A place where art meets artifice, where the real and the pretend waltz across the cobbles, Covent Garden is London's Pleasure Island. The crowds seethe at theatre doors, while, in the tangled backstreets, actors scamper for snatched coffees before the curtain goes up. And, in amongst the razzmatazz, yet somehow set slightly apart, is King Street, a fabulous, and delightfully bizarre home that's as spectacular as any stage set. You've original art, objects de vertu and some very curious curiosâ€¦
Your host and hostess come from the world of politics, now retired, they're making the most of the opportunity to read, to travel and to add to their extraordinary art collection. Your host now spends much of his time at his desk, researching his next book.
King Street was once occupied by a friend Dr Johnson and there's a great sense of history to this home. Not that the interiors are confined to the eighteenth century, far from it. The sitting room contains pieces that range from a (replica) sculpture dating from 25000BC to a nineteenth century grand piano to a portrait completed as recently as 1995. Take a seat at the bureau, relax on the Louis XV sofa, or open the large cupboard doors (modelled on the gateway to the Actors' Church, opposite) to reveal a kitchen in miniature.
Next door, the bedroom, with its polished sleigh bed and spectacular artwork, is a renaissance fantasy. Pad across the tapestried floor to the modern en suite bathroom, with its scarlet walls and freestanding bath. There's an otherworldly quality to King Street, time spent here is like a decadant dream.
Knowing that the wonderful array of artifacts is likely to rouse your, your host has compiled a booklet explaining the provenance and history of the items in the home.
Your location really couldn't be finer, for you've all of Covent Garden waiting downstairs. There are shops everywhere, and the bar and restaurants are the liveliest in the UK. Theatreland is around the corner while the Royal Opera House is so close you may not even need a coat. You can walk to practically anywhere in zone one, or if you'd rather save your shoe leather, the tube's just a couple of minutes from your front door.