A SHORT walk from the busy streets of central London, we found a tranquil, timeless winter scene.

Skating at Somerset House, the splendid neoclassical building overlooking the Strand on one side and the Thames on the other, was in full swing. It was lovely to watch skaters gliding around the rink, (we didn’t brave the ice; instead we browsed the festive Fortnum and Mason store set up in Somerset House), and as daylight faded, the ice shimmered against colours lighting up the historic surroundings. A day or so after our visit, a photo-call for ITV’s Dancing on Ice took place on the rink.

Open until tomorrow, the rink takes centre stage in the courtyard of 18th century Somerset House. Traditionally a centre for debate and discussion, it is today a key cultural destination in central London. As well as being a creative space for artists and designers, it’s open to the public for exhibitions and arts events, and an outdoor programme that includes concerts and open-air film screenings.

We made our way to Covent Garden, beautifully trimmed for winter and bustling with visitors, where we wandered around the historic market and through shops nestled in neighbouring St Martin’s Courtyard. Covent Garden’s piazza leads to the Royal Opera House and London Transport Museum, where you can journey through the past of getting from A to B with interactive exhibits and decommissioned vehicles.

Heading west, we walked up the Seven Dials, a quaint corner of London festooned with twinkling lights. This historic intersection of seven narrow streets, each a spoke of the ‘dial’, is home to pretty independent shops, designer names and funky restaurants.

From the Seven Dials it was a short walk to the Bloomsbury Street Hotel, where we spent the night. Located near the British Museum, the four-star Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel showcases the area’s literary heritage, with Virginia Woolf books in the stylish lobby, and blends period charm with contemporary chic. Modern art adorns the walls, and striking bronze sculptures are displayed in arched windows at the foot of an elegant staircase.

The hotel is within walking distance of West End theatres and Soho, and some of the Capital’s best shopping districts, including Covent Garden and Oxford Street.

Our room, a spacious, stylish business suite, looked out onto a grand London skyline, with the towering pillars and domed roof of the British Museum nearby. We dined in the hotel’s Steak & Lobster restaurant, serving a rustic, no-nonsense menu of steak and fresh lobster signature dishes alongside bites, salads and desserts. We were spoilt for choice with a dazzling array of choices on the cocktail menu - including Strawberry and Rhubarb Fizz, Before the Dark, Chestnut and Ginger Sour, Watermelon Mule and Peach Smash.

After a pleasant dinner of chargrilled lobster with fries, and a veggie philly cheese steak for me, followed by desserts of strawberry meringue and cream and salted caramel cheesecake, we reclined with a nightcap in the lively bar.

With friendly, efficient staff and a lovely relaxed feel, the hotel offers a comfortable, stylish haven from the hustle and bustle of London life. 

Next morning we tucked into a hearty full English courtesy of Breakfast is on Blu, a winter offer at Radisson Blu Edwardian, London.

With a few hours to spare before our train home, we set off on a walk through surroundings streets, leading us down to the Embankment. Walking along the north bank of the Thames, we crossed Blackfriars Bridge and took the clipper to Westminster, crossing over to the South Bank. The cultural hub, home to national centres for arts, film and performance, the South Bank is one of my favourite places in London. Having appeared in so many movies - Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mission Impossible, Bridget Jones's Baby, and Die Another Day to name a handful - it's an area that feels familiar, and there's always something going on, creating a great buzz.

The County Hall complex includes family attractions such as the Sea Life London Aquarium, the London Dungeon and the London Eye, and further along there's the Royal Festival Hall, BFI, National Theatre, Borough Market and Southbank Centre, where the ABBA: Super Troupers exhibition (running until April) offers a journey through the sounds and styles of the Swedish fab four. With our London stay at an end, we decided that was a pretty good reason to return this year.

And, with so much fabulous art, culture, shopping, dining and winding London walks on the doorstep, where better to stay than the Bloomsbury Street Hotel?

* The Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel (part of Edwardian Group London) is on 9-13 Bloomsbury Street, London.

* Breakfast is on Blu can be booked online at any Radisson Blu Edwardian, London hotel until February 25.

* Call 0207 636 5601, email resbsh@radisson.com or visit radissonblu-edwardian.com/bloomsburystreet