London’s Bermondsey: Design, History and the Bermondsey Square Hotel

By Abi King | England

Feb 14
There's no shortage of art and design in Bermondsey

There’s no shortage of art and design in Bermondsey

London Bermondsey

London. I’ve written before about how it’s so easy to miss parts of a city you’ve lived in, a city you were born in. Particularly when that place is London.

With a population bigger than most countries in Europe, a history that punches hard and a present that pulses with change, it’s fair to say that, in London, a lot goes on.

My latest venture off my own beaten track took me to Bermondsey, just south of the river by Waterloo, to check out the Bermondsey Square Hotel.

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The London Bermondsey Vibe

The hotel itself matches the vibe of the area: modern on the outside, aching with hipster cool within.

But most of all – and again in line with Bermondsey itself – it matched London old with London new.

Bermondsey itself has had a few claims to fame over the years. Nearly one thousand years ago it strolled into the Domesday Book, a few centuries later it dispensed with a villain in Oliver Twist, and in Da Vinci Code style, it wrapped its fortunes up with those of the Knights Templar.

By the 19th century, Bermondsey’s brick-lined wharves processed leather and hides but the bombing of the Blitz and the change in riverside operations led the area into decline.

There’s scant sign of decline now.

Craft breweries, hand-crafted design stores and sepia antique shops line the narrow streets that lead between the Fashion & Textiles Museum and the Design Museum on the brink of the Thames.

Art galleries and cosy eateries lead away from the Bermondsey Square, itself a place to cosy up inside amid vintage books and bold new design.

The Bermondsey Square Hotel

Communal library nook at the Bermondsey Square Hotel

The Bermondsey Square Hotel in Review

Rooms are squeaky clean and white, with flashes of hot, hot pink. I stayed in the Woolyard suite, complete with spacious balcony, an unusual find for a London hotel and one that the rain stopped me from testing.

Woolyard at Bermondsey Square Hotel

Fast wifi, powerful shower, comfy bed all present and correct.

As a hip kind of boutique, the staff are friendly and accommodating but there’s no dedicated concierge and when it comes to your luggage, you’ll have to fend for yourself. This is a place for young people, rather than the old and weary.

The restaurant gets the most important thing right: the food. However, the young folk head out for dinner on a Saturday night, leaving a ghost of an atmosphere behind. By breakfast, the place was buzzing and the sense of Bermondsey cosiness returned.

Bermondsey Square Hotel Food

Fresh take on a Greek salad at the Bermondsey Square Hotel

Breakfast came, for me, with baked eggs and spiced bean cannelloni, an unusual twist with the perfect warmth for the winter weather.

One key thing to note, though: there’s no pork and no alcohol served on the premises (although you can take wine bought outside to your room, should you wish.)

White tiled interior at the Bermondsey Square Hotel

THE BERMONDSEY SQUARE HOTEL REVIEW IN SHORT

What I loved

  • Location in a cool and quirky part of central London
  • Friendly staff
  • Unpretentious design and open shared areas
  • Quiet night’s sleep!

What to know

  • No alcohol served

Find the full specs over here.

Bermondsey Square Hotel Interior

Disclosure: I received a complimentary night’s accommodation at the Bermondsey Square Hotel for review purposes. As ever, as always, I keep the right to write what I like. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Have you ever visited London’s Bermondsey?

A trip through the London Bermondsey District via @insidetravellab

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About the Author

Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who swapped a successful career as a hospital doctor for a life on the road. With over 60 countries under her belt, she's worked for Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveller and more. She is passionate about sustainable tourism and was invited to speak on the subject at the EU-China High Level summit at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.Here she writes about food, travel and history and she invites you to pull up a chair and relax. Let's travel more and think more. Welcome!

  • Harold Durie Finch says:

    Berm on Sea, as it is known to the locals. Yes I like it because of the large hospital surrounded by pubs that you can find if you really look.

    Hal

    • Abi King says:

      Interesting. Never heard of it ;-) Will have to look harder next time…

  • Hi Abi! I had the pleasure to stay at the hotel. I found it cozy and unpretentious. the staff were friendly and good quality of service overall.

    • Abi King says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! I’d agree with you – unpretentious yet friendly. A good find!

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