The Strand London + Gordon’s Wine Bar + Savoy Hotel Christmas Lights

By Brian Lemay 14 comments

HI Guys welcome back to London tonight I want
to make a video about festive lights on London’s Strand and Villiers Street which connects
the Strand to the river bank the embankment I was going to start it on the embankment
but what I wanted to start off by saying was because there has been this year they have
the area has been long renowned for light innovation lighting innovation so it was one
of the first areas to get electric street lighting the embankment until then it was
gas lighting but rather than just telling you that and expecting you to imagine what
that is like here in London I can show you now these lamps here were once gas they have
been converted to electricity but a lot of London’s streets are still lit well not a
lot a few a handful are still lit entirely by gas so Ican show you what it is like the
focus will go badly doing this one it is misty two I’ve done this before and modern cameras
don’t like gas light for some reason it freaks them out a bit like it is there nemisis a
bit like if you put it in front of certain flourecent bulbs they strobe yeah it is wierd
but yeah I can show you the difference between electric light and streets lit by gas lamp
here it is much darker now it is quite a light night there is a moon tonight so it is not
too bad but this is where it changes so that side of the street there is lit by electricity
this side of the street are gas lamps and this pathway here if we walk through the park
is lit exclusively by gas and if there is not a moon like tonight you can all the lights
serve to do is show you the direction you can’t see people you can’t see where you are
going you really can barely see one metre in front of you tonight it is not so bad but
yeah this is one of the gas lamp streets now you can see me on screen but you can also
see the sky is pretty light tonight if that was dark you really wouldn’t be able to see
me yeah you can hardly see people walking past me as we get further in it will get a
little bit darker when we get further in I will see if I can get the camera to focus
on the element and the mantle and you may be able to see a pilot light from one of these
gas lamps but yeah it gets super spooky when it is pitch black so yeah switching from gas
to electricity was a big step forward this was back I think I’am going to say the eighteen
seventies and yeah slowly but surely London converted from gas to electricity but certain
parts still haven’t so you can hear people walking towards you before you can see them
it is very different luckily the bridge over the lake in the middle
is lit by electricity to avoid accidents those two nearly walked into me because they are
walking out of the electric lights into the pitch black and it takes a little while for
your eyes to adjust to the darkness so I don’t know if you can make out there is a mist a
fog on the lake that that is Buckingham palace that is the London eye where we are headed
now lets see if you can make out the mantle of one of these lamps no not at all it is
too misty and it doesn’t like them anyway right enough of the past lets get back to
the future the Embankment which is that way and modern electric street lighting OK I’ve
come down to the London Eye well the North Bank of the river opposite the London Eye
you can see it is kind of shrouded in a mist this evening the focus might go a little bit
weird doing this yeah this is where I was going to start and where I was going to tell
you that this was the first part of London to be switched from being lit by gas you had
these gas lamps here to being lit by electricity and as you see from the difference earlier
it is much brighter electric lights provide a lot more light so yeah the reason that is
relevant is this year yeah the the lights on Villiers Street and the Strand are being
lit well they are being powered by alternative energy so they are taking old cooking fat
and oil from London’s restaurants turning it into bio fuel and using that to power the
Christmas lights here the lights themselves I’am not going to big your hopes up are not
that spectacular but I guess it is just an interesting story about the innovative way
they are being powered originally before they built this the river bank was probably a good
few metres that way in fact these buildings here would have backed directly on to the
river and the Strand where we are heading was home to a load of mansions mansion buildings
and their gardens ran down to here and would have had moorings so river access from the
ends of their gardens and there is in fact one left there is the Garden gate of York
Mansion it is in the sort of it is on the edge of Embankment Gardens and the yard that
Gordon’s wine bar uses I don’t want to get killed here I can show you we can go to Gordon’s
wine bar and I will show you it looks yeah like a garden gate and river mooring from
the sixteen hundreds now landlocked quite a few meters from where the river is now since
the embankment was built I will go to Gordon’s wine bar I can’t drink a whole bottle of wine
we I could drink a whole bottle of wine it would be very festive what is festive sherry
that is the kind of thing your grandmother drinks at Christmas port lets get some vintage
port and I will show you the gate so yeah there is Embankment tube you can walk straight
through there and come out where we were and this is Villiers Street and the first of the
lights that will be lit by the bio fuel pretty simple string of lights and garlands but yeah
you can see how far from the river we are now and the old garden gate the river gate
is effectively just down here Lets show you this is Gordon’s wine bar there is videos
there is a video on my channel on my channel about Gordon’s it is great the entrance is
now down the side along with the garden gate OK welcome to Gordon’s they do amazing big
plates of cheese I’ve made a video before I’am going to get a port and take a look at
the gate OK quite a large beaker of Tawny port I will show you the gate pretty good
the structure I keep referring to as a garden gate is the York water gate built around sixteen
twenty six to provide river access to a mansion house on the Strand on the time named York
house construction of the new river embankment began here in eighteen sixty five and was
completed in eighteen seventy land locking this gate about one hundred and fifty meters
from the river Thames and being on the edge of Embankment gardens making it look very
much like a very grand park gate no that is not going to stay on there but yeah that is
one of the old mansion houses that would have been up there that was its river access as
you can see Gordon’s is super popular and the wine is good the food is great huge plates
and platters of cheese and cold meats it is good stuff Gordon’s wine bar was established
in eighteen ninety making it London’s oldest surviving wine bar there are far older pubs
and taverns but Gordon’s lays claim to oldest wine bar the building and cellar that Gordon’s
call home was another victim of the Embankment being built just like York gate was it had
been a warehouse enjoying river access at a time when the river was a major transport
route until the embankment was built so after becoming land locked nearly one hundred and
fifty meters from the river the upper floors became accommodation and the cellar a bar
without all this additional seating outside this is effectively a street they would be
finished they wouldn’t be finished but you couldn’t fit anywhere near this lot would
not fit inside that cellar they have heaters under there as well even on cold winters nights
it is a it is a great spot this was larger than I thought it was going to be this port
I should have got a small I think although I don’t think there is much difference I think
a small is one hundred and thirty millilitres and a large is one hundred and fifty millilitres
I only can here to look at the gate in case you wondering and your not sure port is just
wine fortified usually with brandy it makes it stronger and sweeter which is why it is
festive you generally get two types aged in wood or bottles this is wood right if I can
get out of here fight the crowd Christmas lights success OK a quick pit stop port stop
right this is Villiers Street home of Gordon’s wine bar links the Embankment to The Strand
where we are headed the same family also own this bar here Villiers I think it features
in the other Gordon’s wine bar video I made but right I’am going to fight through this
crowd and we will check out the Strand OK this is the Strand orginally there would have
been a mansion here and the end of its garden would have been that gate we just came from
but I will go and check out get a closer look at the Christmas decorations maybe I will
walk up as far as The Savoy Hotel and yeah we will go and check out the Savoy Hotel again
it was one of when it was built it was one of the first luxury hotels here in London
so again innovation they had the new modern at the time the most modern technology electric
lights lighting the embankment and then The Savoy joined in and got electric lights and
there was another I think it was one of the first to have en-suite bathrooms hard to imagine
a world without them today but yeah we will go up there we could go in the Savoy but I’am
not sure I’ll get much change out of twenty pounds for a drink so maybe we will go they
have a pub in their former coal cellar called the coal hole maybe we can pop in the coal
hole pub but yeah this is the Strand Christmas lights this year lit by bio fuel there is
not a lot to them really Christmas baubles and you may not be able to make it out but
in the centre one there are sort of symbols of theatre because this is very much London’s
theatre district it is home the street itself is home to a number of theatres hugely popular
especially at weekends The Savoy has its own theatre as well just down the down the entrance
road way on the right hand side right they will all be super popular with their Christmas
performances going on some of them will have specific Christmas shows and some will have
panto right lets go to the Savoy hotel OK that is the coal hole former coal cellar of
the Savoy Hotel it used to be the bar area in the basement used to be a bar for the pub
it is now I think it probably still is but they try and sell it as a separate dining
area but this is the Savoy hotel itself OK now if you like and subscribe maybe soon I’ll
be able to afford to go into the America bar and we can have cocktails in luxury hotels
but for now we are in the former coal cellar of the luxury hotel top floor there is a pub
we will head down here into the basement and get a drink you would never guess huh OK a
pint of Meantime London pale ale its snug in here it is freezing outside it is full
of people and warm OK that was the coal hole I’am pretty sure this stairway here at the
back leads to the regular top floor pub I’ll show you that while we are here two birds
one stone now you know why I went downstairs I had to fight my way out imagine trying to
buy a drink up there I was just getting acclimatised to the warmth of the coal hole cellar and
back out into the freezing cold right I hope you enjoyed this trip where did we even begin
St James park St James park the London Eye Gordon’s wine bar Villiers street a look at
this years this years Christmas lights on the Strand powered by old cooking fat and
oil from London’s restaurants and The Savoy hotels pub and wine bar the coal hole so I’am
going to call it a night there I hope you enjoyed it all and until next time Toodles!


Tim Daugherty

Dec 12, 2016, 7:20 am Reply

Robert. We really enjoy these!!!!! I am coming there in June. Trooping the Colour.
I know nothing about the city, but I will just learn as I go.

Wabbit Hunter

Dec 12, 2016, 9:26 am Reply

I remember reading something about workers finding a body in an ally after they put in lighting. It had been there all the time they were installing it, yet it wasn't until they turned on the light that they found it.

Also you may be interested in a book called 'London: The Biography' by Peter Ackroyd. Well worth a look.

nuhs jus

Dec 12, 2016, 1:03 pm Reply

really good videos
have you done tea at the cafe royal really nice
better value than fortnum

Bradie B

Dec 12, 2016, 5:21 pm Reply

You visited here last year, must be more places to go rather than a revisit?

Renil Rangaraj

Dec 12, 2016, 7:34 pm Reply

Good video mate. Really missing London especially in the Christmas season.


Dec 12, 2016, 6:41 am Reply

Great vid, greets from Los Angeles. Subscribed.


Dec 12, 2016, 9:40 am Reply

Great video mate! Walking into Gordon's Wine Bar, is like going back in time a few hundred years. Really cool!


Dec 12, 2016, 10:25 pm Reply

Brilliant stuff. I never knew about the gas lamps in St James's Park, so watching the video tonight has been an education too. Thanks for the extra tidbits of info.

paul newell

Dec 12, 2016, 10:27 pm Reply

Intelligent and informative video


Jan 1, 2017, 3:20 am Reply

I loved how pretty and atmospheric the gas lights were. Cool idea for a vlog!


Mar 3, 2017, 1:07 am Reply

Have you ever considered giving food-themed walking tours for visitors? I bet a lot of your regular viewers would buy that service. I know I would! I'm visiting London later this year, and so much of what I've marked on my google map is thanks to you.

Daniel B

May 5, 2017, 1:38 am Reply

Meantime Pale Ale, awesome beer! you should do a tour of their brewery in Greenwich

Welshwander Patrick

Nov 11, 2018, 5:53 pm Reply

Very dark in park nice London

Cherry Berry48

Nov 11, 2018, 11:34 pm Reply

i love the sound of people gathered, thats festive to me!!

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