Clerkenwell is a creative hub that’s close to central London – and the birthplace of the city’s first ever gastropub. An afternoon’s exploring will take you to cosy bars, hip cafes and indie boutiques. Book a night in one of the distinctive hotels in the borough to make the most of it.
Clerkenwell is abuzz with great interior design, interesting food and historic buildings. Thanks to the many furniture shops, independent restaurants and pretty church greens, once you step onto its cobbled streets, you get the feeling you’ve entered a bookish, arty backwater. Close to Old Street, Shoreditch and St Paul’s, it’s also an ideal location from which to explore east and central London. Still not convinced about staying? Take a look at the best hotels in Clerkenwell and you soon will be.
The Clerk & Well Pub & Rooms
Pubs with Rooms
Courtesy of The Clerk and Well Pub and Rooms / Hotels.com
With all the cosiness you’d expect from an inn and the sleek service of a top hotel, the Clerk & Well Pub & Rooms offers the best of both worlds. It has all the hallmarks of a great British pub – delicious seasonal menu and an ample selection of ales, as well as pretty hanging flower baskets outside – and the quintessential decor. Rooms are decked out in a country style but with mod cons such as Nespresso machines and king-size beds. Right on Clerkenwell Road, it’s a short stroll from the Barbican and Old Street.
This cooler sibling of the Zetter Hotel has only 13 bedrooms. Overlooking St John’s Square and just across the road from one of London’s best brunch spots, the Modern Pantry, this boutique property has enough character to keep you talking about it for weeks after your stay. Enter via the cocktail lounge and you’ll be greeted with an eclectic collection of trinkets and treasures that could rival the apartment of Sherlock Holmes. The bedrooms are equally eccentric. Four-poster beds are canopied, surprisingly tastefully, with Union Jacks, and walls are painted in bold colours and dotted with unusual artwork. Far from being old-fashioned, each room has a flat-screen TV, free wifi and a Bose speaker. It’s also stocked with free drinks, snacks and Ren toiletries.
This converted Georgian townhouse certainly makes for an atmospheric stay, especially when kitted out with antique furnishings and plush fabrics. Each room at the Rookery hotel has its own character, so whether you’re after the dramatic elegance of the bright red Mary Lane or the Edwardian-themed quirkiness of the Rook’s Nest, there’s a guest room to suit every taste. If you manage to drag yourself out of the rolltop tub or four-poster bed, you’ll find some of the area’s best restaurants and bars on your doorstep.
A short amble from the bustle of Smithfield Market, Malmaison is a characterful jumble of 1970s-inspired decor, with crushed-velvet beds and dark-wine-coloured details. The caged neon lettering and retro diner-style booths of restaurant Chez Mal Brasserie are an Instagram-worthy backdrop when dining on classic British dishes such as Cumberland sausage and mash. After dinner, it won’t take long to nod off when you slip into Egyptian cotton sheets and lay your head on a plump feather pillow. Executive suites are also generous with space and luxuries – upping the ante with an oversized bath and mirrored shelves, lined with bottles of some of the nation’s most beloved booze.
Sitting on the corner of Clerkenwell Road, the Zetter Hotel lavishes you with plush details in every room, including deep plum-velvet furnishings, bespoke floral upholstery and a selection of nostalgic Penguin books. The cool colour palettes are complemented by botanical artwork and geometric-patterned blankets – tuck yourself into the Egyptian cotton sheets and fall asleep to melodies from the stylish Marshall speakers at your bedside. To ensure your stay is a memorable one, don’t miss excellent seafood dishes such as the roast Gigha halibut, washed down with a glass of their finest fizz.