In the course of
researching for walks since I qualified as a Westminster Guide in 2009 I have managed to discover a
number of good loos. The previously free loos provided by the Council
including the rather nasty ones at Green Park tube now carry a 50p entrance fee
so I thought the time had come to share my list. It is very much still a work in progress so if
you can recommend any other handy stops please comment below. In most cases I am of
course only talking about the ladies’ toilets.
Mayfair – Whilst studying for my Westminster Guiding exam in Mayfair I discovered that there is a very good cafe within Sothebys
in New Bond Street
that now sells a very reasonably priced afternoon tea - less than £20. There are also some very good loos. On
entering Sotheby's turn immediately back on yourself, walk down the stairs and you
will find the ladies' loos.
The Royal Institution, Albemarle Street. Not only does this building have some very
good loos but they have a cafe and bar which are vastly underused and empty
even on a Friday evening; in fact some of the CWGLA sub committees meet there
as it's so quiet despite the fact that they have a half price happy hour every weekday evening! (I hope I don't get told off by my fellow committee members for advertising this place.) For both ladies and gents walk past the giant £20 note depicting Michael
Faraday just off the entrance hall.
Nearby on Piccadilly
the Royal Academy is another good
Department stores are always good for loos but there can sometimes
be a bit of a trek to find them. Fortnum and Mason's loos are pretty
easily accessible and are my regular stop prior to leading my St James's walk.
Enter the shop from the side entrance in Duke Street St James's, walk up
one flight of stairs, past all the hampers and tucked away on the left you will
find a couple of ladies' toilets.
Liberty is another shop I regularly use. I can't remember the exact loo location but it's not too far!
Hotels are also a good bet; just walk in confidently
as if you belong there and you shouldn't have a problem. On one occasion
what I thought was a hotel on Millbank, I discovered on my way to the loo that
it was in fact the BBC!
Trafalgar Square area – you are spoilt for
choice here! You have both the National Gallery and National Portrait
Gallery of course. Then there are the loos in the crypt of St Martin in the
Fields and if you're in a real rush the ladies' toilets in the Chandos pub
are accessible without even going into the pub via the entrance in St Martin's Lane that leads you straight upstairs.
For a decadent toilet
stop the Hippodrome Casino is worth
visiting and you can have a nose around too. Anyone can just wander in.
On your way to the loos on the first floor have look at the amazing floor covered
in pennies. This Londonist article has an interesting observation on the view
from the gents!
There are more than a
few gaps in my loo knowledge, especially in the immediate vicinity around the Palace of Westminster (apart from the Methodist
Central Hall). Does anyone have any recommendations for this area or
elsewhere? Post in the comments below if you do.
The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who specialises in food and drink themed walks in the West End of London.
Details of all her walks are listed here
To sign up to Joanna's mailing list click here
Labels: afternoon tea, cafes, happy hour, loos, Westminster