Sleeping Above A Bakery – In London

By Abi King | England

Apr 06

Ah, London. According to some things I read, there’s nothing but high rise buildings, reams of cement and formulaic, biscuit-cutter hotel rooms, unless you happen to be connected to royalty.

Well, step into the immaculate Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where a square patch of grass that’s seen more attention than Kate Middleton’s wardrobe wins the accolade of London’s largest public square. It’s flanked by prestigious buildings, like the Royal College of Surgeons and the London School of Economics and its own history stretches back for nearly 400 years to 1630.

It’s the hallmark of established, respectable city life…until you spot the painted cow that leads to the Fleet River Bakery and find a nugget of country life right in the heart of the capital.

Fleet River bakes its goods fresh on the premises. Its decor is simple and it’s the kind of place that dishes out milk in jugs instead of pocketing it into poky plastic sachets.

It serves sugar-dusted almond cake and slabs of chocolate brownies. Butter-licked croissants and cream-topped carrot sponges.

And it also rents out rooms that are only just upstairs – which is, let’s face it, rather cool.

Sleeping Above A Bakery

Independent Hotel Review of the Fleet River Bakery

Rooms at the Fleet River are spacious by London standards. They come with a shower, a washing machine and a homely collection of Earl Grey tea and sugar cubes, plus Bramley toiletries with extracts of grapefruit, lavender, lemongrass and clary sage. There’s a self-catering section, a breakfast table with chairs and a wide screen TV with a sofa for moments when laziness overcomes you. There’s even a bookshelf stocked with useful reading about London.

Breakfast takes place in the bakery itself, allowing you to experience firsthand the stares of the city public as you swan in without a coat but with wet hair into a central London coffee room.

The food, from the brownies to the bacon, is good, in a hearty, wholesome, country way. Imagine hunks of homemade bread, jars of hard-boiled sweets, wedges of fruit cake and Fleet’s own version of the oreo cookie.

The only downside was that I needed to insist that the rooms actually did exist. Not once, not twice but three times I had a taste of “can’t help you” London sass before I managed to convince the staff that they really did have rooms upstairs.

Still, at the end of the day (well, at the start, to be precise) you do get to eat a home-cooked breakfast while staring at a painted cow. Only a scone’s throw from the Royal College of Surgeons.

You’ve got to love London for that – and the Fleet River Bakery.

Disclosure – I received a complimentary night’s stay at the Fleet River Bakery courtesy of Sawday’s Special Places for review purposes. My reviews, as ever, are completely independent.

*Yes, I switched the term cookie-cutter into British English. Sometimes I just can’t help myself…


Have you ever stayed somewhere that had a surprising second line of work?



About the Author

Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on

mytimetotravel April 7, 2012

What a fun find! It’s above my usual price for London, but I’ve bookmarked it anyway.

    Abi King April 8, 2012

    It’s so nice to try something different. And if you can’t stretch to staying there – you can grab a cup of coffee and a cake!

Darlene Foster April 7, 2012

THis palce sounds very cool. Was it expensive? Love your term “biscuit-cutter”
Have you been on the London Eye? If so would you mind telling me about the experience. Maybe you could blog about it.

    Abi King April 8, 2012

    Hi Darlene! Yes, it was very cool. Using the prices they’re publishing right now, doubles are £115 a night, including breakfast (which is very good value for this part of town!) If you’re a single occupant, it’s £84.

    I love the London Eye for its dreamy views across the major London sights…You’ve made me stop and add up how many years have passed by since I last went on it…(gulp!)…a staggering eleven years! Perhaps time to go back…with camera and notebook firmly in hand.

      Darlene Foster April 11, 2012

      Thanks Abi. My character in my next book (12 year old Amanda) visits London and goes on the London Eye. Unfortunatly I haven’t had a chance to experience it. So I was wondering how it felt to be on it. Is it like a large ferris wheel, or a gondola lift? Anything you can remember at all would be great. ( I like the dreamy views)

        Abi King April 12, 2012

        The capsules are quite spacious, so you can stride around them to get different views of London. They move smoothly and slowly and the glass bubble means you don’t get the feeling of air on your skin as you do with a ferris wheel. It’s more like an oversized, spruced up gondola. I shall have to go back…

          Darlene Foster April 13, 2012

          Thanks! That helps. I look forward to your post after your next ride on the London Eye. Hugs from Canada XO

James April 8, 2012

This is the “London Dream”. This summer in London will be amazing!

    Abi King April 8, 2012

    It’s an exciting year for London, that’s for sure. Though don’t say it out loud…Both tradition and convention dictate that Brits, and Londoners in particular, should complain about how wet and grey the skies are, how hopeless the governement will be, how expensive the Olympics are going to be etcetera etcetera etcetera ;)

jess April 15, 2012

thank you for reminding me why I love London so – for its in-between, nook and cranny, around the corner under the bridge secrets =)

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