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Clerkenwell may be one of the capital’s quieter enclaves, replete with cobbles, idiosyncratic 13th-century and ultra-modern architecture and industrial-chic warehouse conversions; but it’s also home to one of our favourite new London boutique hotels, the hip and historic Zetter Townhouse

The Zetter Townhouse hotel LondonThe Zetter Townhouse feels like a stay with your kooky rich relative, likely because the sister property to the much-lauded Zetter Hotel takes its inspiration from a fictional grand dame – Great Aunt Wilhelmina – whose ‘portrait’ hangs in the bar. Fashion and interior designer Russell Sage (with maestro mixologist Tony Conigliaro) have paid eye-watering attention to detail to bring this character to life and make guests feel at home in this most august of abodes.

The Zetter Townhouse hotel LondonHere, beds are crafted from repurposed carousel sidings and topped with galleon-festooned headboards, knick-knacks from far-flung travels abound and anything hi-tech is concealed by a tapestry or replaced with a retro model. At the bar – where you can sip delightfully demented concoctions using turn-of-the-century trimmings such as tobacco tincture, Byrrh and hand-made bitters – there’s even a cocktail called Master at Arms, alluding to one of the Great Aunt’s love affairs. Barmy? Perhaps… Brilliant? Definitely; and so effective that we fell a little bit in love with the dreamt-up dowager too.

Poised between central London, London City and the cock-er-ney East End, the Zetter Townhouse can offer historic monuments, avant-garde galleries and the Smithfield-market-supplied fine dining of Farringdon, all within walking distance – here’s our choice of the best out of the west…

Bistrot Bruno Loubet restaurant at the Zetter, London

Get your Clerkenwell caffeine fix…
Antipodeans know how to make a superior coffee and luckily for the Starbucks-weary Londoners a few plucky kiwis opened Workshop Coffee, which serves a gutsy cup of joe alongside a range of locally brewed beers, sophisticated eats and an impossible-to-choose-from breakfast menu with an inspired ‘Hair of the dog’ section.
Workshop Coffee, 27 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RN (+44 (0)20 7253 5754)

Watch like everyone’s dancing…
Just a 15-minute walk from the Zetter Townhouse is Sadler’s Wells theatre, London’s leading dance house, where you’ll feel your toes a’ tapping and your heart a’ rending to biology-defying choreography, cutting-edge costumery and the odd showtune, during their modern and traditional programme of ballets and musicals.
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Roseberry Avenue, London EC1R 4TN (+44 (0)20 7863 8198)

Explore East London eateries…
Clerkenwell is a gourmand’s dream with Mediterranean marvel Moro, flavourful Vietnamese street food at Pho and plenty of fine French fare at Otto’s and Café du Marché all nearby; but you only have to walk a few paces from your door to Bistrot Bruno Loubet at the Zetter Hotel (pictured above) to feast on delectable dishes such as braised beef Indochine with mango salad and yoghurt and liquorice iced parfait with pink grapefruit.
Bistrot Bruno Loubet, 86–88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ (+44 (0)20 7324 4455)

Be inspired by our London destination guide or find more capital stays in our luxury London hotel range…

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