If you're thinking of booking a hotel near Harrods with Lastminute.com why not make time for a little retail therapy at the biggest department store in Europe?
Harrods, which opened in 1849, has 330 separate departments and occupies a five-acre site with over one million ft² of sales space, nearly double that of its nearest competitor. There are 32 on-site restaurants selling everything from tapas to high-end cuisine and the food hall enjoys a worldwide reputation. But did you know that there are two memorials to Princess Diana within the store? Dodi Al-Fayed. the son of the previous owner of the store, was also killed in the car crash.
Arts and culture
Eight minutes' walk away is the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's largest museum of decorative art and design which houses a permanent collection of 4.5 million objects. It is two-and-a-half-times larger than Harrods and its collections span 5,000 years of art up to the present day.
Explore the cultures of Europe, north Africa, north America and Asia through costume, jewellery, furniture, sculpture, ceramics and prints. Don't miss the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries which underwent a recent £30 million transformation. The museum has the largest holding of Italian Renaissance items outside Italy and the east Asian collections are among the best in Europe.
Highlights include The Great Bed of Ware, made between 1590 and 1600 which was referred to by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. It was probably commissioned as a tourist attraction for an inn in Ware, Hertfordshire, which was a day's journey from London and a convenient stop for travellers.
Things to see and do
If your visit to the V&A hasn't exhausted you there are several other world-class museums nearby offering hours of interest. The Natural History Museum has more than 70 million specimens drawn from across the world and kids will love the Dinosaur Gallery with the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. There are lots of hands-on activities and The Power Within simulates experiencing an earthquake.
See The Albert Memorial erected by a grieving Queen Victoria following the death of her husband, a monumental construction feat and a classic example of High-Victorian Gothic art.
Or visit the Queen Anne town house of Thomas Carlyle, now run by the National Trust, once a hub of Victorian literary society. Regular visitors included Dickens, Tennyson and John Ruskin.
Eating and drinking
Outlaw's Seafood & Grill which is two minutes' walk from Harrods is the creation of Nathan Outlaw whose restaurant at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock, Cornwall, was awarded two Michelin stars. The set lunch menu, which can be enjoyed from Tuesday to Friday, is very reasonable.
Or sample upmarket Japanese cuisine at Zuma, also two minutes' walk from Harrods. Expect dim lighting and sunken tables. The cooking blends traditional classics with fusion dishes.
And for drinks afterwards try The Phoenix just off the King's Road or, for an old-fashioned pub, The Anglesea Arms in Selwood Terrace.
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