

 

A very comfortable double bedded room

 

Compact and Bijoux Bathroom

The bathroom contained a toilet and a walk in shower. There was a combined TV / iMac in the room which the Inspector found unusual, but not a problem as he is not a big TV watcher.

The hotel offers the “City Cafe Restaurant” which offers modern European cuisine, and the Lobby Bar but the Inspector opted to eat in “The Sky Lounge” which offers fabulous views of the Tower Bridge and 360 degree views across the London skyline.

 

The view from the “Sky Lounge”

 

Lamb Kebabs in the restaurant

The bill came to around the £35 mark with the Inspector finding his favourite Peroni expensive at £6 for a small bottle (the price of a pint of draft Peroni at the Sloe Bar, Paddington is much less, at £4.70). The lamb kebabs, however, were delicious.

This was the Inspector’s first time at the Doubletree By Hilton Tower of London Hotel, but the hotel is within easy walking distance for lots of his customers in the City so he would certainly consider returning.

7 Pepys Street
London
EC3N 4AF
Tel 44-207-7091000

Review: Lunch at The 4* Guoman Grosvenor Hotel, Buckingham Palace Road, London

Earlier this year, I was the lucky winner of lunch for two at the fabulous 4 star Grosvenor Hotel in London. As you know, I adore hotels so the train trip from Cardiff wasn’t going to stop me making the most of the opportunity and my sister’s birthday at the end of September seemed to be the perfect time to make the trip.

The Grosvenor Hotel in London Victoria was built in 1862 by the Victorian railway pioneers. It is Grade II listed and has been restored to its former glory by a multi-million-pound refurbishment. It is located within walking distance of Buckingham Palace and is just a hop from Victoria Tube Station.

After a 3 hour train journey which involved engineering works, a stressed buffet steward who had run out of everything bar lukewarm coffee and whiskey miniatures by Swindon and feeling hideously out of place by not having our own stash of Carling at 8:30 am, we were only too ready to be transported back to the Golden Age of the Railway.

As we entered the lobby we were struck by the gleaming Victorian splendour of the hotel lobby and took a moment to absorb some of the hotel’s history.

Grosvenor Hotel in London - the approach to The Brasserie

The approach to the Brasserie

The hotel has links to one of London’s most notorious residents in Victorian times. In 1870 the famous courtesan, Cora Pearl made a rare visit to London and booked into the hotel. The story goes that Cora, who entertained only the highest echelons of society, including, allegedly, royalty, had booked a suite but was promptly asked to leave when details of her ‘occupation’ became known.

For the hotel’s 150th anniversary last year, the suite in which she was due to stay (The Cora Pearl Suite) was refurbished in partnership with historian Katie Hickman (also the author of the book “Courtesans”). The suite features an amazing two-foot high oil painting of Cora and contains such girlie delights as glass chandeliers, feather-trimmed lamps and a very large dressing table.

Being ladies of immaculate repute, my sister and I were obviously ushered swiftly into The Brasserie by a team of very friendly staff. We opted for the special prix fixe menu which is available between noon and 6 pm lovingly created by Executive Chef Robert Prendergast and his team.

Grosvenor Hotel in London - the brasserie

Inside the Brasserie

The wine list came in the form of an old-fashioned newspaper from Victorian days, complete with advertisements from the day.

Grosvenor Hotel in London - excerpt from a Victorian newspaper

Excerpt from a Victorian newspaper

I managed to remember to order a bottle of nicely dry Rosé whilst we ordered our lunch.

To start we chose “Warm Crottin Goat’s Cheese Salad with Poached Pear, Radish and Glazed Beets”

The glazed beets added a sweet counterpoint to the strong tang of the goat’s cheese, which made for a surprisingly light and refreshing first course.

For our main course, we chose “Pan Fried Sea Trout with Basil Gnocchi, Brown Shrimp and Grilled Chicory with Rosemary Anchovy Dressing”.

Grosvenor Hotel in London - the pan fried trout

Pan fried trout

It made a real change to see trout on the menu, instead of the ubiquitous salmon and the basil gnocchi, in particular, were delicious.

Being complete troopers when it comes to nutrition, we made sure we chose a healthy dessert with fruit so a lovely “Blueberry and Ricotta Cheesecake with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream” fitted the bill.

We had our coffee in the lounge, amidst the merriment of an on-going baby shower and eyeing up the mounds of pretty cakes on three tier cake stands. Since my sister already has three children and I have two, we decided any possible reason for joining the party would be spurious at best.

I would have been happy to sit and doze but my sister was brandishing her camera and it was time to say goodbye and explore the many landmarks I hadn’t yet seen.

My lovely sister, Sarah

Don’t be fooled.  This smile means “we are now off on a 3-hour photography session on foot “

Big thanks to The Brasserie staff at The Grosvenor in London who were really friendly and helpful and made my prize really special. We had a great time and discovered a fabulous place for lunch, should I ever tempt my sister back on the First Great Western Swansea to Paddington mobile bar.

The Grosvenor Hotel, 101 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0SJ
Tel: 0871 376 9038 The Brasserie Reservations:  020 7858 6249 Mon – Sun 12:00 – 22:30

This is an independent review of The Grosvenor Hotel in London.  For more restaurant reviews click here.

The Reluctant Hotel Inspector – Hotel ibis London Euston St Pancras

Late September and the fashion pack are present in full force in London for London Fashion Week. Much to the Inspector’s annoyance, the price of a four night stay in one of the hotels he would usually use whilst working away from home has rocketed to over £2,000. If there’s one thing he hates, it’s paying through the nose so it was time to try an economy hotel.

Hotel ibis London Euston St. Pancras

Billed as “an economy London hotel close to Euston Station in central London”, the Hotel ibis London Euston St Pancras is, as you might guess from the name, handily situated just metres from Euston Station and a 10-minute walk from St Pancras International Station and the Eurostar terminal. Oxford Street and Covent Garden are about a 20 minute walk away or a short trip on the Tube.

The hotel has 380 rooms, all with coffee/tea making facilities and a hair dryer.The front desk is open 24 hours.There is a restaurant and a bar /lounge (although these were practically one and the same in terms of layout). Room service is available, as are laundry facilities.

The Inspector had a twin bedded room on the first floor at a cost of £753 for four nights – approximately £177 per night including breakfast (which, due to meeting times, the Inspector did not unfortunately get to sample!).

The room was clean, comfortable and perfectly serviceable. The bathroom (a shower in a bath) was adequate.

The room stayed in was close to the lifts, however, the noise was minimal. There was a little noise from the nearby railway station but the Inspector sleeps heavily and rarely has any trouble falling asleep quickly.

Now, the Inspector’s criteria for assessing a hotel’s suitability for business use are quite different from my own search for luxury and pampering. He is not concerned with towel softness or branded freebies in the bathroom; he will not lose sleep over lack of chocolates on the pillow or a mini bar.

If I had been staying, I would have hot-footed it over to view the architectural wonder of St Pancras International railway station which is still one of the greatest Victorian buildings in London. I would also have had a peek at the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel which opened in Spring 2011. And it would be rude not to visit Searcys Champagne Bar which has the longest champagne bar in Europe.

I would take a taxi to Covent Garden to people watch and peruse shops such as Aspinal with its gorgeous handbags or The Tea House where you can buy 70 different types of tea. But the Inspector had time for none of this.

His concerns are more practical. Some of the Inspector’s bugbears when working away from home include:-

  • desks which are too small or insufficient leg room at the designated workspace
  • uncomfortable chairs
  • poor lighting
  • patchy WIFI provision

but the Hotel ibis London Euston St. Pancras scored quite well on these. The chair provided was quite hard. WIFI access was complimentary, however at low speed.

High-speed internet access is available for a fee. Low speed was perfectly serviceable, however, the Inspector did have problems downloading documents at one point.

Although he did not use them, the hotel has 4 meeting rooms with internet access and parking for 100 cars.

In summary, the Inspector found the Hotel ibis London Euston St Pancras perfectly adequate, clean, comfortable and fit for the purposes of a business traveller.

ibis London Euston St. Pancras
3 Cardington Street
London NW1 2LW
tel: 0207 3047712
H0921@accor.com

Note: the Reluctant Hotel Inspector lives with me and, since I adore hotels, has to submit to my endless questioning which, I figure, you might find interesting too.

Disclosure:  this is a completely independent review and no payment was received for this post.

Note:  at 30/01/2019 this hotel is permanently closed.