One of London’s principal transport hubs, the Victoria district (on the cusp of the West End) is famed first and foremost for its globally-renowned mainline railway station, but this is accompanied by a Tube stop and a combined bus and coach station. There’s a chance then that, should you be planning a short-break in the capital, you may commute in and out of the city via Victoria. And that means you could well be interested in its many nearby attractions. And, including the shopping and business centre that’s Cardinal Place London, Victoria’s destinations are many and varied, indeed…
(Buckingham Palace Road SW1A 1AA; 8 minutes on foot from Victoria station)
Nowadays open to the public in the summer months, Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official London residence and came to be when the then monarch, King George IV, decided to convert it (previously it was known as ‘Queen’s House’) into a palace back in the early 19th Century. Its State Rooms, where the current monarch receives and entertains guests on major occasions, are specifically open to visitors in the summer, enabling them to admire their ornate and exquisite décor, artworks and the unusual gifts the Queen has received during her reign, including drawings by Salvador Dali and a grove of maple trees.
(Dean’s Yard SW1P 3PA; 14 minutes on foot from Victoria station)
The site where almost every English/ British monarch has been coronated since the year of 1066 (that’s 38 in total then), the voluminous but exquisitely ornate abbey is also the resting place of a great many leading statesmen, scientists, musicians and poets of British history – the likes of Geoffrey Chaucer, Isaac Newton, Laurence Olivier and Charles Dickens. Featuring awe-inspiring Gothic architecture and blessed with stunning statues, murals, paintings, tombs and stained glass, Westminster Abbey rightly vies with St. Paul’s Cathedral as the UK’s greatest place of Christian worship. An absolute must-visit if you’re staying at nearby accommodation like the Grand Royale London Hyde Park hotel.
(Eccleston Yard, Eccleston Place SW1W 9AZ; 4 minutes on foot from Victoria station)
This one-time coach factory is today a terrific 21st Century conglomeration of establishments – it’s made up of several venues for food, fashion, retail, co-working and wellbeing. Indeed, it’s home to no less than 19 shops, such as Scandinavian beauty salon SMUK London, The Jones Family Kitchen, Barry’s Bootcamp, Tailor Made London menswear and Eccleston Place by Tart London (the latter being a space that ticks several boxes; a restaurant, a fashion photography studio and an events location). You’ll also find here Re:Mind (a drop-in meditation studio/ eco-lifestyle outlet) as well as 50m, a fashion shop that does something a little different in that it enables new designers to fill an affordable retail space with exciting new garments.
(W1J 7PN; 15 minutes on foot from Victoria station)
Finally, something of a ‘hidden square’ to be discovered and explored located right in the heart of Mayfair, Shepherd Market is a cacophony of high-quality restaurants, Victoria-era pubs and charismatic boutiques. This twee piazza and its side streets then date all the way back to the early- to mid-18th Century and is named after its original developer, the architect Edward Shepherd. Up until relatively recently, in fact, the 1920s, the little area was considered to be highly fashionable and today, once more, its attracting a diverse, trend-setting sort of crowd thanks to its coterie of establishments, which also number a small selection of art galleries, luggage makers and a gun shop. If you fancy stepping into a retail hub that’s all about calm, peace and good taste – away from all the hubbub of, for instance, Bond Street and Regent Street – then this is the place.