London is full of inspirational buildings. Some are instantly recognisable as their exteriors are iconic across the globe, however, some are more humble on the outside and it’s what’s inside that causes a stir. It’s these hidden secrets, kept out of sight, that we are interested in discovering and sharing and so to help you explore them for yourself we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 most inspiring interiors you can visit in London.
The Grade II listed market building which primarily used to sell fresh food, dates from the 14th century and is now home to multiple independent shops and classic British pubs. It stands on what was the centre of Roman London and was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1881. With true Victorian features such as a domed roof structure and a plush green colour scheme, which represented wealth to the Victorians, the market place is a wonderful example of late 19th century architecture. The structure underwent a dramatic renovation in the early 1990’s to enhance it’s character and create what has become the enamouring attraction we see today.
Owned by Mourad Mazouz, Sketch is probably one of the most immediately recognisable interiors in London and for good reason. Based at 9 Conduit Street, a Grade II listed townhouse in Mayfair originally designed by James Wyatt in 1779, the food along with the three uniquely designed restaurant rooms, one of which is adorned in a dusty pink coating, is no doubt what attracts the elite and influential. The interior was re-designed by Mazouz and Noe Duchaufour Lawrance, the award winning interiors architect from Paris, when they took over the building in 2003. Several other international designers were commissioned to create signature pieces which are featured throughout sketch. The bathrooms are well worth a visit alone.
St Paul’s Cathedral
A truly iconic building, a vast majority of high rise buildings have been denied building application due to the protected view law which means St Paul’s Cathedral must be visible from certain places throughout London. The Cathedral itself is Grade I listed and sits on the highest point of the City of London, Ludgate Hill. Although dating back to possibly the 5th century, the present day Cathedral was re-designed by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire in 1666 in the shape of a cross. The instantly recognisable dome structure that dominates the skyline is one of the largest in the world at 366 feet high and was the tallest building in London until 1967. The interior of the cathedral is as splendid as you can imagine and includes the magnificent crypt, which is the largest in Europe, and the marble and gilded oak high altar.
The Sambourne Family Home
The former home of Punch cartoonist Edward Sambourne, 18 Stafford Terrace, provides a perfectly preserved example of Victorian interior design known as an ‘Aesthetic interior’ or ‘House Beautiful’ style. The Aesthetic movement of the late nineteenth century advocated the use of foreign or exotic influences in the decoration of the home. This can be seen by the various Japanese, Middle-Eastern and Chinese objects throughout the home. Stepping into the property is like stepping back in time thanks to the dedication of the Victorian Society’s determination to keep the property exactly how it had been left.
Two Temple Place
The building was built for William Waldorf Astor by John Pearson in 1895. Designed in an early Elizabethan style and built entirely of Portland stone the exterior is a breathtaking example of modern Gothic architecture at the time. The interior was decorated by John Crace, a family friend of the Astor’s, who chose the French Renaissance style for the home. Wonderfully lavish and packed with Astor’s extensive art work collection, musical instruments and books.
If you’re looking to be inspired by other interiors in London check out our post about London’s old music hall.