“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” Samuel Johnson reportedly said in 1777. The same might well hold true today, especially if you’re staying in the Victorian-era Royal Horseguards Hotel.
Instagrammers @helloemilie and @jasoncharles hill discovered this first hand with a stay at the 5-star hotel – former headquarters of Mi5 – using it as a base to explore the wonders of the English capital. Here are their reflections on this historic hotel and city.
What was your first impression of the Royal Horseguards Hotel?
Is this a hotel or a castle? Haha! I couldn't believe we were staying in a hotel that looked like a palace right in the heart of London.
It used to be headquarters of Mi5 – did you feel a bit like you were in a James Bond movie?
We had heard before we arrived that the building was used for the secret service and our plan was to find the secret tunnels but didn't come across them, haha.
What was your room like?
The hotel is located in the old historic part of London but the room was luxurious yet understated, which was perfect for our stay in London.
What was the view from your room like?
We had a street view, which looked down over some beautiful old buildings but next time we go we will have to get a river room, which has unrivalled views down the Thames and across to the London Eye.
Elevated views over London... Ive spent the last 5 days adventuring through the streets & living in what felt like a castle @horseguardsldn right in the center of London! Waking up to see the London Eye across the River & Big Ben has been pretty surreal to be honest. Hope everyone has a great weekend & bonus points for who can name that bridge? @flightcentreau #openmyworld
What was your favourite part of your stay?
The staff were friendly and the garden terrace was really amazing but overall it’s the charm of the hotel, and the fact that you are staying right in the centre of London.
Why is the hotel a good base for exploring London?
We loved that the area immediately around the hotel was quiet and peaceful but it was so conveniently located. Within five minutes’ walk you could be at the London Eye or Big Ben or you could walk across to the Tube and explore the rest of city as you pleased.
More London inspiration:
Top-notch views: 7 Cool Places To Get High In London
Raise a glass: London's Top 5 Historic Pubs
What else did you do in London?
Trying to fit in and see all the famous sites while staying in London can prove challenging, as there are so many. Of all the places we visited, we really enjoyed wandering the streets of Notting Hill, relaxing in the surrounding gardens of Buckingham Palace and crossing the river Thames via Tower Bridge.
What was your favourite part of London?
Other than the famous sites, we really enjoyed the city parks and there are so many beautiful ones hidden all over the city.
What was the most unusual thing you saw?
I'm not sure if it was the most unusual thing but the street performers in London are on another level. By taking a walk through some of the historic sites, you are bound to come across a show and some of them are amazing.
What’s your best London travel tip?
I guess it would have to be to try and get familiar with The Tube! It’s not that difficult and it’s easily one of the best public transport systems in the world and the only way to see London.
What was the best thing to photograph in London?
Ahhh this is such a difficult choice but we really enjoyed photographing Big Ben on the opposite side of the river at sunset. It’s such an iconic spot and it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon enjoying the city atmosphere and capturing your own unique angle of Big Ben.