Freemasons’ Hall

Buried among the bars and boutiques of historic Covent Garden is the global headquarters of the world’s oldest social group. But like its storied tenants, there’s more to this Art Deco masterpiece than meets the eye

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Club class

It might well be one of London’s most famed private clubs – with a membership list to match – but The Arts Club is just as relevant today as it was when it was launched by Charles Dickens in 1863 If the cashmere walls of the Arts Club in London could talk, they’d likely have a few stories to tell about pomp, pageantry and potent conversations. It’s true that many notables have passed through the Mayfair abode’s marble foyer and up the winding staircase beneath Tomás Saraceno’s hanging geometric sculpture. But like all private clubs, discretion is everything....

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Chelsea London, UK

Skirting the north of the River Thames, Chelsea has been affiliated with high society since Henry VIII moved his royal court to the area in the 1600s. In the late 18th century it became a Bohemian neighbourhood with artists, writers and radicals moving in, while many luminaries of the Victorian era lived here, such as painters Turner and Whistler and writers Thomas Carlyle, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. The ’60s brought artists, designers and musicians, attracted by cheap rent and a cool reputation. The Beatles and Rolling Stones had homes here and designers Vivienne Westwood and Mary...

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The Ouseburn, Newcastle, UK

Now Newcastle’s foremost creative enclave, the Ouseburn has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent times, from an industrial wasteland to an area of cultural regeneration, home to artists, musicians and creative businesses. Two-hundred years ago the area was at the forefront of the Tyneside’s industrial revolution, with craft industries such as lead works, corn mills, iron foundries and tanners taking residence in the water-power mills that were built on the Ouseburn River. The decline of heavy industry saw the area fall to its knees, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that it re-emerged, with community-driven enterprises that...

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The Zetter Townhouse – London, UK

Take the unmarked doors and exclusive air of a private members’ club, throw in London’s passion for all things hipster, add a dash of Wes Anderson oddness, and there you have it: The Zetter Townhouse, a boutique 24-room hotel that embraces luxury and quirkiness in the same breath. This intimate property, hidden down a side street in Marylebone, is designed to feel like you’ve stepped into the world of ‘Wicked Uncle Seymour’. A living room with a roaring fireplace, and ‘family’ portraits doubles as the hotel’s lounge while, by night, the area is filled with young professionals ordering...

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THE NORTHERN QUARTER, MANCHESTER

There are few areas that encapsulate the Mancunian spirit better than the Northern Quarter (NQ) and, much like Manchester in general, it’s a place that very much marches to the beat of its own drum. Located north-east of the city centre – and edged by Piccadilly, Victoria and Ancoats – the bohemian neighbourhood is a bastion of independent fashion and music and refreshingly chain-free, with some of the most eclectic shops in the city and a village-like vibe that’s hard to come by in other areas. Sandwiched between its narrow Victorian red brick alleys,...

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