Seeking quaint flat in London for vacation

Sis and I will be taking her teen granddaughter to London next June. Would love to find a quaint flat for about a week. Hoping to give granddaughter the Victorian feel of London that she loves so much. Think tea in the parlor and old rose upholstery. A place between Kensington and the Tower, north of the Thames is preferable, but would consider Southbank.
All suggestions are mightily appreciated as I'm wearing down my fingers looking at the same places on the same two well known list sights.
Thanks,
Marcella

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
359 posts

Quaint and Victorian? No indoor plumbing?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11389 posts

That will be difficult to find. Most places now have had additions built which provide central heating, toilets, bathrooms, and more modern kitchens. Most of the old furniture is gone by now and most of the old stuff is a fire trap.

Good luck, finding your and your granddaughter's dreams.

Posted by Marcella
Greensboro, North Caro, United States
9 posts

I honestly believed that folks on this travel board might be a bit more helpful. If you don't know of a place, you don't need to respond; and you certainly don't need to respond with sarcasm.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
1891 posts

Sorry Marcella but I don't see any sarcasm, just reality slapping you in the face. My best advice - if you think it's sarcasm, then just ignore it.

Don't give up looking for that special place yet, it's not likely but still possible. Someone else here may know just the place you're looking for.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

What are the chances of a Britisher wanting to come to the US and stay in a teepee or log cabin in Manhattan -- the chronology is about the same ?

Posted by Carol
Washington
126 posts

Marcella, I am sorry that you did not receive the kindest responses. I truly don't know anything about flats in London, but I do know that your request was not unreasonable!

I live in a town that is known for being a Victorian Seaport, even though we are in Washington State. One can certainly find Victorian themed lodgings here, so I assume that in a large place like London there may be some as well. I wonder if looking for a theme hotel experience or B and B might be more likely than a flat?

Good luck to you. It sounds like a wonderful experience for your group.

Posted by emma
London
863 posts

Marcella
I don't think anyone was trying to be intentionally rude.
Unfortunately I think you might struggle in your search.
That type of accommodation is really not common in central London anymore. Victorian style just isn't what people want anymore. You would be more likely to find something similar to that kind of style in a hotel or B and B.
You could also try airbnb which might have something similar to what you are looking for?

You could maybe compromise by staying in a more modern flat but in an area that is appropriately
" antique" . Walking through some streets in Pimlico, notting hill or Marylebone can feel like appearing in Mary Poppins or Upstairs Downstairs.

You could then also visit places with more of a Victorian feel. For example
- afternoon tea in a grand old hotel,
- a walk around the Victoria and Albert museum, especially the costume gallery for the crinolines and bustles
- Liberty of London for a little shopping
- a visit to the St Pancras hotel, even from the outside, a gothic masterpiece
- a visit to one of the grand old cemetery's such as Kensal Rise, very atmospheric.
- not really Victorian but a visit to the Denis Sever's house is not to be missed if you like experiencing history

Posted by Wray
Boston, ma, usa
257 posts

If you look in London boroughs such as Northfields/ Ealing or Boston Manor/Hanwell, you might have better luck finding quaint and affordable Victorian. My Daughter and son in law had a quaint Victorian flat with lovely walled in garden in Hanwell, part of Ealing, and they seemed to be surrounded by the same. Whether there are short term apartment rentals or B&B is another story and there is a longer subway ride. Southwark might also have such a flat or B&B. I'm sure they exist so disregard the naysayers. On the other hand, I don't see why you couldn't find close to what you want in Victorian apartments/small hotels right in tourist London. If you look for vacation rentals around Holland Park, Belgravia or Pimlico, I think you'll find Victorian or perhaps regency, maybe more grand than quaint. Also, look at smaller, older boutique hotels in other areas of London as well. Try Home Away and VRBO. Good luck.

And to the naysayers, I'd also like to say we have much quaint Victorian in Boston retained in interiors...So why not in London? Quaint does not mean an untouched original with ancient plumbing, etc., IMO. I will apologize for the negative comments of others. Most people on this website are pleasant and helpful. Stay with us.

Posted by emma
London
863 posts

Firstly please don't interpret anything I am about to say as being negative or sarcastic, like most people on here I am just trying to help :-)
I think some of the problem might relate to the use of the word "quaint". What American visitors perceive as quaint is generally very different from what locals perceive as quaint. Using Wray's post as an example, I know Ealing and Hanwell very well and I would never describe them as quaint! ;-) The general property in the area, victorian and edwardian houses, are very much the norm for large areas of the country. They are just what we live in, so we don't see them as particularly special or different. So Marcella might actually be looking for something that we perceive as pretty mundane.

Also, tbh, the use of the word "quaint" can be a little irritating to some, by no means all ,locals. Not in a major way and it certainly doesn't cause any offense but it can,totally unintentionally, sound a little patronising. I speak as someone who grew up in a Roman town full of tourists and spent my teenage years dressed as a parlour maid in a tea shop (mop cap and all). I therefore have a slightly pavlovian response to the words "quaint","cute" and "darling"!!

I do still think that it will be difficult to find a flat furnished in a traditional victorian manner as described. I am sure it exists somewhere in the city but it would be for a niche market so will likely be difficult to find and potentially expensive.

As has been suggested you might have more luck if you look at properties a little further out in the suburbs but then you will have to factor in the inconvenience and cost of the extra travel. Even if you did find the right property, how much time will you actually spend in it whilst you are here?

To assist your search, it might help if you use a range of search terms that include the British English terms so if you haven't already try:
"Edwardian" as well as Victorian,
"Mansion Block" and "Mansion flat"
"Terrace" or "Terraced" House

Hope this helps

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2473 posts

North Caro? A part of the New South? London is anything but "quaint." Take a look at the Shard, Blackfriar Tube Station or the design for the Tate Modern extension. No "haters" commented, merely noted such a reality in world class London is nearly non existent these days. http://www.chslondon.com/vr/eby/eby.htm Something like this is probably as close as you are going to get.

Posted by katygreene48
1 posts

Why don't you ask a travel agent who specializes in Britain, like me :-)
I'd point you to a booking service, athomeinlondon.co.uk
In summer, they are likely to require 2 wks but you are asking far enough in advance that they might make an exception.
Happy Hunting!

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8812 posts

I thought Nigel's post was polite and factual.
We're fortunate to have regular contributors who live in London or other UK locations.
It's ok to defend them against unwarranted criticism.
Good show, Nigel!