Top 10 Places Romance Fans Can’t Miss in London by Sonja Rouillard
The upcoming marriage of Prince Harry to America’s own Meghan Markle is just the latest in many exciting tales of romance throughout London’s ancient history. The Romance Readers Guide to Historic London is an A-Z listing of the fanciful backstories of the places we read about in our favorite historical romances, along with storied hotels, dining, and more. And the Guide reveals where many real-life romances have taken place and where marriages reigned supreme, outdoing even our own Las Vegas for annual matrimony.
But where to start and what not to miss? One reader bought the book from me at a conference and immediately opened it to St. George’s, Hanover Square—she wanted to read about the church where her parents married in 1949! You might have your own most important sight to explore or want to read about them all. To help get you started, here are my picks for the top ten places you just can’t miss if you visit this amazing city or even if you just read about it from the comfort of a fire-side cozy armchair:
White’s Gentlemen’s Club (plus Boodle’s and Brook’s while you’re there) ~ this is truly the quintessential setting for a Regency hero, whether fictional or not, to sulk over the antics of his feisty heroine or hide from the matchmaking clutches of a meddlesome mother. But the history dates back to the coffee houses of the 1600s. (p107)
Shoppes on St. James’s Street and environs ~ this is the closest you’ll come to the experience of Regency ladies shopping on Bond Street. These few historic establishments dating to the 1600s, such as Berry Bros. & Rudd and Lock & Co. Hatters remain open for business to London’s toniest and to the polite window shopper too. As a bonus, St. James’s Palace caps the short thoroughfare. (p288)
Pickering Place ~ Right next to Berry Bros. is a tunnel to the smallest square in London, and the place where supposedly the last duels in the city took place. It stands to reason, because it was both close to all those gambling hells so popular with the young rakes and secluded from the eyes of the constabulary. (p82)
Bedlam ~ It’s real, or it was, dating back to 1247. This ancient “hospital”—I use the term loosely—gave us a useful expression, but it’s almost beyond belief just how insane this asylum really was, right down to letting sightseers pay to gawk at the half-naked patients. The last incarnation is today the Imperial War Museum and, while nothing of Bedlam but the building remains, it’s a great ~ for the guys stop. (p33)
Curzon Street ~ In the heart of Mayfair, this quiet way is mostly modern apartment buildings, but it’s worth a stroll to stand on the corner of Curzon and Trebeck and imagine Keith’s Chapel and its marathon of clandestine marriages that would rival a Las Vegas wedding chapel. At least one former chambermaid, became a duchess on this spot! (p55)
Crewe House ~ Then turn your attention across the street to this now Saudi Embassy for one of the few remaining original Mayfair town houses. Virtually any Regency heroine residing in Berkeley or Grosvenor Squares might have lived in a mansion such as this. (p54)
The Royal Mews ~ Even if Buckingham Palace is closed to visitors, you can usually visit the stables to view handsome horses and gilded carriages. It’s what every heroine would dream of riding to their fairytale wedding. (p41)
Hyde Park ~ It’s all still there—Rotten Row, the Serpentine Lake, and more in this greenspace dating to 1536. With a little care, you can stand in places where the modern city disappears. Then imagine your favorite heroine strolling on the arm of her beau while he attempts to steals a kiss—or make your own memories with your real-life sweetheart. (p70)
Visit a Museum for Gems and Fripperies ~ Go to The Tower to see Crown Jewels, Geffrye Museum of the Home to see how the middle class lived, or many other fine institutions to see examples of period furnishings and apparel. My favorite is The Wallace Collection because in addition to weaponry, Louis XV furniture, and paintings, it’s housed in the beautiful Hertford House mansion, c1776. (p279)
Windsor Castle & St. George’s Chapel ~ This palatial royal estate, just outside London, needs no introduction, but if you time it right, you can see the chapel where our soon-to-be, newly-minted, American duchess Meghan Markle and HRH Prince Henry of Wales will tie the knot next May. The Guide spells out how best to get inside and you can let your imagination fill in the rest. (p116)
But wait, you ask, what about that most important of Regency locales? Sadly, Almack’s was lost to German bombers in 1944. The Guide will tell you its whole fun history, but only a marker remains today. Go, anyway, it’s just around the corner from must see sights 1-3.
This is just a small sampling of the merry old London that still exists in this modern metropolis. Whether you’re solidly in the armchair traveler camp or maybe a budding historical author, the second half of the Guide has much to offer. All the historic hotels listed have fascinating backstories too—many with American connections, chamber maids that married up, or other romantic real-life tales. And, with our very own American duchess, what better time to read about the love stories of the past.
Wishing you a Happy New Year and good fortune in 2018!
Romance Readers Guide to Historic London
Learn More on Amazon
At last! A London guide written just for historical romance fans. Or for travelers that want to experience old London.
Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of your favorite romance heroine? See grand historic settings from best-loved novels?
Or just learn the fascinating backstories of these intriguing places from Almack's to White's to Bedlam and more from the comfort of your own home.
Now you can!
Author Sonja Rouillard has combined her love of travel and romance fiction to create an entertaining book that's perfect for a cozy fireside read at home or for planning that grand London excursion.
For the London Adventurer . . .
* everything you need to explore the old London that still exists hiding within the modern city
* sleep like a princess in a 900-year-old castle or on an antique four-poster bed in the heart of London
* enjoy a delicious authentic Afternoon Tea
* with prices ranging from Governess on Holiday to King s Ransom, there s something for everyone
* featuring easy to read maps of Mayfair and St. James's neighborhoods
* and ~for the guys activities that will especially interest your man too!
* plus insider tips to get the most from your travel budget
For the Armchair Traveler . . .
* everything you want to know about the places from your treasured historical romance novels
* discover which buildings still exist and what they are now
* read love stories from real-life heroes and heroines that frequented these old places
* with Then & Now pictures of what the buildings looked like in the past compared to now
* and featuring romance excerpts from Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer to today s best-selling authors
So, take a walk in the footsteps of your favorite heroine ~ whether on a grand, once-in-a-lifetime adventure to London or from the comfort of your own home with a warm cup of tea at your side.
NEW Kindle version works with Kindle readers and iPads/iPhones and has these additional features: clickable website links, color photos (color-capable readers), and downloadable maps.
Sonja Rouillard writes both fiction and non-fiction. Recently, she launched an erotic romance career under the name Kate Allure with Playing Doctor and Lawyer Up, receiving high praise: “The sensuality and sexuality are palpable...4 Stars!” & “Escapism of the richest, most decadent variety.” —RT Book Reviews. “Intense chemistry, great characterization, and a kinky page-singeing ending will have readers clamoring for more.” —Publishers Weekly. Besides being a huge fan of historical romance, Sonja’s other great love is travel and seeking unusual, off-the-beaten-path experiences. China, Monte Carlo, Bora Bora, Mexico, and Poland are among the many foreign countries she’s visited. Sonja lives in California with her husband, 3 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a Flemish Giant rabbit.
Twitter: @RomGuides or https://twitter.com/RomGuides