Curating luxury for the discerning traveller

A Day at Battersea Power Station

_porthistoric-england-archives.jpg

Elizabeth Finney spends a day at the new Battersea Power Station Circus West Village to suss out the hottest new openings for both London locals and visiting city explorers 

I’ve always been fascinated by Battersea Power Station. Catching the train into the city as a child, it would be one of the first indicators that I was in London. However, I had no idea that its history had been so turbulent. Despite the initial public outcry against the 1927 proposal for a power station in Battersea, the design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott – the man behind the classic red telephone box – was built with just two chimneys in the 1930s.

The building of Battersea B Power Station, featuring another two chimneys, started shortly after the end of World War II and was completed in the 1950s by the British Electricity Authority, after the electricity supply was nationalised in 1948.

Elizabeth Finney
Beauty, Culture, Dining

It provided the capital with energy until 1983, when the B station was closed (the A station had ceased operations in 1975). Ever since, the now Grade II-listed building has been an instantly recognisable London landmark and, after numerous proposals, it was announced in 2016 that technology giant Apple would renovate and house 1,400 employees at the station by 2021, sharing the site with other firms and providing more than 4,000 homes. Part of the recent developments has included the creation of Circus West Village, a gorgeous new riverside spot brimming with restaurants, bars, wellness spots, a six-acre park and cultural spaces.

It’s a must-visit for anyone heading to London for a vacation, and this is just one way to make the most of your day.

by-andy-dingley-scanner-public-domain-via-wikimedia-commons-battersea_power_station-_1934_with_only_two_chimneys_-our_generation-_1938-.jpg
battersea-power-staacts-about-the-chimneys-and-on-our-work.jpg

MORNING

I start my day by hopping atop one of the bikes at Boom Cycle for a truly exhilarating experience. A recent spin class convert who formerly would have rather paid to not go to a class, I can assure you that this is one of the most enjoyable ways to work out. Boom Cycle’s unique blend of upbeat tunes, disco lighting and energetic instructors will leave you feeling full of vim and vigour. The indignant complaints of my muscles are drowned out by the music as I keep to the beat, grateful for the low lighting and the fact that Dan encourages the whole group rather than singling out particular people. 

The great thing about the class is that it’s up to me to push myself and, when given that responsibility, I don’t slack off. During her talk at The Best You Expo earlier this year, Boom Cycle co-founder Hilary Rowland said: “Please don’t quit anything just because it’s hard; you will feel unstoppable after you get through the hard stuff so keep going, keep going. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in the moment but you are stronger than you will ever know and you will find out what you’re made of.” There’s nothing like walking out of the studio at Battersea, legs having turned to jelly, knowing that you’ve treated your body to something good.

Hero image: "In 1940, RAF pilots used the plumes of vapour from Battersea Power Station's chimneys to guide them home in the mist." Picture couresty of Battersea Power Station via Facebook / Historic England Archives. Pictured above: Battersea Power Station with only two chimneys, 1934. Courtesy of Andy Dingley via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain) (Left) . "Men At Work", picture courtesy of Battersea Power Station via Facebook (Right).

boomcycle.jpg
5l0a0170-35.jpg

Afterwards, I make the most of the beautiful REN products dotted throughout the sleek and stylish changing room, which is kitted out with Dyson hairdryers, straighteners and soft lighting, which goes some way to concealing my red face.

While the small café at Boom Cycle offers some delightful smoothies and gorgeous coffee, for a change of scenery I wander around the corner to The CoffeeWorks Project to simmer down after my spin class. This independent family-run, one-stop coffee shop boasts five locations around London and is a must-visit for aficionados whose caffeine addiction goes beyond a simple mug of Joe. The dizzying menu of beans for all around the world means that every taste is catered to, and if you’re hankering for brunch its offering of various toasties, eggs, waffles, cakes and salads is sublime. I treat myself to an oat-milk latte and a chapter or two of my dog-eared copy of A Cook’s Tour at a brassy gold-topped table with warm filament bulbs dangling overhead.

fiume_140_4504.jpg
waldoworks_pauledmonds_bps_benanders_019_lo.jpg

AFTERNOON

The early afternoon makes the surface of the Thames gleam as I amble for two minutes around the waterfront – it’s extremely peaceful, with the river, trickling water feature and the soft hubbub from Fiume’s mini piazza acting as a soundtrack. I settle down beneath a vast umbrella decorated with flowers, foliage and citrus fruits gazing out over the water, glass of Prosecco in hand. Everything on the menu looks fresh and delicious, and after much deliberation and some tips from the knowledgeable waiter, I opt for the gorgeous Scottish crab ‘Catalana’ antipasti, a colourful salad strewn with succulent chunks of crab, fresh tomatoes, flavoursome potatoes and purple cauliflower, topped with dill and edible flowers. To follow, I try the wild sea bass guazzetto, a perfectly cooked slab of fish soaking in a rich tomato sauce with olives, potatoes, red pepper and seasoning. After a rich and much-needed double espresso, I mosey over to get treated at Paul Edmonds’ luxury hair and beauty salon.

Boasting my favourite colour scheme, the Paul Edmonds space in Battersea's Circus West Village is decked out in soft greys and rich blues, with pale gold wooden floors, grey marble surfaces, tarnished gold accents and deep blue velvets. The gentle hints of Art Deco inspiration add to the glamorous atmosphere, making it the perfect environment to enjoy a spot of pampering. With a cup of tea in front of me, the team of experts sets to work. Courtney uses the Shu Uemura Muroto cleanser followed by a personalised conditioner cocktail of Shu Uemura Urban Moisture and Shu Uemura Silk Bloom – for moisture and protection against external aggressors, I’m told. She treats me to an indulgent head massage before sending me to vivacious senior stylist Sina, who has travelled far and wide perfecting his skill. While he gently brushes out the dreadlock-like knots, Pauline starts on my manicure, a glittering navy blue. Just over an hour later and I’m well and truly polished, with sleek and soft locks to go with my immaculate nails – the perfect way to get prepped before going out.

vagabondbpsinterior.jpg
vbdlatestwinelineup.jpg

EVENING 

What could be better than being able to select your perfect glass of wine from a huge selection, without having to compromise for the sake of sharing a bottle? Far from gimmicky, Vagabond Wines has earmarked an Oyster card-esque system – top up your card, then head to one of the glass cases lining the walls, each of which is maintained at the perfect temperature for whichever wine it is hosting. Here, I sample something special; Vagabonds’ own English wines, the 2017 English PÉT-NOT sparkling, Bacchus and Pinot Noir rosé, all of which are ridiculously moreish. I settle down with a large glass of its 2017 Pinot Noir red wine, made in Limoux, enjoying the atmosphere. Strings of festival bulbs throw the barrel-lined space into a soft yellow light and vines are draped around the ceiling. It’s the perfect place to enjoy drinks with friends but if you, like me, love a casual supper with plenty of sharing, the vast platters of cheese, cured meats, warm breads, charcuterie, dips and salads are second to none. I tuck into a board loaded with Westcombe Cheddar, Tunworth camembert, roasted chorizo, prosciutto and air-dried bresaola, sourdough bread with salted butter and mixed olives, which provides the perfect kind of decedent sustenance to round off my day at Battersea Power Station.

However, if you’re keen to roam around the circus in search of dinner, there are options for every taste. For some of the best ramen in London, head to Tonkotsu, where its team prides itself on making the noodles from scratch in-house. For hearty British cuisine with a contemporary twist, point your feet towards No.29 Power Station West, which features a Sunday roast to fall in love with. Oyster fans should head straight to Wright Brothers for a spot of locally sourced seafood while those in need of some spice should opt for a curry at the luxurious Cinnamon Kitchen.

batterseapowerstation.co.uk • boomcycle.co.uk cinnamon-kitchen.com • coffeeworksproject.com • fiume-restaurant.co.uk • no29powerstationwest.co.uk • pauledmonds.com • thewrightbrothers.co.uk • tonkotsu.co.uk • vagabondwines.co.uk

More

FATHERS DAY 2018 AT TRUEFITT & HILL

We sent our stubble-covered writer Neil Simpson to St James’s historic barbershop, to experience a very special treatment

DINE OUT IN STYLE

Dine with style in some of London's new restaurants in London

The Wellness Clinic

With a 360-degree approach, The Wellness Clinic at Harrods is the ultimate one-stop shop for inside-out beauty, writes Fiona Vlemmiks