After remaining closed for almost 40 years, Battersea Power Station is back. The revamp has been eight years in the making, and stands as the UK’s most expensive redevelopment project ever, coming in at a whopping £9 billion. So what can we expect from the shiny new venue?
First up: a bit of background. The six-acre, red-brick venue served as a working power station from the 1930s through to the 1980s – at its peak, producing a fifth of London’s power, and supplying electricity to main city landmarks including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. In 1983 it was decommissioned, and over the next three decades there were various aborted plans for the venue. At one point it was going to be transformed into a theme park, at another a home for the Cirque du Soleil, and in 2012 Chelsea FC put in a bid to transform it into a 60,000-seat stadium. This was rejected, and later that year a Malaysian consortium bought the site.
Since then, a project to transform the venue into an urban village has been underway. Phase one of the development, Circus West Village, opened in 2017, featuring a collection of flats, shops and restaurants. Last year saw the opening of a new tube station for the neighbourhood. And last month, the power station opened to the public, offering an array of shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. There’s still plenty more to come, with the final development not expected to be built until 2030 – but here’s a snapshot into what’s currently available to explore, and the features coming soon.
Visitors will have the chance to see London from a new vantage point in the power station’s new glass lift experience, which involves shooting up into the sky through one of the venue’s chimneys. You’ll be whizzed up 109 metres to the top, where panoramic city vistas await – and while it’s not as high as some of the capital’s other skyscrapers, it’s an entirely unique view. You’ll get a bit of a history lesson too, as the experience will begin with an interactive exhibition complete with artefacts and immersive displays about the building. lift109.co.uk
Foodies will be spoilt for choice at Battersea Power Station, with a plethora of restaurants spread throughout the building. Current offerings include Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, Middle Eastern favourite Le Bab, Where The Pancakes Are, and Malaysian hotspot Roti King. They’ll join the array of eateries already open in Circus West Village, like Fiume and Wright Brothers. Excitingly, this year the venue will also welcome a 24,000 square foot Arcade Food Hall, set to house some of the biggest names on the street food scene.
For drinks, head to Control Room B, a jazzy cocktail bar which opens onto Turbine Hall B. Set amid the venue’s original control desks and switch dials, the all-day venue will serve up champagne, coffees and snacks by day. Come evening time, it’s all about the cocktails, which have been crafted by the team behind Cahoots and Mr Fogg’s.
Battersea Power Station also offers a range of activities for guests, from a boutique cinema to a theatre. There’s currently a light festival featuring eight installations, on display both indoors and outdoors, running until 5 March 2023.
The retail space here is massive, housing a wide range of clothing, jewellery and beauty brands. Luxury names like Cartier and Rolex will sit alongside high street shops such as Mango and Zara, plus athleisure retailers including Lululemon and Sweaty Betty.
Now open at Battersea Power Station is the first London outpost from the art’otel brand – a collection of art-inspired hotels with unique architectural styles. This one has been designed by Spanish artist and interior designer Jaime Hayon, and features 164 bedrooms, a skyline restaurant and bar, and a rooftop pool with an infinity bar. artotellondonbattersea.com
Find all-electric car brand Polestar’s flagship Space at Battersea Power Station, where you can book a test drive too.
Main image: John Sturrock