Johnny Stephens Photography/Control Room B
Hattie Lloyd 01/03/23
Itinerary Location: Battersea | Duration: 6 Hours
Battersea Power Station has everything you need for an electrifying date night.
Start with a leisurely cruise along the river taking in some of London’s most iconic sights, before disembarking for cocktails in the station’s old control room; sharing platters of lobster and langoustines; and enjoying a nightcap with a view… as well as taking a giddy ascent within the very chimneys of the power station itself.
If anyone can pull off such an outlandishly romantic date, it’s you. So instruct your beloved to meet you at…
It’s one of those classic London spots that’s free to visit, right on our doorstep, and yet we probably don’t visit nearly enough. This vast repository of contemporary art (roughly covering the last century or so) also happens to be one of London’s most recognisable landmarks, and it’s a fitting place to start your evening since it too was once an old power station, designed by the same architect as Battersea (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also came up with the red telephone box).
The collection at Tate Modern is so massive that the displays are constantly shifting – pick a theme that piques your interests, and soak up the work of Duchamp, Warhol and Rego, or book tickets to one of their temporary exhibitions. Sometimes, the best art is what you overhear in the galleries as people nod solemnly at a blank canvas.
The Tate closes at 6pm, so once you’ve had your fill of art head right along the river to the Bankside dock, and hop on:
Taking the ferry along the Thames feels like an unfamiliar luxury when we spend 90% of our travel time on the tube. The RB2 sets off from here just after 6pm on weekends, and will take you on a gentle half hour cruise along the river past Shakespeare’s Globe and the South Bank, the Houses of Parliament, the 590 year-old Lambeth Palace, and that swimming pool bridge suspended between two apartment blocks. And if you time it right (which, at this time of year, you will), you might just get blessed with a ridiculously romantic sunset as a backdrop to it all.
Hop off at Battersea Power Station pier, and head towards the chimney on your right…
Time to see those landmarks again from a new perspective. The newest of London’s viewpoints is also its most unusual, because Lift 109 is a glass elevator that whisks you up inside one of the chimneys of Battersea Power Station. Thankfully this chimney’s no longer functioning, so you’ll emerge onto a platform revealing 360° panoramic views at the top, and not just into a plume of smoke.
A lot of the big hitters are visible from up here, including the twinkling lights of Albert Bridge and the Thames snaking along below you, and a view of the power station itself that until recently would only have been seen by a handful of people.
And talking of rare views of Battersea Power Station, time for another one by actually going inside…
The interiors of Battersea Power Station are pretty awe-inspiring. It’s one of the largest brick buildings in the world, centred around two vast turbine halls, one designed pre-war and lined with Italian marble; the other a post-war modernist version glimmering with steel. It’s here that you’ll step into Control Room B, a cocktail bar which enjoys the unique setting of the station’s old control room, complete with the original panels of levers and buttons that look like something out of a film set.
It’s not just banking on its quirky surroundings to do the heavy lifting, either – Control Room B comes to you from the same cocktail aficionados behind Mr. Foggs and Cahoots, so the signature concoctions here are top-tier too. Sip on a Live Wire (not to be attempted in any other context), with Champagne, cognac and cherry liqueur, or a Battersea Nightcap with bourbon, cookie syrup and two types of vermouth under the electric canopy of the central bar, then mosey on down to…
Oyster happy hours, Champagne, and shellfish platters: this is always the Wright choice for dinner. Wright Brothers Battersea sits right at the base of the power station, with a suave wood-panelled dining room inside and a festoon-lit terrace outside, with views over the river and the bricky behemoth lit up in all its glory. The Brothers’ attention to good sourcing means its hard to find better seafood in London, and if one of you doesn’t like shellfish, then rest assured that there are a) ribeye steaks cooked over a Josper grill, and b) treacle tarts to be had.
There’s also an excellent bar here serving up concoctions that’ll help you rapidly find your sea legs, but don’t indulge too much before your final stop:
JOIA translates as jewel, and at 15 storeys up it is the literal jewel in the crown of Battersea’s newly opened art’otel. It’s the creation of lauded Portuguese chef Henrique Sá Passoa, who’s chosen this as the location for his first London restaurant.
Of course, you don’t get to enjoy dishes from a twice Michelin starred Portuguese chef without paying accordingly… so the smart move is to save this showstopper for the very end of the evening, where you can ascend the elevator to the 15th floor, follow the gentle strains of bossa nova, and take a seat in Joia’s bar area; a beautiful pastel-coloured lounge where you can sip equally beautiful cocktails.
The dozen-strong menu is inspired by jewels found in the Iberian region, so you can enjoy a mint and matcha-laced gin Esmeralda or an elegant pearl-inspired Perola with Champagne, rhubarb bitters and peach liqueur – and the alcohol-free versions on offer are genuinely just as good. And the best part? They all come with incredible views through the floor to ceiling windows…
The atmosphere’s electric.
➊ Tate Modern | Bankside, London SE1 9TG
➋ Bankside Pier | Bankside, London SE1 9DT
➌ Lift 109 | Battersea Power Station, Circus Rd W, London SW8 5BN
➍ Control Room B | Battersea Power Station Circus Rd E, London SW8 5BN
➎ Wright Brothers Battersea | 26 Circus West Village, SW8 4NN
➏ JOIA | art’otel Battersea, 1 Electric Boulevard, Nine Elms, London SW11 8BJ
Like exploring London’s neighbourhoods? Take a look at our other Itineraries
Starts at Tate Modern, Battersea, SE1 9TG
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