Home away from home for a week. This street, which is about 3 blocks from Waterloo rail station, looks completely different than the surrounding streets and is somewhat of a surprise when it comes into view. As we rounded a corner and I looked for the first time down this street of brown-brick row houses and saw the triangle shaped tops, I couldn’t help but think of the chimney sweep song from Mary Poppins, “On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!” Unfortunately for my travel companions, from then on I started singing this every single time we walked out the door, or sat on the rooftop balcony.
Roupell street, we learned later in the week from our host, has been kept much the same as it was 200 years ago and has been used by film crews as a set because of its historic look. Surprisingly, the street itself is paved rather than cobblestones. Cobblestones would have completed the look, but modern conveniences encroach ever more.
Roupell street has one pub, The King’s Arm, which we were told has a Thai restaurant at the back, however we were never able to confirm this because the small pub was always crowded when we walked by. And I don’t mean the inside was crowded. I mean, there was too small space inside for all the patrons, so each evening starting at rush hour, patrons would fill half the street, sit on the sidewalk, and generally surround the pub on all sides, while they met chatted, and held their pints of beer. While we could hear from our flat the general chatter of people on the street outside the pub, it quieted down around 9pm. The pub had a sign on the door asking their customers to please respect the neighborhood by not standing outside after 9pm and leaving quietly when they left. (Just another example of how polite we found the British peoples to be!)
Speaking of noise we could hear from our flat, this street is used as a thoroughfare at rush hour so for a few hours each day we heard a constant clip clop of feet on the sidewalk. This never bothered me because it sounded so much like horses on cobblestones, which I felt was appropriate.
Roupell street is also home to a Konditor and Cook bakery, which we frequented almost each morning for breakfast pastries. The bakery is famous for little square cakes, which were used to make up a pixilated image of the Queen’s face for the Queen’s Diamond Jubillee.
[Apparently none of us photographed this wonderful corner bakery, so please imagine a small purple fronted bakery with mouth-watering cakes and pies in its window, or visit their website to see photos.]
We had found the Roupell Street flat through AirBnb (EDIT 2018: This listing no longer exists.) and we were very satisfied with our choice. The flat was good sized, two-storied, with a full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and two balconies, besides the fact that it resided on a picturesque street. Our rooftop balcony on the street side was accessible through the living room windows, and the other balcony was off the kitchen and looked over our hosts small garden. Our host lived below us in the rooms on the first floor of the building.
One of the reasons I would recommend staying at AirBnb’s is that it provides you with the opportunity to have a local host who can offer advice and sightseeing suggestions. Our London host was very helpful and gave us good advice for procuring reasonably priced theater tickets one evening. He also let us borrow his own cast iron pan to cook a home cooked meal one night.