It’s a dark November night as my bus makes its final stop at Victoria Coach Station – right in the heart of London. It was a pleasant bus ride from Gatwick Airport that took me past many of the capital’s iconic buildings, and when arriving late like I do this time, it’s extra convenient to be centrally located. So I drag off with my luggage down Buckingham Palace Road and turn the corner to find my London-home for the next couple of nights – the unique building of The White Ferry House. One of several Publove hostels in the city that combines a downstairs pub with upstairs accommodation.
I’m warmly greeted as I enter the beautiful Victorian building, both by the staff member behind the bar and by the warmth of the pub itself, which is split into two separate bar areas. It has an atmospheric and traditional pub feel that beckons me to sit down and settle in with a pint of Guinness. So that’s exactly what I do, before moving into my dorm room upstairs, which feels safe behind two coded doors.
I’m in town for a big travel conference at the other end of the city, so being located close to a big transport hub like Victoria Station is essential, with easy access to several tube lines. And if you’re in town to do some serious tourism instead of business, you’ll definitely find The White Ferry a good base too, with major attractions like Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the mighty Big Ben within reach with a 25 minute walk. Just to mention a few highlights.
The hostel beds are comfortable and my room facing the street is spacious and modernly decorated. Unfortunately I miss out on the breakfast which is included next morning, as I need to hurry for an early train to make the most of the day, but it sure is a nice addition if you want to ease into a day of sightseeing in London. And later, the kitchen serves quality burgers, while guests can play board games or join the pub quizzes on Thursdays nights.
The surrounding neighbourhood and Victoria Station itself offer plenty of shops, restaurants and cafés. So as the sun has set upon the capital, and I return home from a busy day at the conference, I head out for an evening walk down nearby Elizabeth Street.
It’s a nice street found around the corner from the coach station itself, and it’s lined by beautiful facades of intimate little restaurants, designer and boutique shops. A lovely area for a stroll no matter the season, and I walk upon a golden carpet of scattered leaves the autumn has left on the pavements of London.
Back at The White Ferry House I find a good spot downstairs to catch up on a bit of work. Unlike many hostels, there is no dedicated lounge, but with a cosy pub like this you have an excellent area to hang out in and a place to meet fellow travellers and locals. Or you can just enjoy some good food and a drink. As I write this the place is scheduled for a complete refurbishment, so I will definitely consider to board the White Ferry again next time I visit London.