London is rightly feted for its wide range of architecture and design styles. So what better way to get under the skin of the city than with a stint in one of the wealth of houses and apartments available for rent.
To save you time, we’ve picked 10 of the best, which run the gamut from the historical to the avant-garde. Enjoy your stay…
Walmer Yard in Notting Hill
When it comes to experimental London architecture, few buildings push the envelope more than Peter Salter’s radical Walmer Yard. It was designed as a multi-family or multi-generational complex with four interconnected dwellings. Each is unique but they also unfurl as a ‘spatial sequence’. Rooms have rounded walls and organic shapes, culminating with a yurt-like living and dining room. Walmer Yard can be rented in its entirety via Urlaubsarchitektur (max 18 people) or as three individual houses sleeping 4-6, with price on application.
A secret garden house in Hackney
Designer Marta Nowicka sought inspiration from the humble garden shed for her latest project, The Gouse in Hackney. The three bedroom home is hidden by a garden wall, with a shingled upper half that blends into its suburban setting. Interiors meanwhile are decked out in materials commonly found inside a shed, including terracotta surfaces, rusted metal elements, a ladder-like staircase and a living wall that ascends the height of the home. It’s available to rent for up to three months through Nowicka’s DOM Stay and Live agency.
The Beldi loft in Shoreditch
Creative couple Zoe Chan and Merlin Eayrs conceive each of their projects as a gesamtkunstwerk, from the exterior down to the smallest coat hook. The Beldi loft is inspired by their travels through Morocco and China, and sits inside a converted shoe factory in bustling Shoreditch. Details inside the green-hued space include basket-weave and herringbone floor tiles, and rustic wooden surfaces. Some 30 original Crittall windows skirt the perimeter of the four-bedroom apartment, available via Airbnb from £750 per night.
A canalside refuge with a glass rooftop cabana
Once a repair shop for narrowboats, this north London building has been transformed into a three storey, open plan abode filled with unusual design touches. Most dramatic of these is the master bedroom suite, situated in a glass cabana on the roof with 360 views across the city towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the Barbican. Sleeping ten, the London holiday home available from £1030 a night via The Plum Guide.
A Huguenot townhouse in Spitalfields
As holiday apartments in London go, this one’s pretty unusual. The three-storey Georgian townhouse was once a Huguenot weaver’s shop and home in Spitalfields. Antiques expert Fiona Atkins has restored and converted it into a two-bedroom bolthole. Its wood-panelled rooms are elegantly decorated with period furniture and contemporary design pieces by the likes of Philippe Starck. Available to book via Welcome Beyond or directly.
A Le Corbusier-esque canal boat in Camden
Jessie is a 57-ft-long narrow boat built in 2011 and moored in Little Venice. The canal boat has midcentury style interiors that evoke Le Corbusier’s Cabanon retreat thanks to wood panelled walls. A solid fuel stove heats the living room and galley on a cold evening, and there are two bedrooms tucked inside the boat. Guests can book it from £160 per night via Airbnb.
Understated elegance in Bayswater
Everything is in its place inside this poised property. Interiors layer sumptuous textures, from copper lampshades to fur throws, wickerwork stools and steel surfaces. Orsett Terrace is just around the corner from the effervescence of Notting Hill and the greenery of Hyde Park and is a well-placed bolt hole for exploring the city. It sleeps four and can be booked through onefinestay.
Converted Clerkenwell cooperage
Originally a barrel factory, this Victorian building has been radically overhauled by Chris Dyson Architects, who have turned it into a stylish three-storey house, complete with biophilic touches. Its central location is ideal for exploring the city, while the vast living space and living wall make it an oasis of calm. Available via onefinestay.
Contemporary art in a storied setting, Whitechapel
This wisteria-clad London apartment for rent comes replete with fashion kudos, having been exactingly refurbished by the duo behind cult London boutique Hostem. Artwork throughout has been curated by Stuart Shave/Modern Art, while the comprehensive wine cellar has been collated by Jérémie Cometto-Lingenheim of Primeur. Overall the Myrdle Street Residence offers a cerebral and stylish refuge from the hubbub of London and is available through BoutiqueHomes from £750 per night.
Woodland sanctuary in Highgate
This rustic holiday cottage is a little off the beaten track, tucked beneath a canopy of trees on the edge of Highgate woods. Architect-owner Caroline Ingle’s extensive renovations include the creation of an upstairs reading room with skylights offering marvellous views across the parks. Available through onefinestay.