150th Anniversary – Charing Cross Hotel

Today is the 150th birthday of Amba Hotel Charing Cross! Built in 1865, it has witnessed many of London’s huge and incredible changes and we are honoured to have called it home since 2012.

A little history

When the Charing Cross Railway Company drew up plans for a new terminus on The Strand, it was obvious that they should include a grand hotel to rival those at Euston, Paddington and Kings Cross. Thus was born the Charing Cross Hotel.

Originally designed in sumptuous Franco-Italianate style by E.M. Barry – son of Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the House of Commons – this amazing Grade II listed building has been transformed for the modern age. Yet it retains that sense of refinement and luxury which made it one of the most prestigious places to stay in Victorian London.

Interesting facts 

– Also in 1865, Barry designed a replica of the Eleanor Cross for the forecourt of the station. The original was built in 1290 as a memorial to Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I. It was demolished in 1647 by the Puritans.

– The site of the original Eleanor Cross – south of Trafalgar Square where the statue of King Charles I stands today – is the spot from where all distances from London are measured.

– It is often thought that Charing is named after Eleanor: ‘chère Reine’ (beloved Queen), but this is an appealing fallacy. The true derivation comes from an earlier, Saxon word ‘cyring’, meaning ‘at the bend of the river’.

– Charing Cross claims to be the site of the first Punch and Judy show to be held in England. Originally from Italy, the puppet show has become a national institution and a story familiar to children all over the UK.

Faulty Towers and Amba Hotel Charing Cross

Situated in the true heart of London, the hotel perfectly represents England’s culture and history. We’re really proud to have been performing the show there every week since 2012.

There are special events during the whole weekend 15-17 May, including a menu featuring 1865-style food, a Victorian-style photo booth to record events, room discounts, giveaways, and competition prizes.

And watch out for some action today from 4pm featuring Basil, Sybil and Manuel too!