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Best buildings in London: Smithfield Market
© Cedric Weber

The best hotels in Clerkenwell

Discover this historic London neighbourhood from a base at one of Clerkenwell's best hotels

By Time Out editors

Full of winding streets and unexpected byways, Clerkenwell is known for its great restaurants, bars and pubs. But if you can’t decide where to stop-off, take your time exploring the place, from the buzz of Exmouth Market to contemporary dance performances at Sadler's Wells and the history of the Charles Dickens Museum. Then rest up at one of the best hotels in Clerkenwell.

Looking for more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs

1. The Clerk & Well Pub and Rooms

Hotels Clerkenwell

The intimacy of a B&B is matched by boutique hotel standards at this gastropub with rooms. The sleek masculine styling of the public areas carries over into the bedrooms, which come equipped with Nespresso machines, bathrobes and slippers, free wifi and Smart TVs with access to Netflix. The bar at the Clerk & Well is big on cocktails, food is pan-Asian, and there’s a roast on Sundays. Leather Lane market and the jewellery shops of Hatton Garden are also on your doorstep.

2. Malmaison London

Hotels Farringdon and Smithfield

Hidden down an atmospheric little lane (and currently further obscured by ongoing Crossrail development) Malmaison is a good mid-range option. Of the 97 bedrooms, the ones overlooking a cobbled square are the pick of the bunch, as morning sunshine pours through their large sash windows. Decor is modern, but not sterile – there’s lots of pattern and texture, with attractive wallpaper and stripped wooden floors. There’s a useful brasserie in the basement and the bar is a good spot for a cheeky cocktail.

Ray Main

3. Rookery

Hotels Boutique hotels Farringdon and Smithfield

Step back in time, or at least feel like you are, at the Rookery. This converted Georgian townhouse is tucked down an alleyway and, inside, the wood panelled walls lead to an ancient reception desk. Beyond that there’s a library and a sitting room with armchairs, an open fire and an honesty bar. Upstairs is a warren of 33 bedrooms – none alike, but all intriguing (the split-level Rook’s Nest suite is a particular treat, with views of St Paul’s Cathedral). Antique furnishings are complemented by contemporary luxuries, like the well-stocked minibar and REN toiletries. Sister hotel Hazlitt’s in Soho is equally appealing, should you find yourself over there.

4. The Zetter Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Clerkenwell

Housed in a converted Victorian warehouse, the Zetter is a relaxed, on-trend hotel with friendly staff. Bedrooms range from rooftop studios to regular doubles, but all have REN bath products, rain showers and free wifi. Home comforts include hot-water bottles and umbrellas. The downstairs is home to Club Zetter, a work/play/eat space that hotel guests have full use of. Across the square is the smaller but equally alluring Zetter Townhouse – pop over to sample the fantastic in-house cocktail bar. There’s a branch in Marylebone too.

© Heike Bohnstengel / Time Out

5. Fox & Anchor

Hotels Farringdon and Smithfield

‘A pub with rooms’ doesn’t do justice to the set-up here: a lovely mosaic floor leads to six well-appointed, boutique hotel-style rooms. All are individually decorated, but the high-spec facilities (big flat screen TV, roll-top bath and drench shower) and attention to detail (bottles of ale in the minibar, free wifi) are common throughout. Make sure you have a drink in the handsome Victorian boozer too. Proximity to historic Smithfield meat market means you get a fabulous breakfast fry-up (with optional pint of stout), but be aware that it also means some noise in the early mornings.


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