We don’t want our service to stop with left luggage. That’s why CityStasher has conjured up some handy guides for time-poor tourists who want to make the most out of their trip. Where to stash, what to see, do, eat and drink — we’ve got you covered in our 12 hours series.
12 hours in…Victoria
Victoria doesn’t tend to be an area people stick around for long. Traditionally, it has served as a place of coming and going – a transport hub for tourists, backpackers and commuters to catch the last bus or hop on the train out of the capital. But we feel this is unfair. As well as being close to some of the biggest and best attractions in London, Victoria has some hidden gems of its own, with a range of eateries, pubs and attractions that can easily compete with its more famous neighbouring districts. Let’s take a look.
You’re spoiled for choice for StashPoints in this part of town. Check out the numerous hosts a stone’s throw from the train, coach and underground stations here. For 24/7 luggage needs, we’d recommend to stroll down to the Hanover Hotel in Pimlico, only five minutes from Victoria Station.
What to do
A ten minute walk from Victoria Station, Buckingham Palace is likely to be high on the checklist for many a tourist. As well as being an undoubtedly impressive structure, the Palace is home to The Queen’s Gallery, which in the past has hosted exhibitions showcasing the works of great artists like Vermeer, Van Dyck and Canaletto. The Royal Mews and State Rooms are also open to the public at certain times of the year, giving you the opportunity to snoop around some of the grandest surroundings in Europe, if not the world.
If traipsing around London’s most famous residence has tired you out, St James’s Park is the oldest of the city’s royal parks and a serene environment to recharge the batteries. Go and see the daily feeding of the pelicans between 2.30–3pm, or simply stroll around the lake and admire the views. Horse Guards Parade is also located within the Park, which provides the setting of Trooping the Colour on the Queen’s official birthday in June — definitely not one to be missed!
Where to eat
Tozi is one of the most renowned eateries in Victoria, and for very good reason. Specialising in Venetian cuisine, expect to sample an impressive array of cicchetti, a sort of Venetian tapas, alongside some staple Italian fare (the lobster linguine is particularly applauded, if the price tag doesn’t put you off). Accompanied by a good range of Italian wines and craft beer, it really doesn’t get much more authentic than this.
For a quick bite to eat, Strutton Ground Market is a charming spot to grab lunch on the go. Pitching up on weekdays in a small cobbled street, this little market hosts a number of delightful food stalls, as well as clothes, books, flowers and everything in between. A great place to take an afternoon stroll, and increasingly popular with tourists.
If you’re craving something more substantial, Bleecker has built itself a reputation for serving up some of the juiciest burgers in town. You’d forgive yourself for thinking you have been transported to Manhattan in this trendy and oh so simple slice of real Americana. We’d recommend the Bleecker Black for those who can’t make up their mind — the addition of rich black pudding nearly makes for a sensory overload, but boy does it hit the spot.
Where to drink
CASK Pub and Kitchen is technically in Pimlico, but is within comfortable walking distance of Victoria Station, and certainly worth going the extra mile for (don’t worry, we don’t mean literally). One of the early champions of London’s now-booming craft lager scene, CASK boasts a hand-picked list of excellent local and international beers that can change on a daily basis. While the dizzying range of options could prove intimidating for all but the most canny craft connoisseurs, the friendly staff are always on hand to make recommendations.
For something cheap and cheerful, The Windsor Castle is a good bet. Part of the Sam Smith’s chain, while the array of beer may not be as impressive as Cask, the charming Victorian interior is a great location to enjoy a quiet beer in snug surroundings.
For those of you sticking around until the evening, Victoria is also home to the Apollo Theatre — currently hosting the huge hit musical Wicked, which has notched up an impressive tally of over 100 international awards and is an unashamed favourite of CityStasher’s very own Anthony (or so the rumours say).