London, United Kingdom

The Rookery

Price per night from$265.50

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP207.50), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Period drama


Clerkenwell’s gastronomic heart

The Rookery hotel has more character in its bathrooms than some hotels have in their entirety; its charms include artful Georgian styling and a location in restaurant-rich EC2.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

For Club and Superior Double room bookings: a bottle of house wine; for Junior Suites and Suite reservations, a bottle of prosecco


Photos The Rookery facilities

Need to know


33, including three suites.


11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from £249.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

Please note

There is restoration work happening at the hotel on weekdays from 9.30am to 5.30pm; whilst disruptions are unlikely, please be aware that noise may travel.

At the hotel

Free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, land&water bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Mary Lane (a Superior Double) is set in the eaves, and has a low, beamed ceiling and a ruby-red complexion. Mary was a local servant girl who made good by marrying a diamond merchant; there’s even a portrait of her hanging by the glossy oak bed. Rook’s Nest has all the theatrics of a Poirot set: an ornately carved bed with black cherubs at its foot and a gilded faux bamboo frame; an Edwardian bathing machine on a raised plinth in one corner; a ceiling that moves at the touch of a button to reveal the spire above. There's no lift, so some rooms (such as the penthouse Rook's Nest) aren't ideal if you have trouble climbing stairs.

Packing tips

Remember geek specs and digital-print attire to blend in with the area’s glut of architects and graphic designers, and cat treats for Lady Grey (the resident feline).


Little Smiths are welcome; cots (free) for babies and extra beds (free for under-12s; £30 for older children) are provided.

Food and Drink

Photos The Rookery food and drink

Dress Code

Avoid anachronisms with a Georgian flourish or two: backdate your outfit with a corset, cravat, ruffles or a waistcoat.

Hotel restaurant

There’s no restaurant, but you won’t feel the lack, given the wealth of dining options on your doorstep, and the hotel has a stash of takeaway menus. Breakfast is brought to guests’ rooms and spans pastries, cereal, granola, porridge and bacon sandwiches.

Hotel bar

There’s a spirit-stocked honesty bar tucked away in a cosy corner of the Conservatory.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am until 10am.

Room service

Staff can rustle up items from a small but discerning menu. In keeping with the rest of the hotel, in-room offerings have a traditional British bent: ham and mustard baguettes, cheese and chutney, and pie and mash.


Photos The Rookery location
The Rookery
12 Peter's Lane Cowcross Street
United Kingdom


London City airport is eight miles away, and runs regular flights to over 30 destinations, including Paris, New York, Edinburgh and Barcelona.


King's Cross St Pancras is less than two miles away, served by Virgin and First Capital Connect ( Farringdon tube station is just steps away (


With such great public transport connections (and bearing in mind the congestion charge), it makes no sense to bring a car; instead, live like the locals and zip around by bus, train or Tube.

Worth getting out of bed for

Explore the two-mile Clerkenwell Historic Trail; admire the mediaeval priory of St John, the nunnery of St Mary, Farringdon Road (which lies above Old Fleet River) and St John Street, which was once the ancient drovers' route down to Smithfield Market. Speaking of which, Smithfield, or London Central Markets, has been the site of a livestock market for over 800 years. Navigate the walk yourself, or join a guided tour. Hop on the bus to Spitalfields Market and trawl the stalls: Thursdays are dedicated to antiques and vintage; Fridays are art- and fashion-focused; on weekends, it’s a mixed bag (no stalls on Saturday). Browse the exhibitions at Lever Gallery on Goswell Road – make sure you plan ahead, as the gallery is appointment-only. The Barbican lies to the south, where a vast entertainment complex covers film, dance, art, live music and more. And, Bounce Farringdon is a bar for ballers (ping-pong ballers, that is…).

Local restaurants

Fergus Henderson’s temple to nose-to-tail eating, St John Bar & Restaurant, is set in a former smokehouse just around the corner from Spitalfield’s market at 26 St John Street. Headline dishes include bone marrow on toast, lamb-tongue salad, and chitterling chips. John Torode is famous for his TV appearances, but his London restaurant, Smiths of Smithfield, proves his culinary prowess. The three-floor building opposite the meat market houses a relaxed café-bar, elegant wine rooms serving homemade nibbles, a second-floor restaurant with a Mediterranean influence, and a top-floor dining room that celebrates rare-breed and organic British meats. Russell Norman heads up Brutto at 35-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street. Offering a Florence-meets-New-York inspired menu, Brutto offers a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine. Don’t leave without samping the pork tonnato and tuscan beef.

Local cafés

You’ll instantly feel at home in Bench Cafe, a stylish space with an open courtyard in the heart of Clerkenwell, where you can enjoy homemade rolls, avocado toast, and expertly crafted coffee.

Local bars

Have a pint at Fox & Anchor, a cosy pub at 115 Charterhouse Street; if you’re feeling hungry, nibble on Scotch eggs with curried mayonnaise or opt for a hearty main (typical offerings include rabbit and cider with thyme and bacon dumplings, and monkfish cheeks with cockles and mussels.) The Holy Tavern is a delightfully ricketty drinkery housed in an 18th-century building; it has impeccable taste in craft ales. Sink a few pints there then stop into the Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell for a quirky nightcap: perhaps a Woodland Realm with elf oil and Cognac? Or the sparkling Eternal Martini? Amble along to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese for another historic night out, a 17th-century pub where the likes of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used to wet their whistles.


Photos The Rookery reviews
Rachel Juarez-Carr

Anonymous review

By Rachel Juarez-Carr, Wordsmith and picture taker

Standing alone in the pouring rain while trying to find the entrance wasn’t the most auspicious beginning to a hotel escape. Mr Smith promised he'd be punctual – he wasn't; my phone said the sun would shine – it didn’t. And, I couldn't figure out which door to go through, given that the hotel's made up of a row of historic homes. Suddenly, one flings open and a welcoming blonde ushered me in to the dark-wood corridor.

A thousand things begged to be admired – paintings, books, a cat slinking around – and it was so warm and cosy that I was almost glad to have been caught in the rain first. The friendly pair checking me in gushed about how lovely my suite was with genuine glee, and 30 seconds later I was bounding up the stairs to the Rook’s Nest, my two-storey home for the night.

Back in the 18th century, were you to bed down in a rookery, you wouldn’t be sure to wake up. If you did, you’d most likely be minus your purse. For a ‘rookery’ or ‘stew’ was a city slum, its cramped tenements teeming with prowlers. Now, a night at the Rookery – that’s another story. Set in Clerkenwell – itself a former stew – the hotel is inspired by Georgian London. Rooms are named after some of EC1’s ribald characters of yore: Dr Dodd was a disgraced preacher; Jack Ketch an incompetent executioner; Sally Salisbury a prostitute hanged for murder. Guests can savour a potted account of these long-gone locals when they stay, and some rooms are decorated with original paintings of their former inhabitants.

To my not-so-nefarious Mr Smith, who was by now hot on my heels. A Californian, he finds London exotic even at its most pedestrian. Saucer eyes surveyed the Rook’s Nest, making his face worth immortalising in oils for a portrait befitting for the hotel’s motley collection. ‘Oh, most hotels in London are like this’, I fibbed, feigning indifference. Then he found a button that slides the centre of the ceiling back to reveal a spire stretching upwards. My gasp rather rumbled that perhaps this place is anything but your usual city stay.

We sprinted up our staircase – I love hotel suites with stairs – to find our living room with its antique desk, orchid-adorned coffee table, green leather bucket chairs and books stacked everywhere. Views of St Paul’s dome definitely outdo the one I have at home of my neighbour’s shed, and they sure impressed my Angeleno guest.

A ‘bathing machine’ downstairs was the next twist in our tale: if a black-and-white rolltop bath in the bedroom isn’t exciting enough, the Edwardian tub’s punctured-metal contraption showers you from all angles. Hilarious, particularly when you’re three inches from a life-size statue of a washing maiden clutching a cloth to her bosom. Half drowned, thoroughly amused, we next raided our mini-bars: he lounged on the gold-covered bed with Belgian chocolate–covered raisins and I munched my way through spiced peanuts one-handed while drying my hair.

Cedar Creek: A Tale of Canadian Life, one of the zillion assorted titles scattered around, proved remarkably engrossing for Mr Smith. He finally looked up from the peeling-cover hardback book to find me cross-legged in a towel on the floor photographing an anatomically correct whip-wielding cherub.

Tempting as it was to stay in, we made it downstairs to the Conservatory. We hadn’t discussed it, but I’m pretty sure by this point we were both pretending the Rookery was our house. The honesty bar did nothing to dispel our folie à deux: Mr Smith lounged on a settee contentedly admiring the green paisley curtains, while I played the dutiful Mrs and poured us some experimental cocktails. The Rookery doesn’t have a restaurant – but who cares when you have St John’s, Moro and Modern Pantry just around the corner? We dined a minute away at Vinoteca, followed by cocktails in the Zetter Townhouse’s lounge.

Drenched again, it was late when we made it back to our new home: we tiptoed through the corridors, giggling at the eccentric characters such as the beard-stroking man contemplating his chessboard. Back in our sumptuous suite, we dragged all three sets of heavy gold curtains closed and the true nature of the bedroom revealed itself in all its theatrical glory. By day, it’s a dark-walled womb; by night it’s an opulent stage set for performance: we opted for dramatic readings of books plucked at random from the shelves.

Hoarse from reading strange books in gin-fuelled silly voices, the huge bed beckoned. I don’t know if it was the cocktails, the bad acting or the rainy dash back from Clerkenwell, but once I’d bid goodnight to the gold-loin-cloth-clad blackamoors at the head of the four-poster, I’d barely mumbled ‘This bed is absurdly comfortable...’ before I’d fallen asleep.

Dawn’s light reflecting off the shiny bottoms of our cheery cherub bedmates was an eye-opening first sight of the day. Ordinarily I’m a massive fan of hotel black-out curtains, but in the Rook’s Nest I recommend leaving the curtains a tiny bit open: waking up in a really big room with sunlight sparkling on the myriad gilded surfaces is exciting. And, who wants to sleep until noon when you have booked breakfast in bed?

Our morning spread was delivered to our door precisely on time; I rashly volunteered to lug the weighty tray up to our lounge, doggedly determined to use every inch of our upstairs space even at the cost of a wrist-sprain. Perfectly executed bacon rolls took the edge off feeling forlorn about saying farewell to our characterful perch. But, as Mr Smith consoled, we’ll just have to return to these Dickensian digs to stay in the room that boasts a loo set in a wood-panelled confessional.

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Price per night from $265.50