No one does quirky quite like the British. From the inseparability of Gilbert and George to the verve of Vivienne Westwood, there's a certain kind of idiosyncrasy that the UK does best. And so it is at Queens Gate Gardens. A large two bedroom flat filled with antiques, in a grand Kensington mansion, at first glance it's as traditional as can be.
Look again, however, and you'll notice that Queens Gate Gardens ripples with wry humour. The exaggeratedly gilded picture frames, the delicious nudes, the statues guarding the entrance to the grand dining room; here's an Englishman's home that's not so much a castle as a historian's playground.
Your hosts are a pair of writers who, like many of the British aristocracy, divide their time between their London home and a residence in the countryside. Your host enjoys a certain authority on upper crust life, having penned a book on the Debrett Season. So whether you know your napkins from your serviettes, or you'd just like to, here's the perfect place to learn.
The hallway of Queens Gate Gardens is like that of a country house in miniature. Lined with oil paintings, books and curious antiques, it runs straight down to the grand dining room, with its imposing portraits and, atop the polished table, a gleaming silver candelabra. Continue past a pair of statues to the sitting room, with its deep sofas, duck egg blue walls and doors that open out onto the garden.
You may prefer to stay in and admire the watercolours, but on warm summer nights a pre-dinner drink on the quiet patio is pleasure distilled. There's another private patio off the cosy master bedroom, and a ritzily luxurious en suite. There's a guest double next door with a further en suite, and of course, you'll find both beds made up with cool, crisp white linen.
The British do love to be among the fields and hedgerows. If you're yearning for a little greenery, you're very close to Hyde Park. Your local department stores are Harrods and Harvey Nichols, while for food shopping, you've the largest Whole Foods in Europe. And since you're already in zone 1, the rest of central London is very close indeed.