“It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Another secret of happiness is vouchers… more specifically, using Christmas vouchers without the guilt of spending your own money. Especially at this time of year when, if you’re anything like me, you’re at your poorest.
I was lucky enough to have been bought vouchers for afternoon tea at The Berkeley. Granted my friend and I had to pay to get to London and to stay in a hotel but, in our minds, we were technically saving money by using the vouchers.
We wanted to stay close to The Berkeley so that, if we overindulged on cake, we could simply roll our way back to the hotel. The Park Tower in Knightsbridge is two minutes away. Considering its location, in one of London’s most exclusive areas, it’s very reasonably priced compared to the other nearby hotels.
The hotel is housed in a cylindrical-shaped building. The unique design means that all 271 guest rooms enjoy views over Knightsbridge or Hyde Park.
The interior is beautiful, the colour scheme was inspired by Hyde Park's foliage with furnishings featuring a colour palette of sage greens and shimmering silvers.
We were allowed an early check in and were taken up to our room on the 9th floor, overlooking Harvey Nichols.
Once we had unpacked our bags, we headed over to explore Hyde Park. Spread across 350 acres, we spent a couple of hours walking around as much of it as we could before taking a pit stop at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen.
Despite it being chilly, we couldn’t resist sitting outside by the Serpentine Lake while we sipped tea and ate pain au chocolate.
It’s a lovely serene place to sit out in the fresh air first thing in the morning, away from the the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge, watching swans chase after people for their crumbs.
“Thus, when you cry out, 'Greedy! Greedy!' to the bird that flies away with the big crust, you know now that you ought not to do this, for he is very likely taking it to Peter Pan.”― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
Once refuelled, we set off again and walked up to Kensington Gardens. J.M. Barrie lived close to Kensington Gardens and published his first Peter Pan story in 1902, using the Gardens for inspiration.
Commissioned and paid for by the author, the Gardens now have a Peter Pan statue at the top end of the Serpentine. It was erected without any official permission during darkness on 30th April 1912, so to look as if it had arrived by magic.
Barrie wasn’t overly enamoured with the statue himself and so left a more significant memorial to Great Ormond Street Hospital. He granted the benefits of Peter Pan’s copyright which means that the hospital benefits from all Peter Pan-inspired works in perpetuity.
We arrived at Kensington Palace to be greeted by another statue, this time Queen Victoria. She was born at Kensington Palace and grew up there until she was summoned from her bed in 1837 to become the Queen.
The Palace is now home to Princes William and Harry. Having spent an hour to two admiring the Palace (ahem, searching for Harry) we began our journey back to the hotel, working up an appetite for our afternoon tea.
The Park Tower Hotel turned out to be a fantastic option for what we were looking for and I’d definitely stay again. Perfectly located on the doorstep of some of the best-known shops in Knightsbridge, including Harrods and Harvey Nichols…