Seven Wonders of London

Nov 29th, 2007, 08:50 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,889
Seven Wonders of London

TimeOut London has been listing the 7 Wonders of modern London - previously the new St Pancras train shed, the facade of the Hoover Building and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. This week:

Seven wonders of London: Natural History Museum
Continuing our seven wonders series, we take a peek inside one of London's most revered museums
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 08:57 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,889
Speaking of St Pancras i wonder if this blurb in the current TOUT influenced their decision to make St Pancras one of the seven wonders?

The Champagne Bar at St Pancras
It's the longest Champagne bar in Europe - so what's all the fizz about?
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:12 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
I was at the champagne bar last Thursday. I think it's over-hyped. It does have a long bar that you can sit or stand at, it stretches a long way parallel to the Eurostar trains while they're in the station. BUT...there's no service along that area. The actually champagne pouring/serviced part of the bar is pretty much standard size.

And last Thursday afternoon, it looked like any airport bar...the bar itself was mobbed three and four deep with people trying to get drinks and it was understaffed...the bartenders on duty looked very harried. Access to parts of the bar were blocked by people with their luggage. Overall, it wasn't very inviting.

Part of this is due to the fact that the Carte Blanche/Business Premier lounge for Eurostar hasn't opened yet. So many of the drinkers at the bar probably would have been down in the lounge. Also, many of the shops and other pre-boarding diversions haven't opened yet, so people were milling around the bar because of the hype and lack of other things to do.

FWIW, the old Waterloo station was more practical for us. Easier to reach from Paddington (via Bakerloo line which has, in our experience, been more reliable than the Tube lines from Pad to St. Pancras), escalators the whole way (not the case if you go from Paddington to St. Pancras via Hammersmith, which is the closest tube line to Pad's tracks 12 and 13 where the Maidenhead locals usually stop) and more ways to kill time in the station if you're not in the lounge.

The situation at St. Pancras should improve soon as more shops/cafes open up and the lounge opens. It might even be possible to get to the champagne bar without fighting through the mob...we have some vouchers for the bar we'd like to use one of these days.
BTilke is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:36 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,889
BTilke: just curious if you noticed Eurostar at SP has luggage lockers like they did in Waterloo?
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:44 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
No, sorry, I didn't notice. Perhaps there's info available online.
So far, we're not thrilled with St. Pancras. It's a handsome building and the soaring ceiling over the trains is very impressive but...it's just not as practical (for us anyway) as Waterloo. It's early days, of course, our views may change as the station gets its Eurostar related services into full swing. But at the moment, we'd score it 4 out of 10 compared to Waterloo's 8 out of 10.
BTilke is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 01:14 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,134
The bizarre thing about St Pancras is it doesn't feel at all like a proper railway station. It's more like one of those dismal places in America - Tacoma, say - that aren't stations any more, but have been heritageised into something else. Or like Grand Central, which is really just a food court, because you never actually see the trains unless you're getting on one.

At St P, unlike every other real railway station I've been in, you can't walk onto the platforms AT ALL from what Barlow designed as the main concourse. The beautiful original platform-level booking office is boarded up - doubtless waiting to be turned into the crappiest vodka bar in Europe, or the dearest smoked salmon bar in Camden, or something equally essential. Unlike real stations, there are virtually no trains. Add it all up, and there's no bustle. No announcements. No kids excited. The only couple having a farewell snog are in the mediocre, gigantesque, £1million artwork.

Most of the action happens underneath the platforms - or in the pointless (except to the shareholders) champagne bar, where in an unprecedently insightful comment BTilke has noticed there's no room for luggage. So, unless you're just taking your laptop to Paris for a quick sesh with fellow vulture capitalists, it's a useless place for passengers to go to. Hell, even the old Shires Bar understood passengers' needs better.

True, it's sort of beautiful. But I beat a retreat over to Kings Cross to remind myself what stations are all about. People: not soulless conservation.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 01:19 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,889
I felt the same way about Berlin's ballyhooed new main train station - architectural wonder but soul-less place where the trains are a footnote, well out of site, to the shopping mall and none of the usual bustle that flanner laments in the new St Pancras

Hope this trend in train sheds doesn't spread all over Europe. Give me a Victoria station anyday.
PalenQ is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:43 PM.