If you want to stay at the heart of all the action, yet yearn for a calm bolthole from which to make your base, look no further than the Hilton Bankside.

Situated less than ten minutes' walk from Waterloo Station, the £120million hotel, which opened in October 2015, is situated in a quiet side street, but still manages to be located just a stone's throw from a number of the city's top attractions - including the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, Borough Market and The Shard.

We arrived for our weekend break and were immediately impressed by the industrial-style grandeur of the hotel lobby, where reception staff offered a friendly greeting and filled us in on all the facilities available during our stay.

These included the OXBO Bankside restaurant for dinner and breakfast; the hotel's own bar, The Distillery, for drinks and lunch, plus access to The Executive Lounge for further drinks and snacks, as well as a continental breakfast, and use of the basement gym and swimming pool.

After dumping our luggage and a quick explore of our luxurious, spacious suite, we headed straight back down to The Distillery for lunch. The venue is billed as Bankside's "destination bar", where hotel guests, local business people and residents alike are welcome to enjoy food and drinks in its vibrant, sophisticated setting.

Given its central location, we were surprised to find the eaterie fairly quiet for a Saturday lunchtime, meaning we were able to plump for a prime spot, with comfy sofas and a low table, right in the window - perfect for a relaxing bit of people watching!

I opted for the shredded chicken ciabatta with peppers, guacamole, cheese and sour cream, while my husband chose the Wagyu burger with sweet cured bacon, cheese, and tomato salsa - both were accompanied by a portion of chips.

While we waited for our food, we had time for a closer inspection of our surroundings and discovered the venue is a popular spot for Gin Tasting sessions - paying homage to its essence factory heritage. It also has a reputation for serving a range of signature cocktails incorporating homemade aromatics, infusions and bitters.

Fortified by our generous, tasty lunch, we headed outside to explore the area.

Within minutes we found ourselves at the Tate Modern where, over a wall, we could see people enjoying the sunshine on giant swings. Wandering further, we were soon at Borough Market - thronging with tourists and locals sampling and buying varieties of bread, cheese and meats and refreshing cool drinks. The perfect spot for a relaxing, Saturday afternoon mooch, followed by a seat in the sun to enjoy a pint by the Thames on the warmest day of the year so far.

Exiting the market and continuing to stroll, we came to London Bridge, joining the hoardes of visitors admiring the sights and taking selfies with nearby Tower Bridge.

From here, we headed back along the river, where numerous restaurant chains mingle with landmarks including The Golden Hinde - an historically accurate replica of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake completed the second-ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577 - 1580 - The Millennium Bridge and Shakespeare's Globe theatre.

To explore further, hop on board one of the MBNA Thames Clippers, which will take you along the river up to Westminster, or back down to North Grenwich.

We, however, were keen to make the most of all the hotel had to offer, so headed back to our base for a quick change and a dip in the pool before dinner at OXBO.

Clearly popular with both guests and local residents, the industrial, yet classically-styled restaurant prides itself on serving a range of dishes with fresh British ingredients including regionally sourced artisan meats, fish, herbs and vegetables.

I chose the Caesar salad with focaccia croutons and parmesan reggiano to start, followed by the herb and garlic marinated maize fed chicken, served with corn aioli, while my husband opted for the seared spiced scallops with cauliflower, apple and crisp bacon, and then the 28-day, dry-aged Casterbridge rib eye steak. We both chose accompanying Parmentier potatoes.

Both meals were simply delicious and it was with great regret that I had to admit defeat - although we did just about manage to force down a shared portion of the delicious baked vanilla cheesecake with berry compote - on the recommendation of our friendly waiter.

Too full to venture far, we finished the evening with a cocktail in The Distillery, which was rather livelier than it had been at lunchtime, but still felt relaxed.

After a good night's sleep in the room's huge double bed, we enjoyed a full English breakfast at the buffet, along with some fruit, bread and fresh meat, before a stroll back to Waterloo for our return journey.

It may have been a get-away in the centre of London, but we left feeling thoroughly chilled and refreshed.


Hilton Bankside is situated in Great Suffolk Street, in the heart of SE1.

Rooms start at £229 inc VAT for room only.

To find out more, or book, visit hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hilton-london-bankside, or call 020 3667 5600.