See & Do

The London Tavern, Beechworth

We’ve just returned from spending a few days in the London Tavern, an old tavern and hotel in Beechworth.

Beechworth is a picturesque historical town located north-east Victoria. It’s famous for its gold rush boom during the mid-1850s. In its golden heydey, Beechworth was wealthy, powerful, and influential. It boasted a range of industries and had colourful characters and villains, including Ned Kelly.

Built in stages between 1859 and 1864, the London Tavern was the first brick hotel in Beechworth. It was notable for its verandas, French windows, and open courtyard centred by a unique bath house. The London Tavern is no longer a hotel and has been privately owned since the 1970s by a group of friends. They use it as a holiday home and have been very slowly restoring it. One of the owners is a friend and she invited us to stay there.

We were so enchanted by the London Tavern that we hardly explored Beechworth. I guess we’ll just have to go back.

Inside the Beechworth London Tavern.
Notice the beautiful double doors inside inside the main entrance of the London Tavern. I think there was a bar here once.
We don’t know what this room was originally. Today it houses mostly tools. You can see some of the original wallpaper and window.
The London Tavern has amazing details.
Here’s a hallway with original wallpaper and you can see the ceiling needs repair. There are many rooms in the London Tavern and it’s not clear what they all were. There was the bar area, of course, and a parlour, and a billiard room. Funny enough, there’s no sign of a kitchen. Kitchens were dangerous places so I suspect it was outside the main building.
The billiard room.
Behind the main tavern is the courtyard with the “cells” or rooms.
Most of the cells are small. Air and natural light come in through small windows over the doors.
You see why they are called cells. The rooms are small and would have had little more than a single bed. Today they all have double-beds and other piece of furniture such as a chest for storage. The entire building now has electricity as well.
One of the rooms is larger and has a fireplace. We wonder if it was for special guests or perhaps a sitting room. It’s been converted for a family.
Another larger cell with a fireplace has been converted into a sitting room.
Two more larger cells have been converted. One is now a bathroom with toilet, shower, and two sinks. The other is a laundry room with a toilet.
Three cells were converted into a fully-equipped kitchen in the 1970s. It has two refrigerators and two sinks. Notice there are about five coffee makers plus the kettle.
The London Tavern has a lot of doors so it has a lot of keys – beautiful, old keys.

Have you been to Beechworth?

 

Comments

comments

  • julesdownunder

    Love Beechworth- the Lolly Shop there is gorgeous!

  • What a fascinating old building! We did Beechworth a few years ago and stayed at a cute B&B, though unfortunately it was over Christmas, so not much was open. We did a quick tour of the historical highlights on Boxing Day. I remember the court where Ned Kelly was tried and sending a telegraph from the telegraph office. And a lot of Ned Kelly kitsch! Very sweet, historic little town.

    • Cosette

      There’s also some beautiful landscape nearby. There’s a wonderful 4km trail through the gorge. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover it until we were almost leaving so we just drove through it quickly. Next time, we’ll visit it.