What is one of the main recurring themes at the centre of the story about the world’s favourite nanny, Mary Poppins? Banks! The surname of one of the main characters is Banks, and the father who’s too busy to look after his children works at a bank.
To celebrate the iconic story of Mary Poppins, here are 10 former bank buildings transformed to places where you can eat, sleep and have lots of fun!
Surrounded by the graceful buildings of Oxford University College, this former bank is now a luxury hotel. The Old Bank Hotel is rich in history and character with parts of the building dating back to the 14th century. For an extra treat, book the Room with the View, the rooftop bedroom and terrace with breathtaking views of Oxford’s elegant spires. The Old Bank Hotel is located on the High Street, perfect for exploring this historic city.
Housed in one of the grandest buildings on the list, the Harbour Hotel and Spa used to be the headquarters of one of Britain’s main banks. With a stunning façade of Doric columns, arches and stone carvings, you know you’re in for a treat as you walk through the hotel’s main entrance. Located in the bank’s former vaults is a luxury spa. While you won’t see any bundles of cash down there, after having one of the treatments you’ll definitely feel like a million bucks!
Explore the history of the Bank of England with a trip to its fascinating museum. See how bank notes have changed over time, learn about England’s economic history and you’ll even get the chance to pick up a real gold bar. It’s free to visit the Bank of England Museum so a trip will save you a pound or two!
With sparkling chandeliers, decorative ceilings and frescos on deep red walls, this pub used to be the Law Courts branch of the Bank of England. Rich in history, the original vaults of The Old Bank of England stored bullion and some of the Crown Jewels during World War I. Nowadays, the safes are used for the pub’s cellars and kitchen, which serves delicious, traditional pub grub.
It’s hard to believe Hotel Gotham used to be as bank as its art deco interior feels like something out of New York in the Roaring Twenties. And in the spirit of the indulgent decade, the rooms of this five-star hotel have crystal glasses, leather bedheads and marble bathrooms. Head up to the rooftop for delicious cocktails at the private members’ club and enjoy the impressive views from its terraces.
An iconic building in London’s Piccadilly, the Wolseley originally started life as a car showroom in 1921 and became a bank in 1927. The features from both incarnations remain at this grand cafe. The domed ceilings and marble floors from the car show room perfectly complement the marble banking counter and managers offices – now the bar and tea salon. If you want to see and been seen, come here for top notch breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It’s easy to lose track of time in this splendid former bank and city court. Spread over five floors, the Corinthian Club has a combo of bars and restaurants to keep you entertained. Dine under the elaborate plasterwork in the Teller’s Bar and Brasserie, pop into the casino or dance the night away at Charlie Parker’s cocktail and piano bar.
Serving tasty modern British cuisine, this underground restaurant is housed in former bank vaults. The restored brickwork, wooden floors and soft lighting at Potted Pig creates a warm and cosy atmosphere. After your meal, deposit yourself on the comfy sofas in the Gin Lounge and sample the huge range of bespoke gins available.
If you’re a fan of heist movies, have a go at cracking the safe at the Museum on the Mound. Temptingly, there's one million pounds on display. While you won’t leave with any loot if you crack the code, you’ll have a great sense of satisfaction! Museum on the Mound is in the historic Bank of Scotland head office and is free to visit.
Although it's not located in a bank, the Royal Mint Experience is well worth a visit. Take a guided tour of this 1110-year old institution and learn about the history of coins and find out how they are made. You’ll even have the chance to strike your own coin – the perfect memento of your trip.