This new London hotel in an 1906 court offers amazing history

If £6,000 for a night at the Old War Office is too much, head to Bromley for more amazing history in an Edwardian building built the same year

If £6,000 for a Suite where Churchill worked at the Old War Office seems a little excessive, here’s another taste of Edwardian splendour: the newly-opened Bromley Old Town Hall. The building opened in 1906, the same year as the Old War Office, and has clearly been inspired by the same design and architectural schools of thought, so head here for a more affordable slice of the action.

Bromley may seem far away but there’s a reason to visit: central London restaurants are rarely as beautiful as this. Opening a restaurant in an old court building in central London would just be too expensive. So get on the train from London Bridge for the night: trust us, you’ll survive the suburbs and it’s well worth it.

Read more: Staying at the Old War Office, where Churchill led the war

THE BUILDING: Impressive old properties in central London just can’t be turned into restaurants. Half of all restaurants opening in London close within two years, largely due to eye-watering costs. So it makes sense that restaurateurs chose Hackney garages rather than elaborate courtrooms to open venues. But in Bromley, it’s a different story.

WHAT IS IT? The Bromley Old Town Hall has three parts: a co-working space, a restaurant and a hotel. The hotel, called Brama, only occupies four percent of the total building, but its original 1906 tiled floor entrance hallway is a lovely taster of what you’ll find elsewhere. The restaurant occupies the former courtroom, and the bar is where the stairs used to lead down to cells, which are now stock rooms (a wasted opportunity!). Clockwork, the office space, takes up most of the venue and is a bright space where contemporary art contrasts with grand marble pillars and high, decorative ceilings.

THE HOTEL: The hotel, called Brama, takes over new upper floors, built on top of the original structure. There are just a handful of rooms, but they’re filled with thoughtful details to make the most of the space. Live plants, comfy beds – my room even had its own kitchen. Stocked mini bars are complementary, and big windows frame views of the rest of the Old Town Hall outside. There’s also the most comprehensive toiletries kit I’ve ever seen, with dozens of products, including a toothbrush (I’m not the only one who always forgets a toothbrush, am I?).

THE RESTAURANT: This is the star of the show. Dorothy and Marshall is in the high-ceilinged former courtroom. It’s the sort of dining room where you can sit and stare for hours longer than it takes to eat dinner. The original dark wood panneling remains, as do the arched ceilings. Today there are graceful images on the walls depicting utopic images of England, but it’s not hard to imagine wronguns being sent down here. Just strip the warm green paint off this wall and it could be somewhere far more austere. It’s a thrilling place to eat. Oh, and the food’s good too, using local, seasonal produce wherever possible. I had a fresh mackerel salad, beef cooked in Guinness, and a homemade jam roly poly with custard, replete with that tongue-stingly sweet jam that definitely exacerbates diabetes but sod it. This dish done well (which it was) is the sweet innocence of youth – and the dowdy school dining hall – epitomised.

Visit the Bromley Old Town Hall yourself

Rooms at Brama start from £120 per night for two people sharing. Visit and for more information and to book. Trains go to Bromley from London Bridge.

Read more: Staying at the Old War Office, where Churchill led the war

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