Steep Yourself in Culture in Central London
With the dramatic rebirth of a Victorian-era landmark, you can get a taste of true British tradition in a dynamic, central locale.
London’s King’s Cross area is home to historical highlights such as the British Library, the picturesque Regent's Canal and a fairytale façade of a structure widely known for its Victorian architecture. When the Midland Railway commissioned George Gilbert Scott (who designed or collaborated on more than 800 churches and cathedrals in Britain) to design the Midland Grand Hotel at the St. Pancras station—known as the 'cathedral of the railways'—the result was a fantastic example of the era's Gothic Revival style. It featured a breathtakingly grand double staircase, vaulted ceilings, gold leaf accents and ornate stenciling, and during its heyday, the hotel played host to guests such as the American industrialists Commodore Vanderbilt and George Pullman. In 2011, after extensive restoration—and 138 years after the Midland Grand’s opening—the property opened as the St. Pancras Renaissance® London Hotel.
The luxury hotel is a flagship in this newly-vibrant area, and fittingly, the on-site destination restaurant is dubbed The Gilbert Scott. Here, you can enjoy Chef Marcus Wareing’s popular, brasserie-style cuisine under the room’s ornately painted ceilings and glowing bell chandeliers. Sip an 1873, the house cocktail named after the year the Midland Grand Hotel opened—it's a carbonated mix of aromatic gin, rhubarb bitters, and apple and cranberry juices. For the ultimate British experience, order the English Afternoon Tea, featuring scones, finger sandwiches, sweet treats, and tea or sparkling wine. Weekend brunch options include a Yorkshire fish cake with capers, poached egg and mustard hollandaise sauce or a twist on eggy bread, served with bananas and bacon.
Since the St. Pancras station is a major travel hub (it's the biggest interchange station on the London Underground, and also has two National Rail stations and Eurostar service to Paris and Brussels), The Gilbert Scott serves a special St. Pancras Express menu during peak travel times. Spiced Herdwick lamb meatballs, roasted pollock and Mrs. Beeton’s snow eggs (marmalade and almond egg-shaped meringues, a dessert created by Victorian cookery author Mrs. Beeton) are a few of the options on the two-course or three-course menus; the quick service is also ideal if you have a show to catch at the nearby Shaw and Bloomsbury Theatres.
Find out more about local discoveries in and around other Renaissance hotels all over the world by checking out their online discovery tool (where you can plug in your destination city and explore finds from food to drink, shopping and entertainment) as well as their event listings.