Have you ever wondered what London was like in the roaring twenties? Imagine an Art Deco world of lively nightclubs, glamorously dressed people, and adorable buggy cars roaming the city—a world that for the first time blended industry with luxury, and had a lot of fun doing it. You might think it’s impossible to experience a night out in the 1920s almost a century later—but luckily for the modern traveler, the twenties left a lot behind.
The Art Deco style of architecture and design is loud and lavish, demanding to be seen and adored. The easiest way to spot Art Deco is to look for sleek lines and clean shapes, but more often than not, you’ll know it when you feel it. Here are recommendations for traveling back in time on a trip to London.
Art Deco in London
Luxury: 45 Park Lane is a luxe five-star hotel located across the street from Hyde Park. From its shining lobby to the grand rooms and suites, this hotel celebrates everything Art Deco with all the modern touches thrown in, including remote-control window shades. This hotel is our top pick for living out the full Art Deco dream.
Boutique: The Wellesley Knightsbridge is a small-yet-stylish hotel located in the city center. Formerly home to one of the most famous jazz venues in London, the property’s music legacy is celebrated throughout the hotel in its Art Deco style.
Budget: An affordable option, Green Rooms is located in the neighborhood of Wood Green. This hotel’s Art Deco draw is the building itself, while the interior is a celebration of all different styles of art.
Eltham Palace: Travel a little outside London for a tour of an Art Deco castle. While it looks medieval on the outside, the inside is a museum-like testament to the decadence of Art Deco style.
Senate House: For a taste of quintessential Art Deco architecture, stop by the University of London to visit the Senate House. This building is a famous Art Deco relic that’s been featured in films like The Dark Knight Rises, and inspired the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
Broadcasting House: The headquarters of the BBC, built in 1932, is another one of London’s Art Deco classics. Head inside to see many of the interior’s Art Deco details that still remain, starting with the marble reception area. You can even take a peek into the BBC newsroom.
Charles Holden Underground Stations: In London, Art Deco is all around you, and sometimes even under. Explore London by Tube and keep an eye out for stations designed by the great Art Deco architect Charles Holden. You can find the list of stations here.
CUT: Even if you’re not staying at 45 Park Lane, you can still try its glamorous restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s CUT. It’s a luxurious and quiet spot to enjoy top-tier steak—reservations recommended.
Massimo Restaurant and Bar: For a grandiose meal in a matching setting, head to Massimo in Trafalgar Square to enjoy authentic Italian food in a high-ceilinged Art Deco dining room.
Brasserie Zedel: If you prefer a Parisian twist on your Art Deco vibes, Brasserie Zedel in Soho is a favorite for its French cuisine.
Quaglinos: One of the most visually striking restaurants in town, Quaglinos is located in the St. James’s District and makes a meal feel more like a high-end event.
The Blackfriar: Want a classic London pub with an Art Deco vibe? The BlackFriar was built on the site of a Dominican friary and boasts Art Noveau flair as well. You’ll also find a mix of great ales and jolly monk decor.
Fontaine’s Bar: In East London, this Art Deco bar is a great spot to try out classic cocktails and enjoy cabaret.
Nightjar: Mix some Art Deco glamor with a little bit of oddity at Nightjar, a mixology spot for trying experimental cocktails.
Rivoli Bar: For a luxurious drinking experience, head to Rivoli Bar at the Ritz London. Gilded walls, sparkling decor, and an eclectic selection of drinks make this an Art Deco bar at its most fabulous.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Best Things to Do in London
- How to See Sprawling London in Just a Weekend
- London vs. New York: Which City Should I Visit?
Jamie Ditaranto visited London as a guest of 45 Park Lane. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
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